54 Saint Cross Road

54 St. Cross Rd., Winchester, SO23 9PS, United Kingdom

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The nave and tower of Winchester CathedralThe nave and tower of Winchester Cathedral

Cathedral NaveCathedral Nave

The naveThe nave

Smiley green manSmiley green man

Travel Tips for Winchester

City Cross

by Tolik

This 14th century city cross on the High Street as also known as the Butter Cross. Only its statue of St. John the Evangelist (to the south) dates from 15th century, the remainder was made in the 19C.

From here a narrow passage leads to Great Minster Street passing church of St. Lawrence-in the-Square.

The Winchester Walk

by Tolik

We start our 2 hours walk at the Tourist Information Center in the Guildhall (there is an Art Gallery here). Turn right towards King Alfred’s monument. The High Street started life as a routeway some 2,500 years ago leading to a crossing point to the River Itchen. It was the main thoroughfare for Roman, Saxon, and medieval Winchester and lays claim to be the oldest street in any English city.

The City Bridge is said to have been built by St. Swithun, the 9th century Bishop and patron saint of the city. The current structure was built in 1813. Turn right and follow the river walk. To your right is a surviving remnant of the original Roman Town Walls. The River Itchen provided part of the eastern defences by forming a moat. It also provided power for 12 mills. Continue to Wharf Mill, which is on the site of a medieval mill. Turn right to see the best-preserved part of the medieval City Walls. Continue to the ruins of the Wolvesey Castle.

Opposite is Winchester College, founded in 1382. It is the oldest public school in England. Cross College Street and continue to the main College gate and past Headmaster house. The next building is where Jane Austin spent her final weeks. At the end of College Street turn right to face Kingsgate. Continuing through the gateway, you come to the Close Wall built in Saxon times to separate the monastic communities from the rest of the town. Turn right and go through Prior’s Gate. On your right is the medieval Cheyney Court, where bishops met to hear legal cases involving the area they controlled. Heading towards the Cathedral, note the blocked arches in the wall on your right. They provided the entry to the medieval monk’s dormitory.

From the Cathedral, walk towards the High Street. Just ahead is the Butter Cross, on this site since early 14th century. The Town Clock and the statue of Queen Anne were presented to the City in 1713. Continue up the High Street, straight ahead is the Westgate; here turn left up to the Great Hall.

Winchester's Great Hall

by Jehcekah

If travelling to Winchester, the Great Hall should be your first stop after visiting the Cathedral. It is in this location that you will find King Arthur's Round Table. The Great Hall and its accompanying architecture is free of charge to visit. There is a shop on the grounds, which sells books and trinkets relating to the castle and the town. The Great Hall is the only standing part of the castle which once stood on the grounds.
Building of the castle was begun in 1067 by William the Conqueror and was developed by successive kings. Oliver Cromwell had the castle destroyed, but left behind the Great Hall. You can also see the remains of some of the castle towers.

Today the Great Hall houses the famous Round Table, the Garden of Queen Eleanor, and two gates which commemorate the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana. The table, which hangs on the wall now, was once a functioning table. It has been taken down on occasion and wood samples from it have been carbon-dated to the time that King Arthur should have been king.

Of course, Arthur held the throne during the bleak times of the Dark Ages, when there was no written history recorded. All that we know from that time comes from word of mouth passed down for hundreds and hundreds of years. While we do know that there was a King Arthur, the facts about his knights and their table are not that clear. We do not know for sure if this table was Arthur's and we do not know what it is used for. The painting on the table includes the names of all of the knights and a portrait of Arthur, which if you look closely, also resembles another English King. King Henry VIII commissioned the painting on the table during his reign and he requested that Arthur's face be made to look exactly like his. So that when he brought in visitors to view the table, he would stand beneath it, allowing the visitors to see how much he "resembled" the great and famous King Arthur.

The Great Hall

by leics

Rather a stunning building, this; probably one of the best-preserved Medieval halls in England.

The Great Hall was built between 1222 and 1235, as a replacement for the original hall of Winchester's Norman castle. It is one of the finest examples of the Early English Gothic style of architecture, with soaring columns and pointed arches creating a light and airy space within.
The walls would have originally been plastered, and then decorated in bright colours.

The roof was rebuilt during the 14th century, in its present style, and the building has remained largely unchanged ever since (albeit renovated in the 1870's).

Winchester castle was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell, but the Hall was allowed to remain as a place for the County Assizes (law courts). It was used as a court until 1974.

It's a lovely place to visit, even if there's a tour group of French teenagers present (as there was when I took the photo); the Hall is vast enought to dwarf even them!

Jane Austen House

by leffe3

Failing health bought novelist Jane Austen to live in Winchester and access to one of the few hospitals in the region. She did not last long, surviving just six weeks before her death in July 1817. She was writing 'Persuasion' at the time, which was published after her death.

It's an unobtrusive building, and only the plaque above the door any indication. It's a private residence and there's no public access, but it's on the walk from the cathedral to Wolvesey Castle, sited next door to Winchester College.

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