Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Winchester :: Shared Description

There has been a church on the site of the present cathedral in Winchester since at least 648AD when a stone minster was built for King Cenwalh of Wessex (d.672) and Saint Birinus (Bishop of Dorchester, d.649)
This originally modest church was extended over the next few centuries, and in 862 St Swithun (of rain fame) was buried outside its walls.
In 901 construction of a New Minster was begun immediately adjacent to the pre-existing building. This again was enlarged particularly in the 970s by Saints Æthelwold and Alphege, becoming, so it is said, the largest church in Europe. About this time, St Swithun's relics were moved within this new minster into a new shrine. Many of England's early monarchs - and their predecessors the Kings of Wessex - were buried in these two early minsters, along with the bishops that served them.
Despite the size and magnificence of the Minster Church that now stood here, after the Norman conquest of 1066, it was decided to create a yet grander cathedral in the Romanesque style, and the building we see today was begun, with the Saxon minster being demolished in 1093.
The oldest parts of Winchester Cathedral as seen today date from 1079-1095 and were built for Bishop Walkelyn (or Walkelin) royal chaplain to William the Conqueror, to whom he was related. The bones of the kings and bishops were removed from the Saxon minster and placed in mortuary chests; these old bones are currently [2015] being closely examined by scientists of various disciplines to see what information they hold of these ancient royals and clergymen.
The mortuary chests are now housed in the Lady Chapel at the eastern end of the cathedral, though at present [2015] restoration work means that the Lady Chapel is mostly inaccessible.
The transepts and crypts are the main remaining structures from the original Norman construction along with a small part of the nave. The tower that dated from this time collapsed in 1107 causing great damage. It was later rebuilt and the cathedral was extended with a Retrochoir and Lady Chapel in the C13th.
In the C14th two consecutive bishops, William Edington (bishop from 1345 until his death in 1366) and William of Wykeham (bishop from 1366 until his death in 1404) completely remodelled the Norman nave with it receiving a Perpendicular recasing, and the interior gothic arches that we see today. William of Wynforde one the great master masons of the Perpendicular style was involved in this remodelling around 1389/90.
There are many important features within the cathedral, in particular a number of Chantry Chapels for some of the former bishops.
Arguably, however, the most famous "permanent resident" of this church is neither royal nor ecclesiastical - but the famous authoress, Jane Austen. There is no great monument to her, just a simple inscribed stone slab in the north aisle of the nave, and a brass plaque on an adjacent wall.

There is a charge to view the interior of the cathedral, but payment allows you access for a year - provided you keep hold of your ticket.
by Rob Farrow
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5 images use this description:

SU4829 : Winchester Cathedral - South Aisle by Rob Farrow
SU4829 : Winchester Cathedral - William of Wykeham by Rob Farrow
SU4829 : Winchester Cathedral - Northern façade by Rob Farrow
SU4829 : Winchester Cathedral - Quire leading to nave by Rob Farrow
SU4829 : Winchester Cathedral - Wall paintings by Rob Farrow


These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Fri, 11 Dec 2015, Updated: Mon, 14 Dec 2015

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2015 Rob Farrow, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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