The Old Goalhouse Winchester

 By Wendy Hughes

It is always a treat to meet up with friends, and I started this week by setting off for Winchester to meet my friend who lives in Oxford.  Winchester is about the half way point from Oxford and Worthing and a much better venue than the hustle and bustle of London.  We chose a Monday, which turned out to be a much quieter day than usual.

Inside the Pub

Our first stop was the usual the Wetherspoons pub, Old Goalhouse, in Jewry Street, an ideal place for friends to meet and chat, especially as there is a generous free top on the coffee – a must when you spend most of your time chatting.

Interestingly, as the name implies, this is the site of the old prison thought to date from 1228 to 1805 when the building of a new debtor’s prison greatly improved matters, and a new Governor’s House was built where the pub now stands.  As my friend went off for our coffees, as it was quiet, I took the opportunity to have a good look at the pub, which is brimming with prints.

William Wykeham

The print nearest me was that of William Wykeham, founder of Winchester College, Bishop of Winchester and one of the greatest art patrons that this country has ever known.  It was inspiring to read that he was born into humble farming stock at Wickham Hampshire in 1324 and was educated thanks to the generosity of his fellow villagers.  Obviously, they could see his potential at a young age and whilst at school, located at the west end of the Cathedral, he studied amongst other subjects, grammar and geometry.  He rewarded the country by creating at his own expense, three great developments, New College at Oxford to provide higher education for those destined for a place in the church and state, Winchester College, (the first stone being laid in March 1387) and the building of the nave of Winchester Cathedral, as well as fulfilling his hope by becoming Bishop of Winchester in 1366

Jane Austen

On the opposite wall to where I sat was a print of that famous writer renowned for her sharp wit and literary skills, Jane Austen who spent the last two months of her life in Winchester.  Born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector she later lived in Bath, Southampton and Chawton before coming to Winchester and is buried in the Cathedral. By the time of her death, aged just 41, she had written six novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma published during her lifetime, with Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, published after her death in 1817. She came to Winchester for the sake of her health and was under the care of Winchester doctor Giles King Lyford, she took rooms in College Street where she spent most of her time in a ‘neat little drawing room with a bow window.’  Her gravestone in the north aisle pays tribute to the ‘benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper and the extraordinary endowment of her mind’.

Diver Bill

Another print that intrigued me is that of William Walker, a deep-sea diver who earned his place in history by coming to the rescue when huge cracks began to appear in Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. Also known as ‘Diver Bill’ at Portsmouth Dockyard, he worked with architect TG Jackson and engineer Francis Fox to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete. For 7 years they worked in total darkness to make the faltering structure safe with workmen lowering sacks of concrete to Diver Bill, who arranged them like bricks to underpin the walls, and although he handled around 25,800 bags of concrete, 114,900 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks he fought off possible infection from working in what was effectively a graveyard with the help of his powers pipe, which he always lit when he surfaced. Meanwhile, about 500 tons of grouting were forced into cracks in the walls, and buttresses were added on the south side of the building. The work cost around £113,000 in Edwardian times – the equivalent of well over one million pounds today, and when it was finished, both King George V and the Archbishop of Canterbury congratulated Bill at a special thanksgiving service on 15 July 1912. Jackson and Fox were knighted, while Bill was made a member of the Victorian Order, but after all her efforts she sadly died, just aged 49 during the Spanish flu epidemic.

Charley Peace

The next print I noticed was about a chap called Charles Peace who became a fugitive when he shot his next door neighbour. At the time he had been having an affair with his neighbour’s wife and became known as the Banner Cross Murderer after the terrace where he lived in Sheffield. Charles stained his face, dyed his hair black, and took to wearing glasses and lived with Susan Grey in a house in south east London. They called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Thompso and were regular church-goers and held musical evenings where Charles would show off his skill on the violin and recite poetry. Charles’s legal wife was kept out of sight in the basement. By night Charles went out in his pony and trap, with his violin case full of tools, and burgled houses but finally got his comeuppance when PC Robinson caught him breaking and entering in Blackheath. His walnut stain and spectacles disguise was exposed, and Charles was tried for murder, but being transported by train he made a final bid for freedom though a window, but he was caught. His last words during his last meal. After treating his warders to a sermon on how a good Christian faces death, he said his last words.  After looking at his plate he calmly announced “this is bloody rotten bacon”.

The Royal Wedding

Another print informs us that Mary Tudor chose Winchester Cathedral for her wedding to Prince Philip of Spain. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the couple exchanged vows on 25 July, 1554. Winchester was chosen for various reasons. By far the most important was the security risk due to the fragile relationship with Spain and the location also played a key role. Philip travelled by sea and docked at Southampton, so the city was conveniently situated and the Spanish Prince was escorted by an impressive armada. Mary was accompanied on the last stage of her journey by 3,000 horsemen and 300 bowmen.  The date was chosen to coincide with St James’s Day, celebrating the patron saint of Spain and the cathedral was decorated with 12 Flanders tapestries, each about 30 feet long, telling the story of the Conquest of Tunis by Philip’s father. The couple left for Spain, and lived in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, but religious persecution during Mary’s reign led to her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ because during the last three years of her life, some 300 people were burned at the stake.

Great Hall Round Table

The final print I looked at was of Winchester Castle and the Great Hall.  This was built on the orders of William the Conqueror and was the seat of government for the early Norman kings and within its walls were help the treasury, the exchequer and the Domesday Book. Today no part remains, but the foundations of William the Conqueror’s royal chapel and of an early 12th century keep can be seen in Castle Yard.  The castle itself was almost completely rebuilt during the reign of Henry III from 1216-72 and the king supervised the construction of the superb Great Hall from 1222-36. After a widespread fire in 1302, the castle lost its status as a royal residence, but none of its historical significance.  The Peninsula Barracks, originally the palace built by Sir Christopher Wren for King Charles I, stands on the site of the castle built by William the Conqueror, using as its west, south and east ramparts the old Roman wall, and adding an eastern side. A first royal palace was erected within the walls. The royal treasury was kept here, as was the Domesday Book.

The Conquerors great-great-great-grandson was born here, and as King Henry III began the castles complete reconstruction. The Great Hall was built between 1222 and 1235. It still stands today, arguably the finest example of a medieval aisled hall in England. On one wall hangs the Round Table which has been carefully examined in recent times, and it was decided that it had been made at the end of the 13th century as a symbolic ornament for a feast held after a great tournament celebrating King Edward I’s vision for the future of the English crown. The legs were cut off, the surface covered with painted leather and the table hung in Winchester castle hall by King Edward III.  For centuries it has hung there, its origins forgotten, but its identity with the legendary round table of King Arthur still fuels popular imagination, and although it is not King Arthur’s original table it has now been restored and re-hung, and the ideals of the Arthurian legend lives on. The names of the twenty-four Knights of the Round Table are engraved around the edge of the table surmounted by King Arthur on his throne.  It is one of the finest and largest halls in England and has many stained glassed windows, and its steel gates were installed in 1982 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer inspired.

Having a super lunch, we decided to take the short walk to The Great Hall which is at the top of the High Street, just to the left of Westgate, but castle Avenue leading to the Great Hall has some cobbled uneven surfaces, so care is needed.   A low ramp offers easy access to the Great Hall and seating is available.  There is also a gift shop, and gallery on site via a stone staircase, but there is a lift available for wheelchair users, just ring the bell on the display board near the steps for assistance. There is also limited parking for Blue Badge holders along Castle Avenue which can be requested in advance. It  all.is well worth a visit and I would recommend it on your next visit to his historic city.

Tags: Great Hall Winchester, Wetherspoons, The Old Goalhouse, William Wykeham, William Walker, Charles Peace, Mary Tudor, Philip of Spain. Chawton, Winchester College, Winchester Cathedral, Giles King Lyford

 

WENDY’S WEEK:

My trip to Winchester

By

Wendy Hughes

It is always a treat to meet up with friends, and I started this week by setting off for Winchester to meet my friend who lives in Oxford.  Winchester is about the half way point from Oxford and Worthing and a much better venue than the hustle and bustle of London.  We chose a Monday, which turned out to be a much quieter day than usual.

Our first stop was the usual the Wetherspoons pub, Old Goalhouse, in Jewry Street, an ideal place for friends to meet and chat, especially as there is a generous free top on the coffee – a must when you spend most of your time chatting.

Interestingly, as the name implies, this is the site of the old prison thought to date from 1228 to 1805 when the building of a new debtor’s prison greatly improved matters, and a new Governor’s House was built where the pub now stands.  As my friend went off for our coffee’s, as it was quiet, I took the opportunity to have a good look at the pub, which is brimming with prints.

The print nearest me was that of William Wykeham, founder of Winchester College, Bishop of Winchester and one of the greatest art patrons that this country has ever known.  It was inspiring to read that he was born into humble farming stock at Wickham Hampshire in 1324 and was educated thanks to the generosity of his fellow villagers.  Obviously, they could see his potential at a young age and whilst at school, located at the west end of the Cathedral, he studied amongst other subjects, grammar and geometry.  He rewarded the country by creating at his own expense, three great developments, New College at Oxford to provide higher education for those destined for a place in the church and state, Winchester College, (the first stone being laid in March 1387) and the building of the nave of Winchester Cathedral, as well as fulfilling his hope by becoming Bishop of Winchester in 1366

On the opposite wall to where I sat was a print of that famous writer renowned for her sharp wit and literary skills, Jane Austen who spent the last two months of her life in Winchester.  Born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector she later lived in Bath, Southampton and Chawton before coming to Winchester and is buried in the Cathedral. By the time of her death, aged just 41, she had written six novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma published during her lifetime, with Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, published after her death in 1817. She came to Winchester for the sake of her health and was under the care of Winchester doctor Giles King Lyford, she took rooms in College Street where she spent most of her time in a ‘neat little drawing room with a bow window.’  Her gravestone in the north aisle pays tribute to the ‘benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper and the extraordinary endowment of her mind’.

Another print that intrigued me is that of William Walker, a deep-sea diver who earned his place in history by coming to the rescue when huge cracks began to appear in Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. Also known as ‘Diver Bill’ at Portsmouth Dockyard, he worked with architect TG Jackson and engineer Francis Fox to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete. For 7 years they worked in total darkness to make the faltering structure safe with workmen lowering sacks of concrete to Diver Bill, who arranged them like bricks to underpin the walls, and although he handled around 25,800 bags of concrete, 114,900 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks he fought off possible infection from working in what was effectively a graveyard with the help of his powers pipe, which he always lit when he surfaced. Meanwhile, about 500 tons of grouting were forced into cracks in the walls, and buttresses were added on the south side of the building. The work cost around £113,000 in Edwardian times – the equivalent of well over one million pounds today, and when it was finished, both King George V and the Archbishop of Canterbury congratulated Bill at a special thanksgiving service on 15 July 1912. Jackson and Fox were knighted, while Bill was made a member of the Victorian Order, but after all her efforts she sadly died, just aged 49 during the Spanish flu epidemic.

The next print I noticed was about a chap called Charles Peace who became a fugitive when he shot his next door neighbour. At the time he had been having an affair with his neighbour’s wife and became known as the Banner Cross Murderer after the terrace where he lived in Sheffield. Charles stained his face, dyed his hair black, and took to wearing glasses and lived with Susan Grey in a house in south east London. They called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Thompso and were regular church-goers and held musical evenings where Charles would show off his skill on the violin and recite poetry. Charles’s legal wife was kept out of sight in the basement. By night Charles went out in his pony and trap, with his violin case full of tools, and burgled houses but finally got his comeuppance when PC Robinson caught him breaking and entering in Blackheath. His walnut stain and spectacles disguise was exposed, and Charles was tried for murder, but being transported by train he made a final bid for freedom though a window, but he was caught. His last words during his last meal. After treating his warders to a sermon on how a good Christian faces death, he said his last words.  After looking at his plate he calmly announced “this is bloody rotten bacon”.

Another print informs us that Mary Tudor chose Winchester Cathedral for her wedding to Prince Philip of Spain. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the couple exchanged vows on 25 July, 1554. Winchester was chosen for various reasons. By far the most important was the security risk due to the fragile relationship with Spain and the location also played a key role. Philip travelled by sea and docked at Southampton, so the city was conveniently situated and the Spanish Prince was escorted by an impressive armada. Mary was accompanied on the last stage of her journey by 3,000 horsemen and 300 bowmen.  The date was chosen to coincide with St James’s Day, celebrating the patron saint of Spain and the cathedral was decorated with 12 Flanders tapestries, each about 30 feet long, telling the story of the Conquest of Tunis by Philip’s father. The couple left for Spain, and lived in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, but religious persecution during Mary’s reign led to her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ because during the last three years of her life, some 300 people were burned at the stake.

The final print I looked at was of Winchester Castle and the Great Hall.  This was built on the orders of William the Conqueror and was the seat of government for the early Norman kings and within its walls were help the treasury, the exchequer and the Domesday Book. Today no part remains, but the foundations of William the Conqueror’s royal chapel and of an early 12th century keep can be seen in Castle Yard.  The castle itself was almost completely rebuilt during the reign of Henry III from 1216-72 and the king supervised the construction of the superb Great Hall from 1222-36. After a widespread fire in 1302, the castle lost its status as a royal residence, but none of its historical significance.  The Peninsula Barracks, originally the palace built by Sir Christopher Wren for King Charles I, stands on the site of the castle built by William the Conqueror, using as its west, south and east ramparts the old Roman wall, and adding an eastern side. A first royal palace was erected within the walls. The royal treasury was kept here, as was the Domesday Book.

The Conquerors great-great-great-grandson was born here, and as King Henry III began the castles complete reconstruction. The Great Hall was built between 1222 and 1235. It still stands today, arguably the finest example of a medieval aisled hall in England. On one wall hangs the Round Table which has been carefully examined in recent times, and it was decided that it had been made at the end of the 13th century as a symbolic ornament for a feast held after a great tournament celebrating King Edward I’s vision for the future of the English crown. The legs were cut off, the surface covered with painted leather and the table hung in Winchester castle hall by King Edward III.  For centuries it has hung there, its origins forgotten, but its identity with the legendary round table of King Arthur still fuels popular imagination, and although it is not King Arthur’s original table it has now been restored and re-hung, and the ideals of the Arthurian legend lives on. The names of the twenty-four Knights of the Round Table are engraved around the edge of the table surmounted by King Arthur on his throne.  It is one of the finest and largest halls in England and has many stained glassed windows, and its steel gates were installed in 1982 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer inspired.

Having a super lunch, we decided to take the short walk to The Great Hall which is at the top of the High Street, just to the left of Westgate, but castle Avenue leading to the Great Hall has some cobbled uneven surfaces, so care is needed.   A low ramp offers easy access to the Great Hall and seating is available.  There is also a gift shop, and gallery on site via a stone staircase, but there is a lift available for wheelchair users, just ring the bell on the display board near the steps for assistance. There is also limited parking for Blue Badge holders along Castle Avenue which can be requested in advance. It  all.is well worth a visit and I would recommend it on your next visit to his historic city.

Tags: Great Hall Winchester, Wetherspoons, The Old Goalhouse, William Wykeham, William Walker, Charles Peace, Mary Tudor, Philip of Spain. Chawton, Winchester College, Winchester Cathedral, Giles King Lyford

 

WENDY’S WEEK:

My trip to Winchester

By

Wendy Hughes

It is always a treat to meet up with friends, and I started this week by setting off for Winchester to meet my friend who lives in Oxford.  Winchester is about the half way point from Oxford and Worthing and a much better venue than the hustle and bustle of London.  We chose a Monday, which turned out to be a much quieter day than usual.

Our first stop was the usual the Wetherspoons pub, Old Goalhouse, in Jewry Street, an ideal place for friends to meet and chat, especially as there is a generous free top on the coffee – a must when you spend most of your time chatting.

Interestingly, as the name implies, this is the site of the old prison thought to date from 1228 to 1805 when the building of a new debtor’s prison greatly improved matters, and a new Governor’s House was built where the pub now stands.  As my friend went off for our coffee’s, as it was quiet, I took the opportunity to have a good look at the pub, which is brimming with prints.

The print nearest me was that of William Wykeham, founder of Winchester College, Bishop of Winchester and one of the greatest art patrons that this country has ever known.  It was inspiring to read that he was born into humble farming stock at Wickham Hampshire in 1324 and was educated thanks to the generosity of his fellow villagers.  Obviously, they could see his potential at a young age and whilst at school, located at the west end of the Cathedral, he studied amongst other subjects, grammar and geometry.  He rewarded the country by creating at his own expense, three great developments, New College at Oxford to provide higher education for those destined for a place in the church and state, Winchester College, (the first stone being laid in March 1387) and the building of the nave of Winchester Cathedral, as well as fulfilling his hope by becoming Bishop of Winchester in 1366

On the opposite wall to where I sat was a print of that famous writer renowned for her sharp wit and literary skills, Jane Austen who spent the last two months of her life in Winchester.  Born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector she later lived in Bath, Southampton and Chawton before coming to Winchester and is buried in the Cathedral. By the time of her death, aged just 41, she had written six novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma published during her lifetime, with Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, published after her death in 1817. She came to Winchester for the sake of her health and was under the care of Winchester doctor Giles King Lyford, she took rooms in College Street where she spent most of her time in a ‘neat little drawing room with a bow window.’  Her gravestone in the north aisle pays tribute to the ‘benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper and the extraordinary endowment of her mind’.

Another print that intrigued me is that of William Walker, a deep-sea diver who earned his place in history by coming to the rescue when huge cracks began to appear in Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. Also known as ‘Diver Bill’ at Portsmouth Dockyard, he worked with architect TG Jackson and engineer Francis Fox to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete. For 7 years they worked in total darkness to make the faltering structure safe with workmen lowering sacks of concrete to Diver Bill, who arranged them like bricks to underpin the walls, and although he handled around 25,800 bags of concrete, 114,900 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks he fought off possible infection from working in what was effectively a graveyard with the help of his powers pipe, which he always lit when he surfaced. Meanwhile, about 500 tons of grouting were forced into cracks in the walls, and buttresses were added on the south side of the building. The work cost around £113,000 in Edwardian times – the equivalent of well over one million pounds today, and when it was finished, both King George V and the Archbishop of Canterbury congratulated Bill at a special thanksgiving service on 15 July 1912. Jackson and Fox were knighted, while Bill was made a member of the Victorian Order, but after all her efforts she sadly died, just aged 49 during the Spanish flu epidemic.

The next print I noticed was about a chap called Charles Peace who became a fugitive when he shot his next door neighbour. At the time he had been having an affair with his neighbour’s wife and became known as the Banner Cross Murderer after the terrace where he lived in Sheffield. Charles stained his face, dyed his hair black, and took to wearing glasses and lived with Susan Grey in a house in south east London. They called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Thompso and were regular church-goers and held musical evenings where Charles would show off his skill on the violin and recite poetry. Charles’s legal wife was kept out of sight in the basement. By night Charles went out in his pony and trap, with his violin case full of tools, and burgled houses but finally got his comeuppance when PC Robinson caught him breaking and entering in Blackheath. His walnut stain and spectacles disguise was exposed, and Charles was tried for murder, but being transported by train he made a final bid for freedom though a window, but he was caught. His last words during his last meal. After treating his warders to a sermon on how a good Christian faces death, he said his last words.  After looking at his plate he calmly announced “this is bloody rotten bacon”.

Another print informs us that Mary Tudor chose Winchester Cathedral for her wedding to Prince Philip of Spain. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the couple exchanged vows on 25 July, 1554. Winchester was chosen for various reasons. By far the most important was the security risk due to the fragile relationship with Spain and the location also played a key role. Philip travelled by sea and docked at Southampton, so the city was conveniently situated and the Spanish Prince was escorted by an impressive armada. Mary was accompanied on the last stage of her journey by 3,000 horsemen and 300 bowmen.  The date was chosen to coincide with St James’s Day, celebrating the patron saint of Spain and the cathedral was decorated with 12 Flanders tapestries, each about 30 feet long, telling the story of the Conquest of Tunis by Philip’s father. The couple left for Spain, and lived in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, but religious persecution during Mary’s reign led to her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ because during the last three years of her life, some 300 people were burned at the stake.

The final print I looked at was of Winchester Castle and the Great Hall.  This was built on the orders of William the Conqueror and was the seat of government for the early Norman kings and within its walls were help the treasury, the exchequer and the Domesday Book. Today no part remains, but the foundations of William the Conqueror’s royal chapel and of an early 12th century keep can be seen in Castle Yard.  The castle itself was almost completely rebuilt during the reign of Henry III from 1216-72 and the king supervised the construction of the superb Great Hall from 1222-36. After a widespread fire in 1302, the castle lost its status as a royal residence, but none of its historical significance.  The Peninsula Barracks, originally the palace built by Sir Christopher Wren for King Charles I, stands on the site of the castle built by William the Conqueror, using as its west, south and east ramparts the old Roman wall, and adding an eastern side. A first royal palace was erected within the walls. The royal treasury was kept here, as was the Domesday Book.

The Conquerors great-great-great-grandson was born here, and as King Henry III began the castles complete reconstruction. The Great Hall was built between 1222 and 1235. It still stands today, arguably the finest example of a medieval aisled hall in England. On one wall hangs the Round Table which has been carefully examined in recent times, and it was decided that it had been made at the end of the 13th century as a symbolic ornament for a feast held after a great tournament celebrating King Edward I’s vision for the future of the English crown. The legs were cut off, the surface covered with painted leather and the table hung in Winchester castle hall by King Edward III.  For centuries it has hung there, its origins forgotten, but its identity with the legendary round table of King Arthur still fuels popular imagination, and although it is not King Arthur’s original table it has now been restored and re-hung, and the ideals of the Arthurian legend lives on. The names of the twenty-four Knights of the Round Table are engraved around the edge of the table surmounted by King Arthur on his throne.  It is one of the finest and largest halls in England and has many stained glassed windows, and its steel gates were installed in 1982 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer inspired.

Having a super lunch, we decided to take the short walk to The Great Hall which is at the top of the High Street, just to the left of Westgate, but castle Avenue leading to the Great Hall has some cobbled uneven surfaces, so care is needed.   A low ramp offers easy access to the Great Hall and seating is available.  There is also a gift shop, and gallery on site via a stone staircase, but there is a lift available for wheelchair users, just ring the bell on the display board near the steps for assistance. There is also limited parking for Blue Badge holders along Castle Avenue which can be requested in advance. It  all.is well worth a visit and I would recommend it on your next visit to his historic city.

Tags: Great Hall Winchester, Wetherspoons, The Old Goalhouse, William Wykeham, William Walker, Charles Peace, Mary Tudor, Philip of Spain. Chawton, Winchester College, Winchester Cathedral, Giles King Lyford

 

WENDY’S WEEK:

My trip to Winchester

By

Wendy Hughes

It is always a treat to meet up with friends, and I started this week by setting off for Winchester to meet my friend who lives in Oxford.  Winchester is about the half way point from Oxford and Worthing and a much better venue than the hustle and bustle of London.  We chose a Monday, which turned out to be a much quieter day than usual.

Our first stop was the usual the Wetherspoons pub, Old Goalhouse, in Jewry Street, an ideal place for friends to meet and chat, especially as there is a generous free top on the coffee – a must when you spend most of your time chatting.

Interestingly, as the name implies, this is the site of the old prison thought to date from 1228 to 1805 when the building of a new debtor’s prison greatly improved matters, and a new Governor’s House was built where the pub now stands.  As my friend went off for our coffee’s, as it was quiet, I took the opportunity to have a good look at the pub, which is brimming with prints.

The print nearest me was that of William Wykeham, founder of Winchester College, Bishop of Winchester and one of the greatest art patrons that this country has ever known.  It was inspiring to read that he was born into humble farming stock at Wickham Hampshire in 1324 and was educated thanks to the generosity of his fellow villagers.  Obviously, they could see his potential at a young age and whilst at school, located at the west end of the Cathedral, he studied amongst other subjects, grammar and geometry.  He rewarded the country by creating at his own expense, three great developments, New College at Oxford to provide higher education for those destined for a place in the church and state, Winchester College, (the first stone being laid in March 1387) and the building of the nave of Winchester Cathedral, as well as fulfilling his hope by becoming Bishop of Winchester in 1366

On the opposite wall to where I sat was a print of that famous writer renowned for her sharp wit and literary skills, Jane Austen who spent the last two months of her life in Winchester.  Born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector she later lived in Bath, Southampton and Chawton before coming to Winchester and is buried in the Cathedral. By the time of her death, aged just 41, she had written six novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma published during her lifetime, with Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, published after her death in 1817. She came to Winchester for the sake of her health and was under the care of Winchester doctor Giles King Lyford, she took rooms in College Street where she spent most of her time in a ‘neat little drawing room with a bow window.’  Her gravestone in the north aisle pays tribute to the ‘benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper and the extraordinary endowment of her mind’.

Another print that intrigued me is that of William Walker, a deep-sea diver who earned his place in history by coming to the rescue when huge cracks began to appear in Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. Also known as ‘Diver Bill’ at Portsmouth Dockyard, he worked with architect TG Jackson and engineer Francis Fox to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete. For 7 years they worked in total darkness to make the faltering structure safe with workmen lowering sacks of concrete to Diver Bill, who arranged them like bricks to underpin the walls, and although he handled around 25,800 bags of concrete, 114,900 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks he fought off possible infection from working in what was effectively a graveyard with the help of his powers pipe, which he always lit when he surfaced. Meanwhile, about 500 tons of grouting were forced into cracks in the walls, and buttresses were added on the south side of the building. The work cost around £113,000 in Edwardian times – the equivalent of well over one million pounds today, and when it was finished, both King George V and the Archbishop of Canterbury congratulated Bill at a special thanksgiving service on 15 July 1912. Jackson and Fox were knighted, while Bill was made a member of the Victorian Order, but after all her efforts she sadly died, just aged 49 during the Spanish flu epidemic.

The next print I noticed was about a chap called Charles Peace who became a fugitive when he shot his next door neighbour. At the time he had been having an affair with his neighbour’s wife and became known as the Banner Cross Murderer after the terrace where he lived in Sheffield. Charles stained his face, dyed his hair black, and took to wearing glasses and lived with Susan Grey in a house in south east London. They called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Thompso and were regular church-goers and held musical evenings where Charles would show off his skill on the violin and recite poetry. Charles’s legal wife was kept out of sight in the basement. By night Charles went out in his pony and trap, with his violin case full of tools, and burgled houses but finally got his comeuppance when PC Robinson caught him breaking and entering in Blackheath. His walnut stain and spectacles disguise was exposed, and Charles was tried for murder, but being transported by train he made a final bid for freedom though a window, but he was caught. His last words during his last meal. After treating his warders to a sermon on how a good Christian faces death, he said his last words.  After looking at his plate he calmly announced “this is bloody rotten bacon”.

Another print informs us that Mary Tudor chose Winchester Cathedral for her wedding to Prince Philip of Spain. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the couple exchanged vows on 25 July, 1554. Winchester was chosen for various reasons. By far the most important was the security risk due to the fragile relationship with Spain and the location also played a key role. Philip travelled by sea and docked at Southampton, so the city was conveniently situated and the Spanish Prince was escorted by an impressive armada. Mary was accompanied on the last stage of her journey by 3,000 horsemen and 300 bowmen.  The date was chosen to coincide with St James’s Day, celebrating the patron saint of Spain and the cathedral was decorated with 12 Flanders tapestries, each about 30 feet long, telling the story of the Conquest of Tunis by Philip’s father. The couple left for Spain, and lived in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, but religious persecution during Mary’s reign led to her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ because during the last three years of her life, some 300 people were burned at the stake.

The final print I looked at was of Winchester Castle and the Great Hall.  This was built on the orders of William the Conqueror and was the seat of government for the early Norman kings and within its walls were help the treasury, the exchequer and the Domesday Book. Today no part remains, but the foundations of William the Conqueror’s royal chapel and of an early 12th century keep can be seen in Castle Yard.  The castle itself was almost completely rebuilt during the reign of Henry III from 1216-72 and the king supervised the construction of the superb Great Hall from 1222-36. After a widespread fire in 1302, the castle lost its status as a royal residence, but none of its historical significance.  The Peninsula Barracks, originally the palace built by Sir Christopher Wren for King Charles I, stands on the site of the castle built by William the Conqueror, using as its west, south and east ramparts the old Roman wall, and adding an eastern side. A first royal palace was erected within the walls. The royal treasury was kept here, as was the Domesday Book.

The Conquerors great-great-great-grandson was born here, and as King Henry III began the castles complete reconstruction. The Great Hall was built between 1222 and 1235. It still stands today, arguably the finest example of a medieval aisled hall in England. On one wall hangs the Round Table which has been carefully examined in recent times, and it was decided that it had been made at the end of the 13th century as a symbolic ornament for a feast held after a great tournament celebrating King Edward I’s vision for the future of the English crown. The legs were cut off, the surface covered with painted leather and the table hung in Winchester castle hall by King Edward III.  For centuries it has hung there, its origins forgotten, but its identity with the legendary round table of King Arthur still fuels popular imagination, and although it is not King Arthur’s original table it has now been restored and re-hung, and the ideals of the Arthurian legend lives on. The names of the twenty-four Knights of the Round Table are engraved around the edge of the table surmounted by King Arthur on his throne.  It is one of the finest and largest halls in England and has many stained glassed windows, and its steel gates were installed in 1982 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer inspired.

Having a super lunch, we decided to take the short walk to The Great Hall which is at the top of the High Street, just to the left of Westgate, but castle Avenue leading to the Great Hall has some cobbled uneven surfaces, so care is needed.   A low ramp offers easy access to the Great Hall and seating is available.  There is also a gift shop, and gallery on site via a stone staircase, but there is a lift available for wheelchair users, just ring the bell on the display board near the steps for assistance. There is also limited parking for Blue Badge holders along Castle Avenue which can be requested in advance. It  all.is well worth a visit and I would recommend it on your next visit to his historic city.