Nestling in the water meadows alongside the River Itchen and in the shadow of St Catherine’s Hill lies the ancient Hospital of St Cross. Reknowned for the tranquillity of its setting and the beauty of its architecture, the Hospital is one of England’s oldest continuing almshouses.
These fine medieval buildings have provided food and shelter for hundreds of years. The principal activity of the Hospital continues to be the provision of individual, private apartments for a living community of about twenty-five elderly men. Known as ‘Brothers’ they wear black or red gowns and a trencher hat for daily church and other formal occasions.
At the heart of the Hospital’s inner quadrangle is a wonderful Norman church, its tower, chancel, transepts and nave soaring so high that it looks like a cathedral in miniature. Nearby stand a classic medieval hall and kitchen, as well as a Tudor cloister, with another ancient hall in the outer quad that serves as a tea room. The extensive gardens are immaculately maintained throughout the year.
To the surprise of many, and despite it being a place of privacy and even retreat, visitors are welcome to St Cross. The Church is perfect for traditional weddings: this extends beyond the parish to the wider community, for whom baptisms and memorial services may also be conducted. All depend upon the agreement of the Master of St Cross. Other areas may also be hired for private events.
Please use the other areas of this website for your own further information and contact us to enquire about your special interests.