Despite the rather unseasonable threat of sleet and snow, an intrepid band of walkers joined Liveryman Helen Short and Freeman Martin Keys at the end of April for a jaunt around the Itchen Valley.
Starting and ending in historic Winchester, the adventurers were able to claim their Wayfarers’ Dole of bread and ale at the Hospital of St Cross. Set in open meadow land to the south of Winchester, the Hospital of St Cross was founded in the 1130´s by Bishop Henry of Blois for `thirteen poor men, feeble and so reduced in strength that they can scarcely or not at all support themselves without other aid´.
The hospital was later placed under the care of the Knights of St John, and the thirteen Brothers of the foundation still wear black gowns and a badge depicting the Jerusalem Cross.
The members of the Society enjoyed their day, were not feeble or reduced in strength and managed to support themselves perfectly capably over a very pleasant 6 mile walk along the banks of the river towards light refreshment in The Bridge Inn in the village of Shawford, before wending their way home again.