St John’s Winchester is an amalgamation of several charities including Mary Magdalen which operated a leper hospital outside Winchester and Christes’ Hospital founded by Peter Symonds, another London merchant who founded a local school.
The charity has been involved in supporting the community for many centuries. At one time a school was run from St John’s House and financial support given to fund local apprenticeships and start-up funds for local businesses. The grandfather of our previous chair, Richard Steel, benefited from this type of provision!
The modern charity dates back to the 1830s when its assets were taken out of city administration and transferred to an independent trust. The charity has supported people of all ages who were lacking means, but in the 20th Century and beyond, care and support have been focused on older people.
Nine Centuries of Care
Nine Centuries of Care: A History of St John’s Winchester Charity’ was published in 2016. It uncovers previously unknown details and challenges some elements of previous histories.
All proceeds from the sale of books will be donated back to the charity and help support our work delivering care to older people of limited financial and other means.
Tours of St John’s Winchester
As St John’s Winchester is one of the oldest charities in England, it is not surprising that there is much of interest to see. Tucked away by King Alfred’s Statue are the listed 19th Century almshouses, originally built for the poor and needy of Winchester, together with our own Chapel, St John the Baptist, dating from the 13th Century.
Join one of our two tours this year led by a Winchester Tourist Guide. You will visit St John’s the Baptist Chapel in the Broadway, the historic charity Boardroom, take a guided walk through the our South, North and St Mary Magdalen almshouse gardens and learn about the history of our work and our properties. Tours take approximately 1½ hours.
23 July 2002 at 2pm: Tour of the Chapel, Boardroom and Almshouse sites followed by refreshments and a talk on the Charity by John Steel, author of ‘Nine Centuries of Care – A History of St John’s Winchester Charity.’
20th August 2020 at 2pm: Tour of the Chapel, Boardroom and Almshouse sites followed by a cream tea with the warden and residents in the gardens of our almshouses in Symonds Street.
Tickets cost £10 per adult/£5 per child, including refreshments, and can be obtained from the Winchester Tourist Guides at the Tourist Information Centre, The Guildhall, Winchester SO23 9GH.
www.winchestertouristguides.com or Tel: 01962 840500
If you are unable to join a tour, perhaps consider becoming one of the Friends of St John’s who help us to continue our work of caring for an older population.