31 January 2011

Oldest house in Winchester

Here on the corner of Blue Ball Hill and St John's Street is what is supposed to be the oldest house in Winchester. It's the Old Blue Boar and was built around 1340. The property which is now a private house was originally an inn known as The White Boar which was the emblem associated with King Richard III. King Richard was killed in a battle at Bosworth Field in 1485 by Henry VII who had been helped by the Earl of Oxford. The Earl's badge was a Blue Boar and in order not to upset the new King many owners of White Boar Inns were reported to have quickly painted their white boars blue!

The pub is also renowned for being the place in 1764 where a volunteer solider called Thomas Thetcher "died of a violent fever contracted by drinking small beer when hot". He is buried in Winchester cathedral as my post yesterday showed.

30 January 2011

A small beer..

In the grounds of Winchester Cathedral is this gravestone of Thomas Thetcher a grenadier in the North Hants Militia who died of a violent fever due to drinking a small beer when hot.

The gravestone gives advice to the drinkers among us "Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier, Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer, Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all."
Not so easy to see on the gravestone, but the memorial was restored in 1781, replaced in 1802 by the North Hants Militia and again replaced by The Royal Hampshire Regiment in 1966. Tomorrow I have a photo of the fateful pub where Thomas had his small beer!

29 January 2011


They say church attendance is on the decline in the UK, but there are so many places of worship in Winchester that I can't believe it applies here, or maybe having a cathedral in your midst just encourages more church going? Who knows! Anyway, this is the Winchester Family Church which took over and refurbished the Middle Brook Centre. The building is a former Art Deco cinema and bingo hall. Meanwhile the cinema has taken over an old church!

28 January 2011

City Mill

Winchester City Mill is located on a site that has been used for milling flour since Saxon times. It spans the River Itchen in the heart of Winchester. The current building dates from 1743 and remained in use as a mill until the early 20th century. For a while the building was a Youth Hostel, but in 2004 the National Trust took over the building and it resumed grinding flour again after a gap of at least 90 years. The Mill is open to visitors and regular flour milling demonstrations are given at weekends. The product, stoneground wholemeal flour, is sold in the mill shop.

27 January 2011

Youth of today

Kids of today, what do they do? Play loud music, hang around streets, drink alcohol - so why not turn it into a business? I have the greatest respect for the 2 owners of this cocktail bar in Jewry Street called Plain and Fancy, they are only 19 and 22 years old and opened the bar at the end of 2009. Well done them!

26 January 2011

Bishop On The Bridge

B is for Bishop On The Bridge which is a pleasant pub in Winchester. It has a nice atmosphere, live bands occasionally and a great beer garden next to the river (the river is to the left of the pub)

The old East Gate of the city stood approximately where the pub is today, however this was demolished in 1768. The current building dates from 1891 and has been known by various names, The Great Western Hotel, The Riverside Inn, The Louisiana, The Old Monk and more recently The Bishop On The Bridge. The Bishop in question is St Swithun the Saxon Bishop of Winchester from 852-862 who built the 1st bridge over the River Itchen.

Celebrity claim to fame for this pub - James Cagney stayed at this pub in 1942 when he came to Winchester to visit American servicemen at a Red Cross Hospital located in Winchester.

For more photos beginning with 'B' see ABC Wednesday

25 January 2011

The Railway

The Railway pub is one of the top live music venues in Winchester. Many famous acts have played here in the past, including Razorlight, Gary Numan and PJ Harvey.

The pub was built in 1883 and it's thought that the music room was originally built as a stable for livestock being transported to the nearby railway station. One of the upstairs rooms is believed to be haunted by a lady dressed in Victorian costume.

24 January 2011

City view

This is the view of the High Street and Broadway from St Giles Hill. You can see the statue of King Alfred, and the Guildhall on the left with the green colour roof, also in the distance the Westgate and the Great Hall (where the orange lights seem to be shining)

23 January 2011

Bishop Fox

This is Bishop Fox's chantry within Winchester Cathedral. A chantry is a place within a church specially built for honouring and remembering important people buried there. Chantries were abolished in 1547 by Henry VIII however Winchester Cathedral is lucky enough to possess 6 of the most beautiful remaining chantries in the country which contain the bodies of 6 of Winchester's most important Bishops.

This is the tomb of Richard Fox who was Bishop of Winchester from 1501 to 1528 during the reign of Henry VII and VIII.  Through the bars you can see the stone skeleton carving, it is meant to symbolise the fact that death does not respect rank, that is, we all die no matter how important we have been during life! Of his notable acts Richard Fox baptised Henry VIII and founded Corpus Christi College in Oxford.

22 January 2011

St Peter's Catholic Church

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There are so many churches and places of worship in Winchester. Here is St Peter's Catholic Church in Jewry Street (taken back in December during the snow)

21 January 2011

St Cross Hospital

This is the chapel of St Cross. St Cross is not just a church, it is an almshouse (England's oldest) and houses 25 'brothers'. You can apply to become one and come to live here if you like. Criteria = male, over 60, single, no longer employed, low income. Interested? Click here

20 January 2011

Stained Glass Window

A stained glass window in the Great Hall. For more Window themed photos see Thursday Challenge

19 January 2011

A is for Almshouses

In Winchester I was surprised to find that a number of beautiful buildings I'd seen are infact Almshouses, that is houses for the 'poor or needy'. These buildings here in the photo were built in 1856 and contain 24 apartments which are available to needy, local persons of 'good character' over retirement age at a nominal rent. They are owned and run by St John's Winchester Charity which was founded as long ago as 931 by St Brinstan, Bishop of Winchester, which makes it one of the oldest charitable foundations in the country. Quite a pretty place to spend your last years.

For more 'A' photos see ABC Wednesday

18 January 2011

The Masons

Here we can see the Old Masonic Lodge of Winchester which was part demolished in 1990 to make way for the newsagents WH Smiths, but we still see today the masonic symbols on the outside.

Inside there the shop there are some interesting wall paintings depicting scenes from Winchester's history, for example the one below is the story of King Alfred and the burnt cakes. Not doing too well in his fight with the Danes, King Alfred was forced to travel anonymously and seek lodging in a peasant woman's hut. Not knowing he was the King she asked him to mind her cakes cooking on the fire, unfortunately King Alfred let his thoughts wander and the cakes burned, and the peasant woman gave her king a good telling off..not quite sure of the moral of the story ... don't let a King look after your cakes maybe?!

The second painting is of Bishop William of Wykeham building Winchester College

17 January 2011

St Catherine's Hill

This photo was actually taken last summer. St Catherine's Hill sits to the South East of Winchester, the summit it is 97 metres (318 ft). In 150 BC an Iron Age Hill fort was built here. There are also buried ruins of the Norman chapel that gives the site its name.

16 January 2011

The Guildhall by night

Winchester Guildhall is built on the site of a nunnery founded by Ealswith, the wife of King Alfred the Great. The nunnery was eventually dissolved by Henry VIII and the land came into the city's hands to help pay for hosting the wedding of Mary Tudor and Philip of Spain in Winchester Cathedral in 1554.

The Victorian Gothic Guildhall as it is today was built in 1871 and opened in 1873. It houses Winchester's Tourist Information Centre is also used as a wedding and conference venue.

15 January 2011

Military Museums

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The military museums of the Gurkas and the King's Royal Hussars at Peninsula Square. The Hussars are a cavalry regiment and played a prominent part in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. The Gurkas of Nepal have been fighting with the British Army for 200 years. 

14 January 2011

Peninsula Square

Many organisations eventually move out of the centre of Winchester to make way for the all important luxury apartment (the Fire Brigade are next..). Peninsula Barracks was a military barracks from 1796-1986. When the military left it was renamed Peninsula Square. Today the site continues to accommodate some Ministry Of Defence offices, including the Regimental Headquarters of The Rifles, and Winchester’s Military Museums. Peninsula Square with its smart houses and landscaped gardens is also one of the most desirable places to live in Winchester.

13 January 2011

Post Box

Near to Winchester College is this Victorian post box is set into a shop window

12 January 2011

Hyde Abbey House

Hyde Abbey House was built was built in the 17th Century. In around 1760 it became a prep school for boys known as Hyde Abbey School and was recognised as one of the finest classical schools of its time. George Canning who was briefly the British Prime Minister in 1827, Lord Lyons a British Naval Commander during the Crimean War and Henry Sewell 1st Premier of New Zealand were all educated here. The school closed in 1833 and from 1950 to 1975 was a hotel The Hyde Abbey House Hotel. The building is now used as offices for a French pharmaceutical company.

On a personal note an unusual covenant in the deeds of my house mean I am responsible for maintaining part of the old garden wall of this building! My current maintenance programme involves looking at the wall and saying "please don't fall down!" - it's worked so far!

11 January 2011

Roads of Hyde

Here in Hyde many of the street names reflect the history of the area. Some of the prices of these unassuming Victorian terraces are eyewatering, around the half a million mark!

10 January 2011

Hyde Street at night

Hyde is an area of Winchester to the north of the city. It's my favourite part, but I'm biased because it's where I live!

09 January 2011

Rising Sun

The Rising Sun pub is now closed. The name of the pub comes from its location as it was the most easterly of the city. The good news is that the pub may be on the way back ... it is currently "Under Offer" at the Estate Agents, so watch this space!

08 January 2011

Was Winchester Camelot?

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As mentioned yesterday here we have the legendary King Arthur's Round Table and it is thought that Winchester may infact have been the fabled Camelot, see here for more info. 

A great pull for the tourists, but unfortunately through testing of the wood it was discovered that the table was probably only created around 1270 (so modern!) and therefore is not old enough for King Arthur (if there ever was such a person).

It's believed that the table was repainted by Henry VIII, hence the Tudor rose in the centre and possible likeness of Henry as King Arthur.

07 January 2011

Kings & The Great Hall

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The Great Hall is steeped in history, many Kings stayed, lived and were born here. Another King is also linked with the Great Hall and that is the legendary King Arthur. Behind these doors sits the fabled Round Table with the names of the twenty four knights including the most famous Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot.

06 January 2011

Winchester Train Station

"The train now arriving at platform 1 is the 0718 to London Waterloo". Winchester with its fast train links to London is a home for many commuters who work in the capital. The fast train service only takes 58 minutes, however an annual season ticket costs £4120 or £4816 if you want to include the London Underground too, and first class - over £8000!

The problem is getting yourself to Winchester itself if you don't live in the city. We have 3 park and rides and  a number of expensive car parks. However some residents of Winchester have been known to sell their parking permits or rent out their drive ways to commuters. My next door neighbour is one of these 'offenders' and much to my annoyance rents out his 'space' in our road to a most irritating chap who regularly overhangs his huge car onto my driveway, so I cannot park myself! What an issue parking is in towns that were created before cars were invented!

05 January 2011

Ex Pubs

A comment from Paul at Leeds Daily Photo made me think about the pubs that have now disappeared in Winchester. Here on the corner of Hyde Close and Hyde Street is the old Prince of Wales pub. It had been a pub since before 1880 but closed in 2003. Here's a photo of the pub when it was open. In 1902 there were 132 pubs in Winchester, today there are 45, still quite a few, so hopefully visitors to Winchester will find one they like!

04 January 2011

God Begot House - the front

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Following on from yesterday's post, here is God Begot House from the front, it's one of the most well known landmarks in Winchester. The building was a hotel in 1866 until 1970. The front has been restored and is not as old as the rear.

03 January 2011

God Begot House

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This is the rear of God Begot House. In 1012 the wife of Ethelred the Unready was given the Manor of Goudbeyete or as it is now known, God Begot. When she died, she willed it to the Prior and monks of St Swithun, with a very unusual clause, that it be toll  and tax free forever and that no minister of the King could enter the house. Thus it became a safe refuge for any criminal and the city authorities had no power to enter, much to their annoyance! This lasted until Henry VIII abolished the monasteries. The present building dates from the 1462. The name God Begot is thought to mean Good Bargain rather than any religious meaning. The building is now Ask Pizza Restaurant.

02 January 2011

Royal Oak Passage

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On the right is The Royal Oak pub, the oldest pub in Winchester and supposedly the oldest licensed bar in England. First used to brew beer over 1000 years ago, a pub has stood on this site since 1390. The present day pub was built in 1630 and it became known as the Royal Oak during the English Civil War. On the left is God Begot House.

01 January 2011

Serle's House

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Serle's House in Southgate Street was built around 1730 as a private residence. The building has been in military use since 1781 when it was bought by James Serle who's son was a captain in the South Hants Militia who turned the family home into a command centre for the regiment. The house was later sold to the government in 1796. The building now houses the Museum of The Hampshire Regiment and the Offices of the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire.

The large garden to the front of the house is dedicated and maintained as a Garden of Remembrance to all Members of the Regiment who have died in action or whilst in Service with the Regiment.