The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is a medieval almshouse in Winchester, Hampshire, England, founded between 1132 and 1136. It is the oldest charitable institution in the United Kingdom. The founder was Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, grandson of William the Conqueror and younger brother to King Stephen of England.Take the guesswork out of planning a Winchester vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.
It is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain: it is built on the scale of an Oxford or Cambridge college, although it is older than any of the colleges at those universities. It has been described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse". Most of the buildings and grounds are open to the public at certain times.
The Hospital still provides accommodation for a total of 25 elderly men, known as "The Brothers", under the care of "The Master". They belong to either of two charitable foundations: those belonging to the Order of the Hospital of St Cross (founded around 1132) wear black trencher hats and black robes with a silver badge in the shape of a Jerusalem cross, while those belonging to the Order of Noble Poverty (founded in 1445) wear claret trencher hats and claret robes with a silver cardinal’s badge in memory of Cardinal Beaufort. They are often referred to as the "Black Brothers" and the "Red Brothers". Brothers must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They are expected to wear their robes and attend daily morning prayers in the Church.
Hospital of St Cross Reviews
I walked here along the river from Winchester, very pleasant, and St Cross is like stepping back in time, with ancient water meadows and cattle, well worth a visit. more »
A lovely 20 minute walk across the water meadow from the city, it was a very rainy day so a bit muddy in places. The hospital is a lovely peaceful place to be for an hour, wander in the church , see t... more »
Had my little boy here, a couple of the staff had a real lack of job satisfaction. Midwife was lovely though and we got a birthing pool. Which was great
Well worth a visit. Try for the historical dole. The site is beautiful with well maintained gardens in the setting of the Water Meadows overlooked by St Catherine's Hill. Refreshments available.
Places to stay near Hospital of St Cross
Plan your trip to Winchester
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
View all >
Side trips from Winchester
Hidden gems in Winchester
Museums in Winchester
Historic Sites in Winchester
Plans to Hospital of St Cross by other users
15 days in Southern England BY A USER FROM CANADA September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 30 days in England BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, popular sights PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 4 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 10 days in Brighton and Hove BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Brighton and Hove & Copenhagen BY A USER FROM CANADA July, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 49 days in Brighton and Hove BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium