Local Area - Winchester

By SPP Reporter


is the administrative centre of the large county of Hampshire. It has within the city boundaries the Council Offices, Law Courts and, appropriately, a prison. It is a busy active city that has to absorb thousands of visitors each year. They come to view the Cathedral and the many other ancient buildings that lie within the boundaries. Winchester is also a most convenient point from which to visit such places as Portsmouth, Chichester, the New Forest and Salisbury, to name but a few of the interesting localities that are within daily reach of the city.Winchester

Historically, Winchester is a fascinating place. It was occupied before the Romans came to Britain; they in turn built a town with stone walls, the remains of which can still be seen. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Winchester, like everywhere else in Europe, went through several hundred years of decay. Alfred the Great was the man who rebuilt the city walls, erected new gates and laid out a new street plan; it’s a plan that is largely followed today. Alfred’s famous sons continued to rebuild Winchester, turning it into the capital city of England which it still was when William the Conqueror arrived in England. William I continued to use Winchester which was the repository of the kings treasure. He built a castle and had the old Anglo Saxon palace extended. Then, in 1079, 13 years after the Battle of Hastings, work began on the current Cathedral. It took 40 years to build but has stood for nearly 1,000 years which is proof of the original brilliance of the designer and skill of the workmen. From then on the city’s importance declined.

The war between Stephen and Matilda in 1141 damaged the city severely but it was rebuilt and Henry III was born in the castle in 1216. In the 14th century England was devastated by the Black Death (Plague) which killed two thirds of the population of Winchester. The bodies were put in plague pits just south of St Catherine’s Hill close to the infamous By-Pass. Once more the city recovered under the leadership of the Bishops. They had previously founded Winchester College, built hospitals and remodelled the Cathedral. However, the city was again dealt two shattering blows, the first by Henry VIII who dissolved the monasteries and the second by the Civil War. Eventually Cromwell invested the city and bombarded it for six days.

The city was once more rebuilt but, as it never attracted heavy industry, it has remained relatively small compared with its neighbours Southampton and Portsmouth. This is very fortunate as a small, beautiful and historic city remains for us all to live in or live close by and enjoy.

Today Winchester is proving its resilience by having the lowest unemployed rate in the nation and apparently has the highest standard in living.

The Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral is a magnificent building originally dedicated in 1093. It has an enormous nave and beautiful crypt, but it really requires a visit as it’s impossible to describe adequately on paper. The Cathedral is open until 1900 hrs (1745 hrs in winter). Conducted parties can be arranged by the Cathedral Secretary.

College Winchester

The College was built by Bishop William of Wykeham in the middle of the 14th century. It is now one of the most famous schools in the world. It is open for visitors every day except Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Guided tours start at 1000, 1145, 1400 and 1500 hrs, and during the months of April to September 1630 hrs. Advance arrangements for parties can be made with The Bursar, Winchester College, Winchester.


Several museums exist in the city. Firstly, the City and Westgate Museums which are both open daily throughout the year. Secondly, the military museums of the Royal Hussars, Royal Green Jackets, Light Infantry and Gurkhas and Royal Hampshire Regiment which are again open on most weekdays.

The Great Hall and Round Table

for details.www.hants.gov.uk/greathallThis famous hall is open daily. please see

Tourist Information Centre

The Tourist Information Centre located in the Guildhall, Winchester, can provide details of all places of interest in the local area.

Market Winchester

Producers and growers market – a wide variety of quality produce and speciality foods sourced from across the region.Wednesday: Found in Middle Brook Street, Winchester.

Collectable and bric-a-brac.Thursday:

market with a wide variety of stalls offering foodstuffs and an array of goods for all the family.General streetFriday and Saturday:

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