Venues

Venues

Winchester Cathedral Exterior

Winchester Cathedral Exterior

Winchester Cathedral – The building was started in 1079 and consecrated in 1093.  Work from this period can still be seen in the crypt, transepts and east part of the cloister.  Between 1189 and 1204 the Lady Chapel was built and the choir extended.  It is the longest Medieval Cathedral in Europe (556ft) in 1110 the central tower collapsed and was rebuilt with the supporting piers greatly strengthened (they are now 20ft in width). Among its treasures is the Great Winchester Bible dating back to the 12th Century, this illuminated copy was written in the scriptorium at Winchester and is now preserved in the Cathedral library.

United Church Winchester

United Church Winchester

United Church Winchester – A church affiliated with the Methodist and United Reform churches, United Church, Winchester, seeks to play a part in the wider community and be a place of welcome for all who enter.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral – The main building began in about 1076 under the leadership of Bishop Stigand and continued under Bishop Ralph De Luffa.  A fire in 1114 hindered progress but most of what we see today existed by 1123.  The Cloisters were built in approx. 1400, followed by the seven light window in the North Transept.  The Chapter House was also completed at about this time.  The detached bell tower was built during the early part of the 15th Century and while many Cathedrals once had such a building, only the one at Chichester remains today.  It was built to take the weight of the eight massive bells from the Central Tower.  The spire and The Arundel Screen are also 15th Century.  The original Arundel Screen was removed in 1859 and this possibly precipitated the collapse of the tower in 1861.  In 1961 it was restored to its original position as we see it today.  The Prebendal School where the Choristers are educated stands alongside the Cathedral and is the oldest school in Sussex and was originally endowed by Edward Storey, Bishop in 1478.  The vicars hall bordering South Street is Circa 15th Century.  The 12th Century Undercroft is now the restaurant.  The Vicars' Close also early 15th Century.  The Deanery was built in 1725 and the gateway at the end of Canon Lane leading to the Bishops Palace is Circa 1327.  The Palace just South of the Cathedral contains a lovely 12th Century Chapel.  The gardens and serenity of this Cathedral is a joy to behold.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral – The first sight of the Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture.  Its spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost 6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing.  The Nave measures 198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.  With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was begun in 1220 and completed in 1258.  The Cloisters and Chapter house being finished in 1280.  It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with Secular Clergy called Canons.  This arrangements continues today.  Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to the Cathedral for short periods of time.  The present houses round the close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.

A view of the Nave at Romsey Abbey

A view of the Nave at Romsey Abbey

Romsey Abbey Like most Abbey towns Romsey grew up around the ecclesiastical site.  King John`s hunting box over the centuries has at various times been, abbey guest house, cottages and even a workhouse.  It is a flint and stone house and was only rediscovered during the early part of this century.  It is widely accepted that Edward I visited with attendants during the year 1301.  Evidence has been found scratched in the plasterwork of the upper rooms, of various heads, shields and mottoes associated with noblemen of the day, together with a life-size drawing of the King himself, resplendent in crown.  It is also recorded that King John had sent his daughter here to be educated just over a century before the visit of King Edward. Romsey - means “Rums Island” it is thought that the island referred to is the somewhat higher ground situated away from the river around the Abbey where the town arose in the 10th Century.  The name was recorded in the mid 10th Century as “romeseye”.

The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda can trace its origins back to 907 AD, the year in which King Edward the Elder, son of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge of his daughter Elflaeda. King Edgar refounded the nunnery circa 960 under the rule of St. Benedict. Ethelflaeda, whose reputed acts of sanctity included chanting Psalms whilst standing naked in the River Test at night, was abbess around the time of the first millennium. The first stone church and nunnery were built c. 1000 AD and flourished as a place of education for the daughters of kings and noblemen. Work began on the present building c. 1120-1140 with the Choir, Transepts, a Lady Chapel at the East end and first three bays of the Nave, a fourth being added in 1150-1180. The last three arches, in the Early English style, at the West end of the Nave were added in 1230-1240, at which time over 100 nuns belonged to the foundation. In 1349, however, the Black Death decimated the population at large and, at the Abbey, the number of nuns declined to just 19. Its dark shadow had receded by the turn of the Fifteenth Century, during which a second aisle on the North side of the Abbey was built to accommodate a church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, for the townspeople.

It is probable that this shared use of the building spared Romsey Abbey from complete demolition. Many similarly fine religious buildings were lost under the general dissolution of the monasteries instigated by Henry VIII after his final break with Rome in the late 1530’s. The Abbey was nevertheless suppressed, its nuns dispersed and, in 1539, the Lady Chapel was demolished. but, in 1544, the townspeople were allowed to buy the building for £100 to be used as their parish church. They later demolished the extra aisle previously built for them because the Abbey was too large for their needs and resources. Further damage to the fabric occurred during the English Civil War when, in 1643, Parliamentary troops entered the Abbey, pulling up the seats and destroying the organ. A Puritan form of worship was imposed under the régime led by Cromwell and many independent ministers, including the ‘intruder’ John Warren at Romsey, were appointed. The Eighteenth Century witnessed a long period of neglect. A visitor complained in 1742, for instance, that at least 40 windows were bricked up. The Abbey remains the largest parish church in Hampshire and is home to a vibrant congregation drawn from the town and beyond. It is affiliated to the Greater Churches group, which includes Beverley Minster, Christchurch Priory, Leeds Parish Church and Sherborne Abbey.

Guildhall – The Guildhall, Winchester is the site of the closing banquet. A marvelous example of true Victorian architecture, it was built in 1873, and serves today as a unique catering hall and event space.

Guildhall

Guildhall, Winchester