Eliza Harding's application for an out-pension

Eliza Harding's application for an out-pension

...her strength is fast failing and she is in great need of more support.

This item is an out-pensioner's application paper for St Cross Hospital in Winchester.

The Hospital of St Cross & Almshouse of Noble Poverty was founded in the 12th century to provide a 'hospice' or home for 13 poor, elderly men.

By the late fifteenth century it also helped those of 'substance' (men and women) who had fallen on hard times.

Shown here is the application form, dated 1890, for Eliza Harding (nee Kermish) of Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu, a widow who had a small village school in an outlying hamlet of the parish for 46 years. Rev Robert F Powles, vicar of Beaulieu, describes her case: “I recommend most strongly Mrs Harding of this parish for an out-pension.

She is 72 years old and has lived all her life in this parish.” He goes on to say that “She has been brought to a state of absolute need through the very sad misfortunes of her family. One son went blind and he with 3 young children who were deserted by their mother, were entirely dependant on the grandmother.

The blind boy died last year and she now has to struggle for a living for herself and the 3 children.” He notes that: “her strength is fast failing and she is in great need of more support. I cannot speak in too strong terms on her behalf, she is such an excellent old woman and thoroughly deserves to be helped.” Lord Montagu writes from Palace House, Beaulieu, adding his strong support for her application.

The bundle also includes a letter of thanks from Eliza Harding for her pension from St Cross.

Another out-pension application paper, and an accompanying testimonial, for William Deavin of Winchester, can be found in the "Gallery" section, with details in the "Facts" section.


Quick Facts

  • Catalogue record number 111m94w/k2
  • Out-pensioner's application to St Cross Hospital, Winchester
  • Pension application for Eliza Harding of Bucklers Hard
  • Date of application 1890
  • Pension amount seven shillings a week


  • Shown in the "Gallery" section is the out-pension application form from William Deavin of 29 North Walls, Winchester, a gardener, dated 1890. The bundle of papers relating to his application includes 8 testimonials, amongst them the one featured in the "Gallery" from Edwin Hillier, Nurseryman and Seedsman and Florist Winchester, who writes
    “I have much pleasure in testifying to the able and conscientious way in which W Deavin has carried out his duties for the past 11 years. He has during that time given great satisfaction to my customers for whom he has worked. He is one of those hardworking, honest, sober men who deserve attention in their declining years.”
  • Jane Nicholson, volunteer at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies suggested this item because:
    “The records of people who have applied to St Cross for an out pension or to become a brother. They are the ones I know best. The reason why I like them is because they shed such a light on the conditions that make people apply for charity - some of the info is really quite harrowing e.g little old blind/ bedbound spinsters with no-one to support them and no money at all. Also info about what trades/professions people were engaged in. Anything from labourer or needlework (ie mending) to the professions like solicitors and farmers. Much of it is about local people but applications can come from all over the country. The people named as referees can be quite interesting too - some are quite grand, I think one of the Northumberland Percys provided one for someone and there are often Mayors and JPs. The letters of reference, birth certificates and numbers and names of offspring are also often provided and the whole archive could provide valuable to anyone doing social history or family history research.”
  • Jane Nicholson has been a volunteer at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies for about 8 years, and has worked on old wills, Andover housing/property records, and WI material, as well as the St Cross pensioner archives she chose.

Did you know?

The St Cross applications and related papers held at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies cover approximately 1500 individuals, and date from 1867 to 1967, although those for 1965 and 1967 are closed as they could relate to living individuals.


Application papers for St Cross Hospital, Winchester
Application papers for St Cross Hospital, Winchester

Fact Sheets

Catalogue record for Records relating to pensioners and brothers, St Cross Hospital

Find out more about St Cross Hospital 

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