Royal Garrison Church, Hampshire

Standing behind the ramparts protecting Old Portsmouth, this is one of the oldest buildings in Portsmouth. Originally the Domus Dei (House of God) it dates to 1212 and was created by the Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches, as a place of rest for pilgrims arriving in Portsmouth on their way to Winchester, Chichester or other pilgrimage sites.

When the Dissolution arrived the Domus Dei was decommissioned and briefly became an artillery store before being turned into the Royal Garrison Church in the 1560s. This building was extensively rebuilt in the 1860s when Portsmouth was at the heart of England's Napoleonic defense system.

On 10th January 1941 an incendiary bomb dropped on the Church and the building was gutted. The chancel survived and now houses an exhibition with some wonderful stained glass telling the history of the Church up to and including the bombing.

The Royal Garrison Church is owned by English Heritage.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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