Tradition says that Henry of Blois, grandson of William of Normandy, met a starving peasant girl in the fields close to the River Itchen about a mile from the centre of
As Bishop of Winchester he founded the Hospital, an Almshouse, around 1136. It was built on what may have been the site of an older Christian establishment that had been pillaged by the Danes.
The Charter of Foundation includes the following statement:-
"Thirteen men, feeble and so reduced in strength that they can scarcely, or not at all, support themselves without other aid, shall remain in the same Hospital constantly: to whom necessary clothing, provided by the Prior of the establishment, shall be given, and beds fit for their infirmities:
and daily a good loaf of wheaten bread of the weight of five measures,three dishes at dinner, and one for supper, and drink of sufficient quantity...
In 1137 the management of the Hospital was given over to the care of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. The black robes of the original thirteen men bear the Jerusalem Cross on the left chest. Although not monks these men are known as the Black Brothers.
When Cardinal Henry Beaufort succeeded Wykeham as Bishop of Winchester in 1446 he added a new foundation called "The Brethren of Noble Poverty" which was intended to benefit
" … those who had fallen upon evil days after a life of ease and comfort …"
These Brothers wear red robes, with a gold cross on the left chest and a red trencher hat. Today they are known as the Red Brothers.
The stone built accommodation, with octagonal chimneys, was built in the fifteenth century, about 1455. Each entrance door leads to a set of four flats (apartments) comprising a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom with a separate w.c. To the rear of the building is an enclosed garden area where the residents may have their own garden if they wish.
Information about becoming a brother is - here -
Here is an overview of the Norman Monarchs http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page17.asp
St Cross is a charitable institution; it is non-secular, the residents are lay-people drawn from the community. It receives no support from central government, and depends entirely on day to day donations. If you would like to offer financial support please look here http://www.stcross.f2s.com/howhelp.htm for more information......
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