Yes Winchester is historic and pretty, but the real world is here too - next door to the Great Hall are the Winchester Law Courts, containing both the Crown and County Courts. The Crown Court deals with more serious criminal cases. Here are some of the latest sentencing from Winchester Crown Court:
The Great Hall is the only remaining part above ground of Winchester Castle. The original Winchester Caste was built by William the Conqueror (1066). In 1222 the original buildings were replaced by the buildings that stand today. During the English Civil War the castle was held by the Royalists until its capture in 1646. Oliver Cromwell then ordered the Castle to be demolished but the Great Hall was kept.
The beautiful nave of Winchester Cathedral with its intricate vaulted ceiling. Iron hooks are set into the pillars which now hold modern batik banners by Thetis Blacker. The hooks were originally for a series of tapestries for the wedding of Queen Mary Tudor to Phillip of Spain in 1554.
I spotted this pretty 18th century house in St Thomas Street, apparently it is named after a mulberry tree in its garden which was supposedly planted by Charles II. From the late 19th century the house was owned by a banker, doctor, college don and admiral. In the 50s and 60s it was used as a Ladies' County Club. In the 1950s the upper floor of the house was converted into flats, but I understand from a comment on the post that it has now been converted back into one big house - it must be lovely!
Winchester College Chapel. Part of the famous Winchester College. The college do have tours and I plan to do one soon and get some more photos from this historic school. Unlike some public schools* I don't seem to notice many of the boys out and about in town, perhaps they just blend in too well!
The Westgate is one of only two fortified medieval gateways in the city to survive (the other being Kingsgate). It was built as early as the 12th century, and has been used as a guardhouse, jail and debtors prison. Since the late 19th century Westgate has been used as a museum. Up until 1959 traffic passed through the archway of the Westgate. The road is now diverted to the side. Up until the 1938 a pub (The Plume of Feathers) adjoined Westgate, there's an old photo of it from around 1900 here. The pub was demolished to make way for the road and Council offices.
This is Minster House in Great Minster Street which faces the Cathedral. Built in the early 18th century, it's believed that this is the house where John Keats the poet lived when he wrote 'Ode To Autumn' (Season's of mists and mellow fruitfulness...) The house last sold in 2003 for over 2 million pounds, it's probably worth at least 2.5 million today.
The streetlamp to the left is probably the last in Winchester to be gas fired. Some modernization has taken place as it was originally not only for illumination but also ran off any gases rising from the sewer to which the lamp was connected.
Only a few days of Christmas shopping left now. Here are the Christmas decorations from the Brooks shopping centre. A little while ago the centre had to put a sign up saying "We are still open" as a couple of shops had closed, but since Primark has arrived it seems to have more custom.
Here is Kingsgate, one of the remaining City Gates of Winchester. Over this gate is the church of St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate. To the right you can see a lovely print shop which is built into the city walls. And yes, it's snowing again here! We may even have a White Christmas!
Further up the High Street was another group. This time the brass band of the Salvation Army, playing by the Christmas Tree and Buttercross. There was actually a queue of other performers waiting to take their place next!
On a Saturday (in particular one just before Christmas) the High Street is full of street entertainers of one sort or another. Here were a group of festively dressed Morris dancers collecting for the Naomi House Hospice. Morris Dancing is a traditional English dance, usually involving choreographed dancing in a group, sometimes with sticks, bells and handkerchiefs.
Sitting just in the entrance to the grounds of Winchester Cathedral is Luminous Motion. This six metre column of mirror stainless steel, with 500 fibre-optic lights was created for the Winchester Light Art Project and installed in of November 2002.
Supposedly if you send a text message to a certain number using various words the column will flash out a different display of lights - I did try doing it the other day but it wouldn't work! Maybe they've changed their number?
** Update! Tried to go unlisted did you Luminous Motion!? Well I found your phone number, it's + 44 7980 732147 - by texting White, Blue, Indigo, Magenta, Breathe, Eyepop, Lightdancer or Radiance to the number the column will text you back and put on a light show for you!
Winchester College is a public boarding school for boys aged 13-18 (in England a public school is a private school!). It was founded in 1382 by Bishop William of Wykeham and is thought to be the oldest continuously running school in England. Here is the Headmaster's House in College Street. Supposedly the most expensive private school in England, the last time I heard. I do love the idea of these very traditional schools though. Elitist? Of course. However Winchester is renowned for it's excellent schools, both public and state, so if you are poor you can still get a good education in Winchester (just so long as you are rich enough to afford the house prices here!)
The Slype is a passage which was cut through the southern buttress of the cathedral by Bishop Curle (1632-1650) to put a stop to the constant use of the south aisle and nave of the Cathedral as a thoroughfare by the townspeople.
This is actually Edwardian 'Mock Tudor' architecture which sits above Boots the Chemist. The 4 carved figures represent some of the Bishops of Winchester - St Athelwold, Henry Fox, Wakelin and William of Wykeham.
Here we see St Swithuns Gate from outside of the Cathedral Close. But who was St Swithun?
He was born in Winchester, in about AD 800. In 852 he became Bishop of Winchester. Swithun was famous for his charitable gifts and for his activity in building churches. He was one of the most learned men of his time and the tutored King Aethelwulf and his son Alfred (the Great).
Swithun died 862 and was buried outside the Old Minster. Not long after his death there were talks of miracles he performed, his best known miracle was his restoration on a bridge of a basket of eggs that workmen had maliciously broken. He then became Saint Swithun.
The Old Minster was expanded in the tenth century to become Winchester Cathedral, and St Swithun’s relics were moved into it on 15 July 971. This occasion was marked by very heavy rainfall, and the tradition became that if it rains on St Swithun’s Day, it will rain also for the next forty days:
St Swithun’s Day, if it does rain Full forty days, it will remain St Swithun’s Day, if it be fair For forty days, t’will rain no more
Just through St Swithun's Gate we find a tiny church St Swithuns upon Kingsgate. Kingsgate is one of the ancient gates in the walls of the city of Winchester and this church is built upon it. Churches built over city gates were common in medieval times, but only a few survive today. The first mention of this church is in 1264 when citizens burned it down in a dispute with the Prior of the Abbey. It has been rebuilt and restored over the centuries. There is a staircase which takes one from street level to the Church itself.
Next to Cheyney Court is St Swithun's Gate, sometimes called Prior's Gate or Close Gate. This gate is the entry/exit to the Cathedral Close. They still close these gates at 10pm each night and a couple of times when coming out of the Wickham Arms Pub, I've found I am locked out of the city!