21 March 2011

Winchester Royal Hotel

The Winchester Royal Hotel in St Peter's Street was built in the reign of King Charles II and is the oldest surviving hotel in the city.

St Peter's Street has been the centre of Roman Catholic life in Winchester for many years. Lady West's House, as the Royal Hotel was known in the mid sixteenth century, was a refuge for hunted priests and Mass was said there in a secret chapel. Lady West's name appeared on a list of Recusants, these were people who refused to attend services in the established Church. They incurred huge fines or imprisonment. To be a recusant was risky enough but to provide a meeting place for Catholics and to shelter priests were very dangerous acts at the time. 5 priests who had been at Lady West’s were executed, and are known as the Winchester Martyrs, they appear in stained glass windows in St Peter's Church.

In 1794 the building was sold to the Catholic London District and became a convent for refugee English Benedictine nuns and in 1858 it was converted into a hotel.


10 comments:

  1. I love old buildings like that, Beautiful!

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  2. Did you know that there are many Royal Hotels in Australia? A fellow blogger down under has been collecting photos of them on her site.

    http://myroyalhotels.blogspot.com/

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  3. For a hotel then it really has some history.

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  4. Beautiful picture and interesting description on Winchester Royal Hotel

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  5. An interesting building.

    Re your comment on my Toronto blog: the St Lawrence market has all kinds of things. There are lots of food stalls, but also the typical trinkets and such. There's also a farmer's market across the street.

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  6. Very interesting indeed. Makes me wonder about the interior decor.

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  7. Today we take freedom of religion for granted. It is shocking to read of martyred priests and of forcing a certain religion on the people.

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  8. Yes, we do take it for granted now pretty much in the UK

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