Society for Creative Anachronism

West Dragonshire


Winchester Pilgrimage VIII

May 8-10, 2020

Winchester, England

Event | Site | Reservations | Staff | Accommodation | Feast | Logistics | Study Guide | Route Map | Schedule

Come all ye pilgrims and travelers, and join the Shire of West Dragoningshire for a pilgrimage at the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty. Share with us in an evening of Chaucer; a morning pilgrimage to Winchester Cathedral, an afternoon demonstration of our fighting skills, and an evening of feasting and storytelling.  

The Event

Site opens on Friday at 5pm. If you need to arrive before then because of public transport, please contact the event stewards so that we can arrange this with the site staff. For further information on access, logistics etc. please see the logistics page here. Note that we are not providing travelers fare as there has been almost no uptake in previous years.

On Friday evening, we will sit in the Hundred Men's Hall and regale each other with tales of pilgrims past, courtesy of one Geoffrey Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales.  If you have a copy of Canterbury Tales, please bring it with you so that you (or others) can read from it.

On Saturday morning, we will take the opportunity to brush up on our saints and sinners, sins and virtues, and other such things as would have been known to pilgrims of yore.  Pay close attention, because your knowledge may be tested on your journey. In order to assist you in this, there is an information pack here on pilgrimages, saints, sins etc. Feel free to print this out and bring it with you to save the hands of our poor scribes (and our paper bill).

You will be briefed on the route prior to departure. It is fairly easy to follow. A pictorial description of the pilgrimage route can be found here.   Again, please feel free to print it out and bring it with you so that we don't have to tire our scribes making lots of copies.

During the morning, small groups of pilgrims will depart, through the meadows and woods of Winchester, to the cathedral.  This is a journey of a little over a mile, through exceedingly pleasant countryside and the more historical parts of the town.  En route, there may be opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge of those things a pilgrim should know.  Once you have reached the cathedral, you are free to explore the rest of the city, or make a leisurely return to the hospital for lunch. Note that there is no lunch provided as many people chose to eat in Winchester before returning.

After lunch, there will be demonstrations of our fighting prowess on the main green in the hospital.

In the evening, we will have a pilgrim's feast in the Tudor Brethren's Hall, and such storytelling and merriment as may then result.

On Sunday morning, the church of St Faith & St Cross would welcome all who wish to join them, in garb, at their morning service.

Note: The activities of Friday and Saturday evenings will be private to ourselves, though the resident brothers may join us for the Chaucer reading. During the day on Saturday, the site is open to the public. The fighting demonstration in the afternoon will be a public display, which has been very warmly received in previous years. Our hosts are keen that we should show that we do more than fighting, so those skilled in the arts and sciences are especially invited to show their activities and works (though not in formal demonstrations).  

Since we will be on display during Saturday, I would ask all attendees to take extra care to conceal mundane items (bottles and cans, picnic boxes and such like).  There will be plenty of storage space for armour bags, mundane equipment etc.  For the fighting demonstrations, we would ask that fighters take additional care to disguise modern facets - e.g. plastic armour, skate-board knee-pads etc.

For photos from previous pilgrimages, see the album here.


Some years ago, at, I think, the 2nd Pilgrimage event, we were setting up for feast in the Tudor Brethren's Hall (see picture). There was a stone table at one end, which seemed an ideal location for the barrel of beer and bread for feast. One of the Brothers wandered in to see how we were doing.

He looked at our set up and said "Oh, you're using the table. Did you know what was a gift to the hospital from King Stephen?"

Our jaws dropped. "Erm, no, we didn't. Sorry."

"Oh no, it's fine. It's good to see it still being used."

Suddenly, the history of the place we were using became a lot more real...

The Hospital of St Cross was founded in the 12th century and is one of the most beautiful period sites that we have used. Nestled in the water meadows alongside the River Itchen, in the shadow of St Catherine's Hill and only 20 minutes walk from the centre of Winchester, lies the medieval buildings of the Hospital of St Cross & Almshouse of Noble Poverty. These medieval buildings are the setting for the Winchester Pilgrimage as we make our pilgrimage along the water meadows to Winchester Cathedral testing our knowledge of medieval saints, symbols, and other aspects of medieval Christianity before ending the day with magnificent tournaments and a pilgrim's meal. Take a step back in history as you wander around the buildings that have provided food and shelter for hundreds of years and learn about various aspects of making a medieval pilgrimage. Rest for a while in the unique and peaceful Master's Garden or visit the 12th century church (where you may find 400 year old graffiti) . During the pilgrimage you may meet one of the resident Brothers, in his black or red gown and trencher hat, on his way to Matins or a meal - traditions that go back hundreds of years.

Hospital of St Cross, St Cross Road, Winchester, SO23 9SD (directions). 

Accommodation and Meals

This is a camping only event.  Those with period pavilions are welcome to erect them on the green in the centre, and those with mundane tents camp in the adjacent gardens.  We will try to provide a pavilion for those who cannot bring tents of their own.  Please be aware that the almshouse is the home of some 24 Brothers plus staff. Please respect the privacy of the brothers and try to keep noise down after 10pm.   Winchester is a popular tourist town with many hotels and B&Bs nearby if you desire offsite accommodations. There is some limited crash space within the buildings.

A Pilgrim’s feast will be provided on Saturday evening, as will breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Due to low uptake in previous years, we will not provide traveler's fare on Friday or lunch on Saturday.  There is a pub that serves meals, and a very good chip shop (huge portions) just a couple of minutes walk from the site, and there are numerous restaurants, pubs etc in Winchester itself.

More details on food and feast here

Our hosts would also like to see merchants with wares to sell, both to our members and to the public. Please spread the word to your merchant friends.

For more information on site access, local facilities etc, see here.


Reservations can be made by sending your requirements to Lady Vasilisa Koshkina , stating your reservation type (see below), and whether you will be camping in a period tent, camping in a mundane tent, crashing in the hall or staying offsite.  Please also indicate any dietary restrictions/allergies.  Those in the UK must send payment (payable to SCA West Dragonshire) in advance unless otherwise agreed with the stewards.  Those attending from outside the Sterling zone may pay at the door, but please supply travel information to confirm your reservation.


Privacy Policy - We will need to retain certain information for the purpose of this event. See the GDPR Statement for details


To see who is already booked, check the reservations listing here...


For reservations, please use the form here.


This form may be used to reserve for a party of up to four people. For larger parties, make another reservation and use "Other info" to link.



Adults   £40
    Day trip   £35
    Day trip without feast   £25
Under 16   £20
Under 5   Free
Family cap
(max 2 adults, 2 U16)



Merchants – the site will levy an additional charge of £20 for those that wish to set up to sell their wares.


Event Staff


Event Steward:

Master Raphe Cuthbert (Ian Walden)

3 Campion Way, Lymington, SO41 9LS

07516 147457


Reservations Steward:

Vasilisa Koshkina (Carolyn Davison-Roper)


47 Highdowns, Basingstoke, RG22 4RH


Head Cook:




Lord Duncan Forbes


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Site last updated 5 March 2020 by Raphe Cuthbert