Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

St. Cross (Winchester)

St. Cross is an impressive Norman almshouse and chapel on the outskirts of Winchester.

It can be reached along paths from the City Centre beside the idyllic River Itchen.

Somewhat reminiscent of a cathedral, it is the chapel of England`s oldest almshouse, founded in 1136 to house thirteen poor men and to feed a hundred local people every day.

The founder was Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester and half brother to King Stephen.

Most of the church is original, with the West end and clerestory being added in the 14th century and the nave vault in the 15th century.

It still dispenses the Wayfarer`s Dole of "a morsel of bread and a horn of beer" to passers by.

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