The wider City of Winchester district, which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop's Waltham, has a population of 116,595. To the Celtic Britons, the settlement was likely known as Wentā or Venta (from a common Celtic word meaning "tribal town" or "meeting place"). They are the building blocks of this city. Watched over by an imposing figure – the Anglo-Saxon King, Alfred the Great. Cathedrals in Britain Few however may realise that some of Winchester’s first … The earliest hammer-beamed building still standing in England is situated in the Cathedral Close, next to the Dean's garden. Canterbury had been the capital of England in the middle ages and still hosts the head of the Anglican Church. Winchester is an important setting in The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. Additionally, the invading Romans did not even feel threatened enough to establish a military fort in the area from which they could control revolting natives. It contains much fine architecture spanning the 11th to the 16th centuries and is the place of interment of numerous Bishops of Winchester (such as William of Wykeham), Anglo-Saxon monarchs (such as Egbert of Wessex) and later monarchs such as King Canute and William Rufus. It is certified by FARMA. Shortly after this William the Conqueror ordered the rebuilding of the Saxon royal palace and the construction of a new castle to the west of the town. The table actually dates from the 13th century, and as such is not contemporary to Arthur. Until the Norman Conquest, Winchester was the capital of England. Not far away is Cheyney Court, a mid 15th-century timber-framed house incorporating the Porter's Lodge for the Priory Gate. . It was built in 1924 and designed by Frederick Walters. Alfred had successfully defended Wessex, a region of Southern England, against attacks from the Vikings and whoever ruled Wessex inherited the title of King of England. .  Until 1902 the city's affairs were also administered partly by its parishes: St Lawrence, St Mary Kalendar, St Maurice, St Michael, St Peter Colebrook, St Swithin, St Thomas, St John, St Bartholomew Hyde, Milland, St Faith, and St Peter Cheesehill, and its extra-parochial areas: Cathedral Precincts, St Mary's College Precincts, St Cross Hospital Precinct, and Wolvesey. There were a series of blood libel claims against the Jewish community in the 1220s and 1230s, which likely was the cause of the hanging of the community's leader, Abraham Pinch, in front of the synagogue of which he was the head. By the 3rd century the wooden town defences were replaced with stone walls, at which time Winchester extended to almost 150 acres, making it the fifth largest town in Roman Britain.  The University origins go back as far as 1840—originally as a Diocesan teacher training centre. However, little of the book is set there. The settlement reduced in size, but work was carried out to improve the city's defences. It was supposedly instigated to aid pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. John Henry Taylor was the club professional when winning the Open Championship in 1894 and 1895, and there is a room with memorabilia named after him. His statue, created by Hamo Thornycroft, was placed there in 1901 to celebrate one thousand years since Alfred became king of England and made Winchester his capital. It is known as the Pilgrims' Hall, as it was part of the hostelry used to accommodate the many pilgrims to Saint Swithun's shrine. Modern day visitors to Winchester in the county of Hampshire can’t help but soak in the history as they wander through the ancient streets of this small city. In a relatively short period of time after this withdrawal, these once important bustling towns and cultural centres appear to have been simply abandoned. He expelled the secular canons of both minsters and replaced them with monks. Winchester is the main location of John Christopher's post-apocalyptic science fiction series, Sword of the Spirits.  In 2010 it was briefly controlled by the Liberal Democrats, before being controlled by the Conservatives again from 2011 until 2019, when the Liberal Democrats took control. Perhaps through their close association with royalty however, the locals support was initially with the king. A scene in Henry Esmond (1852) by William Makepeace Thackeray is set in the choir of Winchester cathedral. Three notable bronze sculptures can be seen in or from the High Street by major sculptors of the 19th and 20th centuries, the earliest a monumental statue of Queen Victoria, now in the Great Hall, by Sir Alfred Gilbert (also known as the sculptor of 'Eros' in London's Piccadilly Circus), King Alfred, facing the city with raised sword from the centre of The Broadway, by Hamo Thornycroft and the modern striking Horse and Rider by Dame Elizabeth Frink at the entrance to the Law Courts. 2011 saw Winchester's first ever Oxjam Takeover music festival, held on 22 October. The adventurer and model Laura Bingham was born and brought up in the local area attending The Westgate School.  In 648, King Cenwalh of Wessex erected the Church of SS Peter and Paul, later known as the Old Minster. The final combat of the romance hero Guy of Warwick against the giant Colbrand takes place outside the walls of Winchester. , Between Jewry Street and St Peter's Street is St Peter's Catholic Church.  There was a limited suburban area outside the walls. Peter Symonds College is a college that serves Winchester. It is owned by the National Trust. In this article, we take a look at the Kings and Queens that ruled over the kingdom for almost half a millennium. Technically “London” didn’t become the capital until after the 16th Century. The Great Hall was rebuilt sometime between 1222 and 1235, and still exists in this form. In the Late Iron Age, a more urban settlement type developed, known as an oppidum, although the archaeology of this phase remains obscure. Winchester is easily accessible by both road and rail, please try our UK Travel Guide for further information. Caesar recorded the tribe had crossed the channel as raiders (probably in the 1st century BCE), only to later establish themselves in Britain. The plague returned again in earnest in 1361 and at regular intervals for decades afterwards. Winchester is in part the model for Barchester in the Barsetshire novels of Anthony Trollope, who attended Winchester College; The Warden (1855) is said to be based on a scandal at the Hospital of St Cross. Four newspapers are published for Winchester. The Mayor of Winchester currently exists as a ceremonial role, but dates back at least as far as the late 12th century. , Both schools often top the examination result tables for the city and county.. In October 2006, the Channel 4 television programme The Best And Worst Places To Live In The UK, the city was celebrated as the "Best Place in the UK to Live in: 2006". The reign of Stephen is described and his military actions are recounted, including first-person "reporting" of the Battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141. After the Roman conquest of Britain, the settlement served as the capital (Latin: civitas) of the Belgae and was distinguished as Venta Belgarum, "Venta of the Belgae". Winchester remained the most important city in England until the Norman conquest in the eleventh century. It was the Saxons that referred to a Roman settlement as a ‘caester’, and so in west Saxon Wessex, Venta Belgarum became Venta Caester, before being changed to Wintancaester and eventually corrupted to Winchester. Now part of The Pilgrims' School, the hall is used by the school for assemblies in the morning, drama lessons, plays, orchestral practices, Cathedral Waynflete[clarification needed] rehearsals, the school's Senior Commoners' Choir rehearsals etc. Shortly after the Romans landed at Richborough in Kent in AD 43, legionary soldiers with auxiliary troops marched across the whole of southern Britain capturing Iron Age hill forts when necessary, and imposing Roman rule upon the local population. He organised the local militia into ‘rapid reaction forces’ to deal with raiders from the land, and started a building programme of fortified settlements across England from which these forces could gather to defend.  In the 2007 edition of the same programme, Winchester had slipped to second place, behind Edinburgh. It is now the commune of Le Kremlin-Bicêtre. The Normans were also responsible for demolishing the Old Minster Cathedral and starting the construction of the new present cathedral on the same site in 1079. And things appear to have come to an almost abrupt end when in AD407, with their Empire crumbling, the last Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain. Winchester would remain the exclusive home of the Celtic Belgae tribe for the next two hundred years or so.
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