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Archaeology and Heritage
Visit to Winchester Cathedral and Hospital of St. Cross
Date: 14th March 13
Time: 10:00AM - 3:30PM
Location: Winchester, Hampshire
Contact: Ken Keen FRPS
Phone: 01753 886036
Group: Archaeology and Heritage
The first outing of 2013 visits another of England's historic cathedrals, followed by a visit to England's oldest surviving almshouse, St. Cross.
The Cathedral is the longest Gothic church in Europe, and its oldest parts belong to the Norman structure built from 1079. The transepts are Norman, and the original nave was skilfully remodelled in the Perpendicular Gothic style in the 14th C by William of Wykeham, whose tomb stands in the nave. The elegant work at the eastern end includes the Early English Gothic retro-choir, with mediaeval tiled floor and many fine tombs and chantry chapels, and the Lady Chapel, added in the late 15th C.
Apart from the tombs, the stalls (ca. 1320) are of particular interest, with fine misericords, and from later periods there are many excellent post-reformation monuments in various styles. The crypt, which is often flooded, contains a statue by the modern sculptor Anthony Gormley.
Refreshments will be available at the cathedral, and in the afternoon the party will visit the Hospital of St. Cross on the outskirts of the city. Standing alongside the water meadows of the River Itchen, this is England's oldest continuing almshouse, having been founded in 1135 to support 13 poor men and to feed 100 local people per day. It escaped dissolution under Henry VIII as it was a secular foundation.
The attached church, now a parish church, is a survival from the earliest buildings, and is remarkable in its own right. It is almost completely Norman, with much zig-zag carving and other period features, with the Transitional period between Norman and Gothic architecture well represented.
The mediaeval Brethren's House is the oldest surviving part of the almshouse, containing many original features. Most buildings are mediaeval and Tudor, and are arranged around two Tudor quadrangles (cloisters). There are also lovely gardens, including that of the Master of the Brethren of St. Cross.
Please meet inside the West Front entrance of the Cathedral ready for a 1000 start - our party rate is £4.80 per person, which should be given to the organiser on arrival.
The afternoon visit to St. Cross is optional - the admission price is £4.00 (£.3.50 for senior citizens), and should be paid by individual members on admission. Closing time is 1530.