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Photographer's Note

The Domus Dei (God's House) was founded in Old Portsmouth by Peter de Rupibus, the Crusader Bishop of Winchester, in the year 1212, as a Hospice, to shelter and help Pilgrims from overseas bound for the Holy Shrines 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 by six Brethren and six Sisters. There was a Master or Warden in charge. As the importance of Portsmouth grew as a Garrison Town, so the importance of the Domus Dei grew.

In 1449 Henry VI sent the Bishop of Chichester, Adam Moleyns, to the Church in order to pay the soldiers and sailors of the Garrison. Because of a disagreement in the amount of pay, the Bishop was murdered. For this crime the town was excommunicated and remained under interdict for fifty years.

The Church was closed when the religious houses were dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. The Master, John Incent, was rewarded for surrendering the church by being made Dean of St Pauls, in London. The buildings then served a brief life as an Armoury. Later the secular buildings on the south side of Domus Dei were coverted into a Residence for the Governor of Portsmouth and was called Government House (demolished 1826)

One of the many very interesting memorial plaques in the church is to John Mason, the founder of New Hampshire. The wording reads:
To the glory of God and in memory of Captain John Mason, Captain in the Royal Navy, Treasurer of the Army, Captain of Southsea Castle, Governor of the Colony of New Found land, Patentee and Founder of New Hampshire in America, Vice Admiral of New England. Born in 1586 Died 1635.
This faithful Churchman devoted patriot and gallant officer of whom England and America will ever be proud was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Charles II married Catherine of Braganza here on 22 May 1662.

Parade services for the garrison troops continued to be held in the church but its fabric was deteriorating. Some work was carried out in 1846, but not until G.E. Street, the noted Victorian Architect, gave a detailed report on the building in 1861 was anything effective considered. The money for the major rest oration came from the Navy, Army and the Public. The work started in 1866 and was completed on the 30 October 1868.

On the night of 10 January 1941 a fire bomb raid on Portsmouth gutted the Nave of the church, However, the Chancel was saved by the Verger, Mr J. Heaton, who was assisted by sailors and airmen stationed nearby.

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Viewed: 2002
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Additional Photos by Michael Halliday (Pompey) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 116 W: 70 N: 147] (1117)
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