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Royal Garrison Church Video

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Associated Web Link: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/royal-garrison-church-portsmouth

Transcript Of Narration
Moving just a short distance brings us to the Royal Garrison Church or Domus Dei. The Domus Dei, Gods House, was founded in Old Portsmouth by Bishop de Rupibus in 1212 as a Hospice, to shelter and help pilgrims from overseas bound for the Shrine at Canterbury, Chichester and Winchester. Originally it was a long, vaulted hall, divided on either side into bays to house patients, with the Chapel at one end. In the hall the aged, sick and homeless were tended. As the importance of Portsmouth grew as a Garrison Town, so did the importance of the Domus Dei.

In 1449 Henry VI sent the Bishop of Chichester to the Church in order to pay the sailors and soldiers of the Garrison. Due to the disagreement in the amount of pay, the Bishop was murdered. For this the town was excommunicated and remained so for fifty years.

The Church was closed in 1540 when the religious houses were dissolved by Henry VIII, the buildings were then used for a brief time as an Armoury. Later the south side of Domus Dei was converted into residence for the Governor of Portsmouth and was called Government House.

In 1826 Government House was demolished and the Church restoration was completed in 1868. On the night of 10th January 1941 a fire bomb raid on Portsmouth gutted the Nave of the church but the Chancel was saved by the Verger who was assisted by soldiers and airman. For more information about the Royal Garrison Church have a look at www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/conProperty.213.