A day out in Winchester

Although I do have a little more I have written about Turkey, I thought I’d give it a bit of a rest and write about my own lovely country for the next couple of posts.

As I hadn’t seen my eldest son Scott since Christmas, I felt it was time to invade his life again. So accompanied by my youngest son Jake and my mum I set off for Winchester. It’s such a pretty city and I love it, it’s small and compact and easy to get around by foot. By car it’s a nightmare because of the one way system in the centre.

The city is steeped in history, the earliest settlements date back to 150 BC, the Romans moved in in 70 AD and moved out in 410 AD and in Saxon times Winchester was the capital of England under the rule of King Alfred the Great. It continued to be a very important city for the monarchy and running the country for centuries, Queen Mary Tudor married Prince Phillip of Spain in the magnificent cathedral in 1554 and King Alfred and King Cnute are interred in there.

As we were only there for a few hours and we had to fit in cleaning Scott’s house, eating lunch and essential shopping at Tesco’s, we only really had time to visit the Cathedral and we’d been in there before so we just loitered outside for a while moaning about the admission fee to go inside!

The present Cathedral was completed in the early 16th century but there has been a sacred building on the site since the 7th century. Not only are there a few dead royals buried in there but also St Swithun, (of the rain for 40 days and nights fame), who was once a bishop of Winchester, but his bones have long since disappeared from his shrine. The novelist Jane Austen is buried there and her house at Chawton, nearby, is a museum.

The most interesting, local famous person buried there is William Walker a diver who started his career in the late 19th century. In the early 1900’s cracks started to appear in the cathedral’s walls, the foundations were waterlogged. William worked everyday in the darkness for 6 hours between the years 1906 and 1911 ┬áplacing bags of concrete to reinforce the foundations. On completion of the work William was honoured in a thanksgiving service, where he was presented with a silver rose bowl by King George V. As well as being buried in the cathedral, there is also a statue of him in there.

But the most important fact about the cathedral for me is that in just over a years time I will be watching my son at his graduation ceremony and I will be the proudest mum in the world.