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.
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.
For those who feel less confident in their knowledge of saints and sinners, virtues and sins and such-like, a study guide is available here.
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.
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.
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.
Crash space is available in the Tudor halls. 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. 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.
Note that some of the crash space is in areas that will be open to the public during Saturday, so you will need to move your sleeping bags to non-public areas by 10am
Food will be simple travelers’ fare on Friday evening, both breakfasts and Saturday lunch, with a Pilgrim’s feast on Saturday evening. It is rumoured that the feast dishes will be based on ones mentioned in the Canterbury Tales.
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.
Reservations can be made by sending your requirements to Mistress Ariel, 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.
An online reservation form should be available shortly. In the meanwhile, send reservations to Mistress Ariel.
Day trip £15
Day trip without feast £10
Under 16 £10
Under 5 Free
Family cap £60
Merchants – the site will levy an additional charge of £20 for those that wish to set up to sell their wares.
Cheques payable to SCA West Dragonshire at the address below.
Mistress Ariel of Lindisfarne
Lady Catelin Munro of Ailsa