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 tours this year led by a Winchester Tourist Guide. You will visit St John’s House Medieval Undercroft and Assembly Rooms, St John the Baptist Chapel, the historic charity Boardroom, take a walk through the almshouse gardens and meet a senior manager of the charity. Tours take approximately 1½ hours.
There will be three tours in 2018, dates yet to be confirmed.
Tickets cost £10 per adult/£5 per child, including refreshments, and can be obtained from the Tourist Information Board, The Guildhall, Winchester SO23 9GH.
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 facing the demands of frailty or dementia.