This evening, I am focusing on historic, Winchester Cathedral in England.
Winchester is located about seventy miles SW of London.
The actual site as a place of Christian worship dates back to the 7th century with the current building dating from the 11th century supplemented by changes and embellishments to the structure in succeeding centuries through to the 16th.
Key features of the history and building:
- The original Anglo-Saxon church was on the same site. It was built on orders of King Cenwalh around AD 645.
- The current building dates from Norman times and was opened in 1093. The bones of patron saint, St. Swithun, were transferred from the old cathedral to the new as a symbol of continuity.
- The nave was radically remodelled in Perpendicular Gothic style during the 14th century under bishops Edington and Wykeham.
- The Holy Sepulchre Chapel dates from around 1107 AD. Here can be found fine wall paintings from the 1170s.
- The crypt dates from 1079 and is the oldest part of the cathedral.It was built o raise the east end of the cathedral.
- Due to the high water table the crypt floods regularly. Here can be found the sculpture, Sound II by Antony Gormley.
- Close to the shrine of St. Swithun in the East End can be found a ‘carpet’ of medieval ( 1200s) ceramic tiles, some of which are original whilst others are reproductions.
- The Presbytery and Quire form two parts of the enclosed part of the cathedral. In pre-Reformation times the monks would withdraw to this area for private prayer.
- The Great Screen dates from 1475 and was the gift of Cardinal Beaufort.
- The Venerable Chapel in the South Transept contains fine, classical memorials dating from the 18th century.
- An unusual feature of this cathedral is the building rescue work undertaken by just one man, William Baker in the early 1900s. To prevent the cathedral sinking into its soft peat foundations, Baker spent 6 hours per day for 6 years working in darkness and underwater in heavy diving equipment to create a new, solid concrete base.