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Picture this. Historic Winchester…

27 Nov

After Sunday’s triumphant awards ceremony I still had two days holiday to take and we weren’t in any hurry to get home, so we thought we’d stop off in Winchester for a coffee and a wander round the ancient city.

Winchester in Hampshire is one of the oldest continously inhabited areas in the country, having had settlements of one sort or another there since the iron age.
The Romans later made it one of their most important towns, extending it until it was the fifth largest town in Roman Britain.

After the fall of the empire however Winchester, like many other English towns of the day, fell into decline.

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King Alfred. Great, apparently.

The Anglo Saxons rebuilt much of the town, (Alfred the Great himself laid out the street plan) making it the capital of the Kingdom of Wessex and much of their architecture remains, including this ancient defensive feature, the Westgate. It is one of two remaining gateways, the other being Kingsgate.

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Partially rebuilt in the twelfth century, this magnificent fortified gateway (featuring the earliest examples in Britain of inverted archers’ slits, designed specially for hand-held cannon) was still in use as late as 1959, when the High Street was diverted round it.

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Next we went on to the Great Hall, which is all that remains on the site of the old castle that once stood here.

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Originally built around 1225, the imposing hall looms over the large open courtyard that leads to the main entrance, the intricate stonework forming almost geometric patterns on the walls.

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Inside, the cavernous space is surprisingly light, the weak wintery sunlight filtering in through beautifully crafted stained-glass windows.

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On one giant wall there hangs the 12th century recreation of King Arthur’s Round Table

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.. and opposite, on the far wall, HRH Prince Charles’s “Wedding Gates”, made to commemorate the 1981 royal wedding.

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Queens Victoria and Elizabeth are both immortalised in wooden sculpture, Liz getting a more restrained make-over than poor old Vicky, who looks like a teak Davros.

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Finally a stroll down to the cathedral.

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Winchester Cathedral was originally built in 1079, but was added to right up until the 16th century, giving it many differing architectural styles.

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Then it was time to meander back to the car to continue our journey homewards, via a café for a much-needed coffee, (and a slice of cake for Elaine) taking a last chance to snap a few interesting shots.

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We bid farewell to Winchester as King Alfred saluted the setting sun…

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..and what better to play us on our way than The New Vaudeville Band with “Winchester Cathedral”. (after “Peek-a-boo”)
Take it away boys…

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14 responses to “Picture this. Historic Winchester…

  1. Carl Allen Anfinse

    November 28, 2013 at 00:24

    You live near so much history! The photographs are fabulous. I’m getting hungry to travel!

     
    • dalecooper57

      November 28, 2013 at 05:34

      Thank you. We’d not been there before, but had heard there were some interesting buildings to be found. Certainly not disappointed on that score.

       
  2. Ron

    November 28, 2013 at 00:49

    Phenomenal tour of Winchester in Hampshire, Dale! And your pictures ROCK! Love that last one with the sun shining – WOW!

    I love seeing and reading about European history. The architecture there is BEYOND beautiful. It’s funny because I feel so soul-connected to Europe in many ways. Whenever I see photographs of European countries, it’s like I feel them.

    Thanks for sharing, buddy. Enjoyed!

     
    • dalecooper57

      November 28, 2013 at 05:36

      Cheers Ron. Get yourself over here and I’ll show you round.

       
  3. tonyberkman

    November 28, 2013 at 17:55

    Cool place!

     
    • dalecooper57

      November 28, 2013 at 19:21

      Thanks Tony. The cathedral is pretty cool inside, but it was way too expensive for us unfortunately, otherwise I would have got some more shots.

       
  4. jerseylil

    November 29, 2013 at 06:56

    Great photos and enjoyed the history too, Dale. Especially loved the stained glass window in the Great Hall and the recreation of King Arthur’s Round Table. A beautiful cathedral! Enjoyed the video too, what fun. I remember when the song “Winchester Cathedral” was a hit in the US.

     
  5. icelandpenny

    December 7, 2013 at 15:54

    Thanks for liking my latest post (Faces, Places etc), not least because it led me to your blog. I really enjoyed spending this day in Winchester with you, and cld you please tell us/me more about the wondrous object in the 2nd image from the bottom, King Alfred saluting the setting sun? Is it a form of sundialÉ

     

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