This establishment was founded just 65 years after the Norman invasion, and was created by a young French monk and nobleman, Henri de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, who was the grandson of William the Conqueror.
It remains a Christian almshouse for the elderly http://hospitalofstcross.co.uk/. Founded in the 12th century, the Hospital of St Cross still provides accommodation for 25 gentlemen, aged over sixty, known as Brothers, and is amongst the oldest charitable foundations in the country.
The church at St Cross provides a private chapel for the Brothers, and is within the public parish of ‘St Faiths’ http://parishofstfaith.org/
We parked within the church quadrangle which gave a magnificent backdrop to the 21 car display. Coffee was taken in the ‘Hundred Man Hall’ tea room, after which we split into two groups for our conducted 1¼ hr tours of the grounds and ancient buildings, which were provided by Brother John and Cathy from the Porters Lodge, which were most interesting and entertaining.
The grounds include a walled area with a carp pond with superb borders of flowers, and lawns. The tranquillity of the place was astounding as it is very close to the M3 and busy feeder road to Winchester city.
Lunch was booked at the ‘Bell Inn’ which was a 5 min walk, whilst the cars were left safely in the quadrangle by the church. Sam at the pub did us proud, and we all had a welcome lunch and wondered at what we had seen, as lots of members were unaware that such a place existed.
After lunch, some went for a walk along the Ichen River, one couple walked into Winchester, others sat in the gardens and enjoyed the sunny day by the carp lake.
By 3pm thoughts led to afternoon teas from the ladies in the Hundred Man Hall, or sitting at the outside tables, which rounded off the day well.
Our thanks to Peter & Alison, who donned their yellow tabards for early morning duties as marshals.