Hospital of St Cross

Cited as 'a Norman cathedral in miniature’ by Simon Jenkins, this fine Norman church is all that remains of the original 12th century Hospital.

Winchester, Hampshire

Opening times

Summer (1st April to 31st October): Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm.
Winter (1st November to 31st March): Monday to Saturday 10.30am to 3.30pm and closed Sunday.
Please note that an entrance fee is payable.


St Cross Road
SO23 9SD

The Hospital of St Cross is said to be England's oldest charitable institution. It was founded by Henry of Blois between 1132 and 1136 after he was appointed Bishop of Winchester at the age of 28. It was created in order to house and support 13 poor men, known as Brothers, and to feed a further 100 men at its gates each day, with food and drink from the hospital's own land, mills and farms. In 1445 another Order of Brothers was created by Cardinal Henry Beaufort, the Order of Noble Poverty. Today the Hospital is home to 25 'Brothers'.

Built with stone from as far afield as Caen, the church consists of stunning honey coloured Norman stonework both inside and out. On a column on the north aisle is carved the cross of St Cross. In the window nearest to the eastern side of the north transept, the stone surround is strangely angled. This device means that sunlight from the window falls on the cross only on 3rd May (the day in the church calendar of the Invention of the Cross) and 14th September (Holy Cross Day).

It was recently featured in the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall!.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Ramp or level access available on request

  • Church shop or souvenirs

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Tea Room / Hundred Men’s Hall: refreshments are available in the summer months from Monday to Saturday during the following times. Open Summer (1st April to 31st October) 10.30am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday.

  • Other

Contact information

Other nearby churches

Winchester College Chapel

Winchester, Hampshire

The chapel was built between the years 1387 and 1395 to designs by William Wynford, with Hugh Herland responsible for the traceried wooden ceiling and Thomas of Oxford for the glazing.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester, Hampshire

Fifteen centuries of English history lie behind the massive Cathedral you see today. It stands at the heart of historic Winchester, once the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power, on the site of an early Christian church. It’s been a place of worship ever since.