Astoft

Hospital of St Cross,  Winchester,  Hampshire

The Almshouse Buildings
15th Century

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This is one of three pages for the Hospital of St Cross.
The others are Church Exterior and Church Interior.

Click on photos to enlarge.
Notes in italics from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd (1967)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.



England's oldest almshouse ('hospital') founded in 1136 by Henry de Blois, grandson of William the Conquerer and half-brother to King Stephen. The current buildings, however, are by Cardinal Beaufort, son of John of Gaunt, from about 1445. The almshouse is said to have inspired Anthony Trollope's 'The Warden'.

The hospital consists of a quadrangle and an entrance court to its north.



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Entrance court.  The gateway has a four-centred arch and a timber-framed gable with brick infilling. On the E and W are ranges, that on the W running against the N side of the hall range. ... In the W range is one original though much renewed two-light window, straight-headed, with cusped lights and a little tracery.



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The quadrangle is entered by a monumental gatehouse, inspired by those of the College. The archway has a four-centred arch and many continuous mouldings. In the spandrels large tracery. Above, a fine frieze with many heads. Then just one two-light window belonging to the Muniment Room and higher up three tall and slender niches, in one still the kneeling figure of the Cardinal.
To the inside the gatehouse is more or less the same, except that there is only one niche and that a stair-turret rises higher than the building itself. The gatehouse has a tierceron-star vault with bosses.



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Adjoining the gatehouse on the W and forming the centre of the N range of the quadrangle is the hall. It is reached by a flight of steps and a porch. The porch has a two-centred arch and a lierne-vault with bosses. The label stops of the inner doorway have excellently carved heads of a king and queen. The hall has three windows to the S, two to the N. They are of two lights with a transom. The tracery is one Perp unit, but inscribed into it is a quatrefoil in an oval - still a touch of the Dec. Plain screen inside with a gallery above. The roof timbers stand on stone angels' busts. Arched braces up to high collar-beams. Three tiers of wind-braces. 



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The long W range is all the brethrens' lodgings. Each house has four of them off one staircase and served by one chimney with a high octagonal stack. ... All the windows are post-Reformation (one-light and two-light with a mullion).



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The E range is of the early C16. It was built by Robert Sherborne and contained the infirmary and a long passage to the church. To the W the passage is a wooden cloister with very wide wooden arches. Four-centred heads and some carved tracery. A brick oriel less than halfway down.
The church is in the south east corner of the quadrangle. Follow link below.

To Church

Map

Other Winchester Buildings

 

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