Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Europe » United Kingdom » Countries » England » Cities & Towns » Winchester

Winchester, a cathedral city, is situated on the River Itchen, 97 km (60 miles) southwest of London. Winchester Cathedral is a major landmark of the city, which is also known for housing the University of Winchester and Winchester College. Winchester College is the oldest public school in the United Kingdom still using the original buildings.

During the time of the Roman rule, and up until the Norman Conquest in 1066, it was one of the most important cities in England. It was created from Venta Belgarum a Roman town. When the Romans withdrew from England, the settlement got smaller but continued to be an important city for commerce and as a religious community. The community continued to use the cemeteries which were established during the Roman rule.

In 648 AD, King Cenwalh of Wessex built the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, which was later called the Old Minster. It became a cathedral in the 660s after the West Saxon Bishop’s See was moved to Winchester from Dorcester-on-Thames. The current form of the city was instituted when King Alfred the Great razed the Roman streets and reconstructed them to a grid for defence reasons during the reconstruction in the latter part of the 9th century. This happened at about the same time that Winchester got its first mint.

The New Minster and the convent of Nunnaminster, founded by Queen Ealhswith, came into being early in the 10th century. Bishop Eathelwold of Winchester removed the secular canons of both, replacing them with monks.

In 1141, a fire swept the city. The restoration was led by the Bishop of Winchester, William of Wykeham. He also participated in what is still the structure of the cathedral and founded Winchester College.



Recommended Resources

Search for Winchester on Google or Bing