Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in England with the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.  There’s been a church on this site since 642.  The first building there was called the Old Minster and it was just north of the present site.  The Old Minster was torn down when the new building was finished.

In 1079, Walkelin, the Bishop of Winchester began construction of the New Minster and it was consecrated in 1093.  Most of the fabric of the original building still exists today in the crypt, transepts and basic structure of the nave.  There have been many restorations and reconstructions of the building  but the most important occurred from 1905 to 1912.  The south and east walls were waterlogged, having been built on unstable land.  A diver, William Walker, was hired to pack the foundations with 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks.  Walker worked 6 hours a day from 1906-1912 diving down up to 20 feet in total darkness.  He is credited with saving the cathedral.

There were some famous people buried here.  Most of the bones are in mortuary chests and have been jumbled together and are unidentifiable.  They include Walkelin, Bishop of Winchester, and builder of the New Minster, many Kings of Wessex including Cynegils, Egbert, Ethelwulf, Eadred and Eadwig, the Danish King Cnut and his wife Emma of Normandy and William Rufus, King of England and son of William the Conqueror.  Originally, King Alfred the Great and his son King Edward the Elder were buried but their remains were later removed to Hyde Abbey just outside the walls of the city of Winchester.

7 responses

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  4. An amazing place! I used to work in Winchester and visited both the Cathedral and the Castle with its huge round table, supposed to be that of King Arthur. The inside of the Cathedral is awe-inspiring. I would love to go back!

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    • The next time I visit England, I will definitely visit Winchester Cathedral Jo. They have the bones of all those early kings there.

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  5. I don’t know what’s wrong with WordPress. I’m not getting half the emails notifying me of new posts here and the posts aren’t appearing in my reader either. I’ll have to catch up on my reading, enjoying all the history!

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