Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral can be found in the Square. From the Butter Cross in the High Street go through the passage into the Square, have a cup of coffee in one of the alfresco cafe's, then walk on to the Cathedral Green.

History of Winchester Cathedral Winchester Cathedral3

Winchester Cathedral
Photograph © Copyright M Temple

Probably the best known image of the city. Beautiful and iconic. A melody of architecture, yet foursquare and significant.

Dedicated to The Holy Trinity, St Peter, St Paul and St Swithun, quite a combination.

The cathedral is the longest medieval one in Europe. Admire the magnificent soaring great screen behind the main altar, it is truly beautiful. The mighty organ sings out for services and has done for 150 years. Those choir stalls have been there since the 1300's and those lovely medieval tiles at the far end of the cathedral you are walking on have been walked on since the 1200's!

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Inside the beautiful and ancient Winchester Cathedral

Inside the beautiful and ancient Winchester Cathedral
Photograph © Pam Brophy

Several tours are available and the first two listed here are part of the admission price. You will be taken around by a knowledgeable guide and you can ask questions if you wish. Makes it more enjoyable when people do so and most of the guides like it. Of course people who deliberately ask questions designed to annoy the guides are not liked by the crowd either! If you have done the tour before it is not a bad idea to do it again with a different guide, they all have their special knowlede of this magnificent edifice.

There is the main Cathedral Tour. Runs Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00am – 3.00pm. There are many characters in the history of the cathedral, some good, some not so!! Human nature does not change! This wonderful place has been part of the history of England from Saxon times, feel it in the stones! Being so old there are many treasures from over the years in this intriguing place.

So much to see. That magnificent soaring screen with all its detailed carvings that has fascinated me from a young child, the many other carvings, statues, the chapels, tombs of famous people, memorials, military banners and above all the fine construction wrought by those ancient builders.

The Crypt Tour runs on Mondays to Saturdays subject to availability. It is quite fascinating and quite stunning, but the crypt can still flood. If they do, the tours cannot take place, but you do not miss out entirely, there is a viewing platform.

There is apparently a Holy well down there. Holy Wells are sacred springs and it is not suprising that one is here, given that the site of the cathedral goes back a long way and the crypt is its oldest part. This well probably pre dates the cathedral by some time. Such wells can be found all over Wessex.

Ask about the famous diver, William Walker! He saved the cathedral from destruction. Quite a feat!

The crypt of Winchester Cathedral showing Gormley's statue Sound II

The crypt of Winchester Cathedral showing Gormley's statue Sound II
Photograph © Graham Horn

Antony Gormley who is responsible for the “Angel of the North” sculpture, also created the “Sound II” sculpture in 1986 which can be seen in the crypt.

A crypt is basically a cellar, although a special type! These underground chambers are found under churches and burial grounds often to inter the dead. Some large houses in England have their own crypt or family vault for the burial of family members.

The Tour of the Tower is not included in the admission price and the ticket is available from the entrance desk or online. Not for the under 12's though, or the claustrophobic and those with vertigo problems!

Remember - it is 213 steps to the top!!! When you get there the view is magnificent. The ascent is up a very narrow spiral staircase! If you are claustrophobic – don't try!

Wonder at those big beams felled many centuries ago. It is also an opportunity to see the big old cathedral bells and the ringing chamber.

There is a Children's Trail Pick a leaflet up at the Cathedral. Interesting for adults too!!! Let the children lead, they will love it.

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Jane Austen

The famous author, Jane Austen is buried in the cathedral. She died in a house near Winchester College in 1817, she was only 41. You will find her gravestone in the floor of the north aisle of the nave. There are also two more memorials to her, a brass plaque put up by her nephew, Edward, and a memorial window. Both close by.

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Have you heard the bells of Winchester Cathedral? A magnificent sound ringing out all over the city. There have been bells in the Cathedral since the days of the Old Minster. Nowadays there is a peal of 16 bells, the oldest of which was cast in 1621, rung by a band of around 25 keen ringers. You can see the bells on the Tower Tour.

Quite a hobby! Even personally recommended!! However they were not the Cathedral bells, but a church tower in a village a few miles away!!!

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Cathedral Shop

If your feet are aching, and they probably are, there is always the Cathedral shop for a welcome cuppa and a scone – jam and cream of course!

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History of Winchester Cathedral

The history of Winchester Cathedral deserves its own page for this very special site goes back around 2000 years. It started with a Holy Well or Sacred Spring that still exists in the Crypt. The Saxons built their Minster and the Normans built the Cathedral you see today over this well.

The Cathedral is very much part of the history of England. Those ancient stone walls and the walls of the Minster before it saw great folk walk down its length. If only walls had ears!!!!

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Other pages that may be of interest



The Square

Winchester Castle


St Mary's Abbey

Beyond Eastgate

Winchester Mint


Hyde Abbey

Wolvesley Castle

City Mill

St Cross

Winnall Moors Nature Reserve

Domesday Book

Exploring Winchester High Street

History of Winchester Cathedral

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Another view of Winchester Cathedral

Another view of Winchester Cathedral
Photograph © Copyright M Temple

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Useful Information

Open 365 days of the year.

There is an admission price for the Cathedral, except for services, instead of the old donation system.

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You could become a Volunteer Lots of ideas from bell ringers (incredible!) to being a guide, or in the shop, even help at services. Just think - lending a hand in this lovely place.

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