Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. It is located in Winchester, Hampshire, England. The Gothic cathedral has the greatest length and longest nave in Europe. However, the original cathedral, immediately north of the present one was founded in 642. In 971, The ‘Old Minster’ building became part of a monastic settlement. After your visit here, you will want to go see the most beautiful churches in Europe.  

Bishop Walkelin began work on an entirely new cathedral in 1079. Consequently, upon its completion and blessing on April 8th, 1093 the old cathedral was demolished. Several additions and renovations have taken place in the cathedral since 1093.

Winchester Cathedral enjoys the only ring of 16 church bells in the world. At this point, it includes a tenor weighing 4,052 lbs (1838 kg) and a combined weight of 18,389 lbs. (8,341 kg). One of the bells was cast by Anthony Bond in 1621 and is the oldest bell in the tower.

However, by 1632 7 bells were installed and in 1734 the current Oak frame tower was built. In traditional English style, the twenty-five-member bell ringing band continues to ‘ring the changes’. You can hear the bells ring every Sunday at 8:45 am and 2:30 pm; Wednesdays (for bell ringing practice) from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm; and on special occasions at 7:00 am. These days include the Queen’s official Birthday, St. Swithun’s Day (15 July), and Ascension Day (40 days after Easter).

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William Walker was credited with saving the cathedral. The waterlogged foundations needed to be reinforced and Walker was the sole diver to do the job. Working in complete darkness 20 feet (6 meters) underground, he reinforced the south and east walls.

As a result, he only worked three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon wearing a 200lb wetsuit and helmet. From 1906 – 1912 Walker installed 900,000 bricks, 115,000 concrete blocks, and packed more than 25,000 bags of concrete into the deteriorating foundation.

The flooded crypt under the cathedral. This area still floods and is only open to visitors in the summer.

Several kings, bishops, and a few authors including Jane Austen (1817) are buried in Winchester Cathedral.

The stunning Grade I listed building has been dedicated to Saint Swithun, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, and the Holy Trinity. It is the center of the Diocese of Winchester and the seat of the Bishop of Winchester.

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