Royal Winchester: Wanderings in and about the Ancient Capital of England


Transcriber’s Note

Illustrations have been moved near to the text they illustrate. The page numbers in the List of Illustrations refer to the original positions.

Footnotes have been moved to the end of chapters.

Sidenotes were originally page headings, they have been moved to the start of paragraphs.

Inconsistent hyphenation and variant spelling are retained.

Quotations and transcriptions have been left as printed.

Minor changes have been made to punctuation, the other changes that have been made are listed at the end of the book.

The Cathedral West Front

The Cathedral: West Front.








(All rights reserved.)

Among those who have kindly afforded me information during the progress of this work are the Very Rev. Dr. Kitchin, Dean of Winchester, the Rev. Dr. Sewell, Warden of New College, Oxford, the Rev. J. G. Young, Mr. F. Baigent, Mr. J. H. Round, Mr. T. Stopher, and Mr. C. G. Harper. I have consulted, among recent works, those of the Misses Bramston and Leroy, the Rev. H. C. Adams, and Mr. Woodward.



Introduction — The High Street — The Castle — King Arthur — Historical Reminiscences — Executions — The Civil War — Charles II.’s Palace — The Westgate — Wyke — Littleton — Crawley — Lainston — Sparsholt1
“God Begot” House — The High Street — Old Guildhall — Butter Cross — King Alfred — The Penthouse — St. Maurice’s Church — The Bell and Crown — New Guildhall — Museum — Archives — St. Mary’s Nunnery — St. John’s Hospital — Soke Prison — St. Giles’ Hill — The Fair49
The City Walls — Danemead — Eastgate — Northgate — Westgate — Southgate — Kingsgate — The College — Wykeham — Wolvesey — Raleigh85
Jewry Street and the Jews — Hyde Abbey — St. Grimbald — Destruction of Tombs — Headbourne Worthy — King’s Worthy — The Nuns’ Walk123[x]
The Cathedral — Early History — Dagon — St. Swithun — Æthelwold — The Vocal Cross — Ordeal of Fire — Walkelin — Renovation of the Cathedral — Civil War — Architecture — Nave — Isaak Walton — Relics and Monuments — De la Roche — Frescoes — Ethelmar — Crypt148
The Grenadier — Cathedral Library and Museum — The Deanery — Pilgrim’s Hall — Precincts — Cheyney Court — Regulations of the Monastery — North side of the Cathedral — Early decay of the City — St. Peter’s Street — Middle Brooks — Old Houses209
Southgate Street — St. Cross — Dr. Lewis — Regulations — St. Catherine’s Hill243
Ancient Britons — St. John’s Church — Magdalen Hospital — Punchbowl — Chilcombe — St. Peter’s Cheesehill — Twyford — Monoliths — Brambridge Avenue — Otterbourne — Compton — “Oliver’s Battery” — Hursley — Tomb of Keble — Merdon Castle — Farley Mount — The Hampage Oak — Tichborne262








Introduction — The High Street — The Castle — King Arthur — Historical Reminiscences — Executions — The Civil War — Charles II.’s Palace — The Westgate — Wyke — Littleton — Crawley — Lainston — Sparsholt.

Would that the George Hotel had an old gable, or even an Elizabethan window,” I said to myself as I unshouldered my knapsack; “but perhaps the ordinary visitor thinks more of creature comforts than of artistic effects.”

“Is there anything of antiquity about the house?” I inquired, turning to the waiter.

“Not that I know of,” was the reply;[2] “but it is a very ancient establishment. There is a fresco two hundred years old in one of the rooms,” he added, with a little pride.

I took out my notebook and pencil, and was shown into a ground-floor room in the western and earlier part of the hotel to see this curiosity. Alas! it proved to be nothing but an old paperhanging.

“Not very remarkable,” I said, carelessly.

“Indeed, sir!”

“I am expecting some friends by the next train,” I continued. “We shall require dinner for three. What can we have?”

The waiter was pretty well acquainted with the productions of the culinary department, which had not much charm of novelty, and after settling that important business, I sallied forth to purchase a guide-book. This was not the first time I had been at Winchester, and much of the information it contained was not new to me; but I wished to refresh my memory on some points, as the friends I was expecting looked to me to be their cicerone during the few days we were to spend here together.

Reading some and skipping more, and glancing at the well-known illustrations, I thought myself fairly acquainted with the subject, especially as I had rummaged up something from old books and manuscripts[3] in London. I wished to stand well with the old gentleman and his daughter for certain reasons which I shall not mention—because I may be unsuccessful. Well—we shall see.


Here they are!—warm greetings—the luggage is lifted down, and by degrees the small articles which accompany a lady’s travels were brought in, counted, and arranged. Do the number and variety of them cause me to hesitate or to reflect that in single blessedness—

“When a man’s hat is on his head
His house is thatched and furnishèd”?

No, not for one moment.

Conversation soon becomes more connected, and, in due course, allusion is made to the object of our visit.

“Now, mind you tell us everything about Winchester,” said Miss Hertford, with a smiling emphasis, which showed that she intended to be obeyed.

“Everything, and some other things,” I replied, submissively;[4] “but perhaps you under-estimate the extent of the mine which is here beneath our feet. You are an enchantress, and if you wish to become the idol of antiquaries, turn Winchester upside down for a few hours.”

The present “George” is not inspiring architecturally, but still possesses a fragrance beyond that of mere soups and joints. Here successive generations have been accommodated and regaled,

“Have found the warmest welcome at an inn,”

ever since the days of Edward IV. Had a Visitors Book been kept, what a rare collection of autographs would it have contained! In the twentieth year of Henry VIII. we read of the “In of the George” being leased by the Mayor to one Stephen Boddam, on condition that he pays the rent fixed and forty shillings towards the new making of the chimney.[1] The name of the house was taken from the patron saint of England, pork-dealer, bishop, and dragon-slayer; to whom we find a chapel in Winchester dedicated in Henry IV.’s time.[2]

Sufferings of a Royalist.

The stable at the back is the oldest part. It has a dingy aspect, and an unpleasant association. When Waller was here making demands upon the citizens in 1643, one Master Say, a son of a Prebendary[5] of the Cathedral, directed his servant to conceal his horses. Betrayed and brought before Waller, he was questioned, and his answers being deemed unsatisfactory, was handed over to the Provost Marshal to extract a confession. He was forthwith taken into the “eighteen-stall stable,” a halter was placed round his neck, and, as he still refused information, he was pulled up and down to the rack until nearly strangled. All the spectators retired in disgust—they could not stand the sight.

“How dreadful!” exclaimed Miss Hertford. “Did the poor man die?”

“It very nearly finished him,” I returned; “but people were pretty strong in those days. However, he had, as a result, a dangerous illness.”

There is no better starting-point than the “George,” in the centre of the High Street, for exploring Winchester. This was the chief street in Roman times, and perhaps terminated in such a round arch as we see at Lincoln. In the palmy days of the city good houses probably adorned the street. There seems to have been a fashionable tailor here in the days of John and Henry III. His cut was evidently appreciated, for he was not only employed by the King, but given wood to repair his house, Limafelda, the rent of which was a grey[6] pelise for the King. We may conclude there was also a grand harness maker: for John ordered the Mayor to give the constable of Corfe Castle a handsome (pulchra) saddle, with a scarlet saddle-cloth and gilt bridle.[3]

The scene had greatly changed by Henry VIII.’s time. The houses, mostly wooden and thatched, had gardens in front of them, of a somewhat Irish character, for the walls were dilapidated,[4] and they contained few flowers, but many sweet—pigs. A civic order was now made that householders should no longer keep “hog-sties” within the boundaries of the “hie” street. Those were times of darkness—there were no town-lights, and some apprehension was felt that even the supply of candles might run short. And so, in the fifteenth year of Henry VIII., it was ordered by the Winchester “assemble” that the chandlers “should make” good and well-burning candles, and “should see there was no lack of them.”[5] In Charles II.’s time the citizens were bidden to hang out lights while the King was in residence.



Now let us come to a nearer date, and imagine this street a hundred years ago. An open drain ran down it, and lines of gables and overhanging storeys nodded across at each other in grotesque infirmity. A pretty picture they made, and there was one night in the year on which they seemed to me to be sadly missing—the fifth of November—when tar barrels were lit at the Westgate and kicked down the street by an exulting mob. A grand scene it was of riot and wildfire, and only wanted the quaint, irregular buildings to complete the effect.

“When Keats was here in 1819,” said Mr. Hertford, “he found the place much modernized and ‘improved.’ He says the side streets were excessively maiden-lady-like; the doorsteps were always fresh from the flannel, and the knockers had a staid, serious, almost awful quietness about them. Never did he see such a quiet collection of lions’ and rams’ heads.”[6]


West Gate, Winchester.

The first object that attracted our attention on our walks was the Westgate, which crowns the High Street, and is beautiful with its ivy, arches, and two Decorated windows. There is a warm semi-domestic character in the fortifications of a[10] town—a charm distinct from that of the colder grandeur of the Castle and Cathedral. As we approach the gate, we pass the Star Inn.

“That unpretentious building,” I said, “stands on holy ground.[7]

“Graves of unknown age, Roman coins and vases were found there when digging for the foundations in 1885. It is thought that a palace of Queen Emma stood on or near its site. There was a hostel named ‘La Starre’ in Winchester in the reign of Henry IV.


We now approach and stand before the gate. Had we been here in the fourteenth century—on a Sunday morning—during the fair, we should have found ourselves surrounded by a chattering crowd, buying bread at the stalls here erected; while close to us on the left (south), would have risen a grim tower in haughty grandeur. It stood just in front of where are now the stairs of the office of the Hampshire Friendly Society—a slight inequality in the road can be observed over the foundations. This was a part of the ancient castle, which some say was built by FitzOsborne at the Conqueror’s command, while[11] others[8] observe that we have no allusion to it till the days of Henry I. In Henry II.’s reign it is often mentioned. Some say that previously the Saxon palace stood here. This palace has been well jolted about by topographers, most of whom place it in the Square behind the Butter Cross. The result is that we have here a couple of prisoners, and do not know where to put them. One of these is Stigand, Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards archbishop. His treasures were not entirely in the other world, but he kindly kept a correct account of them, and wore his key on a chain round his neck, so that on his death in 1070, William had no difficulty in turning his store into the royal coffers. The other sufferer was a young Saxon of the name of Meaw. It appears that the Conqueror’s wife, Matilda, was not so busy with her Bayeux tapestry and Abbaye aux Dames as to forget all about this aggravating person. He would care nothing for her, and she determined to be revenged. So she had him shut up somewhere in Winchester, that he might have leisure to reflect on the advantages of being “willing and free.” Prisons were not then as they are now—some of the best warmed and ventilated places—there were[12] no good food and attentive doctors, and after a short time poor Meaw was beyond the reach both of love and hatred.

The Domesday Book.

In this Castle was the “exchequer,” that is, the depository of records and treasure. Among the valuables it contained for a considerable time was the celebrated Domesday Book, or a copy of it, which is first mentioned as the “Liber de Thesauro,” appealed to in a case argued before Queen Matilda “in the treasury of the Castle of Winchester,”[9] about the year 1108. The original rolls disappeared at an early date, perhaps in some conflagration, but the Winton book, that describing this locality, is a more full copy from them than is the larger Domesday Book for the whole of England. Authorities differ as to when this book was removed from Winchester. In the seventh year of Henry II., there appears a charge in the Pipe Rolls for conveying the “arca” from Winchester to London, and in the London Record Office there is a curious chest in which this[13] book was kept at Westminster. It is about five feet square, formed of iron nearly an inch thick, and strengthened with heavy girders and studs. This may have been the very ark above mentioned.

“In order to see this castle we must ante-date our existence three hundred years.”

“I wish we could,” said Mr. Hertford, “then we should have no trouble about Home Rule or County Councils.”

“Suppose then,” I proceeded, “we are standing in front of the old tower I have mentioned, and admiring its handsome mouldings of cut stone. If we are allowed to enter and explore we shall find beneath it three subterranean passages radiating in different directions—one to the east, passing into the town, with a view probably of taking sanctuary in churches; another to the south, leading towards the hall; and a third to the west, ending in a sally port outside the town. Passing through this entrance tower we have on our left an embattled wall (where the paved walk now runs) meeting the end of the hall,[10] and on our right another wall (along the course of the iron railing of the Friendly Society), extending to the[14] State apartments—the site of the present County Offices. The original Norman Castle—a tower fifty-two feet square and fourteen thick, which stood where the Jubilee Queen now sits in front of the hall—was demolished at an early date. The succeeding castle had round towers, between thirty and forty feet wide, and from eight to ten thick.[11] Beyond the hall was an inner court, or ‘pleasaunce,’ with four towers, one at each corner; one is still visible, and one stood where the officers’ quarters are; one probably belonging to the Castle, but somewhat distant, and perhaps detached, was found in the railway cutting.

The Castle.


“A remarkable, if not fabulous event, took place ‘in the hall of Winchester Castle’ (or palace) in Edward the Confessor’s time. The story goes that one of the serving-men in bringing in a dish slipped one foot, but saved himself with the other. Earl Godwin being in good spirits, perhaps, at the termination of the almost endless grace, attempted a joke—a somewhat hazardous venture before the Confessor. ‘So should one brother support the other,’ quoth he. Edward was down upon him in a moment. ‘So might I have been now assisted by my brother Alfred, if Earl Godwin had not prevented it.’ The Earl protested that he had no connection with that murder; ‘might the next morsel be his last if he had.’ He ate and tried to swallow, but the food and the lie stuck in his throat, and he fell dead under the table.”

“I have read, somewhere,” observed Mr. Hertford, “that there is no truth in that story beyond the fact that the Earl died suddenly at a banquet here, and was buried in the Cathedral. It has a Norman flavour.”

We find that Henry II. bought a place in Winchester for his mews, which remained in the hands of John and Henry III.[12] John in his fifth year gave to Matthew Wallop “the custody of our house and castle gates and gaol in Winchester for the service of his keeping at his cost our birds put in the Castle to be mewed, finding one servant to mew them, and keep throughout the mewing time. And he shall find three hare hounds for each season.”[13] John also ordered a Columbarium to be made in the Castle.[14]


Castle Hall

Castle Hall.

While we were admiring the exterior of the hall I thought of the grim ornaments with which the Castle was once adorned. Here was placed by Edward I. a quarter of the last native Prince of Wales. Here Queen Isabella exhibited the head of Earl Despencer. As I was musing, a labourer came out, and we were enabled to enter the building.

“Magnificent!” exclaimed Mr. Hertford. “What a length and height; and look at those tall, blue shafts of Purbeck marble!”

“Those pillars and aisles,” I replied, “have led some to mistake it for a church. But although we read of four chapels in the Castle—the chief of which was to St. Josse—this was not among them. The length is 110 feet. The old entrance to the hall, the mouldings of which are still visible, was used towards the end of the last century, and corresponded with that still existing on the south side.”[15]

Arthur’s Table.

At the west end are the remains of a daïs, and a curious orifice, supposed to be for communicating by word of mouth with the State apartments. Over this, like a large target, hangs the famous “round table” of King Arthur—a mystery for centuries. In[17] the reign of Henry III., who was much here, and had his birth-room in the Castle coloured with fresh green, when there were statues in the porch, marble pillars, and a painted chamber, there were also here a “Mappa Mundi” and a “Wheel of Fortune.” The latter seems suggestive, and the Round Tower, built by Wykeham, at Windsor, and called the Round Table, may have been taken from this; but we hear nothing of it till Henry VI.’s reign,[16] and the present painting dates from Henry VIII., who specially showed the work of art to the Emperor Charles V. Round it are inscribed the names of Arthur’s knights, and in the centre is a picture of a king in voluminous robes, much more like a Tudor monarch than a British warrior.[17] Tradition says that Arthur founded this Castle. He and his companions, when divested of their French motley, represent the conflict which raged between the Christian Britons and the pagan[18] Saxons. It is said that he gained a great victory in this neighbourhood, and so fondly did the conquered and oppressed natives recall the memory of their beloved champion, that they fancied he would come again—

“Thence to Britain shall return,
If right prophetic rolls I learn,
Borne on Victory’s spreading plume,
His ancient sceptre to resume,
His knightly table to restore,
And brave the tournaments of yore.”

Henry VII. was not above superstitious or worldly considerations, and the legendary foundation of the Castle induced him to bring Elizabeth to this city to be delivered, and to call his first son Arthur.[18]

The Castle.

Great improvements were made in the Castle by Henry III., for which the forest of Bere was mainly contributory. The order is extant in which the verderers are commanded to sell the underwood and give the money for the construction of a great hall at the Castle,[19] and oaks were to be cut for forming the roof.[20] This forest, extending from Winchester[19] to Southampton, would be able to furnish ample money and material. The stone for building and repairing the Castle was to be brought from “Kerebroc,” in the Isle of Wight.[21]

Twenty-five thousand slates were placed upon the roof, and the queen’s chamber was panelled with Irish oak. By the time Elizabeth came to the throne, the Castle was in a somewhat dilapidated state. From a letter of the Commissioners in 1570, we find that the ditch and rampart on the west part of the Castle was overgrown with moss and small bushes; it contained three acres. The Castle green was let, together with the “old walls and ruinous void romes” there—the lessee to keep it clean for Sessions and Assizes. The Mayor had lately repaired the roof of the hall; the Queen had spent much money on its south aisle, but the north aisle was so greatly decayed that the whole edifice was in danger of falling. After this report,[22] some repairs were probably undertaken.

“Do not we see,” I continued, “as we stand and gaze at this splendid structure, the pomp of history sweep slowly past? Here advance Henry I.[20] and his bride Matilda of Scotland,[23] and Cœur de Lion returned from captivity. Henry the Third and the three Edwards were more frequent in their visits and banquets.[24] Here is the studious young William of Wykeham, secretary to Sir John de Scures, Constable of the Castle. What is all this bridal array?—Henry IV. and Joan of Brittany. Here the warlike Henry V., who may be claimed as a Winchester boy, is receiving the French ambassadors[25] who came with three hundred men; and here his gentle son obtains less perishable honours as he lays down the plan of Eton College on the lines of Wykeham’s foundation. Here is the bluff and jovial Henry VIII., holding high festival for the handsome young Emperor Charles V.; and here is melancholy Mary, doating on her faithless Philip.


The Hall.

“James I. gave the Castle to Benjamin Tichborne—a name recalling a recent contest; and Charles II. demolished most of it for the construction of his more luxurious palace.

“In Edward the First’s reign the Bishop of St. Andrews though only a prisoner of war who had opposed the King in Scotland, was confined here in irons. It was then the rule rather than the exception for such prisoners to be chained. A Parliament was held here by Isabella and Mortimer, and a cruel scene then followed the incarceration of Edmund of Woodstock. He was brought out in front of the main entrance to the Castle (through the city wall) to be executed. There he was kept “from morn till dewy eve” in a state of painful suspense, for, to the credit of all, no one would be induced to do the cruel deed. At last a prisoner, to save his own life, decapitated him.”

“I have often wondered,” observed Mr. Hertford, “how any one could be induced to perform this odious office against the lives of celebrated men. We know the difficulty there was in the case of Charles I., how disguises were used and what suspicions there were as to who were the two executioners.”

“We have another sensational scene here,” I[22] proceeded, “before the time of Charles. When James I. came to the throne the Castle Green was again reddened with blood. Eleven persons, among them Raleigh, were tried for conspiring against the King and State. Several were condemned, as were Lord Grey de Wilton and Lord Cobham, who were tried in this hall.

“I can see,” I said, “two men pacing up and down here in great mental perturbation. Three have already suffered on the Green, and Markham and Lord Grey, having been led forth in all the pomp of woe to execution, have been respited for a couple of hours and turned into ‘Arthur’s Hall,’ to gain what cold comfort they can from it. Then Cobham was led forth, and Markham and Grey were brought out to meet him. Reprieves were given—a great shout from the assembled multitude rent the air—and the pardoned looked at each other and felt as if they were alive from the dead. Raleigh saw all this performance from his prison, and was agreeably surprised to hear that he also was not to be executed. The Court was in the Castle during this sensational period, and the ladies were amusing themselves with small games such as ‘Rise pig and go,’ and ‘One penny follow me.’ Lady Arabella Stuart was with them in[23] whose behalf the conspiracy was said to have been formed.”[26]

Cruel Sentence.

We now come to what happened here at the end of the Civil War, when Charles was within Carisbrooke Castle, in the Isle of Wight. When the Commissioners left, Hammond, who was in charge of him, dismissed all the royal attendants. This became known in the neighbourhood, where the people were Royalists, and caused great indignation. Thereupon a Captain Burleigh, a man of good family in the island, who had been captain of one of the King’s ships and afterwards a general of ordnance in the army, had a drum beaten in Newport, and called upon the people to take arms and storm the Castle. It was a rash and childish project, and sensible people held aloof from it. Burleigh probably thought that he could not be much punished, and no one had yet suffered for treason in supporting the King. But the Parliament took a new departure. Hammond arrested him, and sent him a prisoner to Winchester Castle, and soon a ferocious judge, whose name was Wild, was sent down to condemn him. Sentence in the usual form[24] was passed, and the unfortunate man sentenced to be hanged and quartered here.

Shortly afterwards Charles himself passed a night here on his road from Hurst Castle to Windsor, whence he took his last journey to London. Many of the gentry and others came to meet him, and the Mayor and Corporation prepared an address; but Lieutenant Cobbett warned them, and having fresh in their memories the tragic end of poor Burleigh, they desisted and craved forgiveness.

Surrender of the Castle.

At no period in its history did the Castle occupy so conspicuous a position as during the Civil War. From 1642 to 1645, there was frequently a conflict raging here between the red scarf and the buff. In the first-named year it was in the neglected state into which it had gradually fallen, and the Cavaliers who took refuge in it, found it an inadequate place of safety, as there were no cannon on its walls and Waller’s troops “beset them with musqueteers and Horse, and lay perdues under the wall so that not a man of them could stir.” At eleven at night the Cavaliers sounded for a parley—in vain—and the besiegers next morning, lacking artillery and petards, prepared a quantity of faggots and tar barrels to burn the Castle gate. Then negotiations commenced, and it was agreed that[25] Lord Grandison should surrender the Castle with all arms, horses, and money, the garrison being granted their lives. A scandalous scene of pillage ensued, contrary to conditions. The men were stripped of their clothes “four or five pulling at one cloak like hounds at the leg of a dead horse,” and the officers were robbed of their purses. Waller left Lord Grandison and some prisoners in the Castle, under a small guard, but he found means to escape to the King at Oxford, and suggested to Sir William Ogle that he should try to rescue the prisoners. Sir Richard Tichborne assisted, and in three days they were in possession both of the Castle and of the arms and ammunition of the enemy. Sir William now strengthened the Castle, and made it “as inaccessible as art could invent,” considering it the key to the whole Western country. He was assisted by the Mayor and citizens, and put the defences of the city into a better state than they had been for years. Soon afterwards the Royalist Western army of 3,000 Foot and 1,500 Horse entered the town under Lord Hopton. Winchester was generally a loyal town, but there were some weak-kneed people there, who replied to the King that[26]they could not be justly blamed for endeavouring to secure their lives and to keep their wives and daughters from rapine and destruction.”

After the city had been three times plundered by Waller it again held out for the King, and was finally taken by Cromwell at the end of September, 1645. He advanced against it with three regiments of infantry and 2000 cavalry. This strong force and the memory of past defeats caused the resistance to be half-hearted—indeed, the Mayor said he would try to bring about a capitulation. After the gate was fired, the Roundheads entered and the Royalists fled to the Castle, which was soon surrounded. Mines and batteries were immediately commenced. “We have cooped up in the Castle 120 Horse and 400 Foot, and all the malignant gentry and clergy of this Hampshire and Sussex, with many Papists and Jesuits.” Doctor Curle, the Bishop of Winchester, remained firm to the King on this trying occasion, and suffered accordingly. Cromwell gave him permission to leave the city, but he refused to accept it, and went into the Castle with the soldiers. But next day, Thursday, when the batteries were placed opposite the walls, the Bishop thought he would as soon be somewhere else, and sent to Cromwell to say he would accept his offer. This advance was refused, and he was[27] told he would be treated as any other prisoner of war.

Attack by Cromwell.

On Friday the battery of six guns was perfected, and on Saturday it began to play. Lord Ogle hoisted a red flag of defiance. Notwithstanding Cromwell’s Puritan views, he did not make Sunday a day of rest, nor did he keep it holy, though he intermingled prayer and preaching with battering—firing altogether two hundred cannon balls in the day. The Royalists replied; sometimes firing into the High Street, which became unsafe for passengers, and at one time making a sally and beating the Roundheads from their guns for the moment. But the storm proved too severe, the red flag was carried away by a shot, and granadoes did great execution—one breaking through into the hall and killing three men.[27] A wide breach was made near the “Black Tower” and the Royalists called out “A parley, a parley for God’s sake! Let us have articles! Will you not hear us for a parley?

We might have expected a more stubborn defence, for the Castle was strongly fortified. If the besiegers had entered the breach they would have had six distinct works and a drawbridge to pass over. Moreover victuals were abundant.


Cromwell now wrote the following unctuous letter to Fairfax:—

Sir,—This is the addition of another mercy. You see God is not weary of doing you good. I confess, Sir, His favour to you is as visible when He comes by His power upon the hearts of your enemies, making them quit places of strength to you, as when He gives courage to your soldiers to attempt hard things. His goodness in this is much to be acknowledged; for the Castle was well manned with six hundred and eighty Horse and Foot, there being near two hundred gentlemen, officers and their servants, well victualled with 15 cwt. of cheese, very great store of wheat and beer, nearly 20 barrels of powder, seven pieces of cannon; the works were exceeding good and strong. It’s very likely it would have cost much blood to have gained it by storm. This is repeated to you that God may have all the praise, for it’s all His due. Sir, I rest your most humble servant,

“Oliver Cromwell.

Winchester, 6th October, 1645.”

Cavaliers Disguised.

Among the spoil were three or four hogsheads of French wines and a hundred and twelve hogsheads of strong beer. The Cavaliers felt a natural reluctance that all this good tipple should go down rebel[31] throats, and seem to have done their best to prevent such a calamity. The enemy were by the articles to enter at eight on Monday morning, but the surrender had to be delayed until after two, owing to the intoxicated state of the garrison. “Viscount Ogle was as drunk as a beggar,” writes an eye-witness. “I had come sooner had not my Lord Ogle and his company been so unwilling to part with their sack and strong beer, of which they drank so liberally at their farewell that few of them, as it is their manner, could get up on their horses without help.” The Bishop and his chaplain came out in their long gowns and cassocks, and were granted an escort to protect them from insult. Dr. Curle died a few years later in poverty.

The Castle was conferred by Parliament on Sir W. Waller, brother-in-law to Sir Henry Tichborne, to whom it belonged. It had been in the Waller family, who were connected with the Tichbornes. Waller sold the Hall to the County and the Castle to the Corporation of Winchester.[28]

The Parliaments of England sat occasionally in this Hall for four hundred years after the Conquest. Since Henry VIII.’s reign county business has been transacted here, and from Cromwell’s time the[32] Law Courts have been established, the space being divided, the upper part devoted to the Crown Court, and the lower to Nisi Prius. Generations of judges here shivered on the Bench, but at length a successful demand was made that New Courts should be constructed at the east end, and that this hall should be only the vestibule and waiting-room. During a long period the graceful pillars we now behold were portly and shapeless, encased in cement a foot thick, but in course of time the witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants who were kept kicking their heels here by “the law’s delays” did some good, for they knocked off the lower part of the cement and the marble became visible. About fourteen years ago it was determined to try the effect of removing the incrustation, and the operation having proved successful on one of the pillars near the door, the rest were soon “translated.”

Palace of Charles II.

Passing through the south door we found ourselves beside the one remaining tower, massive in strength and looking down from the height upon a garden where once ran the castle moat. On our right rises the high wall of a very different structure—Charles II.’s red brick palace. The proportions are magnificent and the whole effect worthy of its great designer, Wren. The main entrance with[33] its six lofty pillars, acanthus-leaved capitals, and heavy entablature surmounted by the royal arms is scarcely visible from any point in the town, owing to the conglomeration of houses below it, but a glimpse can be obtained from a stable yard in Trafalgar Street, turning out of the High Street.

Charles II. laid the first stone in 1683. Evelyn writes in that year that the palace was estimated to cost £35,000, and the surveyor was purchasing land for a park to be ten miles in circumference. There was to be a cupola over it visible at sea. After Newmarket was consumed by fire, the King was more earnest to render Winchester the seat of his autumnal field diversions. Two years later Evelyn was here, and observed that £20,000 had been expended on the palace, but his Majesty (James II.) did not seem to encourage the work. Queen Anne surveyed it in person, and would have completed it for the Prince of Denmark had he lived. The first use made of it was for the incarceration of French prisoners of war in 1756. It must have been at that time a dreadful place; there were sometimes as many as five thousand prisoners in it. In 1792 it was occupied by a number of the exiled French clergy,[29] and a few years later[34] was fitted up as a barrack, for which it has been ever since used.

Returning from the Castle to the Westgate we found that the keys of the Tower were kept at St. John’s Hospital at the other end of the High Street, and that it was necessary to obtain the permission of the civic authorities. This caused some delay, but when I returned we entered, and, ascending the rugged stairs, came to a cell where prisoners were until lately confined. Proceeding higher we reached the chamber over the arch—a handsome room with an ancient carved mantel-piece. The cause of the precautions taken with regard to visitors now become intelligible; for here are the archives of the city—volumes of records beginning with Philip and Mary, and piles of ancient vellum rolls. I observed a fine charter of Elizabeth’s reign, commencing with an etched portrait of the Queen, as a young girl, and a grandiloquent reference to Mary and Philip, as sovereigns of England, Scotland, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland. The rarest of these old documents were for a long time thought to be lost, but when, some ten years ago, inquiry was being made in a solicitor’s office in Peter’s Street, for a charter of Richard II., one of the clerks said:[35] “Oh, we have a box full of these old things,” showing some parchments. And here, upon examination, were found twenty of these ancient records!

The City Coffer.

In this room is the huge old city chest, nearly ten feet long by four wide. It has three locks and different keys, and long chains and rings by which it could be carried about like the Ark of the Israelites.

“From what we read of the propensities of the Jews,” said Mr. Hertford, “I should say they would have preferred such an ark as this to their own.”

“Well, some of them would, perhaps,” I replied. “Their ark carried the law and holy things, but this contained the coin, and also the gold and silver plate of the city.”

It was heavily drawn upon in Charles I.’s reign for the King’s benefit. On December 30, 1643, there were taken out for the maintenance of the army:—

One silver ewer, weighing 33 oz.
Three silver bowls, 31 oz.
Two silver wine bowls, 15 oz.
One gilt bowl with cover, 31 oz.
One great silver salt, 28 oz.
One silver tankard, 19 oz.
One silver basin, 74 oz.

Previously they had sent him £300 raised by sale of plate.


“Why, the good aldermen could scarcely have left themselves a cup for drinking the King’s health,” observed Mr. Hertford.

“Nor had they much wine for that purpose,” I added. “They had sent the King already a sum of £1,000, and the Roundheads tapped them pretty freely.”

This large chest reminds me of another there is at Upham, in which, when at Marwell Hall near this, a girl playing hide-and-seek concealed herself. She could not raise the lid, and nothing was known about her mysterious disappearance until years afterwards when her skeleton was found—a melancholy treasure.

Passing through the gate I admired the exterior. There was machicolation over it for giving assailants a warm reception, perhaps because there was no ditch in front of it. There was a moat on each side, but on account of the difference of level, they did not meet here. Milner says that there was part of a Saxon chapel adhering to this building.

As we were about to move on, the magic of history brought a scene before my mind. Stay! what is that concourse and cavalcade before the gate? I hear a voice proclaiming—


“Let no merchant or other for these sixteen days, within a circuit of sixteen leagues round the Fair, sell, buy, or set out for sale, any merchandise in any place but the Fair, under a penalty of forfeiture of goods to the Bishop.”

The Mayor is presenting the keys of the gate, but what sour countenances have he and his fellow citizens! Is not this what took place in the fourteenth century, on the eve of St. Giles’ fair?

The Plague.

As it was a fine autumnal day I now strolled right away by myself for a country walk. Just before me was an obelisk raised to commemorate the Plague of 1666, when the markets had to be placed outside the town. It stands upon the very stone on which exchanges were then made, the money being dropped into a bowl of water to avoid contagion. I saw in large letters on the obelisk that it was erected by the “Society of Natives,” somewhat suggestive of oysters, or of some primitive race descended from them, but I found the reference was to an association formed immediately after the plague, with the benevolent object of assisting the widows and orphans of those who had died.

An old man told me that when at work in a cellar near this, in Newburgh Street, he found, seven feet down, about a hundred rusty old swords. He was told they were Saxon, and that if he had sent them to the Queen he should never have had to do another[38] day’s work, “a consummation,” according to his views, “devoutly to be wished.” Some of them were sent to the Museum, but as I could not find them there, I doubted whether they were really Saxon.

Proceeding towards the country I saw on my right the Church of St. Paul’s in course of construction—the work seems to have fallen into a state of chronic debility. It stands on the foundations of the old Church of St. Anastasius, and this district which seems fresh and cheerful is mostly historical from disease. It was depopulated by a pestilence in 1348, and never until lately recovered. At the end of the fifteenth century this church, and one with the pleasant name of “St. Mary’s of the Valley,” were taken down, and Wyke Chapel made the parish church.

On the left I passed a red brick building, with some handsome trees beside it. This was the Union Workhouse—a bright, comfortable-looking edifice, which ought to cheer the hearts of any farmers and landowners who are thinking of soon entering it. At the back they will find a public recreation ground, called “Oram’s Arbour,” with seats, where they can rest and reflect upon their past fortunes, and bless Oram, who, having a lease of great length, generously surrendered it on condition that the ground should be[39] free to the citizens for ever. There were, forty years ago, on the western side of it, where houses have been built, a fosse and bank, probably made by the Royalists in Cromwell’s time, though some have regarded them as a part of the old British defences of the town.


Farther on I passed a row of cottages with brightly flowering gardens, and after continuing up the hill between hedges white with “travellers’ joy,” for about half a mile, descended beneath overhanging larches, and came to the village of Wyke, with its little boulevard of pollard lime trees. Having obtained the keys at an adjoining cottage, I entered the tiny church beneath the Norman arch, and looked at the East window, which contains bits of old glass and has coloured scroll work round it.

The chapel is mentioned by Henry de Blois, but was rebuilt in Henry VIII.’s reign. Within the chancel is a stone in the wall about eighteen inches square, in memory of Dr. Harpesfelde, who died in 1550. This person was a nephew of Johanna, Viscountess Lisle, who bequeathed to him as a “scholar of Bologna,” twelve pounds, six silver spoons, a silver cup, and a gown. He was made by Wolsey Commissary-general of the diocese, and assisted at the enthronement of Gardiner. Towards the end of his[40] life he lived here, and went about in a horse litter. The engraver has made his inscription conspicuous by forming the chief letters very large and inserting the others inside them—an early suggestion of shorthand.

The Epitaph of Dr. Harpesfelde



The greater part of the present building is of Henry VIII.’s time. There are here abundant monuments to the Godwin family. I was somewhat amused at one, which, after setting forth a long catalogue of virtues, ended by bidding the exhausted reader—“Blush, if you do not venerate the name of Thomas Godwin.”[30]

Just opposite the door there is in the wall a curious little brass, about a foot high and six inches wide.[41] Many people come to take rubbings of it. Here is represented St. Christopher carrying the infant Christ. The saint is wading through a stream, and in his anxiety to behold the face of his sacred burden seems to have dislocated his neck. The inscription beneath runs as follows:—

Here lieth will’m Complyn
& Annes his wife yᵉ Whiche
will’m decessid yᵉ xxj day of
mayj yᵉ yere of oure lord
mc.c.c.clxxxxviiii. Also this be
ze dedis yᵗ ze said will’m hath
down to this Church of Wike
yᵗ is to say frest dedycacion
of yᵉ Church xlˢ & to make
newe bellis to yᵉ sam Church
xˡ also gave to yᵉ halloyeng
of yᵉ grettest bell vjˢ. viij. d.
& for yᵉ testimonyall’ of the
dedicacion of yᵉ sam Church
vjˢ viii. d. on whos soules
ihu have mercy Amen.

I observed that z is here twice put for y—and the fact reminded me of the pronunciation of the agricultural people here.

As I left the quaint little sanctuary I found an old[42] labouring man standing outside gazing at it wistfully in an attitude of meditation. I was glad to see this. “The poorest,” I thought, “can appreciate the ancient and the beautiful.” But his reflections were more practical. As I passed he gave me a curious look, and said, with a twinkle in his grey eyes—

“Richest living about Winchester, zir.”

“Indeed,” I replied. “How much do you make it?”

“Eight hundred and fifty, zir.”

“The rector would be glad to receive half that,” I returned.

Resuming my walk I soon came in sight of a white cylindrical building with a globular top, on the high ground of Harestock. As I saw my agricultural friend trudging after me I stopped to ask him about it.

“What is that?” I inquired.

“That? Oh that is a place for looking at the stars. It belongs to Captain Knight; he is a great astrologer.”


As I did not want my horoscope cast I passed on, and proceeded along a hilly road between high banks, where grew the blue scabious and long spikes of yellow agrimony and mullein, till in two miles I descended into the village of Littleton. The church[43] has been restored and thus lost much of its interest, but there is here a dark square font of massive stone, by which we think we can see the immediate descendants of the Norman invaders standing to have their children christened. There is also a brass on the floor in front of the chancel dating from 1493. Opening into the churchyard is an old cottage parsonage, in which the clergyman formerly lived when he was—

“Passing rich on forty pounds a year.”

On one side was the large, low kitchen with its wide hearth; on the other, the little room which was the parson’s drawing-room, parlour, and study.[31]

Two years ago there was a great conflagration opposite this church, a number of cottages were burnt, and some of the villagers had narrow escapes.

This is three miles from Winchester, and a mile further on I came to Mr. Carrick Moore’s house, his large stables for racehorses, and a field laid out with jumps for training steeplechasers. The racecourse is not far from this on the right. Racing has long been a favourite amusement at Winchester. In 1634 a cup was provided by the city; and again in 1705, when[44] Queen Anne was here, the kindly civic chest was not appealed to in vain. This was an improvement on the old sport of bull-baiting, for which it had been ordered that two Winchester butchers should provide two or three times a year one “sufficient fighting bull,” the other butchers contributing 6d. each a year.

At this point there is on the left a distant view of the woods of Mr. Vanderbyl, and passing on along grassy banks, spangled with rock cistus, I came to a pool at the commencement of Crawley. The village runs up a hill, at the top of which is the church adjacent to the beautiful grounds of Crawley Court (Lord Kinnaird). The church is reached through an avenue of limes: it contains some small Norman pillars, a brass recording diffusely the virtues of a rector named Reniger, who died in 1606, and a chest which once performed the double service of strongbox and communion table.

From this point I returned to the pool, and taking the road to the right came in about two miles to the woods of Lainston on the right, and a double avenue of limes opposite the lodge of Mr. Vanderbyl. A mile farther on a loftier avenue opens, at the end of which stood Lainston House. I cannot say that I saw it clearly for the sun dazzled me, setting directly behind it.


A Maid of Honour.

Close to the house stand the ruins of Lainston Church, picturesquely situated in dense woods. Here one fine August morning, in 1744, the gay Miss Chudleigh was privately married to Hervey, a naval officer, who became third Earl of Bristol. Notwithstanding this, and her having two children, she continued to be called “Miss Chudleigh,” and to be a maid of honour. George II. affected to be in love with her, and even went so far as to kiss her at a party. Twenty-five years afterwards she contracted a bigamous marriage with Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston, which was set aside. She was a prominent figure in Ranelagh Gardens, and her dress seems to have harmonized with her performances. Walpole says that on one occasion she appeared at a masquerade as Iphigenia, but “as naked as Andromeda.”[32]

Sparsholt Church

Sparsholt Church.

In this vicinity, but lying off the high road and consequently little visited by strangers, is the scattered village of Sparsholt, with its two inns, one shop, and post office. It was perhaps a more important place in ancient days, for Roman relics have been found here. The church is small; its[48] architecture varies from transitional Norman to Perpendicular. During the late restorations the tomb of a priest was opened, and with him were found a chalice and paten of latten, now in the vicar’s possession.

The village water supply is obtained from a well of unusual depth. Over it is placed a large broad wheel, and the ropes by which the buckets are lowered and raised are coiled round what may be called the axle. The water drawer steps on the stairs of the wheel to raise the bucket, and if unused to the treadmill—which no doubt these happy rustics are—must be well tired before his efforts are crowned with success.

Down the road is a stile by which one may enter what is locally known as the “Avenue,” a lovely piece of woodland scenery, abounding in noble trees. Here we may pleasantly rest for a while, and listen to the cooing of wood-pigeons or watch squirrels at their merry gambols. Through this a path leads to the high road, along which, past Harestock and Wyke, we reach Winchester again.


[1] Add. MSS. 6036.
[2] Pat. Rolls, 8 Henry IV. The foundations of a church with two monoliths in them have been discovered near St. George’s Street.
[3] Patent and Close Rolls.
[4] Every man having a holding or garden bounding on the High Street shall enclose the same with a sufficient pale or stone wall upon pain of 20s.” (Edw. VI., Black Book). Thatch was forbidden in this street in 1652.
[5] Add. MSS. 6036.
[6] He adds that there is outside the city a dry chalky down where the air is worth sixpence a pint.
[7] It then belonged to the Mayor and Corporation, who had it repaired.
[8] See “Historic Winchester,” by Misses Bramston and Leroy.
[9] In castello Wincestre apud Wintoniam in thesauro.” Mr. Hubert Hall thinks that the book was removed soon afterwards to London, but Mr. Round is of opinion that it remained in Winchester until the last quarter of the twelfth century. I cannot venture to decide a question upon which such eminent authorities are at variance.
[10] In an engraving in my possession, dated 1787, part of this old wall is seen adhering to the east end of the hall, and the entrance is in the original place.
[11] We read of the “Hermits” and “Black” towers. Mr. Stopher informs me that, judging by the base of the North Tower, uncovered in 1876, “these towers were some of the finest in the kingdom, with handsome double plinths.”
[12] Patent Rolls, 48 Henry III.
[13] Patent Rolls, 5 John.
[14] Close Rolls, 7 John. The houses in Winchester, called La Parrok, were given to Galfro de Hanville, for keeping girfalcons by Henry III. (6th year, Close Rolls).
[15] There are traces of round windows near the roof, which have been walled up, and there are some iron hooks remaining, on which shutters were hung before glass was permanently inserted.
[16] Henry V. was here, and at his funeral Arthur’s traditional bearings, three crowns, were carried.
[17] The table had twelve legs, and it is supposed that it was made round to avoid any invidious precedence, and that it was intended for the feasting of the knights at a tournament. There was generally a desire to throw some legendary glory around these “solemnities.” The paint, except on the lines between the segments, has not been touched since Henry VIII.’s time.
[18] Some persons think that the legends of King Arthur have been wrongly attached to this neighbourhood through Winchester, “Gwent,” being mistaken for the “Gwent” in Monmouthshire.
[19] Pat. Rolls, 16 Henry III. m 5. There was a hall here previously.
[20] Pat. 45 Henry III.
[21] Close Rolls, 6 Henry III.
[22] Cotton. Titus, B. ii. 242.
[23] He took her from the Nunnery of St. Mary’s, at Romsey. Rufus went to court her, but the abbess showed him the convent garden with the “Romsey roses,” where he saw her attired like a nun. She was buried in this Cathedral with the inscription “called by the English Molde the good Queen.”
[24] Henry III. threw the Winchester jury into the lowest dungeon of the Castle because they would not find guilty thirty highwaymen, friends of theirs, whom he condemned to be hanged.
[25] The King’s spokesman on the occasion was the celebrated Archbishop Chicheley—originally a poor boy whom Wykeham met on the road and patronized.
[26] See notice in “Historic Winchester,” by Misses Bramston and Leroy.
[27] There is a ball in the Museum which fell in the Castle Hall.
[28] An interesting account of “The Civil War in and around Winchester” has been published by the Rev. G. N. Godwin.
[29] There is in the Bodleian a book of rules to be observed by these priests. They were to avoid going out together in large numbers so as not to attract attention.
[30] Mr. Baigent has written an interesting little book on Wyke.
[31] Wyke, Compton, and Chilcombe were given to the monastery to support commemorative festivals, but Littleton for the entertainment of guests.
[32] A picture of her “in Ranelagh costume” was long hanging in the Chelsea bunhouse.



The Butter Cross and Penthouse



“God Begot” House — The High Street — Old Guildhall — Butter Cross — King Alfred — The Penthouse — St. Maurice’s Church — The Bell and Crown — New Guildhall — Museum — Archives — St. Mary’s Nunnery — St. John’s Hospital — Soke Prison — St. Giles’ Hill — The Fair.

Next morning we started in the opposite direction—eastward[50] down the High Street. On the left-hand side we soon came to a curiously narrow street or alley, running beside a large bookseller’s shop, and entering it saw above us an immense timber-crossed gable, leaning over so as almost to touch the opposite houses. Further down the alley—in which the “Royal Oak” public-house, once the “Cross Keys,” is situated—we still see above us a line of overhanging stories. We can walk round this block, and return into the High Street by St. Peter’s Street.

Royal Oak Passage

Royal Oak Passage

This building, on which is inscribed in large letters “God-begot House,” is at present occupied by the two establishments of Mr. Perkins, a draper, and Miss Pamplin, a stationer. From the house of the former the panelling has been removed, but behind the shop is a small room with a richly stuccoed ceiling.

Miss Pamplin showed us over her house with great courtesy. The upper part is wainscoted with oak. The drawing-room is handsome—low, of course—and it has many beams in the ceiling, radiating from the centre. The walls are covered with carved panelling, the most elaborate part, over the fireplace, exhibiting small round-headed arches with intricate mouldings, while the opposite wall is adorned with lines of large rosettes. The bedroom in[53] the roof at the back shows some curious woodwork; from it there is a good view of the back of this old-world edifice, with its long-tiled roofs sloping inwards to a central court.

God-begot House.

This house, which dates from 1667, is large, and let in apartments. It stands on the site of the Church of St. Peter’s, in Macellis—that is, in the shambles—and was surrounded by butchers’ stalls, St. Peter’s Street having been called Fleshmonger Street. There seems to have been a house of an ecclesiastical character, called “God-begot,” adjoining the church, and the privileges of the spot are said to have been originally granted by Queen Emma, the mother of Edward the Confessor, to the Priory of St. Swithun. It was a sanctuary—a place of refuge for the guilty—and many conflicts arose about it between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, sometimes men being forcibly dragged out of it. Strange to say, it was also a manor. A record was kept here; courts were held, and judgments delivered.

On the opposite side of the street is the old Guildhall, in front of which a large clock is held out over the street by an arm of old carved wood.

The Old Guildhall

The Old Guildhall.

“Why it looks as if it might fall on one’s head,” said Miss Hertford.

“If you have any fear of that,” I replied,[54] “be assured there is nothing in it; the case is empty, the works being in the curfew tower above.”

“What is the meaning of the three swords over it?” inquired Miss Hertford. “They remind me of a conjuring trick.”

“They represent the arms of Paulet, Marquess of Winchester,” I replied; “to whom the small fee farm-rent of the city, once belonging to the Crown, is still paid. The most remarkable thing about this clock is that it is very troublesome, as like other old timepieces, it requires to be wound up every day.”

The old Guildhall was behind the figure of Queen Anne on the first floor, the ground floor belonging to St. John’s Hospital. This division preserved the fine oak staircase to the hall, which necessarily led up from a side street. We went up these stairs, and Miss Hertford observed they were in a very dirty condition, but, as our guide said they were used every day for winding and lighting the clock, and ringing the bell in the curfew tower,[33] we were not much surprised. The panelling in the old Guildhall has been removed to the new one. No mayor and aldermen now sit here in state, but there are plenty of gowns, robes, and collars, for the hall[57] has been formed into the show-rooms of Mr. King’s drapery establishment.

The Butter Cross.

The next object that claims our attention is the Butter Cross. It dates from the reign of Henry VI., when a fraternity employed themselves in erecting such structures. If we recall past times we shall picture to ourselves here a motley crowd of market people intermixed with brethren of the cord and gown, and shall hear much noisy bargaining going forward. Later on, about 1650, we find a more stately gathering. The guild of merchants were to meet the Mayor every Sunday here to accompany him to church. This would seem to have been a compulsory, rather than a voluntary, meeting, and about seventy years earlier we find people imprisoned for not attending “sermonds.”

“It is to be regretted that this disinclination continues,” said Miss Hertford, “but those who frequent the afternoon services at cathedrals, cannot fail to observe the desire there is to hear the anthem and avoid the discourse.”

In a sketch of this Cross, made in the year 1770,[34] we find the upper niches vacant. The only ancient figure is that of St. Laurence, who holds what appears to be a sword, but is in reality intended for a palm[58] branch. This Cross was sold by the City Corporation to Mr. Dummer, in the middle of the last century, and was in danger of being removed (as the Bristol Cross actually was); but the good people of Winchester rose indignantly when they heard of the intended sacrilege, forcibly drove away the men engaged to do the objectionable work.

Under the passage which leads from the Cross to the “Square” is the door to St. Lawrence’s Church, a building curiously inserted among houses. It reminds us of the way in which Winchester was in olden times honey-combed with churches and chapels. This is considered to be the mother church of Winchester, the bishop is inducted here, and goes into the tower to ring the bell. Most of the present edifice is modern, but the tower and east window are of the fifteenth century. Opposite the entrance to this church is a piece of Norman stone-work with some ornamental carving upon it—the only specimen of the domestic architecture of that date in Winchester—perhaps a part of the palace built here by William the Conqueror, which extended up this side of the High Street,[35] and across to[59] Minster Street and Lane. The foundations of an ancient tower of “prodigious strength” were found at the beginning of the present century by a workman digging in Market Street.

We are now close to the “Square” where the Saxon palace probably stood.

The Name of England.

The Saxon period was in one respect the most remarkable in Winchester, for the city was then the capital of Wessex, and Wessex became the mother of England. We read in the old chroniclers that Egbert was crowned in Winchester Cathedral the first King of England, and that at a Witenagemot or parliament, held by him here in the year 800, it was determined that the name of England should supersede that of Britain. Egbert was the first who united the kingdoms of the heptarchy, and the probability that he changed the name is increased by the fact that “Anglia,” which is nowhere found in any document anterior to this time, begins to appear immediately afterwards.[36]

Alfred the Great.

But the principal figure that the Saxon palace at Winchester brings before us, is that of Alfred. He deserved the title of Great better than many who obtained it, for he was not only victorious in battle,[60] but was essentially a scholar—indeed his successes were mainly the result of his study and industry. A shade of melancholy seems always to have hung over his mind, perhaps due to his constant physical suffering, though he writes:—

“To those who eat
Honeycomb it seems more sweet,
If a man before the tear
Of honey, taste of bitter cheer.”

In the following lines there is a touch of sadness worthy of the author of Ecclesiastes:—

“Why did your songs to me,
World-loving men,
Say joy belongs to me
Ever as then?
Why did ye lyingly
Think such a thing,
Seeing how flyingly
Wealth may take wing?”

Many are accustomed to speak despondingly of the degeneracy of the nineteenth century, but it sounds strange to hear Alfred condemning the luxury of his time, which we generally regard as semi-civilized. He looks back regretfully to the good old days:—


“When through all the world there were
No great halls of costly care,
No rich feasts of meat and drink
Neither did they heed or think
Of such jewels then unknown
As our lordlings long to own.
Nor did seamen e’er behold
Nor had heard of gems or gold.”

We may picture Alfred living in his palace here, surrounded by this rude magnificence, but with a mind far above its allurements. His life corroborated the saying that religion is best for both worlds. Perhaps his devotional tendencies came from his father, who had been a monk. He ever consorted with learned men, and made great improvements, among others rendering his fleet more efficient. There was great joy in Winchester in 899 when, after a sea fight between the Saxons and Danes, two of the marauders’ ships were captured, and the crews brought here to the King, and hanged on the gallows.

A copy of an ancient charter giving property to the church of Evesham is interesting, as it shows Rufus here in 1100, surrounded by the bishops of London, Lincoln, and Durham, the abbots of Westminster and St. Albans, the Chancellor, and many other barons of the whole of England, at the solemn[62] feast of Easter.[37] It was from this that Rufus started on his unfortunate expedition into the New Forest.

It is supposed that somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Conqueror’s palace were the mint and treasury. It is said that the six mints established by Athelstan were under the site of the Penthouse.[38] As I had heard of some vaults remaining which I could not find, I went into one of the shops there to inquire.

“Well, sir,” replied the owner, “I have some doubts whether there ever was any mint here; but,” he added, with a comical expression, “I am quite certain there is none now.”

The site of the “Penthouse” was originally occupied by the “Draperie.” Trade guilds existed here from Henry I.’s time, and this became the Guildhall. Henry III. ordered that this Draperie Street should be the “Great Street,” as in the time of his father. In Henry VIII.’s reign we find the Penthouse mentioned as the “Pentisse.”

“Such shelters were very welcome a hundred years ago,” said Mr. Hertford,[63] “before umbrellas were used. You know that some have thought that in ‘under the rose,’ the word should be ‘rows.’”

Murder by a Priest.

“Close to this,” I continued, “beside the wall of St. Lawrence’s Church, a murder took place, in the twenty-first year of Richard II., which brings before us the lawless state of the times. One James Dyngeley, a priest, struck a man named Walter Pynchon, through the back to the heart with a baslard. This weapon was a large dagger suspended to the girdle, and worn by laymen and by some priests, notwithstanding an ecclesiastical prohibition. Roger, the parson of St. Lawrence, claimed the prisoner (as an ecclesiastic) for the Bishop of Winchester, and he was incarcerated in Wolvesey Castle. From this he broke out with others on the 5th of December, in the fifth year of Henry IV., but was pardoned by the King for this and other felonies—a proof of the influence of the Church in those days.”[39]

The next church we come to is St. Maurice’s, which is modern, the fifteenth-century tower has a good Norman doorway looking towards the Cathedral. There are some old registers belonging to this church which record the burials of men killed in the Soke (across the bridge), fighting with the Roundheads in[64] the days of Cromwell. There is a monument here in which the admirers of William Widmore have made him ridiculous for ever, by calling him “a friend without guile, and an apothecary without ostentation;” the less excusable, as they say he was “an honest Englishman.”

Opposite this church is a passage leading to the “Bell and Crown.” A hostel of that name has stood here ever since Henry V.’s reign. The building now on the spot is old, and has been evidently much altered. The wall of the staircase is spotted over with a small blue pattern.

“I thought there was a paper on the wall,” said the landlord, “and was going to have another put over it; but a gentleman said to me, ‘Do no such thing. Why, that is stencilled! there is not another house in Winchester can show such decoration.’”

Stencilling was much used in the last century.

“I have heard,” said Mr. Hertford, “that the celebrated Miss Mellon (Duchess of St. Albans) went about when young with her father and a company of actors who, as occasion offered, acted plays and stencilled rooms.”

The work is performed by placing against the wall a thin piece of metal on which a pattern has been cut, and then brushing paint over it. This ornamentation[65] is interesting, as showing the transition from frescoes and panelling to paper-hangings.

The passage in front of the “Bell and Crown” was formerly a large archway, on the eastern side of which there was a hall for entertainments.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall.

The new Guildhall is a handsome and conspicuous modern building, and stands on the site of the old Globe Hotel. Adjoining it is the Free Library—one of the first established in England. There are some old pictures in the Council Chamber, especially one of Charles II., by Sir P. Lely, given by that monarch to the Corporation. There is also one of the first Marquess of Winchester—a piece of painted board which may teach some worldly wisdom. William Paulet was made a peer by Henry VIII., a marquess by Edward VI., and was High Treasurer under Mary and Elizabeth. How did he accomplish all this? “By being a willow, not an oak.”[40]


I mounted the staircase to visit the Museum, which is at the top of the building. The greater part of the treasures it contains are “prehistoric,” and lent by Lord Northesk during his life. There is here one of the finest collections in existence of stone axes and arrow heads, and specimens from barbarous countries[66] of our own day, showing how they were hafted and fastened with sinews or matting.

But I felt more interested in the local antiquities. Here is a Roman pavement, found at the corner of Minster Lane, about a hundred yards in front of the west gate of the Cathedral. It is only a segment, and the preservation of it cost £300, which may account for other remains of this kind being allowed to perish. The depth at which it was found was ten feet, so that we may conclude it was laid down soon after the Romans arrived, unless some accidental circumstances led to accumulations over it. The specimens of Roman pottery show us the extent of their town here, for some pieces were found in Water Lane, just over the eastern bridge, while others were dug up in Hyde Street, on the extreme north-west of the city.

Opposite these remains we find a brave row of weights and measures—standard measures for England were first introduced by Edgar at Winchester. Some good citizens maintain with pardonable vanity that one of Edgar’s measuring vessels is still here, but that is not the case. I hoped to be able to hang a story on one of the pegs that good king had put in the Saxon cups; but no material proof of his precautions to prevent tippling or cheating remains. The existing measures date from Henry VII.[69] There is his bushel—a great bronze basin, bearing his name, with an emblematic Lancastrian rose. At the one extremity of a yard measure I found the letter H, at the other E, which I attributed to Henry and Elizabeth of York, who were certainly at opposite ends of the stick, but I was informed that E stood for the Tudor Elizabeth.


In glass frames are displayed some of the archives of the city. Here is a photo of Henry II.’s charter “civibus meis Wint.,” 1160; it has been said that there was an earlier one. The terms are general, and the contractions numerous and puzzling to the uninitiated—the whole being comprised in a piece of vellum not six inches square. The writing, which was clear in those days, contrasts here with some spidery cacography of later age.

This charter raised the Mayor of Winchester above all other civic officials in England. But at Richard I.’s coronation a dispute arose between the mayors of London and Winchester as to which should be Butler, and which Clerk of the Kitchen—the former being the higher office. The decision was in favour of London, but in compensation the King gave Winchester a very liberal charter.

In a list of ancient usages of Winchester, which existed earlier than the thirteenth century, when[70] this document recording them was written, we find ordinances about various trades—the “bakere” and the “brewstere of myste” are specially mentioned.

“Also everych bakere of ye town that maketh bred to sale shal to the kynge of custome 11s. the year and to the clerk of the town a peny.” It goes on to say that he is to make good white bread, and if the weight is deficient, is to be at the King’s mercy.

“And also everych cart out of fraunchyse comyng in to town with samown, shal to the kynge of custome thre pens.

“Also everych cart out of the fraunchyse shal to the kynge by custome 11 pens and an hafpeny what ffyshe he here to sale. And everych horse berdene of fresh fysh that cometh in to the town to sale and be out of franchyse shal to the kynge thre hafpens of custome and of shalt fysh a hafpeny.”

The monopolies granted in Winchester to trades unions were considerable. In 1580 no cobbler was allowed to make “shoes, boots, buskins, skertoppes, slippers or pantaples;” he was not only to stick to his last, but to confine himself to repairs. Any infringement of this rule involved a penalty of 6s. 8d. a pair. Each trade was to carry on its own business—no intruders allowed. In 1673 a man paid money to be permitted to live in the city, and in 1728 a barber had[71] to pay to be allowed to carry on his business. In 1656 it was resolved that the election of the mayor and aldermen should be by “bullets.” This sounds alarming; but the order is that one hundred red and white bullets, in equal proportions, shall be provided, and that the electors shall put them in privately.

A copy of the letter Cromwell sent to the Mayor summoning the town to surrender is preserved here. It runs thus:

“Sir,—I come not to this city but with a full resolution to save it and the inhabitants thereof from ruine. I have commanded the Souldyers upon payne of death that noe wrong bee done; wch I shall strictly observe, only I expect you give me entrance into the City, without necessitating mee to force my way, which yf doe then it will be in my power to save you or it. I expect yor answeare with in halfe an houre, and rest, your servant,

“Oliver Cromwell.”

It will be observed that by some oversight or waggish design the word “not” has been omitted before “in my power.”

A modern, but not uninteresting object here is a large model of the Cathedral, carved in wood with a[72] jack-knife, by a shepherd’s boy, while tending sheep on the Hampshire Downs. It was presented to Dean Garnier in his 92nd year.

We were much pleased with the young lady in charge of this collection, who does her best to answer all the difficult questions put to her. She told us that her father was an antiquary, and half ruined himself in publishing archæological works, but that she was not sorry for it. How refreshing to hear such disinterested sentiments in these grasping days! Her grandfather was a brewer, and she was glad she had none of the money he made in such an objectionable trade.

Just below the Guildhall, on the east, stands a modern brick building, with two towers, named the Abbey House—recalling memories of the celebrated nunnery which stood here. It was founded by Alfred’s queen, Ælwitha, who resided here as a widow. Edburga, his granddaughter, also lived here and carried her humility so far as to wash the nuns clothes secretly, much to the increase of their faith. The church of the Abbey had a lofty tower.

St. John’s Hospital.

A little lower down we find two buildings facing each other on either side of the street. The southernmost and more picturesque of the two is the more modern, and only dates from 1833, previous to which[73] a draper’s shop occupied the site. Both belong to one foundation—due, it is said, to St. Birinus—St. John’s Hospital. The northern establishment (on the left) has a little old chapel, built in the days of Henry III. As you enter by the gate you see in the east end of the chapel wall, very high up, an ancient carving of a head surrounded by a rim; but whether meant for a nimbus or a charger, and whether representing Our Lord or St. John, I leave for others to decide.

We find in the Black Book that there were, during Henry VI.’s reign, the following sculptures in alabaster in the hospital:—A head of John the Baptist, two images of the same saint and two of Our Lady. Milner writes: “In the dusthole near the apartments of the widows, amongst other curious antiques, is seen the figure of John the Baptist’s head in a dish, being the bust of the holy patron of the house, which formerly stood over the principal doorway.”

The court of the hospital is laid out in beautiful swards and beds of flowers and the houses seem to be pleasant residences. Before 1852 the land belonged to the Mildmay family, and then the hospital had only six poor cottages. Some arches are visible and stairs going down into a kind of kitchen from which an arch, still visible, communicated with another[74] kitchen or refectory. If we pass through the chapel by the west door we find two Decorated windows (Henry III.), and enter the building containing this old chamber with a low arch and two large hearths. The hall is over the refectory and is a room of magnificent proportions, having its walls beautifully stuccoed with festoons of flowers. This would appear to date from the time of Charles II., whose picture, now in the Guildhall, was formerly here.

St. John’s became the property of the Knights Templar, and on their suppression John Devenish refounded it for lame soldiers, poor pilgrims, and necessitous wayfarers. He had a charitable feeling towards the footsore. After Henry VIII.’s confiscation it was used for meetings of the Corporation. We learn from the Black Book that in the 38th Henry VIII. the supper was to be kept at St. John’s as amply as heretofore. On the Sunday next following the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the Mayor was to find a capon and so was the alderman of the High Street. In order to keep the “banket” up to the mark each of the benchers was to pay 12d., and each of the “Twenty four” 8d., whether they were present or not.

This establishment had been confiscated by Henry VIII., and the buildings made over to the Corporation[75] for the formation of a new hall. Various references seem to show that this chamber was now being slowly completed. In 21st year of Henry VIII. John Brown was to have a certain tenement in the hold of St. John’s upon condition of his giving twenty shillings towards building a new chimney there; and in 1560 the Mayor of Winchester who had been guilty of riding to Southampton without a servant,[41] and of committing other enormities, was ordered to glaze the west window of St. John’s Hall. This was not the present hall, for it has no window looking west, and the chimney was differently placed. To mend windows seems to have been here a common and useful civic punishment.

I may here observe that the clerk who entered the civic transactions in the Black Book added a new saint to the calendar for he generally calls this hospital that of St. Jones.

The High Street here becomes very broad, apparently to accommodate a Russian gun, but really[76] because the Bridewell and a “dye house” stood here till the beginning of this century, when it was removed to Hyde Street. Even the ponderous cannon has not had a quiet time since it came here, but has been on its travels. It was first placed where it now stands, but a few years ago the Corporation conceived the idea of moving it to a more commanding position on the summit of St. Giles’ hill. They accordingly carried it up, but immediately afterwards a tumultous assembly, aided, it is said, by some officers, and not dissimilar from that which saved the Butter Cross, dragged the gun down again by might and placed it on the site it now occupies.[42]

Close to the bridge on the left-hand side where are Mr. Dance’s house and grounds, stood anciently the Dominican friary, founded by De la Roche, with its “Elysian garden.” Just here was also the Eastgate, a high castellated building, which must[77] have formed a handsome entrance to the town in this direction. It was removed at the end of the last century.

Beneath Bridge Street are the remains of a many-arched bridge said to have been built by St. Swithun.

Soke Bridge.
Soke Bridge

Soke Bridge.

Passing over Soke Bridge, and proceeding straight on, we came, in a few hundred yards, to a public-house[78] built of wood and apparently sinking under the weight of years, but which bore the name of “The Rising Sun.” Through the open door I saw beams and passages of ancient irregularity, and as the landlady, a bright looking woman, was standing just inside I asked her whether she knew anything of the history of the house which bore such proofs of antiquity.

“You would say it was old,” she replied, “if you saw the vaults there are downstairs.”

I answered that we were strangers, and should like to see them. She speedily lighted a candle and led the way down into a chamber about twenty feet square and eight high. A wide flight of broken stairs led up to the street, while on the other side of the vault was an arch with a square window on either side leading to a chamber beyond. There had evidently been stone mullions and iron bars—the irons of the door hinges remain.

This was the prison of the Soke belonging to the Bishop of Winchester, and in ancient times the stocks stood just outside. I expressed the interest I took in these remains of the past.

“Yes, sir,” replied our guide, who was not quite so visionary, “and it is a nice place for keeping beer barrels—it is so cool.”

This part of the town was called the Soke, not, as I[79] at first supposed, because of its low position near the river, but from the Saxon soc or liberty, which instead of signifying that the people here were unusually free, meant that the Bishop of Winchester had license to do whatever he liked to them. Nearly opposite this establishment are some new houses, and when their foundations were being laid, a Roman urn was found, sixteen feet beneath the ground.

Panoramic View.
Towers and Spires of Winchester

Towers and Spires of Winchester.

Continuing our walk we made our way up the hill, now terraced and tastefully planted. Less than ten years ago it was covered with little garden allotments belonging to the citizens. On reaching the upper ground—a sort of down—a magnificent view opened over the whole of Winchester. We walked over to the south-east corner, and took up our position on a seat[80] close to the iron fence. From there we could take a general survey. In a hollow about two miles to the east we saw the trees about Chilcombe; on the summit of the down due east was a clump of trees on St. Catherine’s hill; a square tower more to the north on the lower ground was that of St. Cross; from this approaching Winchester, first comes the college, then the old walls of Wolvesey, then the Cathedral, the best and most compact view of it. Nearly over the College on the top of the hill is the clump of firs on the site of Cromwell’s battery, looking lower than our position, but really being higher, and over the Cathedral is the long red brick front of Charles II.’s palace. Truly, we have here Winchester in a nutshell.

In a description of the prospect from this point, written a hundred and fifty years since, mention is made of the beautiful gardens, and in prints dated 1723 and 1736 we find that two-thirds of the space within the walls of Winchester were laid out for horticulture and adorned with large trees.

The Fair.

Passing over to the northern side of the down we came to a burial ground. The grave-digger told us that in the southern and older part of it, he was often obstructed by the foundations of the old chapel—that dedicated to St. Giles,[43] a hermit saint whose[81] shrine is always outside mediæval cities. Hard by, an old farm-house still exists called Palm Hall, a corruption of Pavilionis Aula—the tent used by the judges at the famous fair which was held here annually at the end of August. This fair extended round this point and southwards even down the slope and was the greatest but one in England. We find, in the Close Rolls, King John giving directions that wax, pepper, and cinnamon, should be here bought for him; and Henry III. (15) commands the sheriffs of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire to allow wares to be brought to this fair, and at another time orders that the barons (freemen?) should proceed to Winton with their merchandise, and not fear the hostility of the Earl of Salisbury.[44] Guards were placed as well as toll collectors upon the roads for seven leagues round, within which circuit and at Southampton no business was allowed. The right of holding the fair was granted by Rufus to Bishop Walkelin for three days in the year to assist him in building the Cathedral, and the time was gradually extended, till in Henry II.’s reign it lasted sixteen days. The [82] Bishop had the jurisdiction, and the tolls went to the priory of St. Swithun, Hyde Abbey, and other places.

Now let us enter the fair. There is a palisading all round it and only two gates. It looks something between an industrial exhibition and a cattle show. Each kind of ware has a separate locality. Here is the “Draperie” and the “Pottery”—there is the “Spicery.” Here is the street of the “Flemings,” “Limoges,” and “Genoese,” and other nations. Even the Bishop has a stall. There are birds, apes, ferrets, and bears. Here are the dynamiters—dreadful name—very harmless people, vendors of brass pots. Moving among all these we picture to ourselves a number of foreign merchants in rich costumes, Jews in strange hats, the Bishop’s officials in gay liveries, and a crowd of hard-featured, bare-footed peasants.

At sunset the Marshal rides through the fair and orders all stalls to be closed. No one is to have any fire at night except a lamp or mortar. The justiciaries seem to have had some good privileges. They might enter at what day or hour they pleased into the city, and taste one by one all the casks of wine for sale there. They might also send their servants to take loaves from all the bakers and bring them[83] to the pavilion. There they were weighed, and if short, woe betide the baker! his bread was forfeited, and he himself fined or put in the pillory. The tolls seemed heavy on fancy articles. A load of hay or corn was only ½d., and a cask of wine or a cart-load of fish or leather 4d., but an ape or falcon or bear was also 4d.

The fair continued down till about twenty years since. The neighbouring Magdalen or “Morn” fair lasted four years longer. Dean Kitchin writes: “As the city grew stronger and the fair weaker, it slid down St. Giles’ hill and entered the town where its noisy ghost still holds revel once a year.”


On the brow of St. Giles’ hill, Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, was beheaded by order of the Conqueror. He had conspired with some other Saxons against the Norman invaders, and was betrayed by his wife—a niece of William’s.

At dawn he was conducted through the city from the Castle, “arrayed in all the badges of his earl’s rank.” After distributing memorial gifts to a few of his friends who accompanied him, he was engaged in prayer so long that the executioners became tired and told him to hasten. He then begged to be allowed to say the Lord’s prayer, but, being overcome and halting in the middle of it, the headsman would wait[84] no longer and the axe fell. It was said that after his head was off it finished the sentence, “Deliver us from evil.” This probably was thought by those who were surprised to see the lips move, as they often do, after decapitation.[45]


[33] This was the first place where the curfew was established.
[34] Add. MSS. 6,768, British Museum.
[35] Of the eleven streets mentioned in the Winton Domesday book, only two—“Mensterstret” and “Colobrockstret” retain their names.
[36] Archbishop Trench. The name may have been more or less in use before.
[37] Harl. MSS. 66.
[38] Though one destroyed in Henry II.’s reign seems to have been near the Westgate. One existed in Henry III.’s reign.
[39] Pat. Rolls, 5 Henry V., p. 2.
[40] The Corporation of Winchester used to send this accommodating Marquess presents of sack and sugar-loaves.
[41] There was great anxiety that the Mayor should keep up his dignity. He was not to be seen without his gown unless he was going into the country, and his wife was to wear a scarlet gown. In 1584 it was decreed that “no citizen that hath been bayliff of the city shall wear in the street hose or stockings of white, green, yellow, redde, blewe, weggett or oringe color.”
[42] Among the Tanner MSS. 76 in the Bodleian there is a curious account (about 1600) of the devil appearing to four women who were in Winchester gaol. He came to the windows like a fire and shook the gratings, and on another occasion was like “a great black thing with great eyes.” The women screamed, and the keeper ran in but saw nothing. He observed however, that one of the candles he held in his hands blew out, and the other burnt blue, and that the devil had left an “unsavoury” odour in the room.
[43] This chapel was burnt down in 1231. Perhaps both it and St. Catherine’s were originally of wood. A curious old dagger and spear head were found where the new house on the hill was built.
[44] Pat. Rolls, 4 Henry III.
[45] A horrible execution took place in Winchester in 1259. Walter de Scoteneye was torn to pieces by horses for the murder of W. de Clare.



The City Walls — Danemead — Eastgate — Northgate — Westgate — Southgate — Kingsgate — The College — Wykeham — Wolvesey — Raleigh.

From the Roman occupation, and perhaps from an earlier date, Winchester has been a fortified town. Long after that time, people were slow in laying to heart the saying in Plutarch that a city which contains men who can fight has no need of walls.

The modern defences seem to have been chiefly raised in the time of John and Henry III.,[46] just before Winchester ceased to be the royal city of England. In the first year of John an inexpensive way was discovered of obtaining land to make the fosse. Andrew Clerk, of Winchester, gladly gave ground for the purpose, on condition that he should have confiscated lands “which had belonged to Aaron the Jew, in Shortenestret, and a messuage near it in[86] which Bona the Jewess lived.”[47] In the patents during Henry’s reign “murage,” that is, money for wall-building, is often mentioned.[48]

We now pass down the High Street in the same direction that we took yesterday, and, after reaching the site of the Eastgate, cross the bridge, as we cannot walk close to the river on the western side. We pass down Water Lane, where a Roman urn was discovered a short time since; and, crossing the river by the mill, come to Durngate Terrace, marking the site of a postern in the walls. This gate was made for foot passengers in 1259. It was ordered to be entirely closed during the plague in 1603, whence we conclude this was a squalid part of the town.


Thence as we proceeded up the City Road we found the modern walls largely studded with pieces of old[87] cut stone. The foundations of the city walls ran close to the houses on our right, and a gentleman we met told us that during some excavations he had seen a part of them uncovered six feet in thickness. On the left we soon came to Trinity Church, a handsome new structure, and on the right, beside Newman’s the grocer’s, there is a gate leading to some sheds in the famous meadow called Danemead. Farther on we found a turning on the right, and walking up it a few yards came to the Steam Laundry, which stands on the western edge of this field. Sceptics maintain that Dane is a corruption of Dene, and signifies low-lying ground, but we cannot afford to give up the old story. Tradition says that here Athelstan sat on the city wall to see the combat between Guy, Earl of Warwick, and the gigantic Dane, Colbrand: Rudborne luxuriates in the conflict, and records all the mighty cuts and blows and their results with as much detail as if he were a Homer or a reporter at a modern prize fight.

But there seems about the whole affair much hollowness and “sounding brass.” Guy cuts off Colbrand’s head, and the Danes, seeing their champion dead, run away, and are pursued. We wonder whether Rudborne had been reading about David and Goliath. He was a monk of Winchester in the[88] fifteenth century, and as he says that Colbrand’s axe was laid up before the high altar, and could in his day be seen in the vestry of the Cathedral, so we may assume there was here some celebrated Dane of the name of Colbrand.

Further up the City Road the deep fosse before the walls can be traced in the slope of “Hyde Abbey Bowling Green,” and in the garden of a ladies school called Fossedyke House. In the centre of the cross roads here formed by Jewry Street, Hyde Street, and the City Road, stood the Northgate. This structure was at length considered, as Temple Bar has been in our times, to be a hindrance to traffic. Some people went so far as to say that their lives had been endangered by carriages when crossing its narrow bridge. Purchasers of hay and straw said that the arches of the North and South gates were so low that they could not obtain a full load for their money. Antiquaries have never been able to offer much resistance to commercial interests, and so in 1771 an order was made for the removal of the time-honoured obstacles.

Towers of the Wall.

The foundations of the walls now cross the road and run on our left, a fragment of them behind Westbury Villa can still be seen from the street; and if we look upwards we shall observe among the[89] branches of the trees a round tower, which a patriotic citizen, Mr. Budden, has built to mark the foundations of one of the towers of the wall.[49] We now pass down Sussex Street, and turning to the left and then right, enter Tower Street. At the end of the last century the picturesque ruins of the wall, among shrubs and ash trees, ran here on the right to the Westgate. Passing through the gate, already described, we make for the barracks, where the Castle formed part of the city wall; and, crossing the railway, walk in front of the pretty gardens and houses of St. James’ Terrace, and just before recrossing the line see the entrance to the new cemetery on our right.

Then we proceed down St. James’ Lane (called sometimes Barnes Lane), at the end of which in Southgate Street, just beyond St. Thomas’ Church, stood, till 1771, the Southgate with its bridge. The city wall then ran down between St. Swithun Street and Canon Street. Some portions of it three feet thick can still be seen about four yards behind the cottages, half way down the northern side of the latter street. There was formerly a postern for the friary somewhere here.


King’s Gate

King’s Gate.

The Kingsgate is an interesting relic. There is a little chapel (to St. Swithun) over it, as there was over the Northgate and Eastgate. In the porter’s lodge, at the entrance to the close, the city wall can be seen over six feet thick.


The Kingsgate was the scene of some remarkable events in the middle of the thirteenth century. Henry III. wished to appoint the uncle of the Queen to the bishopric of Winchester, but the monks[91] sturdily refused. For five years the conflict lasted—the chapter suffered stripes, imprisonment, and starvation while insisting that William de Raley and no other should be the bishop. But when this prelate came to Winchester at Christmas he found the city gates closed against him. He made a circuit of the walls barefoot, and at last stopped at Kingsgate, the nearest point to the Cathedral, and there “preaching” pronounced a general interdict and excommunication upon all the Cathedral and Church authorities, the Mayor, bailiffs, and clerks, and others, who opposed his entrance. He then withdrew to France, but was soon afterwards received to his diocese in peace. Fifteen years after this occurrence there was a rebellion in Winchester against the clerical and other governing bodies, and in the tumult the Kingsgate was partly burnt, and some of the servants of the monastery were murdered.

At this time the chapel over the gate was destroyed, but the whole was soon afterwards restored. The chapel in which service is now performed was rebuilt at a later date.

Beside the gate of the precincts a “Druidical” monolith can be seen placed upright in the ground. Passing back through the Kingsgate we can see the line of the wall continuing along the little garden of[92] the head-master, and here is a pretty bit for the artist.[50]

The Porter’s Lodge and Cheyney Court


Nearly opposite we saw a number of college boys streaming into a small confectioner’s shop. Inside sat a young lady in a cage. I had always felt that the fair possessed potent charms, but I never before knew of one who was obliged to be protected in this way. We soon learned, however, that the wire was[93] put up for the preservation of other sweets, and because some of the boys had been studying Dr. Smiles’ work on “Self-help.”

Sustern Spytal.

On the same side we came to one of the College houses, with an iron railing in front of it; this was the site of the ancient nunnery,[51] the Sustern Spytal. Here were afterwards the “Commoners,” or boys not on the foundation, and now are class-rooms. It has been said that there was no fosse along this part of the city wall; but in the French map of 1650, one is marked as existing. The question is doubtful.


And now we arrive at the famous College, and, as in duty bound, pay a passing tribute to its founder. Wykeham was of yeoman birth, of comely person, and had a strain of noble blood in him, from his mother’s family. He was educated at a little old school on St. Giles’ slope, which boasted that it had numbered among its pupils Athelwolf and Alfred the Great. No doubt, he attended to his lessons, for we find him while still a youth, appointed to be secretary to the Governor of the Castle. This was the happy accident in Wykeham’s life; without it, though he had a genius for architecture[94] and geometry, and was a rare draughtsman, he might have remained in obscurity. The governor, De Scures, knew Bishop Edington—himself a builder—and both knew the King. They introduced Wykeham to him, and from that moment, at twenty-three years of age, his career was assured.

“He was one of those men,” observed Mr. Hertford, “whom fortune carries to the top of the ladder without asking them to walk up the rounds.”

“So it appears,” I continued. “He took, as many of his day, the priest’s office that he might eat a piece of bread, and soon had it richly buttered. Not only did he become ‘a pretty considerable pluralist’ and a bishop, he was also made Surveyor of the King’s castles and palaces, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Secretary to the King, and Chancellor. In short, he was the leading spirit in the country, and ‘everything was done by him, and without him nothing.’”

“But I have read somewhere that he had a fall,” said Mr. Hertford,[95] “and was obliged to appeal to Alice Perrers. Imagine the grave bishop in his long robes, bowing down to Edward’s impudent little favourite! Perhaps his words were golden on this occasion, for she said she would go and see whether a spark of love for her remained in the old king. And the spark did remain, and its light was sufficient to guide Wykeham back to his temporalities.”

“Well,” I replied, “that story has been questioned, but, at any rate, he only wanted his own, and that for a good purpose. His pet college was in danger of suffering, and though the building was not commenced he had appointed a warden and scholars. When the college was finished, he began the transformation of the Cathedral and had done good work upon it before he closed his eyes. He left 2,500 marks to carry it on. Until the last few years of his life he planned everything himself, and employed no architect. He is considered to be the father of the Perpendicular style, and was national as opposed to Papal in his architecture and his politics. Altogether he laid out upon building what would now be equal to half a million. For such brilliant success, learning and integrity were indispensably requisite, and he summed up his estimate of them in his famous motto ‘Manners makyth man.’”

Beneath the great and good deeds of Wykeham, we may here mention a little kindly act, not less indicative of a noble character. When he had purchased Dummers Mead from St. Swithun’s Monastery for the site of his College, a tailor[96] claimed a part of it and took legal proceedings. The man failed to establish his right, and was condemned to pay the heavy costs, which would have ruined him. Wykeham generously defrayed them.

Relics of Wykeham.

There are preserved in a curious vaulted strongroom over the College sacristy, among other manuscripts, a modest pedigree, tracing Henry VII.’s descent from Adam, a Life of St. Thomas à Becket deposited here by Wykeham,[52] and a roll of the household expenses of the founder in 1394.[53] But if we wish to see his most interesting relics we must go to New College, Oxford. Judging from what remains there, we might almost conclude that Wykeham was a giant in stature as well as in mind.[54] There we find a pair of large crimson silk gloves, with I. H. S. amid golden rays, worked on their backs. His ring is about an inch wide, of great solidity, with the crucifixion embossed on[97] the gold at each side. The stone, about the size of a sovereign, is in the shape of a heart and colourless, probably rock crystal. This was doubtless a thumb ring, but it is large even for that. His mitre case is an extraordinary structure, made of thick stamped leather, girded with iron bands and locked at the top. It is a foot wide and nearly two feet high, in shape resembling a beehive. From the strength of the case we should expect valuable contents. But no; the fragments of the mitre show it to have been little superior to a stage “property.” Its rods adorned with trefoil leaves are of silver gilt, but the “jewels” are plentiful and spurious. The tissue bearing the I. H. S. was worked with seed pearls. The purfling which went round the brow of the mitre was of brass, with sham gems, alternated with small squares of silver brightly enamelled with figures of men, animals, and flowers.

The most costly of these “jocalia” is the central piece of a morse or clasp for the cope. It is about two inches wide, and is called a Mary crowned, being in the form of an old-fashioned M, like a horseshoe.[55] It is surrounded with pearls, emeralds,[98] and garnets. In the centre stand two little figures in gold, Mary and an angel, and between them is a vase of garnet, from which springs a lily with emerald leaves and flowers of pearls.

Behind a glass in New College Chapel is Wykeham’s crozier; a magnificent work of silver adorned with pinnacles and other ornaments, and especially rich in scriptural figures in enamel.

At Oxford is, also, the only letter extant, written by Wykeham—purchased at Sir Edward Dering’s sale. It is in the clerkly hand, adopted by penmen of the time, and the lines, now much faded, are a foot long, but so few that the whole writing is scarcely an inch wide. The letter, thus short and long, was written from Shene,[56] to Lord Cobham, in 1367, when he was on an embassy to the Pope, of whose whereabouts Wykeham seems doubtful. It is in French, and signed

William de Wykeham

William de Wykeham

Among these curiosities is the ivory horn of a fish called a narwhal, which seems out of place[101] in the collection, unless it be considered emblematic of the vocation of the first preachers of Christianity. It probably belonged to Wykeham, and is sixty-five inches long, the pointed end—supposed to be an antidote for poison—having been cut off. When Lord Leicester was Chancellor of Oxford in 1569, he asked the College to give him this horn. They made a compromise, and by sending him this prized extremity were allowed to keep the rest.

The College.

We enter the first court, and look with veneration at the kneeling figure of Wykeham. Here was impressed by a master-mind the prototype of our public schools. The prelate chose the site outside the walls of Winchester, in the Soke, which extended round the south-east of the city, so that the College might be entirely in the Bishop of Winchester’s jurisdiction. As early as 1373, he engaged a schoolmaster at Winchester, and three years later had a warden and seventy scholars.

Chamber Court

Chamber Court.

The buildings we see, with the exception of the Chantry Chapel and schoolroom and tower, are those erected by Wykeham. In March, 1393, the warden, fellows, and scholars, took possession of their new magnificent abode, marching in a triumphal procession, headed by a cross-bearer, and chanting songs of praise. Nevertheless, the accommodation[102] would not have seemed liberal in our days. Three fellows had only one room; the seventy scholars had six chambers, and those below fourteen years slept two in a bed. These were in the inner quadrangle. The outer quadrangle must then have formed a somewhat unpoetical entrance to the abode of the muses, although the warden and head-master lived in it. In the front of it, built partly for defence, were the brewery, bakehouse, and malt-rooms; on the west side, the stables; and on the east, the slaughter-houses.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters.

The Cloisters were built by Wykeham’s steward; and I should like to have walked their “studious pale” at my leisure, and to have spent some time in musing over the past. These arches, this pavement, and this clean roof of chestnut or Irish oak, have been present to the mind and eye of many a learned man as he here mused upon the great master works of the Greeks and Romans. And after his ambition had been kindled, and his breast inspired for a brief period, he had laid him down to rest, and left nothing to inform us that he ever lived, except a tablet on these silent walls. I can conjure up the pensive figure of Henry VI., who was often here, and attended the chapel services. He presented the College with a chalice, cruets, and tabernacle, all of gold, and gave the little boys some[105] pocket-money, which, no doubt, was more valued by them.[57]

Here are brasses to some of the fellows who died in the sixteenth century. We see that John Watts (Watto), reached the patriarchal age of a hundred years. Some are commemorated in Latin verses—the solemnity of death could not prevent a poetaster from punning on the name of Lark, and one John Clerk, who on earth “distilled rosy liquors,” is now “rejoicing in living waters.” But we are also reminded of younger and gayer scenes, of spirits full of hope looking forward joyously to years of expected happiness. The walls are scored with the names of these aspirants, most of them afterwards unknown—for studious boys rarely mark themselves upon wood and stone—but we see here “Thos. Ken, 1646,” the celebrated bishop, whose glorious hymns, “Awake, my soul,” and “Glory to Thee, my God, this night,” first appeared in a Manual of Prayers he composed for Winchester College.

Alas! as I look through these arches to the grassy enclosure, I see some small tombstones to the memory of boys not destined even to feel the disappointments[106] of life. The rosebud has fallen upon the sod! The thought is too melancholy, let us change to something cheerful—and look at those young girls on the sward, sketching the little old chapel which stands in the centre with all its pristine beauty. It dates from 1430. There is a fine stained east window in it which has old figures in the lower part. Over the chapel—intended for private masses—is an apartment, now used for a library. The whole is a little bijou.

The large schoolroom, built by Warden Nicholas in 1687, is now used merely for concerts and other entertainments. But the great grim signboard still remains, warning the festive company that they must learn, leave, or be whipped! This unpleasant notification is impressed by a representation of a sword, and something which looks alarmingly like a pitchfork, but is really meant for a rod. In these days of competitive examinations, it seems strange to be told that the army is to be the last refuge for dunces. This work of art is older than the building; its scholastic designer remains among the great unknown. Prominent here among other names, is that of Herbert Stewart, painted with ink in letters of heroic size.[58]


The height of the Hall gives it a magnificent appearance, while the old oak in the panelling, benches, tables, and roof, make it sombre and venerable. Some old pieces of wood, about six inches square, were shown us, which are still used by the foundation boys for plates at breakfast and supper. In early times the hall was warmed by a fire in the centre.

The Portraits.

Over the high table there is a full-length portrait of William of Wykeham. It is on oak, but scarcely looks as old as the days of Holbein. All we can hope is that there was some likeness of Wykeham of which it is a copy. There is also here a picture of Bishop Morley with rosy cheeks, pointed beard, and a somewhat cynical expression. He was in exile with Charles II., and returned with him, and, to judge by the carmine here freely used, had shared in his master’s good living. Beneath this, by way of contrast, I suppose, hangs the lantern face of Bishop Fox—dark, close-shaven, ascetic—not altogether unlike his patron Henry VII. He was the man who collected the bones out of the crypt, and placed them in the chests.

On the wall of the passage to the kitchen there is the picture of the “Trusty Servant,” almost as well known as the College itself. The Latin verse dates from 1560; the figure, from Queen Anne.


“I remember that at first sight I thought it was intended for the devil,” said Mr. Hertford, “and I am not sure that the designer was not a plagiarist in this respect. I have seen valentines like it.”

“But when we read the lines,” I replied, “we find the intention is to represent virtues, not vices. The cloven feet are to signify celerity, not bestiality; the ‘porker’s snout’ contentment, not greediness; and the donkey’s head patience, not stupidity; the formidable weapons and bundle of implements he carries are for defensive and industrial purposes. This combination of man and beast has a moral as well as a comic side, and has much taken the public fancy.”

When we were opposite this picture, the porter recited with some dramatic power the description of this model domestic:—

“A trusty servant’s portrait would you see,
The emblematic figure well survey:
The porker’s snout—not nice in diet shows;
The padlock shut—no secrets he’ll disclose;
Patient the ass, his master’s wrath to bear,
Swiftness in errand—the stag’s feet declare;
Loaded his left hand, apt to labour with,
The vest his neatness; open hand his faith;
Girt with his sword—his shield upon his arm,
Himself and master he’ll protect from harm.”

We pitied the man who rehearsed these hackneyed[109] lines to every visitor, but hoped that to his ear they had a musical, or perhaps, as Shakespeare says, a silver sound.


In the College Chapel we have the original roof, and the brasses are exact reproductions of those formerly existing here; which, though carefully stored, were stolen when the pavement was undergoing repair some twenty years ago. Fortunately a boy with the suitable name of Freshfield had kept rubbings of them, and by these they have been restored. Warden Nicholas, though not a man of puritanical views, removed the screen.

The College Chapel

The College Chapel

The College was visited by Charles I., and when reverses came it was still safe, for Nicholas Love, the regicide, son of a warden of that name, exerted himself for its preservation, and Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, who was an old Wykehamist, when Cromwell took possession of Winchester, placed a guard at the gates of the College to prevent any depredations.

Poetic memories cluster richly around these old walls. Ken has been mentioned, and Otway should not be forgotten, but time ripened more abundant fruit. There was Young, to whom so many wise reflections came when—


“Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne
In rayless majesty now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o’er a slumbering world.”

and whose lines, “Procrastination is the thief of time,” “At thirty man suspects himself a fool,” and “All men think all men mortal but themselves,” have become household words. Then there was “Tom Warton,” of whom Johnson said that he was the only man of genius he knew that had no heart. In one sense the remark was perhaps true. Although he was eminently sociable and genial, he seems, from his writings, to have been free from those amorous perplexities in which most poets are involved. But he had a fine imagination, great power of expression, and a considerable vein of humour. Next came poor Collins, who died insane. His father, a hatter, determined, like Sugden the barber, to give his son the very best education. Collins was a strange, fantastical fellow, though not unworthy of the feather he wore in his cap. He became a demi of Magdalen College, Oxford, and wrote three odes—to Evening, to the Passions, and on the Death of Thompson—never surpassed in the English language. Truly the tree of knowledge was here hung with golden fruit. Many other eminent men have issued hence to adorn the Church and[113] State, whose solid acquirements must not cause us to undervalue the gifts of Sydney Smith, another Wykehamist, who “could make not only the guests and servants, but even the portraits laugh.”

School Fare.

Warton in his panegyric on ale, and in the affection he practically showed for it, may have been influenced by the remembrance of the joyous drinks of his school life. He says:—

“Let the tender swain
Each morn regale with nerve-relaxing tea
Companion meet for languor-loving nymphs;”

and adds that he prefers a “material breakfast,” consisting of a crust and tankard of ale. As late as seventy years ago the boys continued to have beer for breakfast, indeed that, and that only, was allowed them liberally. Winchester seems to have been long in forgetting the good old Saxon times when each alderman consumed two gallons of beer at a sitting. As for the boys’ dinner, what between fagging, and the seniors having the first cut at the joint, the juniors often had none—vegetables, never. When the square bits of board were their only plates, they were certainly not indulged with gravy. No wonder that they heartily sang the “Dulce Domum” in the college[114] meads when the time came for them to disperse for their summer holidays.

Corner of a College Study

Corner of a College Study.

Passing on down College Street, and admiring some Virginian creepers, more bright than Henry VII.’s stained glass, we soon came to the large gates of Wolvesey Castle. There was a fortress here in Saxon times, built, it is said, by Cynegils, and made over by his son to the bishops of Winchester. There is a mystery about the name. Some think it means Wolf’s Island. Milner says the name came from Edgar having required a Welsh prince to find 300 wolves’ heads and deposit them here every year. These animals were then great pests, and when Alfred wrote requesting the Archbishop of Rheims to permit St. Grimbald to come over, he sent him a present of wolf hounds. The prelate acceding, says that the saint is “not a dumb dog, but able to bark and drive away evil spirits.”

The earlier castle which stood on this site had a literary celebrity. Here Alfred’s scribes compiled the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, assisted by the King himself. He ordered the precious volume to be kept at Wolvesey—it is now in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. This was the first English prose book.

The structure of which we now see the ruins was built by Bishop de Blois, brother of King Stephen,[117] out of the materials of the former castle, and of the Saxon palace in the square. It was not long constructed before it was used in a manner which showed that the bishop’s weapons were not entirely spiritual.

Burning of Winchester.

In 1141, during the civil wars, the southern part of the city, including the Bishop’s palace and the Cathedral, supported King Stephen, while the northern, containing the best houses and Royal Castle, held out for the Empress Matilda. A storm of fire-balls poured forth from Wolvesey Castle, destroying the Abbey of St. Mary, twenty churches, large private buildings, the suburb of Hyde, and the splendid monastery there situated. Fighting and firing raged in the heart of the city for seven weeks! The Northern party were at last driven into the Royal Castle, and the water cut off. The Empress now adopted a clever expedient; she kept out of sight, caused a report to be circulated that she was dead, and had preparations made for her funeral. Her body was enclosed in lead like a corpse, and was thus allowed to be carried out in a horse-litter through the besiegers’ camp. Once safely in the open country she soon was out of her coffin and into her saddle, and, bestriding her good steed, galloped off towards Devizes. Stephen, upon his obtaining the castle, prepared it for vigorous defence, but before he was[118] ready heard an army was collecting against him and took to flight. The monks of Hyde Abbey maintained that during this conflict Bishop de Blois intentionally fired from Wolvesey upon their monastery.

The war which devastated the country at this time greatly interfered with agriculture, and a synod was convened at Winchester, at which it was resolved, “that plough and husbandman should have the same privileges of sanctuary with churches,” and the whole assembly, with torches in their hands, pronounced a blazing excommunication against any one who injured an agriculturist.

Wolvesey saw Henry II.—who had been crowned at Winchester—in one of his worst moments. After the murder of À Becket he found a great storm of public feeling raised against him, and felt no longer safe. On the 6th of August he passed through Winchester, and visited this grim old Norman castle, where Henry de Blois was dying, and here he heard the bishop’s last words of bitter reproach, as he foretold the great calamities which Divine vengeance would pour upon the murderer of the Archbishop. From this Henry hurried to Wales and to the subjugation of Ireland. As late as Leland’s time this was “a castelle, or palace well tow’red,” and it was a residence till the Civil War.



Here, in Henry VIII.’s time, Bishop Fox, as a blind and aged man, was interrogated about Prince Arthur, who was born here, and gave very interesting and lucid replies. Here Mary first saw Philip. Here took place the famous trial of Raleigh before Popham and others, during which the apartments of the warden and fellows of the College were requisitioned for the judges, sheriffs, and principal lawyers. The fine old sailor kept a very cheerful countenance, we are told, though so unwell and feeble that he was accommodated with a seat. He was charged with attempting to induce foreign enemies to invade the King’s dominions; with attempting to restore the Romish religion; and to place on the throne Arabella Stuart, whom he was to meet in Jersey. The celebrated Coke was the Crown counsel against him, and indulged in virulent and coarse invectives, calling him a terrible and detestable traitor.

“He hath a Spanish heart. You are an odious man. See with what a —— forehead he defends his faults. His treason tends not only to the destruction of our souls, but to the loss of our goods, lands, and lives. This is the man who would take away the King and his cubs.”

Raleigh sometimes smiled during this tirade. The last accusation was the only one which moved[120] him, and he said, referring to it, that Coke was a base slave. “Humble, but not prostrate,” he answered for himself; “showing love of life rather than fear of death.” The charges against him were on the authority of only one man, his former friend, Lord Cobham. Raleigh quoted Scripture, that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established,” and demanded that Cobham should be brought face to face with him. This was refused. He said that in the Tower he got a poor fellow to throw up an apple with a letter tied to it to Cobham, who said, in reply, that he had wronged him. But all was of no avail, and Popham condemned Raleigh to be hanged till half dead, and then cut down, quartered, and disembowelled. He left the court without showing any signs of dismay. This account is the more interesting and valuable, as it comes from the pen of Sir Thomas Overbury, an estimable man, poisoned by Carr, who afterwards married his wife.

Raleigh, though he remained afterwards thirteen years in the Tower, until his unfortunate and dishonest expedition, was finally executed under this sentence passed at Winchester.


All is now peaceful enough at Wolvesey. Time has gnawed the walls, the Roundheads destroyed the[121] defences, and Bishop Morley peeled the whole to erect the new palace which now stands beside these sad remains. The string courses in the walls seem to be a continuation of Roman architecture, and we observe two good Norman windows and a couple of imperfect arches; the outside of the keep can still be recognized and the refectory. But nearly all the interior is in a confused state of disintegration, and[122] the man who can call the ruins picturesque must have a happy imagination. Morley’s palace, now used for school classes, is uninteresting; so is the chapel, though, as a builder who had to repair the roof assured me, the wood there, the east window and south wall existed in the days of the castle.

The Tower of the College Chapel from the Itchen

The Tower of the College Chapel from the Itchen.

Leaving Wolvesey, we continued by the line of the city wall, and marked in places the insertion of Roman tiles. There is little here to recall the conflicts of men, but much, in the dark fruit-laden boughs, to make us reflect on the generosity of nature and on piping times, when every man can sit happily beneath his own vine and fig-tree. And now we continue our walk by the smooth river and by cottage gardens bright with everlastings and “gipsy roses” (scabious), till we find ourselves again on the site of the Eastgate from which we started.


[46] Called of Winchester from having been born there.
[47] These town ditches were let to different parties, the grass being of some value. In the Black Book we find, in Henry IV.’s reign, a grant by the Mayor of Winchester, giving to the Abbot and Convent of the Church of St. Barnabas, of Hyde, a certain part of a ditch called Walldych, extending from the Northern Bridge to a certain place called the Bowe, where flows Kyngesbroke. The convent to resign all claim to the fishing in the ditch, and give free ingress to a certain part at the end of the bridge called Northbrigge, for nets and all instruments for cleaning.
[48] In the Pat. Rolls, 43 Ed. III., there is an order for towers and walls to be repaired.
[49] Near this, at the commencement of the Andover Road, a Roman coin of the year 340 was found at a depth of sixteen feet. The staple grounds were within the walls here.
[50] The monks of St. Swithun had “Viridaria” or pleasure grounds outside the precincts.
[51] Founded by the brethren of St. Swithun’s for fifteen nursing sisters.
[52] Wykeham seems to have had a peculiar reverence for St. Thomas à Becket. The election of scholars into New College and Winchester School was to take place every year between the festival of the Translation of St. Thomas à Becket (July 7), and the 1st of October.
[53] There are here also three Anglo-Saxon charters, and in the Audit-room some fifteenth-century tapestries and the coats of mail worn by the warden’s escort.
[54] His father’s name was John Longe, perhaps from his stature.
[55] Does this similarity account for the proverbial good luck of the horse shoe?
[56] That is, Richmond, where Wykeham improved the palace.
[57] When Henry VI. founded Eton on the plan of Winchester, Wayneflete (the headmaster here and afterwards bishop) migrated with five fellows to the new foundation.
[58] Wykehamists are proud of this gallant soldier who fell recently, fighting in the Soudan, and have erected a memorial gateway in his honour.



Jewry Street and the Jews — Hyde Abbey — St. Grimbald — Destruction of Tombs — Headbourne Worthy — King’s Worthy — The Nun’s Walk.

The west side of the George Hotel is in Jewry Street, the ghetto, a name recalling the wealth, rapacity, and persecutions of this peculiar people. They managed to obtain property and to increase in this city, apparently in the thirteenth century, previous to which this street was called Scowertene Street. In 1232 a story was circulated that a boy had been tortured and murdered by them.

“Invented, perhaps, by their debtors,” suggested Mr. Hertford.

In Henry III.’s reign there was an order that the Jews in Winchester should be taxed according to their ability, as in London; but when the barons sacked the town they are said to have extirpated them. In 1268, however, one of them was made a member of the Merchants’ Guild here, the only fact,[124] as far as I know, that corroborates the statement of Richard of Devizes, that “Winchester alone, the people being prudent, spared its vermin.” We have seen what became of “Aaron’s land,” and that of the “son of Abraham” did not escape confiscation, for we find that in Edward I.’s reign—“Thomas de Palmere was granted a messuage in the great street of Winchester, valued at four shillings a year. It had belonged to Benedict, son of Abraham the Jew, and had been forfeited to the King.”[59] At a Parliament, held here in 1290, the Jews were expelled from the country.

Proceeding up the street, we pass on the right-hand side the old stable in which “Master Say” was tortured in the time of the Civil War. A little farther on, if we look up over the shops on the other side, we shall plainly trace the outlines of a large building. This was once the city gaol, built by James I., rebuilt in 1771, and the central portion of it, where there is now an ironmonger’s shop, was the governor’s house about twenty years since, and boasted a haunted chamber, in which one of the debtors committed suicide. It was afterwards used for the Museum until the Guildhall was built in 1873, and the gaol[125] and bridewell were removed to the Romsey Road. Farther on stands the Corn Exchange and Cattle Market.

Hyde Street.

Crossing the City Road we went straight on into Hyde Street, which seems like a continuation of Jewry Street. On the right Fossedyke House commemorates the city walls and ditch. Farther on I noticed a relic of the past—a small shop with a gable, very low rooms, and windows scarcely more than a foot high. Two steps descended into it, a proof of age—as either the soil outside has risen, or the owner has been, like the Irishman, “raising his roof.” On the other side, we came to the large malthouse of Mr. Dear, with walls of cut stone, formerly a barn belonging to Hyde Abbey.

Opposite, we see through a side street the “Soldiers’ Home.” This was about fifty years ago the celebrated school of Mr. Richards, at which were Deans Garnier and Gaisford, Lord Liverpool, George Canning, Wolfe the poet, and perhaps Disraeli who was at a boarding school in Winchester. It was afterwards the Museum, and is now used for Salvation meetings. The Army has been “bombarding” Winchester for some time, and now marches through the streets with Salvation guernseys, hallelujah bonnets, and scarves white, red, and blue, to the music of[126] drums, trumpets, and cymbals. All this noise and dramatic show is attractive: whether it makes people religious I cannot say, but it promotes the cause of teetotalism. I went one day from curiosity to a “free and easy” at the Corn Exchange, and observed that the congregation were mostly men. Their attention was kept by the variations in the service, by “knee-drill,” singing on the knees, clapping the hands, and singing with the eyes shut. The preacher, an eloquent man, said they wanted money to build a barrack in Parchment Street, which was to be somewhat larger than the Cathedral! (a titter.) He added that some considered that the Salvationists could do nothing right, nothing properly. They even thought they could not make a collection properly, and he was almost inclined to agree with them, when he saw the miserable contributions there were last Sunday.

Hyde Abbey.

A Roman urn was found in this street; and in turning to the right, down Alfred Place I noticed a corner-stone of a “Druidical” character. In a few yards, we came to the little church of St. Bartholomew, with a Norman entrance arch, rich in zig-zag—one-third restored. Here is a stoup, and the lancet windows in the nave are in their original positions. Close beside the churchyard is a building with an arch, apparently the entrance to the monastery.[127] On either side of the arch is a head, much decayed, but the drawn-back hair can be traced, and the crowns of Alfred and his son Edward, it is supposed. These carvings seem older than the arch, which is only Tudor. In the massive wall of an adjoining garden a low window was pointed out to me, now half hidden in the soil; and until lately there was an arch visible beside it, which is now walled up. Passing through the gate into the farmyard I came to the stream which rises at Headbourne Worthy, and here runs under a very primitive arch, which has some of the old monastery wall still remaining on it. The rivulet flows round the black fence of the Steam Laundry into a street, called from it, Upper Brooks.

I found that the road past the monastery ended immediately, and learned that the reason of this was that for a short time the Bridewell, for which the ruins of Hyde Abbey were despoiled, stood till late years at the termination.

This information I obtained from a mechanic whom we met with. I was desirous of obtaining local information, and asked him if there were more ruins here.

“Well, sir, I think there’s some of the old tackle up there,” he replied, pointing in the direction of the barn.


“Do you belong to this place?” I said.

“Yes, sir,” he replied; “and for forty years I belonged to the devil.”

I stared at him, for he was a most respectable-looking man.

“Yes, sir, I did,” he continued. “But what a difference it makes to a man when he has his eyes opened! I never used to pray. I used to eat and drink and work, and go once a week to the organ-loft of St. Bartholomew’s there, and have a sing, and thought that was all that was necessary. How differently I feel now!”

“Much better, no doubt,” I returned. “Have any ancient remains been discovered here?”

“Something less than twenty years ago a man was digging about the site of this bridewell wherever they would let him. He was a long time at it, but he had read books, and knew exactly where to go. He was a strange sort of man, fond of bones and coffins, which he found and put into the church.”

King Alfred.

Hyde Abbey, called the New Minster, previous to Norman times went on its travels like the other Winchester institutions. It was founded by Alfred close to the northern side of the Cathedral. He bought ground for the chapel and dormitory, and perhaps built them, but left the main work to be[129] completed by his son. It was called the Monastery of St. Grimbald. When Alfred went to Rome with St. Swithun, he stopped for some days on his way at the convent of St. Bertin, in France, and there sat, a lovely and studious child, at the feet of Grimbald. He not only profited by the religious teaching, but conceived a great affection for this gracious president, and sent for him to superintend his new foundation. Grimbald came in 885, and the King and Archbishop Ethred received him “as an angel.” A meeting was called, and Grimbald made an effective speech, strongly condemning the sins of unchastity, covetousness, lying, murder, and theft. He also spoke of pride and gluttony, “through which our first parent was driven from his flowery abode.” Alfred followed with a speech commending study to his nobility, who were very illiterate at the time.

Learning was then at a low ebb in England owing to the ravages of the Danes, and in Winchester the churches had been despoiled, the priests murdered, the nuns outraged, and Christianity nearly abolished. Alfred resolved to reinstate it, and Grimbald was to teach the children of the thanes as well as to give advice about the proposed monastery.

Alfred died fifteen years after Grimbald’s arrival in England, and the Annals tell us he was buried[130] “becomingly, and with kingly honour in the royal city of Winchester, in the church of St. Peter’s. His tomb is still extant, made of the most precious porphyry marble.” Although unwilling to say a word against the good monks of Hyde, I fear that it must be admitted they were now guilty of a little trickery. The canons of St. Swithun “foolishly thought they saw the disembodied spirit of King Alfred moving about their habitation,” and I am afraid we must conclude that some of the monks of Hyde, to obtain the valuable body of the King, dressed themselves up as the ghost and frightened the poor canons. Thus the corpse was transferred to the New Minster.[60]

The monastery soon obtained another melancholy acquisition. The building was finished in 903, and, Ponthieu in Picardy having been ravaged, the inhabitants fled, and nobles and religious people came swarming like bees to St. Grimbald, and brought with them the bones of the sacred confessor St. Josse—a British prince. Grimbald received this consignment with great honour, with a brilliant retinue of clergy, and an immense concourse of the faithful. Miracles soon appeared, and the dry bones[131] brought life and livelihood into the monastery. At the dedication of the basilica to the Sacred Trinity, St. Mary, St. Peter, and St. Paul, there was a brilliant assembly, and farms were bestowed by the King and nobles. Queen Emma afterwards gave the head of St. Valentine.

Grimbald, “a good singer and most learned in holy Scripture,” had a conflict with the old scholars at Oxford, and was not well pleased at the impartial manner in which Alfred decided it. As he became old he withdrew himself, and lived privately in this Abbey at Winchester, intent only upon psalms and hymns, and unwilling to speak of anything secular.

Sword and Gown.

The New Monastery fared badly after the battle of Hastings. The Abbot at this time was unfortunately an uncle of Harold. When he heard of the Norman invasion he persuaded twelve stalwart brethren to take the Saxon helmet, and, raising twenty additional men, marched to Hastings with his little company. They took the sword in place of the crucifix, and used it with such effect that they became conspicuous in the conflict. The Abbot fell close to Harold. Perhaps their costume attracted attention, they may have had gown and sword, but at any rate William’s attention was attracted to them, and he determined to take vengeance on an establishment[132] whose members gave him so much trouble. He confiscated some fifteen manors belonging to them—about 17,000 acres of land, and he built his palace in such a position as greatly to inconvenience them, shutting up the communication by St. Lawrence’s into the High Street.

It now became clearly recognized that the New Monastery was too much confined, it was so close to St. Swithun’s that the ringing and singing were “like sweet bells jangled.” The monks resolved to move outside the city to Hyde Mead, though the ground in that locality was so springy that they had to bring a quantity of clay, and to cover it, in some places, four feet deep. The old site was given to St. Swithun’s, which in return gave some land and some additional days at St. Giles’ fair. In 1110 the fraternity moved in solemn procession, with all their worldly goods, consisting mainly of the cross of Cnut, body of Alfred, and some other old bones, into what promised to be a peaceful abode.

Treasures of Hyde.

But thirty years afterwards, on the occasion of the conflict between Stephen and Matilda, the establishment was destroyed, as I have already said, by Bishop de Blois sending fire balls at it out of Wolvesey. From the representations now made to the Pope we learn how magnificently[135] adorned the church was, and how successful had been the miracles there wrought. The flames melted the gold and silver, and the bishop compelled the monks to give him the precious ashes, especially those of the great cross, given by Cnut, which contained sixty pounds of silver, and fifteen of gold, that king’s revenue for a year.

Cnut and Emma

(From an Anglo-Saxon MS.)

There were three diadems of gold and precious stones worth £118, two images adorned with gold and gems, worth £49. Of silver there were many other valuables, the seal of the house, two patens, a vase for holy water, and two lavers, nobly adorned with gold and gems, said to be of Solomonic work, perhaps in imitation of those in the Jewish temple, and worth £35. De Blois had endowed his hospital of St. Cross out of the spoil, and the whole amount of damages claimed was not less than £4,862, which might be multiplied by twenty to form a right estimate of it at present.

In consequence of the complaints sent to the Pope, the warlike bishop had to make some restitution. But it was not till twenty-six years afterwards (1167) that a goldsmith’s copy of the cross[61] was executed and presented to the Convent. The restoration[136] of the buildings was gradual, and in 1312 part was still in ruins.

Hyde Abbey, though planned by St. Grimbald with such excellent intentions, was not free from the weakness inherent in all human institutions. There was from 1182 such a flow of miracles from the altar of St. Barnabas there that the monastery was sometimes spoken of as if dedicated to that saint. Crowds of poor, sick, and infirm people congregated there, and as the place declined in morality it grew in celebrity, so that in 1390 William of Wykeham authorized the abbot to use a mitre, ring and pastoral staff.

In 1507 the vices attendant on wealth and luxury became so conspicuous as to require rebuke. The good monks were making free use of the taverns, and were bringing into the monastery women who were not of a saintly character. The last abbot of Hyde, John Salcot, was “a great cleark, and singularly learned in divinity.” He became Bishop of Bangor, and then of Salisbury, and his principles were of the willow pattern. At Windsor he tried three reformers, and condemned them to be burnt, and burnt they were; but under Edward VI. he himself became a reformer, and gave the Duke of Somerset several church manors. In Mary’s reign he averred[137] that his compliance with Edward’s wishes had been caused by threats and from fear of his life, and sentenced Hooper and Rogers and three others to the stake, where they were burned.


Wriothesley writes in 1538, being the chief acting commissioner here: “About three o’clock a.m., we made an end of the shrine of Winchester. We think the silver will amount to near two thousand marks. Going to bedsward we viewed the altar. Such a piece of work it is that we think we shall not rid of it before Monday or Tuesday morning. Which done we intend both at Hyde and St. Mary’s to sweep away all the rotten bones, called relics, which we may not omit lest it should be thought we came more for the treasure than for avoiding the abominations of idolatry.” Wriothesley was granted several of the richest manors of Hyde, and having a lease of the site, pulled down the abbey and sold the materials. He made over the site to the Bethell family. The lands he left to his children, but a failure of male descent, which no doubt the Roman Catholics regarded as a judgment, caused the abbey manors to be distributed to many families. Some of them went to Lady Rachel Russell, a daughter of Thomas, Earl of Southampton. She lived much at Stratton, where her letters were written.


In 1788 the magistrates of Hampshire bought the site of the abbey to erect a bridewell. Dr. Milner writes: “At almost every stroke of the mattock or spade some ancient sepulchre or other was violated, the venerable contents of which were treated with marked indignity.” A crozier, patens, chalices, and rings, and “fantastic capitals” were now found, stone coffins were broken and bones scattered. Three superior coffins were found in front of the altar, and a slab, probably the base of a statue of Alfred, which is now at Corby Castle, in Cumberland. It is impossible to determine what relics were then destroyed.

The bones found in 1867 lie under a stone marked simply with a cross, beneath the east window of St. Bartholomew’s Church. They belonged to five persons, supposed to be Alfred, his queen and two sons, and St. Grimbald. The four first mentioned were found in a chalk vault, at the east end of the church of Hyde Monastery. The bones of St. Grimbald were in another chalk vault, under the chancel, near the north transept, which extended where there is now a timber yard, on the east side of the present church. In Milner’s time, the ruins of the church nearly covered a meadow. St. Bartholomew’s was probably like the[139] church at Battle, built for the tenants and servants of the abbey. The cut stones, with which its walls are studded, give it a chequered or chessboard appearance, and suggest the spoliation of some earlier building. But a portion at least, of the church existed long before the destruction of the abbey. The alternation of squares of stone and flintwork is an example of what was in times past a favourite device, now known by architects as “diaper work.”

Walk to Headbourne.

Returning into Hyde Street, my friends went home; and I, walking on towards the country, came to some pretty outskirts of Winchester. Here are bright villas, covered with flowering rose-trees, and a thatched cottage swathed in ivy. The road gradually becomes overshadowed on both sides by beeches and elms, which soon give place on the left to corn-fields, dotted over with children “gleazing,” while on the right appears the long wall and fine plantations of Abbots Barton—an old monastic farm.

Just before coming to Headbourne Worthy, I passed two semi-detached cottages of red brick, with ornamental windows. These cheerful dwellings stand on a site of dark memory. Two years ago, a hayrick was here, under which a couple of young[140] sailors, tramping along the road, took refuge at night from a storm. Though in this uncomfortable position, they managed to quarrel about money—with which neither was well provided—and at last the discussion grew so hot that the elder—twenty-seven years of age—pursued the younger, a boy of eighteen round the rick, with an open knife in his hand. The latter cried aloud, but the wind and rain prevented his being heard, except by a dog at a neighbouring cottage, who raised his voice in vain. At last the deed was done, and the murderer took three shillings from the body, which he covered up with hay. He then made off, but was captured and executed.

A Winchester Scholar.

I now descend a hill between high grassy banks, and reach Headbourne Worthy—the stately designation only signifying a village. The church has a somewhat modern appearance outside, but, according to some, has Saxon portions. At the west end, we find a small Norman arch leading into the vestry, where there is a bas-relief, almost obliterated, of the Crucifixion and two Marys, larger than life. It is supposed that these figures were originally on the outer wall of the church, and that the room in which they now are, in which an upper floor and piscina are traceable, was a chapel built round[141] them. There is in the church a handsome piscina and some sedilia. But the chief pride of the little sanctuary is a brass, said to be in a certain sense unique. It dates from 1434, and is in memory of a boy who died when one of the scholars at “New College” in Winchester. He stands here, with closely-cut hair and a gown fastened down the front, giving a good idea of the appearance of the scholars of that day. A scroll proceeds out of his mouth, with the words, “Misericordiam Dm̄ inetm̄ cantabo,” which is supposed to mean that he will sing the school chants eternally.

I returned the keys to a small house, a few yards off, in the garden of which I observed some of the finest “everlastings” I had seen in this country. Beside it ran a grass-carpeted lane, down which a pedestrian wishing to return to Winchester in a mile, and able to face an easy fence, might turn to the right across a field and walk beside a bank gay with knopweed, fleabane, and St. John’s wort, until he reached the Nuns’ Walk. I, however, continued up the hill, and, passing a red-brick house, with four splendid lignums in front of it, came to King’s Worthy—once Crown property as the name denotes.

There is nothing remarkable about the church,[142] except a Norman arch at the west entrance. The tombstones outside are sadly gay with wreaths and floral crosses. Short-lived they are, for the fences not being perfect cows stray in, and, unable to read of the virtues of the deceased, munch up and trample on the offerings in a most unsentimental manner. The body of the boy Parker, of whose murder I have spoken, having been refused, as I was told, burial at Headbourne, was interred here on the south-west side, and a headstone raised to his memory by subscription.

Crossing the graveyard to return home, I found myself in a field, where stand two elms of immense height and girth. Then—in and out—under old ivy-mantled trees—over a stile, and under the railway arch, I come into a large oozy field, which eyebright loves, and where sleek cattle are grazing; then I reach the clear Itchen, dozing and gleaming in the sun. Here I am beside the river of Isaak Walton. I fancy that I can see on the bank opposite, the quaint figure of the piscatorial draper, who was always ready to exchange his yard stick for his fishing-rod, and whose writing flows along as clearly and smoothly as the stream he gazed on. Those who wish to know something of his bodily presence may look at his statue by Miss Grant.



Awaking from my reverie, I cross by a plank bridge the rivulet which passes Headbourne Church and rises just above it. This stream, which accompanies the Nuns’ Walk, is said by some old writers to have been conducted into Winchester by Æthelwold. It was evidently turned artificially, perhaps by that eminent man; whoever directed it seems to have raised the Nuns’ Walk to bank up the stream.

Another rivulet running close beside it, drawn from the Itchen and used for irrigation, is called the Mill Stream, from an old mill which stood near: both flow in old water courses, as the willows along them testify. I crossed over to the last mentioned, which was set with the spears of bulrushes and gemmed with blue forget-me-nots, and walked on beside it upon fronds of silver weed, gathering watercresses at times, which seemed refreshing under the hot sun, till I crossed back into the Nuns’ Walk. It is difficult to understand why this name was given to the path, perhaps from its beauty; for it was far from the nunnery, though close to Hyde Monastery. If the nuns frequented it, they must have met the monks here. Let us hope on these trying occasions they kept their eyes rivetted on their books, or “commercing with the skies.” In[144] the earlier period, however, the brethren were canons and mostly married. Would that we could picture here the stately figure of Bishop Æthelwold, whom their worldliness so deeply grieved!

Continuing along the walk by the clear stream, and occasionally startling a trout, which shot under the shade of the bank, I passed Abbots Barton farm, with its mullioned windows and old sun-dial. Farther on, I came to three little boys, fishing with landing nets—would that Gainsborough could have seen that group! I asked them whether they were successful; to which they replied—

“Oh, yes, we have caught several minnows, and some dog-fish.”

“Dog-fish? What may they be?”

“Some call them trotters,” they returned, and showed me the can in which their take had been deposited; but although I looked attentively, I could see nothing. They assured me, however, that they were there safe enough, and I was glad they enjoyed the sport, though I could not say much for the fry.

The Monster Trout.

Trudging on in the chequered light which the sunshine cast through the glossy leaves of witch elms, I came to a man feeding ducks. It was one o’clock, and he was eating his dinner of bread and[145] cucumber, with a clasp knife. Every minute he was throwing in pieces of bread, and watching their scrambles. I stopped as I was passing. He looked at me with a smile, and said—

“I think they are getting nearly as much as I am.”

“You seem very liberal to them,” I replied.

“Yes; but they ought not to be here. This is a nursery, and they eat the small fish.”

“Are there any large fish in the stream?” I inquired.

“Oh, yes, very often; but I take them out and put them into the river. The Itchen is the place for the large fish.”

“What sized fish have you there?”

“I have seen trout there of six or eight pounds, but one was caught a few weeks ago that weighed sixteen pounds; and you can see it now, stuffed, at Mr. Chalkley’s, near the Butter Cross.”


“He must have been an old fellow.”

“Oh, very. I should say, twenty years. I had known him in the upper water for three years; but one time, when the hatch was open, he got into the lower water and was then, in fact, in the town. Plenty of people went out to try to catch him, but he escaped them for eighteen months; but at last was taken off his guard.”

“Have you any other fish here?”

“There are a few perch in the river, but we don’t want them; there ought to be none at all in it. Lower down, at Twyford, there are some grayling; and at Bishopstoke, some salmon-ladders have been placed to lead them up here, but they will not come.”

The capture of the large trout to which he alluded had made quite a sensation in Winchester. Not only was it stuffed and exhibited, but its portrait was taken. It seems remarkable that though the fish had been hooked so often, there were no barbs found in its mouth—this is generally the case, they come out by some kindly provision of nature. I need scarcely say that this veteran, when cooked, was not found particularly tender.


To the east of the walk on which I stood, a rich pasture land extended, looking very tempting for a stroll. It is divided into two farms—one entered under the Hyde arch; the other by the Mill, at the farther end of the town. The ground is intersected with dykes and rivulets, and especially by one large clear stream, which enjoys the unsuitable name of the Black Ditch. This feeds the “middle and lower brooks,” being led along the streets[147] so called. The “upper brook” street is supplied by the stream which has travelled beside us from Headbourne, and, being spring water, is thought better than the rest. My impression is that the work of Æthelwold consisted in making the small canals or “brooks,” which flow into the town from a few yards behind the City Road, and perhaps some cutting across the meadow, and that the Headbourne stream was banked up at a later period, after the building of Hyde Monastery, through which it took a remarkably convenient course.

The southern part of this pasture land was the scene of the famous combat between Guy and Colbrand. Passing by some cottages covered with ivy, and some gardens flaming with phlox, I found myself back at St. Bartholomew’s Church.


[59] Charter Rolls, 8 Ed. I.
[60] The Cathedral was often called the Church of St. Swithun.
[61] Malmsbury calls it an image of the crucifixion, with great weight of gold, silver, and gems.



The Cathedral — Early History — Dagon — St. Swithun — Æthelwold — The Vocal Cross — Ordeal of Fire — Walkelin — Renovation of the Cathedral — Civil War — Architecture — Nave — Isaak Walton — Relics and Monuments — De la Roche — Frescoes — Ethelmar — Crypt.

Fifteen years ago I visited Winchester, and attended service in the Cathedral. A verger, with the usual courtesy of his kind, showed me into one of the “misery” stalls, and I found myself very happy therein. The music was delightful. The boys’ voices seemed to waft me up to heaven, and the bass sent me down below the earth. The latter performance by one of commanding stature, who possessed something worthy of being called an “organ,” greatly impressed me. As I was passing out I observed to the verger, “That bass man is very grand.”

“Oh, yes, sir,” he replied;[149] “if you were to hear him hollow out, ‘Judge me,’ you would say it was the finest thing in the world.”

“That is a somewhat modern experience,” observed Mr. Hertford. “Let us hear something about the early history of the Cathedral.”

“As early as you please,” I replied. “Warton tells us that ‘many reputable historians report that this city was founded by Ludor Rous Hudibras 892 years before Christ.’”

“The name Hudibras,” returned Mr. Hertford, “suggests that they belonged to the comic school.”

The Britons.

“Or poetic,” I continued, “Warton was poet-laureate, and his brother was head-master here. But there is no doubt that the site on which this Cathedral stands was of prehistoric sanctity. Hard by at the southern gate of the Close we find in the road two Druidical monoliths. Was not this a place where the long-haired, skin-clad Britons came to lay their offerings? Did not some mighty chieftain repose here beneath a rude dolmen? Below the crypt there is a well which reminds us of the holy wells—such as that of Madron in Cornwall—changed by the early Church from pagan to Christian veneration.

“A wave of the wand of the great magician, Time, brings us to Roman days. On the south and west are red-roofed villas, with spreading courts. Close to us, on the east, stand the old temple of Concord, and the new one to Apollo—low buildings, but large, and[150] girdled by pillars, with acanthus-leaved capitals, such as those we see to-day lying on the grass at Silchester. Here pass the stately processions of white-robed “flamens,” who here placed their principal British college. But side by side with these time-honoured and worn-out institutions grew up the Christian Church. King Lucius on his conversion gave to it the possessions of these old priests, extending 2,000 paces on every side of the city. He built a little house, with an oratory, dormitory, and refectory, and placed in it monks of the order of St. Mark the Evangelist. But his greatest work here was the construction of the Church of St. Amphibalus, two hundred and nine paces long, eighty wide and ninety high.[62]

“Paces?” interrupted Mr. Hertford, “what a stupendous structure! and very ‘airy’ I should think. Are you sure that it was not built for the marines?”

“Large as it was,” I continued,[151] “Lucius’s voice would have filled it. We are told that when he became Bishop of Coire, in Switzerland, he chose a rock for his pulpit—his finger-marks remain there to prove it—and held forth so vehemently that he was heard twelve miles off—about as far as thunder would be audible.”

“You have evidently been among some of those jesting monks,” he said.

“Oh, no; what I have narrated about Winchester is from no goliard, but from Rudborne, a Benedictine of the place; a ‘sad’ fellow truly, but in the older and better sense.”

The Saxons.

After a great destruction of monks and buildings during the Diocletian persecution, the brethren rebuilt and re-entered their church—of which Constans, son of Constantine, and afterwards Emperor, was then high-priest—and had peace for two hundred and ten years. Then came, in 500, the terrible Cerdic, against whom King Arthur fought so valiantly. He defeated the natives in a great battle where is now the New Forest, and entered the city. The monks were slaughtered, and an image of Dagon set up in the Christian church. We can scarcely picture the barbaric scenes when this prince of the Saxons was crowned, and buried, in this heathen temple.

Why does Rudborne call this the temple of the Philistine god Dagon? Perhaps it was merely a term of contempt, to signify an outlandish deity. But we know that Dagon had a fish’s tail, and might it be that the Saxons arriving by sea, invested their[152] figure of Woden here with some of the merman’s attributes? It is a curious coincidence—nothing more—that the Roman pavement in the Museum, found in Minster Lane, about a hundred yards from the west entrance of the Cathedral, is ornamented with representations of dolphins.[63]

“I am glad we have come to the Saxons,” said Mr. Hertford, “there is something interesting about them. They lived in a fitful light. The sun of civilization was struggling through the clouds of primitive darkness. Literature was springing into life, with that centralization which begets great achievements.”

“A hundred and forty-two years after Cerdic we reach the light,” I continued. “Cynegils destroyed this heathen temple and began to refound Winchester Church, which his successor, Cenwalh, finished about the middle of the seventh century. He dedicated it to St. Birinus, who had been sent over by Pope Honorius. Hedda translated the bishopric of the West Saxons from Dorchester to Winchester, and brought hither the bones of Birinus, by means of which the neighbourhood soon began to be blessed or cursed with miracles.”

St. Swithun.

We now reach the days of St. Swithun, who in his[153] lifetime came down upon the Church in showers not of water, but of gold. He induced Athelwolf, Alfred’s father, to give tithes of the Crown lands, and the grant was confirmed here by the King, in a grand ceremony before the high altar of “St. Peter’s.” Swithun (a native of the place) was first Prior and then Bishop of Winchester, and well deserved remembrance. He moulded the mind of Alfred, and persuaded Ethelbald to put away his mother-in-law, whom, by some eccentricity, he had married. From feelings of humility, or fearing that his body would be utilized after his death, Swithun ordered that he should be buried outside the church on the west; where, writes Rudborne, “a little chapel can be seen on the north of the Cathedral.” (This chapel, which has disappeared, was probably not built until many years after the interment.)

Æthelwold was a pillar of the Church. He repaired the nunnery founded here by Alfred’s queen, and purchased the sites of Ely, Peterborough, and the “Thorney” isle, on which the “Minster of the West” stands. He rebuilt the Cathedral of St. Swithun—upon plans apparently of that saint—assisting in the good work not only as an architect, but also as a manual labourer. Great opposition was made to him by the “adversary,” but he was supported[154] by power from above. One day a great post fell upon him breaking nearly all the ribs on one side of his body, and but for his falling into a pit he would have been crushed altogether. Another day one of the monks who were working on the highest part of the church fell from the top to the bottom, but as soon as he touched the earth and made the sign of the cross, he ascended in the sight of all up to the place where he had stood, took up his trowel, and continued his work as if nothing had happened!

The Saxon Cathedral.

The church thus miraculously raised is represented by Wolstan, who saw it, as a wondrous edifice. It was built with “Dædalion” ingenuity. There were so many buildings with altars round the nave that the visitor would become confused, and not be able to find his way about. A tower was added, detached, and so lofty that its golden beaks (gargoyles) caught the rays of the rising sun and, with a little stretch of imagination, “made perpetual day.” The crypts were like the church, so large and intricate, that “a man in them could not find his way out and did not know where he was.” The latter statement was true in one sense, as the occupants were mostly kings and bishops, who were brought in to be buried.

Wolstan is grand upon the organ; indeed, he works it a little too hard. He says that it sometimes[155] sounded like thunder, and was heard all over the city. Whatever its modulations may have been, it must have been powerful, for there were twelve pairs of bellows, worked by “the arms of seventy men with great labour and perspiration.” This instrument had forty “musæ,” notes, I suppose, and was played by two of the brethren.

The tower was surmounted by a rod with golden balls, which shone in the moonbeams as if they were “stars upon earth.” On the top of all was a splendid weather-cock. It was fitting that such a building should be presided over by a brave bird.

“The Winchester monk himself seems to have crowed pretty loudly over it,” observed Mr. Hertford.

Æthelwold had the body of Birinus, which Hedda had buried simply and respectably, taken up and wrapped in sheets of silver and gold. He was also conveniently admonished by a dream to move the body of St. Swithun, and a curious Saxon account of this direction is extant.[64] The saint, in shining light and full canonicals, appeared to an old smith, and told him to send to Æthelwold to remove his bones.

“Oh! sire,” replied the smith,[156] “he will not believe my word.”

“Then,” quoth the saint, “let him go to my burial-place and draw up a ring out of the coffin, and if the ring yields at the first tug then wot he of a truth that I sent thee to him.”


The smith was still afraid, but when the saint had appeared three times to him he went to the tomb and took hold of the ring, which came out of the stone at once. But it was some years after this, before the cures wrought led to Æthelwold’s translating the body. The bishop took it out of the “poor tomb,” where it had rested for 110 years, and had it placed in a sheet of gold. He made this translation the occasion for a great demonstration, by which a vast crowd of people was collected; and the relics which had produced nothing in the days of the secular canons, now, under the care of the monks became the source of countless miracles—not much to the credit of the latter custodians. Within the ten days succeeding its removal, two hundred persons were healed, and afterwards sometimes eighteen a day. The graveyard was so covered with the diseased lying about that it was almost impossible to reach the church.

“I should not have attempted it,” interposed Mr. Hertford.

“Well; it would have been worth seeing,” I replied,[157] “for it was hung round from one end to the other with crutches and cripples’ stools, and even so they could not put half of them up.”

“It is difficult to suppose,” said Mr. Hertford, thoughtfully, “that all the money that was given for pretended miracles was paid for nothing. Persons whose constitutions or disorders were of a nervous character probably received some benefit. Their spirits would be raised by their anticipations and the brilliance of the scene. Some recovered from natural causes, and those who grew worse soon died, or were not inclined to be profane in their sufferings. You remember the remark of Diogenes?”

“I have read some things he said,” I returned, “and some attributed to him which he did not say.”

“He was visiting a temple,” continued Mr. Hertford, “and was shown the offerings made by those who had been cured. ‘Yes,’ he replied to the priest; ‘but if those who had not been cured had offered gifts, they would have been far more numerous.’”

It is said that the transference of St. Swithun’s body, which had lain between the old wooden tower and the church, was delayed by forty days’ rain—and hence the proverb. The postponement may seem strange, as the tomb was but a few feet from the[158] church; but it was a main object to have a great concourse of people.

And let me here notice a coincidence. We know that in the early centuries sun worship was much intermingled with Christianity; we have traces of it in our “Sunday,” in the orientation of churches, and several observances.

It has been maintained that the Elias of Scripture—the great herald and harbinger—in some way represented the sun, Helios, and in modern Greece that luminary is personified, and St. Elias is supposed to preside over the rainfall. The churches to this saint stand on the sites of ancient temples to Apollo, and here at Winchester we have a cathedral close to the site of a temple of Apollo, dedicated to St. Swithun, who regulates the weather.

Æthelwold acquired the reputation of being a prophet, in a manner which does not reflect much credit upon some of his friends. During Lent he preached a powerful sermon on mortification, telling the people to abstain from meat, courtship, and other pleasant things. On hearing this, some wild fellow among the crowd made a profane jest, and the bishop, in reply, said that he foresaw his approaching death. Next morning the offender was found really dead,[159] “his throat cut by the devil.”

Many bodies of the great were moved by this bishop, and, in turn, after he himself had been buried, he was taken up and made to work.

The Monks’ Success.

In these days of Dunstan there was great activity in ecclesiastical affairs, a great conflict between the priests and monks. The authority of the Pope, which had not been hitherto fully recognized by the English Church, was now established. We are told that the canons of Winchester shirked the trouble of chanting, consumed in country residences the goods of the Church, and deputed their duties to poorly-paid vicars. “The Golden History” states that the canons were in the habit of turning off the wives they had illicitly taken, and taking others, and were guilty of gluttony and drunkenness. Such were the charges made against them by the monks, and the King turned out the canons of the old and new monasteries (St. Swithun’s and Hyde); but it may be observed that in the early English Church marriage of priests was not forbidden. We read that at the New Monastery all the canons were in 968 called on to take the Benedictine habit, “and robes and cowls were brought into the choir,” Dunstan having established the Benedictines in England. But the old clergy were not without friends, and determined not to yield without a struggle. A great meeting was held in the refectory[160] of the old monastery. All the magnates of the country came to support the dispossessed canons; on the other side were Oswald, Archbishop of York, Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester, and the monks. Dunstan sat next to King Edgar, who had his back to the wall, whereon was a cross, placed there it is remarked, in the days of Ethelred, when the canons first succeeded the slaughtered monks. The temporal lords now promised that the canons would reform their manners, and begged for their restitution. Edgar was moved by their “sighs and tears,” and was about to consent, when Dunstan’s genius, heaven-born or not, came to the assistance of the monks. A voice suddenly came from an image on the cross behind Edgar, “Let this not be; ye have judged well. Ye may not change for the better.” Edgar and Dunstan alone heard the voice. They were struck dumb, and fell to the ground. The voice was then heard a second time: “Arise, fear not, for justice and peace have kissed each other in the monks.”

“It is evident that the speaker, whoever he was, had no sense of the ludicrous,” said Mr. Hertford.

“We are led,” I added,[161] “to think of the peculiar orifice there is in the Castle Hall just behind the daïs.”

Cathedral Treasures.

When the Danes obtained the sovereignty the butter-boat of the monks was still safe. Cnut enriched the Cathedral with a mass of gold and silver and of jewels, the brilliance of which “frightened strangers.” His own crown, either in his lifetime, or more probably after his body had lain in State before the high altar, was placed on the head of the Saviour, on the Cross which stood here. He gave a splendid shrine for Birinus, and a silver candelabrum with six branches. A magnificent golden cross, two large images of gold and silver, and shrines for relics were also bestowed.[65] Much of this munificence was suggested by his queen, Emma, who was a devotee.[66] She had Alwyn, a relation of her own, made Bishop of Winchester. Perhaps her partiality for this monastery caused some jealousy, for after her son, Edward the Confessor, had been crowned here in 1042, she was accused of being improperly familiar with the bishop, of consenting to the death of her son, Alfred[162] and of opposing Edward’s accession. The King himself came down here in disguise to watch her, and soon her treasury in Winchester was seized, and she was compelled to retire to the convent of Wherwell. We are told that she felt greatly her reduced circumstances, “because the worst part of poverty was that it made people contemptible.” A memorable, if not legendary, scene is now recorded by Rudborne. “Emma the Lady,” once the “Flower of Normandy,” demands to have her innocence tried by walking over red-hot ploughshares. The day draws near. She spends the night in prayers and tears, and in visiting the tomb of St. Swithun: the saint bids her be of good courage. Next morning a crowd of clergy and laity collect in the Cathedral; the King is in his State robes. Nine dreadful red-hot ploughshares are brought forth. The Queen advances and addresses the King. “My lord and son, I, Emma, that bore you, accused before you of crimes against you and Alfred, my son, and of base conduct with Alwyn the bishop, call God to witness in my person whether I have had in my mind any of these things attributed to me.” She then throws off her outer robe and takes off her shoes. A tremor of terror passes through the vast multitude, and the cry rends the air, “St. Swithun, save her!” Rudborne does not minimize it; he says[163] that it was so loud that the saint must have come then or never. “Heaven suffers violence, and St. Swithun is dragged down by force”—such are his words. Thus encouraged, the Queen advances between two bishops, and walks over the ploughshares, with her eyes turned towards heaven, exclaiming, “God, who delivered Susannah from the wicked old men, and the boys from the furnace, deliver me, for the sake of St. Swithun.” She seemed to be walking “on roses,” and so little did she feel the fire that when all was over she asked when the trial was to begin!

Ordeal by Fire.

We cannot spoil the prettiest picture in Winchester’s history by a suggestion of falsehood or over-colouring. One of the ploughshares is said to have been afterwards found; and, as to the feat, there was no difficulty, for was she not treading on ground radiant with miracles?

Under the Conqueror and Rufus the Cathedral was rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, by his kinsman, Walkelin. This bishop was an estimable man, and possessed such an unusual disposition that, although ascetic himself, he was tolerant to others. Never was he known to speak a harsh word, and, it is said, that he loved the monks “as if they were divinities.” The man who built this great edifice, and[164] much of whose work still remains, neither ate fish nor flesh.

“The vegetarians ought to be proud of him,” observed Mr. Hertford.

“And the teetotalers,” I continued, “will be glad to hear that he very seldom touched wine or beer. His end was sad. Rufus demanded £200 from him, and he knowing that he could not obtain that sum without oppressing the poor or despoiling the Church, prayed that he might die; and we are told that ten days afterwards his prayer was granted, but we hear no details about it. His brother Simeon, at one time prior here, was of an equally genial disposition. Being shocked at the sight of the monks devouring meat on the fast days, he ordered some fish to be exquisitely cooked and set before them. The brethren relished the dish so much that they said they never wished to eat meat any more, and by this savoury device the worthy prior enabled them to indulge their appetites without endangering their souls.”

How it must have grieved the soul of Walkelin to be associated with such a creature as Ralph Flambard, who was a contrast to him in everything! When the King went abroad the entire government of the country was committed to these two opposing[165] spirits. Flambard was unscrupulous and ingenious, and but for the injury done to religion there would seem to have been something almost comic in his career. Rufus, whose chaplain he was, never tired of heaping promotion upon one as unprincipled as himself. He was made Abbot of Hyde at Winchester, Bishop of Chichester, and Bishop of Lincoln. Many of the churches under his supervision were without priests or ministrations, and such were his exactions from rich and poor that they “did not care whether they were dead or alive.” This genius was thrown into prison by Henry I. when he came to the throne, but was too slippery for him: soon made his escape, and was over in Normandy abetting Duke Robert, who had a right to the English crown, and managing affairs so skilfully that upon a temporary reconciliation between the brothers, Flambard was received back and made Bishop of Durham.


A few years later the bishop’s misdoings became so notorious that reports of them reached Rome, and the Pope’s legate, John de Crema, was directed to visit the diocese and make inquiries. Flambard was equal to the occasion. He received the legate with great ceremony, and entertained him at a sumptuous banquet. While the bowl was flowing, he introduced him to his niece, whom he instructed to[166] do her best to captivate him. John, who it seems had not the gifts of St. Anthony, was soon “with love and wine at once oppressed,” fell into the trap, and finally arranged with the fair deceiver to come to his room. She kept her promise only too faithfully. But scarcely had she entered when in rushed the bishop with a crowd of priests and acolytes carrying lamps and goblets, and calling out “Benedicite, benedicite! we congratulate you on your marriage—drink—we drink your health!” The legate was overwhelmed with confusion. Before daybreak he was up and off on his way to Rome leaving the gay bishop and his peccadilloes to take care of themselves.[67]

The history of this Cathedral has not been entirely one of peace. In 1188 armed men were brought into it, who, at the instigation of certain nobles, “not afraid to lift their hands against God’s anointed, dragged forth some of God’s servants.” In 1274, Andrew, Prior of Winchester, came here with a body of armed men. Sentinels were placed by the bishop to prevent their entering, and the prior made an attack on the third day. The bishop called his adherents together, barricaded the Cathedral, and excommunicated the[167] prior. The King hearing of this immediately sent down justiciaries, and cooled by terms of imprisonment the “anger in celestial minds.”


By the time two hundred and fifty years had elapsed, Walkelin’s nave had become somewhat dilapidated, and Bishop Edington undertook its renovation. He built the west porch and one of the westernmost windows in the south aisle and two in the north. Wykeham carried on the good work for ten years, till his death in 1404, having commenced it as a septuagenarian. He finished the south aisle and began the north, and left 500 marks to glaze the windows.[168] His work was that of adaptation—pulling down the triforium and casing the pillars. Portions of the old Norman pillars, then concealed by chapels, can still be seen near the stairs to the choir.

Wykeham’s Tomb

Wykeham’s Tomb

The work of construction was finished by Cardinal Beaufort and Bishop Wayneflete. We now come to a less pleasing subject for consideration—the work of demolition.

“Thomas did us more harm than Oliver”—such is the saying at Winchester. Among the spoils which the creatures of the former catalogued here for Henry VIII., we find:—

Imprimus. The nether part of the high altar being of plate of gold garnished with stones. The front above being of broidery work and pearls, and above that a table of images of silver and gilt, garnished with stones.

Item. Above that altar a great cross and an image of plate of gold.

Item. Behind the high altar, St. Swithun’s shrine, being of plate of silver and gilt, garnished with stones.

Item. In the body of the Church a great cross and an image of Christ and Mary and John, being of plate silver, partly gilt.


“The treasures of gold are—

Five crosses garnished with silver.
One pair of candlesticks.
Three chalices—one with stones.
Four Pontifical rings.
Two saints’ arms in plate of gold.[68]
St. Philip’s foot in plate of gold and stones.
A book of the four Evangelists written all with gold and the outer side
of plate of gold.”

A Fragment of the Chapter House

A Fragment of the Chapter House.

Bishop Horne, who died in 1580, and was buried near Bishop Edington’s chantry, was a detrimental reformer. To make himself conspicuous in taking what appeared to be the winning side he did a great amount of damage to the Cathedral, not only removing crucifix, images, and paintings, but actually knocking down the cloisters and chapter-house. A few arches on the back of the Deanery still remain[170] sad memorials of these buildings, and of his misdirected zeal.

Civil War.

Much damage, but of a more petty character, was done here by the Roundhead soldiery during the Civil War. In the middle of December, 1642, the city, having been taken by Waller, was pillaged and the Cathedral doors burst open. “As if they meant to invade God Himself as well as His profession,” writes Mercurius,[171]they enter the Church with colours flying, drums beating, matches fired; and that all might have their part in so horrid an attempt, some of their troops of horse also accompanied them in their march, and rode up through the body of the church and choir until they came to the altar: there they begin their work, they rudely plucked down the table and break the rail, and afterwards carried it to an alehouse; they set it on fire, and in that fire burnt the books of Common Prayer, and all the singing books belonging to the choir; they throw down the organ and break the stones of the Old and New Testament, curiously cut out in carved work, beautified with colours, and set round about the top of the stalls of the choir; from hence they turn to the monuments of the dead, some they utterly demolish, others they deface. They begin with Bishop Fox’s chapel which they utterly deface, they break all the glass windows of this chapel not because they had any pictures in them, but because they were of coloured glass, they demolished and overturned the monuments of Cardinal Beaufort, they deface the monument of William of Wayneflet, Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor of England, and founder of Magdalen College, Oxford. From thence they go into Queen Mary’s Chapel, so called because in it she was married to King Philip of Spain; here they break the communion table in pieces, and the velvet chair whereon she sat when she was married.” After speaking of the chests containing the bones of kings and others, the narrative proceeds: “But these monsters of men to whom nothing is holy, nothing sacred, did not stick to profane and violate these cabinets of the dead, and to scatter their bones all over the pavement of the church; for on the north side of the choir they threw down the chests wherein were deposited the bones of the bishops; the like they did to the bones of William Rufus, of Queen Emma, of Harthacnut, and of Edward the Confessor, and were going on to practise the same impiety on the bones of all the rest of the West Saxon kings. But the outcry of the people detesting so great inhumanity, caused some of their commanders to come in amongst them and to restrain their madness.[172] Those windows which they could not reach with their weapons they broke by throwing at them the bones of kings and saints. They broke off the swords from the brass statues of James I. and Charles I., which then stood at the entrance to the choir, breaking also the cross on the globe in the hand of Charles I., and hacked and hewed the crown on the head of it, swearing they would bring him back to his Parliament.... After all this, as if what they had already done were all too little, they go on in their horrible wickedness, they seize upon all the communion plate, the Bibles and service books, rich hangings, large cushions of velvet, all the pulpit cloths, some whereof were of cloth of silver, some of cloth of gold. And now, having ransacked the church, and defied God in His own house and the king in his own statue, having violated the urns of the dead, having abused the bones and scattered the ashes of deceased monarchs, bishops, saints, and confessors, they return in triumph bearing their spoils with them. The troopers (because they were the most conspicuous) ride through the streets in surplices with such hoods and tippets as they found, and that they might boast to the world how glorious a victory they had achieved they hold out their trophies to all spectators, for the troopers thus clad in the priests’ vestments, rode[173] carrying Common Prayer books in one hand and some broken organ pipes, together with the mangled pieces of carved work in the other.[69]

“The last part of your narrative makes me feel melancholy,” said Miss Hertford. “Let us go into the fresh air and see the Cathedral which has survived these Goths and Vandals.”

The Square.

We accordingly made our way down the High Street, and proceeded through the passage by the Butter Cross. Passing through the Square, we stopped before entering the graveyard to visit Mr. Chalkley’s, the taxidermist’s—which may be regarded as a kind of “dead-alive” place. Here are the beautiful remains of natives of many sunny climes. Can we suppose that such little beings with cherub wings and voices are—

“Denied in heaven the souls they held on earth”?

Opposite we observed the Mechanics Institute, on the site of which—then at the south side of the Market—there was, until 1790, an anomalous building—a[174] butchery below, a theatre above. There were plenty of stalls here, containing, not cushions, but meat, and along them and at the corners stood strong oaken columns, while hooks for joints were fastened into the rafters which supported the floor of the theatre. Warton humorously describes this strange combination—

“Divided only by one flight of stairs
The monarch swaggers and the butcher swears!
Quick the transition when the curtain drops
From meek Monimia’s moans to mutton chops!
While for Lothario’s loss Lavinia cries,
Old women scold and dealers d—— your eyes.
Cleavers and scimitars give blow for blow,
And heroes bleed above and sheep below!
Cow-horns and trumpets mix their martial tones,
Kidneys and kings, mouthing and marrow bones.”

The fashionable patrons of the drama must have been shocked not only at the sight of the butchers’ business, but also at that of the iron fastenings of various heights and sizes to hold the hands and feet of vagrants during flogging, all of which were placed close to the entrance of the theatre. The cries of suffering culprits would have formed a discordant accompaniment to the harmonies of the orchestra.[70]


We now approach the Cathedral, through the avenue of tall lime trees. Enthusiasts say they were planted by Charles II., and let us hope that was the case, for he is the last monarch around whom there is any halo of romance. He had certainly a design to connect the Palace with the Cathedral by means of an avenue. But the tradition which points to one of the larger elms on the south side of the Cathedral as having been planted by his hand, appears to me more credible.

West Front.

“What an immense west window,” exclaimed Mr. Hertford. “It seems to monopolize all the façade and to be out of proportion to the stone-work around it—a very large picture in a very narrow frame.”

“This was the work of Bishop Edington,” I observed, “begun about 1345. He did not like the ‘dim religious light’ of the Middle Ages.”

What a different front did the Norman knights here behold; something as stern and cold as their own iron armour. A vast blank face of masonry[176] rose before them, broken only by a few plain, round-headed windows, without even a pane of glass to reflect the setting sun.[71] There is proof from excavations, and some remains in the wall of the garden on the south, that some kind of portico was commenced in front of the present façade, with a tower forty feet square at either end, but that the work was abandoned a few feet above ground. The interior was also severe. The pillars indeed were about the same size and height as those we now see—their Norman terminations still remain under the roof—and the eight westernmost on the south side have not been even re-cased, but only slightly chiselled into rounder form. But they did not originally break into graceful fans upon the vaulting, nor were there between them lofty arches crowned with ornamental windows. No; the spaces were occupied by three tiers of low, round arches, producing a monotonous effect, such as we still see in the transepts. The vaulting of the side aisles was also low and heavy, supporting the deep triforium gallery. The whole structure had a Spartan simplicity and strength characteristic of a rude age. It terminated eastward in an apse under[179] the place where now glows the stained-glass window of Bishop Fox.[72]

In the North Transept

In the North Transept.

Such was the building to which the body of Rufus “dropping blood” was brought by night in a peasant’s cart, and where it was buried with little lamentation. Seven years afterwards the great tower fell, because, as the monks thought, it could not bear to have such a wicked man buried under it.

The Nave.

On entering, the full effect of the great length and height is felt.[73] We seem to be looking down a lofty avenue in some primeval forest. This is the most beautiful nave in England or in the world, 250 feet long and 77 feet high. Truly this pile was not raised by the

Of nicely calculated less or more;”

but by men—

“With a far look in their immortal eyes.”


High in front of us under the eastern gable stands the glorious window erected by Bishop Fox, in the reign of Henry VII., when the staining of glass reached a supreme excellence never before or afterwards attained. It would appear from the fragments in the aisle windows that they were all at one time coloured, but the Roundheads smashed them, and the pieces collected were placed in the west window, where they form a sort of farrago or confusion—an edifying emblem of the destructive results of revolution.[74]

King James

King James

On either side just within the main entrance stands the figure of a king. They have a somewhat Ethiopian appearance and I took them for the sovereigns of Arabia and Saba. But they really represent the First James and Charles. They seem to be handling their sceptres in a very formidable manner, as if they had still Waller’s rabble in front of them; and we read that they had swords, which were broken off by the rebels. These figures have a family likeness to that at Charing[183] Cross, which was by the same man, Le Soeur. They were placed by Charles I. in front of the rood screen of Inigo Jones. That monarch “of blessed memory” also moved the organ to the side, so that an uninterrupted view could be obtained up the Cathedral.

The Font.

On the right-hand side stands the celebrated font—a heavy mass of black basalt, supposed to be Byzantine, and of the same character as that at East Meon. The figures on it have a little the appearance of marionettes, and there is, in truth, some unreality about the representation which records the miracles of St. Nicholas. A monk has written an account of the events here brought before us—how St. Nicholas saved three virgins from disgrace, stilled a storm, restored a sailor to life, healed the sick, and saved three condemned men. Death itself could not stop the saint’s beneficence, for after his decease he restored a child who had fallen overboard with a golden cup. Behind the font on the wall of the north aisle are memorials to two remarkable women. Miss Austen is still thought by some of the old school to be the queen of novelists, and the fact that her works are still published proves their merit.

“I like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ very much,” said Miss Hertford.


The other lady here commemorated, Mrs. Montagu, was a Shakspearian, lived among the learned and eminent, and founded the Blue Stocking Club.

“I remember well the house she built,” replied Mr. Hertford; “it stood like a respectable old country house in its garden in Portman Square, and has been enlarged into Lord Portman’s mansion. She covered her drawing-room walls with feathers, as Cowper writes:—

“‘The birds put off their every hue
To dress a house for Montagu.’

What a gay May-day the sweeps had with their ribbons, flowers, and feasting in the good lady’s time! We read on this tablet that she had ‘the united advantages of beauty, wit, judgment, reputation, and riches.’”

“What a happy woman!” exclaimed Miss Hertford. “I once heard a girl asked which she would rather be—handsome, clever, or rich. The questioner never imagined that any one could be all three.”

Higher up on the same side, near the stairs, is a memorial to Boles, the Royalist “Collonell of a Ridgment of Foot who did wounders at the Battle of Edgehill.” No doubt he did, for when finally[185] he was, with eighty men, surrounded by five thousand rebels in the church at Alton, he held out for six hours, and after killing six or seven with his own sword was himself slain with sixty of his men.

“Winchester is rich in monuments,” I said. “It preceded Westminster as the burial-place of the great and has, with that exception, more human interest than any other sacred edifice in England.”

Wykeham’s Chantry.

On the opposite side of the Nave stands the Chantry of Wykeham, of great height and beautiful elaboration.[75] It happens by design or accident that if we supposed our Lord’s body to be lying on the cross of the original Cathedral, the site of this monument would correspond with the wound in His side. This was the favourite spot at which Wykeham prayed when a boy, before an altar to the Virgin; and here he built his tomb, on which his figure has reposed for nearly five hundred years, and where it may remain for five hundred more. The good he did was not destined to be “interred with his bones,” and the line on the resting-place of Wren, whose truth impresses the reader, might without impropriety have been also engraved here—

Si monumentum quæras, circumspice.


It is the rare privilege of Winchester to have here, face to face in the Palace and Cathedral, two of the most important works of these great master builders.

Higher up the nave is the Chantry of Bishop Edington, earlier and less ornamental than that of Wykeham. He is the prelate who was offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury and made the shrewd and sportive reply, “If Canterbury is the higher rank, Winchester is the better manger.” The date is placed in a fanciful way at the end of the inscription “M thrice C with LXV and I.”

On the bishop’s vestment there is a curious emblem of a cruciform shape, called a Fylfot or Suastika. It is stated to signify submission to the will of God, and to have been a symbol prior to Christianity.

Tomb of Rufus.

From this point we wander into the Choir, and admire the tall carved spires of oak, blackened by the airs of six centuries. A verger turns up the seats to show us the quaint carvings of an age when humour did not seem distasteful in churches—here is a pig playing the fiddle, another chanting, and a third blowing the trumpet. In the centre of the pavement lies the sphinx of the Cathedral—rude, archaic, enigmatical. It has been surmised to be the tomb of some royal Saxon, or of Bishop[189] de Blois. Winchester men continue to swear it is that of Rufus, who was “buried in the choir,” but that king’s bones seem, from an inscription on one of the neighbouring coffers, to have been chested and perched up by Fox. Everything about it is a puzzle. The rebels in the Civil War broke it open and found a silver chalice, a gold ring, and pieces of cloth of gold, within it. This has led to the supposition that De Blois rested here. In 1868 it was again opened, and one of the vergers told me he had handled the bones, had seen beside them the arrow-head with which the king was killed, and had remarked what an excellent set of teeth he possessed. Remains of cloth of gold and other tissues were discovered, and seven gold Norman braids finely worked, as we can see in the library, where they are preserved.[76]

The Choir from the Nave

The Choir from the Nave.

The altar screen must have been most effective when the figures remained. Dean Kitchin has given a tantalizing account of it, and during the Civil War a wall was built before it. But throughout the last century, the niches were filled with modern vases, the gift of an excellent prebendary,[190] Master Harris, whose zeal was greater than his taste.

Leaving the learned to fight the dusty battle of Rufus and De Blois, we make our way to the iron gate, and each deposit the silver obolus to admit us to the realms of the departed. Here a group of visitors is waiting, and we look up at the interesting Norman work in the south transept. There are good reasons for supposing that the transepts were not built continuously—a change of plan can be traced—and it would seem that there was at one time an intention of placing a couple of towers at the end of each transept. The great central tower also was erected later—after Walkelin’s death.

Isaak Walton.

Just before me stands an old oak settle, perhaps nearly coeval with the transept. How many generations of monks have sat on it and warmed their withered hands over a pan of charcoal! I could almost imagine that on certain days their ghosts may perambulate their old haunts, and seat themselves here again. In the centre of the transept lies Bishop Wilberforce. On the east side is Prior Silkstede’s Chapel, as it is called. It is now a vestry, and here Isaak Walton is literally trodden under foot. In answer to my inquiries, the verger pulled[191] up the matting and showed his slab inscribed with Bishop Ken’s[77] verses. They are not worthy of the author of the morning and evening hymns. They inform us that he lived—

“Full ninety years and past
But now he hath begun
That which will ne’er be done.
Crowned with eternal Blisse
We wish our souls with his.”

Isaak was an erect, hale old man to the last. He was a theologian, and we hear that to atone for long neglect, a statue to him is about to be placed on the screen, beside the saintly Fishermen.

“I wish that Andrews, Bishop of Winchester, had been buried here,” said Mr. Hertford, “and that we had an epitaph on him by Milton. The elegiacs he wrote on his death were as beautiful as ‘Lycidas.’”

And now all are ready, and we advance along the aisle behind the choir, and come in sight of the “presbytery screen,” some arches surmounted by coffers, which look like small locomotives on a railway viaduct. All this was the work of Fox, who was bishop in the reigns of the Henrys (VII.[192] and VIII.). He built the clerestory and vaulting of this part. We look up at the roof and remark the bosses exhibiting the Tudor arms and other heraldic emblems dear to Fox; while beyond, in the vaulting of Bishop Lucy, the devices are more scriptural, including not only the instruments of the Passion, but the faces of Pilate and his better half, and Peter’s sword with Malchus’ ear upon it.

The bones of the Saxon kings and bishops buried in the Cathedral, had been well dried and preserved, having been placed in stone coffins pierced with holes. Fox piously collected them into these chests, on which he inscribed the venerated names of their owners.[78] He hoisted them up, having great confidence in the safety gained by elevation, and his trust was justified, with regard to his window in the gable and his statue above it, but in respect of these chests, he did not rightly measure the height to which mob violence might attain. After the storm had passed away, the bones were collected and replaced, but no one knew what remains were stored in any particular chest. A small set of bones has been thought to have[193] belonged to Queen Emma. There are twelve names, and as late as 1845, the confused contents were all safe; but by 1873, one of the twelve skulls was gone.

“Purloined, perchance, by some over-zealous phrenologist, whose principles were not more sound than his theories,” said Mr. Hertford.

Fox’s Chantry.

We now come to Fox’s Chantry, and admire the diversified stone carving of the exterior. It is most refined and in the best taste, while the figure of Death stretched beneath it is in the worst, and reminds us of the skull and cross-bones, with which headstones were formerly adorned. We enter, and think we can see the dark ascetic bishop kneeling in his little stone study, for hither when blind, in his old age, he was led daily for prayer. His memory will ever be cherished lovingly here, and in Oxford, where he founded Corpus Christi College. Through this chantry, we reach the Feretory (from feretra, biers). Here, in ancient times, the gold and silver shrines of Birinus, Swithun, and other saints, the head of St. Just, and one of the feet of St. Philip, stood upon a platform higher than the present one, and reflected a holy light upon the worshippers in the choir. The contents of the feretory are now not so brilliant, though interesting. Here lies a[194] prostrate giant—a figure of Bishop Edington—which was once perched up over the west front, but becoming dilapidated, was replaced by that of Wykeham. Here is the lid, or side of a reliquary chest (1309) with sacred subjects painted on its panels. The other remains are melancholy to behold, heads and portions of the bodies of statues found about the Cathedral.

“It looks like an old curiosity shop, or a sculptor’s studio,” observed Miss Hertford.

“And it reminds me,” chimed in her father, “of a story I heard about some country labourers, who had been visiting the British Museum. When asked how they liked it, they said, ‘Very much, but some had no arms, some had no legs, and some had no heads. The butler, however, was very kind, and told us it was intended to represent a railway accident.’”

On the other side of this feretory is Gardiner’s Chantry. He is generally associated in our minds with fire and faggot, but when we first read of him, he was a young man at Paris, chiefly remarkable for his skill in mixing salads. How unfortunate that he did not confine himself to this cooler occupation!—he would at least have received the blessings of epicures. Why should we recall[195] the ghastly past? Gardiner’s violent Catholicism was partly from jealousy of Cranmer. Had he been made archbishop, he might have been a reformer; for there was a time when he was in Rome brow-beating the Pope, on behalf of Anne Boleyn.

Death’s Effigy.

The only good act the rebels did in the Cathedral was done here; they knocked the head off the wretched figure of Death, which had been placed, I suppose, as a companion in misery for that in Fox’s Chantry opposite. Perhaps the poet Young, had these scarecrows, which he knew well, in his mind, when he wrote—

“Who can take
Death’s portrait true? The tyrant never sat.”

The mob would, doubtless, have turned out Gardiner’s remains had not some pious Catholics put a skull and bones above them, which were mistaken for the bishop’s. They would have been glad to have put him again to destructive work, not indeed, destroying heretics, but breaking to pieces the saints in the stained-glass windows. In this chantry there is still to be seen a portion of one of the round pillars of the Norman apse.

Returning through Fox’s Chantry, and proceeding eastward, we enter the large retro-choir built[196] in the beautiful Early English style by Bishop de Lucy about seventy years after Walkelin’s time. It is erected on piles, so we may be thankful it has stood so long. Immediately at the back of the feretory, we see an arch leading to “the holy hole”—or, as some of our companions called it, “the ’oly ’ole”—in which interments formerly took place. An attempt was made to enter it in 1789, but the masonry had fallen down and the enterprise was relinquished. The Edwardian canopies over it are charming. The area in which we stand is studded with tombs. There are two splendid chantries here—one of Bishop Wayneflete, the founder of Magdalen College, Oxford; and the other, of Cardinal Beaufort. Wayneflete is represented as grasping his heart.[79] Both monuments have suffered. Wayneflete’s head was so much damaged that a new one was lately given him. Beaufort’s figure is supposed not to be original, and “a horse-load of pinnacles” had by Milner’s time[80] fallen or been knocked off this canopy of “bewildering” embellishment.


An old gentleman of our company inquired whether Cardinal Beaufort was a Roman Catholic, and I could see by his countenance that the affirmative answer he received greatly altered his opinion of that eminent man.

Altar Tombs.

The other monuments are “altar tombs,” comparatively insignificant, being only two or three feet above the pavement. But to our eyes they seemed a promising array, and proved disappointing. We had read that among others Prior William of Basynge, Sir Arnald de Gaveston, Prior Silkstede and Bishop Courtenay were lying here. On the first we came to, that of Basynge, I deciphered the pleasant announcement that whoever prays for him shall obtain a hundred and forty-five days’ indulgence.

“That seems,” observed Mr. Hertford, “as if he was not so anxious about the souls of others as about his own.”

The ledger-stone which bears this inscription is the only genuine part of the tomb.

Then we come to the line of four tombs extending from the Edwardian Arcade to the Lady Chapel. First, there is the goodly figure of Bishop Sumner, whose snow-white marble looks out of place among the dark tones of distant centuries; he is not buried here. Next to this is a tomb of some bishop of the[198] fifteenth century, not that of Silkstede—a nearly perfect skeleton in black serge and funeral boots was found in it. Then we come to the only ancient knight who makes a figure in the Cathedral. He is in armour, with his legs crossed, which denotes some rank. Surely this is Sir Arnald de Gaveston, the Gascon knight who saved Edward I.’s life. When he died the King sent cloth of gold for his funeral.

But no, he was buried in the north transept. This is supposed to represent William de Foix.

“Whoever he is Time has pulled him by the nose a little,” said Mr. Hertford; “but he always loves to deride the greatness of man.”

“He would have had a better excuse,” I returned, “had he treated the delightful ‘Piers’ in this unhandsome manner.”[81]

“Why, not one of these tombs has the ring of truth about it,” said Mr. Hertford, discontentedly.

Peter de la Roche.

“Well this last one next the Lady Chapel is genuine,” I replied. “It is that of Bishop de Lucy, but was long asserted by an easy and patriotic error to be that of Lucius, the British king. The occupant[199] of the tomb immediately to the north of Bishop Sumner is unknown, but to the north-east lies Petrus de Rupibus. Few would understand without a teacher that this meant Peter de la Roche, but in that age the manner in which names were Latinized raises a suspicion that some jesters were engaged in the work. Thus we find Montagu rendered ‘de Monte acuto;’ and in this Cathedral we have the grave of ‘Johannes de Pontissara,’ i.e., John Sawbridge.”[82]

“Much more mellifluous,” observed Mr. Hertford. “But one might almost say to them as Quince said to Bottom in the ass’s head, ‘Bless me! thou art translated.’”

“Peter de la Roche,” I continued,[200] “was a native of Poictiers, and had served in youth under Richard Cœur de Lion. He became Henry III.’s guardian and tutor, and seemed at one time to have all the kingly power at his command. As a bishop he supported the Papal authority against the national party, which was represented by Hubert de Burgh. When unsuccessful he ‘took the cross’—went to the Crusades. Afterwards he returned, presented the monastery with one of the feet of St. Philip, and was able to entertain Henry sumptuously at Wolvesey Castle. He became the head of the Government, founded the Dominican Convent at the Eastgate, and built (or suggested)[83] Netley Abbey, and the great North ‘Solomon’s’ porch at Westminster. On the southern wall of this area is a monument to Sir John Cloberry—representing him as a kind of ‘fat boy,’ with a long curly wig. He was an officer under Monk, and contributed to bring about the Restoration. His house was in Parchment Street.”

Further on, at the extreme east, we come to Bishop Langton’s Chantry (he died in 1500). This and the next chapel is beautifully enriched with oak carving. Next to this we enter the Lady Chapel, by building which Priors Hunton and Silkstede made this the longest cathedral in England.

Mary and Philip.

A gleam of gold and jewellery comes to us here from 1554. We were told that in this Lady Chapel Mary and Philip were married, but there is no doubt that the ceremony was performed before the high altar, which seemed the proper place. The chair in which Mary sat is here, and has originated the[201] claim of the chapel. It is small, with a low back—a faldistorium—of a form not then uncommon, but was brave with brass nails, gilding, and velvet. It has now a shabby and melancholy appearance, like the performances of the sovereign who sat in it; the horse-hair is coming out, and no wonder, for nearly every second lady visitor poses in it as the queen of the moment.

But let us look at something better. The light of love is in the eyes of the gloomy bride, and is even slightly reflected from the dark, underhung visage of the king. All the nobility are gathered from the whole of England. The Queen in cloth of gold, with the sword borne before her, sweeps up with a long retinue from the west entrance, and takes her place on the “Mount,” beneath the rood loft. On her left is Philip, also in cloth of gold, having beside him a large number of nobles of Spain. Golden hangings glow in the choir, and at the altar stand six bishops with their crosiers. But with all this brilliancy none could fail to see the dark cloud of popular discontent lowering in the sky, and alas! the golden apparel concealed a sad and a false heart.

In this Lady Chapel, which has such high pretensions, the remains of some old frescoes (Silkstede’s) long covered with paint and plaster, are still[202] visible. There are twenty-four separate designs, all in honour of the Virgin. In one place a young man puts a gold ring on the Virgin’s finger to keep it till he sees his lady-love. When he returns for it he finds it will not come off. He does not attribute this to the trickery of the monks, but to the intervention of the Virgin, and forthwith jilts his sweetheart and takes the cowl. In another design a painter accustomed to represent the devil “as ugly as he knew him to be,” is executing on a high wall, a figure of Our Lady, with the devil under her feet. His artistic work is stopped by a dragon-like fiend pulling down his scaffolding, when lo! the Virgin he has just painted holds out her hand to him and supports him till assistance arrives. Here also we have John Damascen, a celebrated writer of the eighth century, condemned by Saracen Caliph to lose his right hand. The peccant member is cut off, and hung up in the market-place, but on its being taken down and applied to the wrist with prayers to the Virgin, it is reunited.

“What absurd stories,” said Miss Hertford. “I wonder how even a child could have believed them.”

“I did not credit them,” I replied,[203] “but now that I see framed on the wall that wonderful restoration of these indistinct outlines, I may think that the miraculous power of the Virgin is still present in her chapel.”


Those who deem that a person guilty of a pun should suffer imprisonment will not look with much appreciation on the humour attempted on the vaulting of this and the last-named chapels. All that can be said in its behalf is that it has the flavour of a bygone age. These rebuses seem to us puerile. There might be a temptation to represent Silkstede by a skein and a horse; and as Winchester was often called Winton, and famous for its wine, there might be something juicy in symbolizing it by a vine issuing from a tun. But here we have a musical note termed “long,” coming out of a tun for Langton, and some can see a hen making a similar egress for Hunton. The dragon issuing from a tun refers to Proverbs xxiii. 31, 32: “Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup.... At last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.

We might be surprised that, when Fox put up the panelling here, he did not insert his own name in a similarly humorous manner. Reynard was a known ecclesiastical emblem, but not a complimentary one—in a church carving we find him preaching to a flock of geese. Our austere bishop would have been[204] shocked at such a representative; he chose the self-sacrificing pelican.[84]

“Playing with words was much in fashion even at a later epoch,” said Mr. Hertford. “Not a few of our great families have punning mottoes as ‘Ver non semper viret’ for Vernon, ‘Cavendo tutus’ for Cavendish, and so on.”

“I do not dislike the little conceits here,” I replied; “it shows that the ascetic monks had something fresh and green left in them. Perhaps that fine Chantrey monument is not so much out of place here as some suppose. Bishop North was a good Christian and a good cricketer. It is said that sometimes while he was in the field hitting away, his chaplain was in the tent bowling hard questions at the candidates for ordination.”

Our guide now took us into the next or northernmost chapel, dedicated to the “Guardian Angels.”

“There is nothing of much interest here?” I observed, looking around.

“No, sir,” he replied,[205] “except the window.”

“There is nothing remarkable in that?”

“No; except that it was put up by a remarkable man,” he returned, warmly; “the best dean we could possibly have—generous to rich and poor; and yet,” he added, with a twinkle, “he left a good bit, £50,000.”

The dean of whom the verger spoke so enthusiastically lived to be ninety-six. His son became a dean, lived to be seventy, and died before his father. Expectant heirs, take note.


Passing westward to the north presbytery aisle we find an old-fashioned dumpy ship carved over the grave of Harthacnut.[85] Hard by lies the heart of Ethelmar, the half-brother of Henry III. When the bishop, after landing at Dover, came to Winchester, the King, who was much at this city, went out to meet him with a grand procession. Ethelmar seems to have been an avaricious young man;[86] he was scarcely elected when he had a conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also with the monks of St. Swithun. He deposed the prior here because[206] he refused to give an account of some property, and the lawsuit between him and the monks was so serious that they mortgaged the church of Winchester for 7,000 marks—about £5,000. Afterwards Ethelmar paid off a part of this, and the monks gave him the Isle of Portland and other property as compensation. When the Barons held a parliament here in 1258, Ethelmar was obliged to fly from the country. He died in Paris when only thirty-four, and sent over his heart, which perhaps the monks did not much appreciate. But it proved a “golden heart” to them in producing miracles. When the steps of the altar were being lowered it was found beneath them in a golden cup by a workman, who kept the cup and placed the heart in this north aisle.

We now dive down into the crypt, and find it of grand dimensions, propped with pillars such as we have just seen a specimen of in Gardiner’s Chantry. There is still a controversy as to whether this is Saxon or Norman work. It seems strange that Walkelin should have made no use of the extensive excavations and foundations of the previous building, but history asserts that the old high altar remained after the new Cathedral was finished, and the best authority considers that this edifice was entirely new.[207] The well in the crypt is thought to have existed previously, as it is not symmetrically placed with regard to the pillars. There is still water in it, I was told. Until lately the floor was much obstructed by earth—sixteen loads have been lately removed. When James Ellis paid his visit about the middle of the last century, he found “at the end of the crypt a chapel, but the extent of it I could not examine, as it was locked up and used as a wine vault.”[87]


In the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, just under the organ, there are some fine frescoes of the thirteenth century in fair preservation, and in the north transept, especially in the north-east corner, there are traces of colour and patterns, and a large but somewhat faint fresco apparently representing some monarch. On the ancient rood screen there were carved and painted figures, and the spires of the stalls were gilt until the last century.

As we passed down the Cathedral the sun was setting, and the effect of the rays falling through the vast west window was magnificent.

Near the entrance on the north side there is a remarkable door of grille work, thought to be of the[208] eleventh or twelfth century, perhaps the oldest specimen in England. It was formerly near the choir, and the object was, it is said, to keep unsavoury and diseased pilgrims at a safe distance.

“Perhaps some of them were like the pilgrims in the East at the present day,” said Mr. Hertford; “it was not always easy to determine ‘where the dirt ended and the saint began.’”


[62] He says that the monastery at this time extended all round the church; but it is difficult to understand his description, except that the palace and chief offices were on the south.
[63] Rudborne is supposed to have put Dagon for Woden, but he had mentioned the latter just before.
[64] Gloucester Fragment,” published by the Rev. S. Earle.
[65] Edred gave a great gold cross and figures to the monastery.
[66] Cnut patronized poets, and made verses himself, which at that time showed religious tendencies. Emma, “The Rose of Normandy,” was celebrated for her beauty; she was called by the English Ælfgifu. It is remarkable that at the time when she was married at Winchester to her first husband, Ethelred, the massacre of the Danes was plotted here.
[67] “Chronicle of a Monk of Winchester.”
[68] Athelstan had given the head of St. Just.
[69] After reading such accounts we can understand the Recorder of Winchester being suspended in 1657, because among other offences he did not reprove a man for saying that “if all writings and pens were at liberty it would make the Protector as black as the blackest devil in hell.”
[70] The cost of whipcord for these operations figures in the City Rolls. The sufferers were stripped to the waist, and the irons for the women were fixed lower than for the men, to avoid injury to the breasts; after 1790 the old theatre was used partly as a store, partly as a lock-up or watch-house. In the reign of Henry VIII. the pillory and cage were in the “Square.”
[71] There is now here a balcony whence the bishops bestowed their blessings on festivals.
[72] The cross and two figures of Mary and St. John in silver and gold, given by Stigand, then stood over the rood screen, which was just at the top of the stairs. The space between it and the present screen was occupied by chapels, and afterwards by vestries, removed in Charles I.’s time.
[73] This Cathedral, measuring 556 feet from the western entrance to the end of the Lady Chapel, is the longest in England or on this side of the Alps. It is inferior in area only to two English cathedrals, York and Lincoln.
[74] Two figures of the Perpendicular period remain in the west window. A little of the glass in Fox’s east gable window is of later date.
[75] Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes stood with a drawn sword to preserve Wykeham’s Chantry when Cromwell took Winchester.
[76] Rufus was extravagant in dress, and resented a present of boots which only cost 3s.
[77] He was a Fellow of the College and a Canon of Winchester. Ken was brother-in-law of Walton.
[78] That is, approximately, for when long before, De Blois moved many of these from the crypt, he found no inscriptions and went by hearsay.
[79] A physical representation of the exhortation, “Lift up your hearts!” He ordered five thousand Masses to be said for himself and his friends.
[80] At the end of the last century.
[81] Piers Gaveston, favourite of Edward II., is by some thought to have been a son of Sir Arnald. But it has been said that he was of low origin, and even an Italian. Courtenay’s coffin was found lately in the well of the crypt, and is now in the choir.
[82] A bishop in the fourteenth century who founded, to the south of Wolvesey Castle and east of the College, the College of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Slight traces remain.
[83] Also “God’s House” at Portsmouth, the priory of Selborne, and Titchfield Abbey.
[84] He chose this which is carved in his Chantry and elsewhere on account of his great veneration for the holy Sacrament. Hence also he gave the name of Corpus Christi to his college at Oxford, which keeps up this chantry.
[85] Cnut’s remains are said to have been found in the Cathedral in 1766.
[86] He lived in princely style. We read of his parks and cargoes of wine. He fined the Southampton citizens 100s. for selling goods during St. Giles’ fair.
[87] Add. MSS. 6768. In this crypt are some askew arches, the art of forming which is said to be lost. Another peculiarity is that the east end descends as in Glasgow Cathedral.



The Grenadier — Cathedral Library and Museum — The Deanery — Pilgrim’s Hall — Precincts — Cheyney Court — Regulations of the Monastery — North side of the Cathedral — Early decay of the City — St. Peter’s Street — Middle Brooks — Old Houses.

This day was to be devoted to visiting the Cathedral library and precincts, and to taking a stroll about the streets of the city.

We again entered the lime-tree avenue and looked across the burial ground. A great improvement had been carried out within the last three years. When I was last here it was crowded with tombstones bending over to each other in various stages of decay, now it presents a pleasant sward as smooth as a bowling-green. There is a headstone close to the path recording the gallantry of twenty-three persons who died in an attempt to save the property of their master from destruction by fire. Near the south-west angle of the ground there is a better-known memorial[210] to a less heroic man, who owes his immortality to the drollery of his epitaph. It runs as follows:—

“In Memory of
A Grenadier in the North Regt.
of the Hants Militia, who Died of a
Violent Fever contracted by Drinking
Small Beer when hot, the 12th of May,
1764. Aged 26 Years.
“In grateful remembrance of whose universal
goodwill towards his Comrades, this Stone
is placed here at their expense, as a Small
testimony of their regard and concern.
“‘Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer;
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall
And when ye’re hot drink Strong, or none at all.’
“This Memorial being Decay’d was restored
by the Officers of the Garrison, A.D. 1781—
“‘An honest Soldier never is forgot
Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.’”

There seems to have been a great desire among soldiers to commemorate this hero, or the moral of his death, for the stone was replaced again in 1802.

As we left this spot I recalled the memory of the[211] Saxon, St. Brinstan, who was fond of walking here. He was an excellent man, but of a somewhat melancholy turn of mind. Every day he washed the feet of the poor, and every night he would pace up and down among the tombs saying the Placebo and Dirige; and we are told that on one occasion when he finished by saying with emphasis “Requiescat in pace,” a chorus as from a multitude of voices came from the sepulchres pronouncing a loud “Amen.”

“A pious invention,” said Mr. Hertford, “unless, indeed, some of the monks were playing him a trick.”

Roman Pavements.

“Close to this,” I observed, “was found the Roman pavement in the Museum, about ten feet underground. Another pavement, part of which can be seen in front of the Deanery, was discovered (1880) in one of the western gardens of Dome Alley. The distance between them was small, but the difference of depth (four feet) would seem to indicate two periods of construction. We seldom realize that the Romans were here three or four hundred years.”

In the wall bounding the graveyard on the south we noticed an archway. This led down some steps still remaining into a vaulted crypt (dating from 1400), where dozens of skeletons have been found. The Dean discovered last autumn some Perpendicular[212] groining, and massive buttresses which have probably supported a chapel where masses were “sayable.”

We now made for the “Slype” Gate, at the south-west corner of the Cathedral, beside which there is a fanciful inscription:—


It appears that the public were accustomed to make the Cathedral a thoroughfare, and therefore it was thought desirable (about 1630) to open this slype passage and to put up this notice. But as those who tramped through the sacred edifice on business were unlettered porters and labourers, this enigmatical Latin caution could have been of little use. We, however, obeyed the direction, and as we passed, found some more dislocated verses on the opposite wall giving a similar injunction in a rhyme between the words choro and foro.

“Look at the valerian and harebells on the Cathedral wall,” said Miss Hertford. “How prettily they mark out the architectural lines in blue and red.”

After reaching the south entrance we made for the adjacent transept, and found at the end of it an old[213] fourteenth-century door and a flight of oaken stairs leading to the Library. As I was mounting up I remembered how on my last visit I was conducted by a tall, handsome man, the principal verger and, I think, also librarian. He was remarkably courteous and well informed. On inquiring for him now I heard that he was no more! He had light curly hair, and I should have thought him a young man had he not told me that he had been sworn in as a special constable with Louis Napoleon at the time of the Chartist alarms. Lately I saw an extract from The Echo, in which the writer remarked that the vergers he had met performed their duties in a perfunctory way, “mere gabblers,” except one at Winchester Cathedral. My thoughts immediately turned to this man, but I must say that the other vergers here seem fully to appreciate the beauties and antiquities of the place.

Cathedral Library.

This “library” was built after Bishop Morley’s death as a receptacle for his bequeathed books. It might be called a treasury or museum. Here are two Anglo-Saxon Charters (854, 957). They begin in Latin, but the writer seems to have become tired, and to have lapsed into his native Anglo-Saxon towards the end. One is attested by Alfred when a boy. How interesting they would have been if they[214] contained autographs, but it was the custom then for the scribe to insert the names with crosses against them, as we should now for illiterate persons. There is a poetical complexion about these documents much in keeping with Anglo-Saxon taste. The first one, after stating that “Christ reigns for ever,” says that “It is plain to all mortals that all things that are seen have an end, and those not seen are eternal. Therefore I Adulf through the clemency of the High Throned King of....”[88] The other commences: “Now by vicissitudes doth the fragility of human life wither, and the circling roll of ages come to nought.” The Saxons had imagination, they mingled poetry with piety; thus we read here, “In the name of Him who in the book of everlasting life in heaven has written down those with whom in life He is well pleased. I Athulf,” &c.

Rare Manuscripts.

As we look at these old parchments we think we can see again the hands of the long-buried monks, can enter again their spacious monastery, of which[215] we have read such glowing descriptions. There was a scriptorium, or writing establishment, founded in it by St. Swithun, and rare work was executed here—witness that splendid specimen of illumination in gold and colours, called the “Benedictional of St. Athelwold,” made for that bishop.[89] Coming to a later time we have here preserved the Book of Zacharias of the twelfth century. But the greatest treat for the eyes of the bibliophilist is the large folio Vulgate of that date. It took the monks of St. Swithun’s eighty years to complete it; the work progressed as slowly as the building of a cathedral. The writing is beautiful, the illuminating as brilliant as if freshly done—the gold and deep blue we especially admired. Quaint were the designs and ideas of that age. Here is Elijah as he goes up to heaven, drawn by two red horses, throwing off not only his mantle, but the rest of his clothes, perhaps the monk thought they would be superfluous, whilst Elisha below is catching a blue tunic he has cast down.[90] This work has been bound by Dean Garnier in three volumes.[216] It fell at some period into the hands of the Philistines, who cut out several of the beautiful illustrations.

There is an amusing story in connection with this fine manuscript. Henry II. showed with regard to it a spirit in advance of his age. He solicited and terrified the monks of St. Swithun’s into giving it up to him, and then made it a handsome present to his favourite monastery at Witham.

“Like the man who was so much moved with a charity sermon that he put his neighbour’s purse on the plate,” suggested Mr. Hertford.

“But one of the Winchester brethren,” I added, “hearing of the splendours of Witham, went to pay the abbey a visit, and there saw their own Vulgate. Explanations followed, and the monks of Witham returned the book.”


The curiosities are not limited to books.[91] Here are four rings—one with a large square sapphire, found in the disputed tomb of Rufus or De Blois. Another with an oval sapphire belonged to Fox; and a third was Gardiner’s, engraved with a helmeted[217] head, not unsuitable to such a belligerent bishop. Here is the rusty ring, about three inches wide, which the Dean lately found when excavating on the site of St. Swithun’s tomb—it may be that of the smith’s dream. In a case at the other end of the room are other treasures. Here are coins and a silver penny of Cnut, found on the north-west of the Cathedral. Would it could speak and tell us the strange language it has heard, and the scenes it has witnessed as it passed about among churls, thanes, and monks! Here is a case of relics found in “Rufus’s” tomb, containing some of the seven braids of Norman pattern which were found in it. One is well preserved. How exquisitely delicate! It is not a quarter of an inch in width. They embroidered finely then, and we hear that the young swells of the period were almost effeminate in their attire. Silken robes with gold borders descending to the feet must have looked quite “Celestial.”

We emerged from the Cathedral by the south door. The green sward before us did not exist before Henry VIII.’s time, as the space was filled by a “garth” surrounded with cloisters. The inferiority of the ornamentation of the Cathedral on this side when compared with the other is due to the junction with these buildings. Bishop Horne destroyed[218] them, because he wished to be in keeping with the times. Cromwell demolished nine prebendal houses and the deanery.

We now passed through the tunnel at the extremity of the south transept, and proceeding beyond the eastern end of the Cathedral saw a wall in front of us bounding the precincts, and in it a small arch now filled up. Through this we fancy we can see the piquant figure of Nell Gwynne passing, for it is said to have been made to enable her to have access to the Deanery, where Charles was wont to stay. When Ken was a prebendary here he stoutly refused to give up his house to her, and it is one of many instances of Charles’ good humour that when the bishopric of Bath and Wells fell vacant, he appointed “the good little man who refused his lodging to poor Nell.” There was a small building (long removed) put up for her to the south of the Deanery, called Nell Gwynne’s Tower, but she had a house through the arch above mentioned. Until lately its broad staircases were the admiration of the people in Colebrook Street, but it has disappeared within the last few years, and its site is occupied by an establishment of chimney sweeps! Thus:—

“Golden lads and lasses must
Like chimney-sweepers come to dust.”


Returning to the cloisters’ site we observe on the east some ruinous remains of the chapter-house. It was twenty-five or thirty feet wide by twice that in length, an ancient form which existed before the more beautiful circular chapter-houses were adopted.

The Deanery

The Deanery

On the south of this stands the Deanery, entered by three remarkably acute arches of Henry III.’s time. Under these the Dean has placed, for the benefit of the public, some of the Roman tesselated pavement found in 1880 in Dome Alley. The wayfarer can also see in the red-brick wing on the east the handsome Perpendicular window which once stood at the end of the prior’s hall. The Deanery has been almost entirely built inside this hall. It may surprise some to hear that this magnificent building, dating from 1460, still exists in a perfect state. Of the rooms constructed in it the largest is the drawing-room, thirty feet long and fourteen high, with old mullioned and trefoil-headed windows. The height of the hall was about forty feet, and the length nearly seventy. In the bedrooms the carved roof timbers and corbels, with heads cut on them, are in wonderful preservation. The wing of red brick, of which I have spoken, was built for Charles II.’s accommodation; and in his time the Deanery staircase seems to have been constructed, where there was formerly a[222] courtyard in the house. The prior’s hall could be easily restored, and if the work were effected in the time of the present dean, it would form a suitable memorial of the taste and learning of that eminent antiquary.

Evelyn records an edifying conversation which took place in this house when he was here shortly after the death of Charles II. James was then here:—

“His Majesty was talking with the bishop concerning miracles and the Saludadors in Spain, who would creep into heated ovens without hurt. His Majesty said he doubted about miracles. The bishop added a miracle wrought in Winchester to his certain knowledge—a poor miserably sick and decrepit child (long kept unbaptized) recovered immediately after baptism—as also the salutary effect of King Charles’ blood in healing one that was blind. They then spoke of second sight. The King spoke of relics which had effected cures, especially a piece of our Saviour’s Cross, which had healed a gentleman’s rotten nose by only touching. The bishop blessed the King for insisting on having the negroes in the plantations christened.”

The Deanery faces the Close, which formerly had the pleasant name of “Mirabel,” and we crossed it to the Pilgrims’ Hall.



The northern part of this building is now the dean’s stable—the form of it can therefore be well seen. The commencement of the massive beams supporting the roof is visible in the lower part of the stable, while in the loft the arches themselves remain adorned with heads. These carvings are much injured by time—one of the faces seems to represent a nun or priest, and another with a curly beard, perhaps a king. This woodwork dates from 1280, and we hope its fine effect was appreciated by the travellers who occupied and had fires lit in it. The other half of the building is in the adjoining house (Canon Durst’s) where the beams are still visible, but without carving. The latter residence was built by Warden Nicholas about two hundred years ago, and has over the staircase some fine festoons of large flowers in stucco.

Crossing over to the western side of the precincts we find No. 10 to be an old thirteenth-century building, said to have been part of the convent refectory.[92] Beneath it there is still a kitchen, a grand hall with three round pillars and a groined roof. The massive[224] oak dresser-board remains resting on two carved stone supports. Though worked almost into holes, its hardness has preserved it to be a curious relic. When Richard Cœur de Lion returned from his foreign imprisonment, the grand coronation dinner was here prepared for him.[93]

“There must have been then great commotion in this hall, and considerable execution,” said Mr. Hertford, “if the culinary work in those days approached that of the ‘kokery’ in the days of Richard II., with all its ornamental devices.”

“Let us dream on,” I replied; “but good authorities consider that this ground-floor was only made a kitchen in the seventeenth century; and that these buildings of the monastery did not form part of the Refectory, though close to its site.”

By the kindness of Miss Heberden we were allowed to inspect this interesting house, and having viewed the kitchen, ascended by a fine old oak staircase to a spacious room, now used as a bedroom, lined with that small square panelling which dates from the seventeenth century. Here are long, low, many-mullioned windows, with stained glass, representing the[225] arms of Fox, Wykeham, and others. Over the mantel-piece is an elaborate piece of oak carving. In the south gable end there is a beautiful rose window, traces of a larger one, and of the original entrance—the present door being in an old window. On the east are Early English windows.

Dome Alley.

Close to this house there is a road running westward. This is Dome Alley. On either side of it stand red brick houses, some two hundred years old, half concealed in luxuriant ivy. We observed grapes and other ornamental designs on the leaden pipes; on the right hand side the “Rose and Crown,” and on the left the “Cross Keys.” It appears that emblematic ornaments representing the Church and King went alternately along the fronts of the houses.

“I suppose the ‘Rose and Crown’ represented the English monarchy?” said Miss Hertford.

“The rose,” I replied, “was an ancient emblem of England; some have supposed the name Albion came not from the chalk cliffs, but from the white rose which flowers freely over the country.”

Adjoining the Close gateway we observed a large building with gables of “timber-crossed antiquity,” and found that beneath them was an apartment where the bishop’s “Cheyney” Court was held.[226] Here are a curious old beam in the ceiling, and the royal arms, which were over the judge. This was the Court for the Soke, the prison of which we had already seen. Old men remember the last case tried here—a corn dispute from West Meon. The judge sat on the side near the porter’s lodge. The overhanging gables may be earlier than Elizabeth; the rooms beneath them have been used for Cathedral purposes.

From this point we made a little excursion, passing under Kingsgate, with its chapel and ancient doors, into Kingsgate Street to look at the red-brick gables of Mr. Toye’s house—dating from about 1600. About seven years ago some excavations were made through St. Swithun’s Street, the Kingsgate, and Kingsgate Street, which brought to light the stratum of a road at a depth of five feet. This must have belonged to some epoch of considerable civilization, perhaps even to that of Alfred and the saint who gave the name. The floor of the porter’s lodge at the Close Gate is three steps below the present surface.

Monks’ Fare.

Hence we retraced our steps through the precincts; and here, as we stand on the ground for centuries trodden by religious men whose “good deeds have been interred with their bones,” let me call attention to the little that remains concerning them, if it be merely their domestic arrangements. Dean Kitchin[227] has with great perseverance and success deciphered a roll of regulations for the monastery in the fourteenth century, which had been rendered indistinct by the thumbing of many monks, and by a libation of their beer. Here we find directions as to dietary. The prior was to provide beer, bread, salt, wine, butter, and cheese. Nearly every day there was to be a large maynard of cheese (32 lbs.), and the anniversary of the deposition of the body of St. Swithun was to be honoured with an additional cheese, so that the monks of Hyde as well of St. Swithun might celebrate the day; and on the Translation of the saint’s body sufficient cheese was to be provided for those monks and other religious and lay people. The cheese was to be really good, if not it was to be returned. Psalm singing was regarded as thirsty work. The precentor and his men were to have a puncard (cask) of ale every Saturday, and another to cheer them whenever they sang the melancholy “Placebo,” or funeral service. They were to have a pitcher of wine as well as a puncard of good ale whenever they did the great O. At first we might suppose that this was synonymous with “doing the heavy,” but the dean tells us that, on the contrary, it generally meant doing nothing at all. But here it signified singing before the great festivals certain[228] short prayers, beginning with “O,” the first of which was “O Sapientia.” On the Deposition of the body of St. Æthelwold, the keeper of the refectory was to carry round at dinner time the “Cup of St. Æthelwold,” first to the brethren in the refectory, then into the infirmary to the sick, and then to the table of the bled (a considerable number), and finally to the prior and such honoured guests as were with him. It is said that they were all to kiss the goblet; but we should have thought that the old conventuals would scarcely have expressed such sentiments as—

“Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine,
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I’ll not ask for wine.”

Moreover a pitcher of wine was to accompany the cup which apparently was exhausted before the end of the ceremony. The refectorarius was to have a second pitcher for himself, and we might suppose he wrote this order, for he spells the word in a very hickupy manner, “pichicherum.”

Wykeham found the monastery in a disorderly state. Some of the monks were guilty of grave irregularities. He gave them strict statutes. Wearing ornaments was forbidden, and also hunting.


“Hunting!” exclaimed Mr. Hertford. “How I should like to have seen them flying along in their gowns. Think of the jumps!”

“Wykeham did not like the sight,” I replied; “it was, I suppose, not an uncommon one, for we find in Henry III.’s reign complaints that the dogs of the Abbot of Hyde and Abbess of St. Mary’s were committing depredations in the King’s forests.”

Swithun’s Tomb.

Hence we made for the north side of the Cathedral, where we passed through the iron gate to walk on the grass. Close to the Cathedral on the north-west near a water drain, I observed that the ground had been recently moved, and the sod was broken, revealing a piece of wall. This was, in fact, the site where St. Swithun had by his own desire been humbly buried, “so that the sun might not shine upon him.” Since the translation of his body the earth here had not been moved until two years ago, when in digging, several coffins of chalk and stone were found with bones, and also the mysterious ring already mentioned.

Proceeding towards the east we noticed the doorway into the north transept by which the pilgrims entered to have their squint through the grille gate. Beyond the north transept another cut in the grass showed a wall of great solidity—probably part of the foundations of the “New Minster,” whose monks[230] moved to Hyde. This wall, lately discovered, was traced northwards to a point where a stone has been placed in the grass, and two other stones show the building was square. The old Saxon church might have been here—some fragments stood above ground in the beginning of the last century.

We here saw close to us a pointed arch standing alone. It formerly led to some of the prior’s premises. To the north of it I saw a line of small, dilapidated houses, bearing the pretentious name of “Paternoster Row,” which, I fear, does not always awaken religious feelings in the hearts of authors. Some of these dwellings were very old, and boasted a little external ornamentation. In the doorway of one of them sat an aged woman sunning herself. Her features were finely chiselled, and she had a profusion of white glossy hair. She must have been handsome when young, and was still

“Bearing through winter
The joys of the spring.”

I asked her if she could tell us the age of her house.

“No, I cannot, sir,” she replied,[231] “but it must be very old from the way it is built. There are five doors to this room. Pray walk in.”

We complied, and found a very neat little apartment with tables covered with ornaments, and a brave show of glass. There was a beam across the ceiling, which I could touch with my hand.

“You can see at the back how old the houses are. Some of the cottages in the corner have lately been taken down,” she added.


We passed with her out of the back door, and saw some very dilapidated tiled gables. What surprised me most was to find that a clear stream of water, about a yard wide, flowed under these houses. This, then, was the “fishful” rivulet of Æthelwold, the Lourtebourne, which he brought from Headbourne Worthy (by a lower channel, I think, than that by the Nuns’ Walk), to cleanse and refresh the monastery.[94] It was covered here with tombstones. I crossed by one, taken of course from the neighbouring graveyard, which commemorated some of the Henley family who lived in the seventeenth century. Stones of this kind, as well as monoliths, are utilized here, for stone is scarce about Winchester. The flight of stairs up to Morestead Church, which stands above the road two or three miles from this is formed of tombstones.


“I hope that they have been steps to heaven in every sense,” said Mr. Hertford.

We left the little dwelling very favourably impressed with the old lady, and were surprised and sorry when we heard that she was obliged to be in receipt of parish relief.[95]

Passing by Bishop Morley’s almshouses for matrons we regained the High Street, and we now proposed to make a circuit to look at the streets on the other side.


Winchester declined greatly in Henry III.’s time, and Edward I. removed the royal residence to London, and although at Wykeham’s solicitation Edward III. made it one of the chief wool marts in England, he added another disappointment when he removed the “staple” to Calais. From a dismal complaint presented to Henry VI. by the inhabitants, it would appear that the greater part of the town was then almost a heap of ruins. It states that the[235]Desolation of the saide powere Citee is so grete and yerelye fallyng for there is such decaye that withowte graciose comforte of the kynge oure Soweraigne Lord the Maire and the Bailiffs must of necessitee cesse to delyver uppe the citee and the keyes into the Kynges Handes.” Seventeen parish churches and 997 houses were void, and within eighty years Jewry Street had fallen from eighty houses to two, Fleshmonger Street from 140 to two, Colebroke Street from 160 to sixteen, Calpe Street from 100 to six, Gold Street (Southgate Street) from 140 to eight, Gar Street from 100 to none. In its palmy days, soon after the Conquest, the city extended to St. Cross, Wyke, Worthy, and Magdalen Hill, and in Henry I.’s reign the population was about 20,000, but so greatly did it decrease that all the progress of this century has only just brought it back to that number. It is said that there were once 173 churches and chapels here, probably an over-statement.

In Edward III.’s time there were 44, among them All Saints in Vineis,[96] St. Nicholas extra Pisces, St. Martin’s in Fosseto, and St. Peter’s in Macellis. Now there are eight; Bishop Fox disestablished many because there were no funds to sustain the clergy.

The Penthouse

The Penthouse.

Proceeding up the High Street, we crossed into St. Peter’s Street by “God Begot” House. This was a fashionable quarter in the Stuart days. The Royal[236] Hotel stands on a site where was a nunnery twenty years since. We come to the office of the Probate Court, a new looking building, which has old walls. At the south side of it we see a leaden pipe with E.G. 1684, on it—supposed to stand for Eleanor Gwynne. An old staircase remains at the top of this house. The original building was much larger, the centre has been taken down, but the other wing remains. We may gain some idea of how handsome it once was by looking at the next ivy-mantled mansion—a structure of about the same date, with a fine staircase.

We now come to the Roman Catholic Chapel, and examine the arched entrance—the only relic remaining of Magdalen Hospital, founded 1174. In the porch I called attention to the “Druidical” stone.

“But some say that the monoliths in this Itchen valley have more connection with drifts than with Druids,” observed Mr. Hertford.

“Yes, and take away the poor things’ character,” I replied. “Why should we try to dive into the mud and gravel that lie beneath our fancies?”

Close by, standing back in a garden, is the “White House,” which is also of Stuart date, and has a handsome staircase and panelled room. All these houses were probably occupied by Charles II.’s courtiers.[239] Milner says that the Duchess of Portsmouth had a house at the south end of this street.

Middle Brooks.
Middle Brook

Middle Brook.

From the end of Peter’s Street we turned down the City Road, and passing by “Upper Brooks,” where there are more monoliths, soon entered, on the right hand, Middle Brooks—so called from the stream flowing along it, which in the memory of old people ran down its centre. Here we came to a remarkable edifice, built of flints, and of a somewhat “gingerbread” character—a miniature castle with two towers. It forms a couple of houses, and the tenant of the nearer one told us that the building was called the Hermitage. It is nearly one hundred years old, and formed out of the materials of Swathling House,[97] which belonged to Mr. Erle, and stood between Winchester and Southampton. The front room, which we were invited to enter, is lined with panelling—covered with paint, I regret to say, for it is of walnut wood—and in some places adorned with gold and colours. Round the ceiling there is a “tongue and udder” moulding, and there is also carving round the door. The young tenant pointed out to us an old engraving on canvas, “The Bloody Sentence of Christ,” which, he said, had been two hundred years in his family.[240] There was a note beneath it to say it had been taken from a stone in Vienna.

Proceeding on towards the High Street we came to a row of houses with overhanging stories and huge dark beams. It had a central archway and heavy oaken door, and seems to have originally formed one large house. Antiquaries owe a great debt of gratitude to the owner, Mr. Buckingham, for preserving this relic of the past when pressure was put upon him to demolish it. There is much “wattle and dab” work in the walls, and in an upper front room of the northernmost house there is herringbone work and a fine chalk mantelpiece with mouldings and entablature. Chalk becomes hard from exposure, and will last almost for ever if protected from the weather. Cut stone can be seen here in the back wall, and also in a house beyond the yard fence, whence it has been conjectured that this was a monastery or important structure—could it have been connected with the Franciscan monastery, usually placed in Lower Brooks? A cannon ball, found two feet below the floor of one of the back rooms, is in Mr. Buckingham’s possession. It probably came from the Castle or Cromwell’s battery.


Before these houses were repaired, two years since, some of the panelling inside them was beautifully[241] carved, and there still remains ornamental tracery on the outside of some of the windows, but much has been removed. What was more remarkable was the discovery of numerous coins about the panelling, as if some of them had accidently slipped behind it. Among them were a Roman coin and a Spanish, some leaden coins and medals, and a token of the Corporation of Southampton made of brass, with three roses on the obverse.

On our way back we met an aged man with a light blue coat and an oblong silver badge, with something like a shamrock upon it. The wearer of this gay apparel belonged to “Christ’s Hospital” (1607), near the Cathedral. The brethren’s house looked as bright as their coats, with scarlet virginian and blue clematis.

As the next day was Sunday, which is no day for excursions, and we had pretty well explored the principal part of Winchester, my friends now took their departure. They said that they had enjoyed their visit. With me the time had passed rapidly. I tried to make a favourable impression, and am vain enough to think I succeeded, especially on one occasion while Mr. Hertford was deeply studying the guide-book.


On Sunday morning I felt lonely. I sauntered down the High Street. There were many young fellows standing about who had evidently come in from the country. Some looked very gay, wearing sunflowers in their buttonholes, and talking to their sweethearts. This sight made me feel still more forlorn.

I went to the invisible Church—I mean St. Lawrence’s—which cannot be seen from the outside. The sermon pleased me. I remember that the preacher said: “Some men put on their religion on Sundays with their best coat, and when the day is done take off their religion and their coat, and hang them up until next Sunday.”


[88] The boundaries of Wansborough are given here with much quaintness and particularity. “From the Stone to the Eden, from the Eden to the Lent, from the Lent to the great Thorn.... From the hollow thorn to the hoar stone, from the hoar stone to the hollow pan.... From the crooked link to the cat-holes, from the old treestead to the crooked apple-tree.”
[89] In the possession of the Duke of Devonshire.
[90] The Carmelites would not have been pleased with this representation, as they think the first of their white gowns was thrown down by Elijah, and the black stripes they wear are to show where it was singed by the wheels of fire.
[91] Tradition said, as late as 1650, that the Domesday Book was kept in a vault or in a chapel called Domus Dei, in the Cathedral. If so it was only there just after its compilation. The earlier Domesday book, or Dombroc, of Alfred, was kept here or at Wolvesey.
[92] The refectory, which was forty feet long, stood on the south-west of the cloisters. The “vocal” crucifix was at the east end of it. In 1798 there were, according to Milner, four round-headed windows in the north wall.
[93] There could have been no lack of money on this occasion, for the King found £900,000 in gold and silver besides jewels in the treasury at Winchester.
[94] It passed through the dormitory, cloisters, buttery, malthouse, kitchen, and quadrangle.
[95] In the street just by the back of this house two shells were found, probably some of Waller’s “granadoes.”
[96] Winchester was celebrated for its imported and native wine.
[97] In which the celebrated Admiral Lord Hawke died.



Southgate Street — St. Cross — Dr. Lewis — Regulations — St. Catherine’s Hill.

This day I proceeded in the direction of the Hospital of St. Cross, which is one mile from Winchester. On my way down Southgate Street I passed, on my right, the profusely decorated and almost flamboyant modern Church of St. Thomas. It contains some of the sepulchral slabs of the older church to that saint, which stood beside the graveyard on the east side of the road. That building had some architectural beauties, but had long lapsed into a state of dilapidation. In Henry III.’s time the Sheriff of Southampton was ordered to have an image of the “Majesty of the Lord” made and placed beyond the altar in that church.

A few yards beyond this I passed the site of the old Southgate, and then came to the “Friary”—the site upon which the Augustine hermits established themselves[244] in the thirteenth century. This order is best known to London men, from Austin Friars in the City.

Next I came to “St. Michael’s,” the rectory of the parish. Just behind it stands the church, but it has been rebuilt, and presents nothing of interest except a round thirteenth-century sun-dial not eight inches wide. In former times a spring rose just above the church, and in the winter flooded it on its way down. The rector keeps the doors of the church always open, and, like many others, has suffered for his good nature. A short time since the poor-box was broken open and robbed, and the only melancholy consolation was, that there was not much in it.

St. Cross.

A line of bright villas extends here on the right side, and I soon reached the graveyard of St. Faith’s, another deceased church. Even in the time of Henry III. it was in a weakly state, for we find beech trees given to prop its foundations. The only relic of it remaining, is the Norman font and bell, which are preserved at St. Cross.

Saint Cross

The Church of Saint Cross from the Water Meadows.

Here I am now at my destination. I pass through the village of Sparkford,[98] and stand before the ancient structure founded by Bishop de Blois for[247] the (much needed) health of his soul and for the repose of the kings of England. He endowed it from his private revenues, as well as from gifts of rectories and from the spoils of Hyde Abbey, which consisted of 500 pounds weight of silver, 30 marks of gold, and three crowns of gold, with thorns of gold set with diamonds. The revenue was originally £250 a year, but had risen to £300 in Wykeham’s time.

The management of the hospital was originally delegated to the brethren of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, saving to the Bishop of Winchester canonical jurisdiction, but Henry II. gave the administration entirely into the hands of the bishops.

On the tower over the archway are four heads—those of Henry IV., “time-honoured” Lancaster, Beaufort, and Catherine Swinford. Catherine here finds herself in good company. She was, as most know, a pretty governess, whom John of Gaunt’s wife had the temerity to engage, with the result that her husband had several natural children, among them Cardinal Beaufort. Over these heads are three canopied niches for statues—the idea being evidently taken from those on the tower of the College. In the centre was the Virgin, and by her side the Cardinal; but we observe that though he is on his knees he is too grand to take off his hat to her.[248] When the figure of the Virgin fell, some years since, it was not replaced.

How well I remember the day when I first stood before this gateway as a tired wayfarer, and demanded the pilgrim’s right. I was promptly provided with half a pint of fair small beer and half a slice of bread. I observed that the drinking-horn was set in silver, and, in answer to a question, was informed—

“Two of the cups have been set in silver to commemorate the fact that the Prince of Wales and Crown Prince of Germany drank out of them. The other cups are not set; we keep these for the upper classes.”

I had not then heard of the fate of the “Hampshire Grenadier,” and much cheered by the refreshment and the fragrance of royalty, marched into the courtyard, and admired the long row of chimneys—twenty feet high—made thus when they first succeeded holes in the roof. I wished I could see the thatch that the chapel had for two hundred years. Seeing an old gownsman standing about I accosted him, and asked if he would be so good as to show me over the hospital.

“Hospital!” he replied, sharply.[249] “There ain’t no hospital here. That’s where everybody makes a mistake. When any of the brethren are ill we have to send to Winchester for a doctor.”

Beaufort Tower, Saint Cross

Beaufort Tower, Saint Cross.

“Well—the institution” I substituted.[251]

He seemed satisfied with the correction. I found that there were several persons waiting to be conducted, and that our guide was a “character.” He was deaf, his speech was indistinct from the loss of teeth, and he in every respect came up to the requisite qualification of being decayed.

The original foundation was for the board and lodging of thirteen men, poor and infirm, and for receiving daily at dinner a hundred men[99]—the most indigent that could be found—who were to be allowed to carry away the remains of their food and beer.

“Walk this way,” said our guide, hobbling on in front of us. “Oh! I won’t go too fast for you.”

He led us into the church, where we gazed up at rows of Norman zig-zag until we felt quite giddy. Some think the painting here a little overdone, but it gives some idea of how the severity of the Norman style was softened by colours. A few traces of the old designs are still visible in some places on the walls, and in À Becket’s Chapel there are remains of a series depicting the scenes in his life. There is also a large fresco, even more faded, representing the Descent from the Cross.


“We have heard,” said an inquiring lady, who seemed to take a great interest in everything, “that there is a beautiful triple arch here. Can we see it?”

“No, ma’am, you cannot,” replied our scrupulous guide; “but you will be able to do so when we come to it. This is Major Lowth’s seat,” he added, pointing to one comfortably cushioned.

“Who is he?” inquired the lady. “Where do you say he sits?”

“Nowhere, ma’am. He does not sit anywhere now. He is gone to heaven, ma’am—at least, I hope so. He was one of the trustees.”

We found the triple arch outside at the back of the church. It was very pretty—one arch bisecting another.

The fourteenth-century stained glass in the windows particularly attracted my attention. In one, St. Swithun appears in a purple robe; in another, De Blois figures in red and green. In the South Chapel there is some wood carving of the Italian school, and very fine; and some other that is certainly of the British school, and not admirable—names cut on the desks, one of which dated 1575, shows that chanting and mischievous habits survived the Reformation.

Our attention was also drawn to the stone with the half-obliterated “Have Mynde” on it, and to the[253] window whence the sick witnessed the elevation of the Host.

Handsome Donation.

We observed on some of the tiles on the floor of the church the enigmatical letters, “Z. O.” On inquiry, we found this apparently cabalistic sign, was in memory of the munificence of an anonymous benefactor, who thus signed his letters. About twenty-five years ago a gentleman came to visit the hospital, and seeing some men at work in the church, observed to them that it was a most interesting building.

“Yes, sir,” replied one of them; “but it is sadly out of repair.”

Shortly afterwards a letter arrived from the Isle of Wight, telling the Master to go to a certain bank in Winchester, and he would receive £500 from Z. O. And soon £250 came in the same way. Many were the surmises as to who was the mysterious donor; some thought from certain indications that he was one of the royal family.

“We want a few more of that sort,” observed our guide, significantly.

The church, which is partly paved with fifteenth-century tiles, contains many sepulchral memorials. There is a fine brass to the left of the altar to Campeden, one of the masters and a friend of Wykeham’s.[254] The tomb of Petrus de Sancta Maria, who died in 1295, was opened some time since, and the features were found perfect; but as has happened in other cases, crumbled into dust in sight of those present. Wood says there was an old cross here, dated 1450, to John Newles, “squyer and servant more than xxx yere unto Harry Beauford, bishop and cardinal, whose soulys God convey to his Mother dere unto the bliss of Heaven.”

In front of the altar there is a large slab to William Lewis. He was elected from Hart Hall at Oxford to the Society of Oriel, in 1608, and made provost by the favour of Welshmen. There are conflicting statements about his character. Cromwell’s party say that his amours were so extraordinary that he was obliged to fly from the country to escape the officers of justice; but the Royalists maintain that he was an excellent man, learned in theology, who went abroad to serve the King. Anthony Wood, in his “Fasti Oxonienses,” says that “he was made a D.D. by command of the King.” He went as Buckingham’s chaplain—with a sinecure office, I should think—to the siege of Rochelle, of which he wrote an account. He was Master of St. Cross; but on the defeat of Charles was succeeded by Lisle the regicide, who sat in the Long Parliament for Winchester.


Lisle’s widow was beheaded in the Market Place in Winchester, for harbouring fugitives from Sedgemoor.[100] After his promotion to the Upper House, another regicide, Cooke, became Master, and after his execution, Lewis returned and ended his life here in peace.

Hall of St. Cross.

Our guide now directed us to the hall—built in 1440—and here called attention to the Minstrels’ Gallery, the fine original roof, the mysterious triptych painting, and the central hearth whence in olden times the smoke ascended through a hole in the roof. This aperture was long preserved, and on “gaudy days”—of which there are five in the year—a charcoal fire is still lit there for “Auld Lang Syne.” On those days there is a grand roast of half an ox, minus the leg, and each man has five pounds of meat, a mince-pie, and plum pudding.

“And who sits in that chair?” asked the inquiring lady, indicating the principal one at the table.

“Nobody, ma’am,” he replied, “at present. But on gaudy days the Master sits in it.”

“Is he one of the brethren?”

“God bless your soul, no, ma’am,” he returned;[256] “he’s a minister of the gospel.”

We were shown Cardinal Beaufort’s rude wooden salt-cellars and candlesticks, and in the kitchen his battered round pewter dish, which gave us no great idea of his splendour; but probably he was doing the humble when he stayed here.

Thence we went over to the eastern side of the quadrangle, where there is a cloister supporting some decayed apartments—perhaps erected by De Blois. Here is a table of Purbeck marble, said to have been used in the Castle, and which as it is not round enough for King Arthur, is usually attributed to King Stephen.

“Would you like to see the nunnery?” inquired our guide.

We were not aware that there was one, but found that it consisted of some upper rooms for three nurses. On asking what there was to see in it, and being told, “Well! there is a floor,” none of us felt very enthusiastic about it. And so I left this interesting spot—not to return for fifteen years. Farewell, most conscientious of guides! I am afraid, alas! that thou art “not sitting anywhere now.” I hope thou too art in heaven.

On this, my next visit, our conductor was a man of the modern school, intelligent and energetic, but not so humorous. I went the same round, and heard[257] little more—except that an American gentleman, who had been two months in England studying stained glass, had heard of the ancient windows here just as he was going on board the steamer to return, had retraced his steps, and said when he saw them that he was well repaid for his journey. Our guide also spoke of the silver cross the brethren wear. It seems when any one of them dies it is put on a red velvet cushion, which is laid on his breast in the coffin, and then before burial it is taken off and the Master fastens it to the gown of the next brother. Instances have been known where, by mistake, the cross has been left on the corpse, and there was a brother who was now wearing one which had been exhumed.

The Brew.

Only when we came to look at the black jacks and talk of the beer was our informant slightly at fault. The founder, thinking that his bedesmen would be thirsty souls, ordered each to have daily with his meat and salad mortrell (bread and milk) a gallon and a half of good small beer. Considering this and the free drinks given at the lodge—now reduced to two gallons a day—we may suppose that brewing was a principal industry in the hospital. No beer is now made here or supplied to the men. Our guide told us that about seven years ago the brethren’s wives lived in the village, and that a question was asked,[258] which they preferred—their beer or their wives. To some this might have been puzzling; but the gallant Knights of St. Cross answered without hesitation in favour of their better halves. This raised them greatly in my estimation; but it appears that, in truth, their wives, or in default of them, housekeepers, have been allowed to live here as far back as most people can remember, and the allowance of beer was stopped, because some of the men took too much of it, and others preferred stronger stuff, being of the monkish opinion that—

“Drinkere stalum
Non fecit malum”—

and exchanged it in the village. So they were glad to take money instead.

The greater part of the building here is due to Cardinal Beaufort—the gateway, hall, master’s house, and all the lodgings on the west side. He called the hospital the “Almshouse of Noble Poverty,” and provided an endowment by which some brethren who had “seen better days” should be added to the thirteen of the De Blois foundation. A distinction between the two classes is kept up, the Beaufort men wearing red gowns, but there are very few of them. I heard that a clergyman was here a few[259] years since, but resigned his place. Provision was made for the maintenance of eleven servants and fourteen horses. The present revenue is about £6,000 a year.[101]

St. Catherine’s Hill.

On leaving the hospital, instead of returning as I came, I went to the right through a gate and over a stream; and, following a northerly path across the fields by the engine house, crossed the Itchen to St.[260] Catherine’s Hill, which I saw rising close to me. There was formerly a chapel on it, the tower of which was blown down in 1268, but the building was there in Henry VIII.’s time.

St. Catharine’s Hill from St. Cross

St. Catharine’s Hill from St. Cross.

A splendid view opened as I climbed the height. On the summit I inspected the mismaze. It is fancifully said to have been cut by the boy who wrote “Dulce Domum.” But when we consider the Cerne Giant and the White Horse we shall consider it due to the vicinity of the monastery, and made by the monks for amusement or penance. It is not a labyrinth properly so-called, because if you enter at one end you cannot fail to reach the other. I saw some children, who had been playing “touch wood” in the neighbouring clump of pines, walking through it, and they said it could be done in four minutes.

Here I stand within a magic circle—a line of circumvallation which transports me to a past when there was a wild population here that threw up intrenchments to protect themselves and their cattle from attack. The large circuit of this embankment shows that the habitations around the neighbourhood were not sparse; for we may be sure that when they had to throw up the earth with their hands, they would not make it larger than necessary, and when they lived much on game they did not require great[261] space for cattle. These remains are especially interesting in connection with the many “Druidical” monoliths found about this part of the country.

Origin of Winchester.

We may say that this was the original site of Winchester. When the people became powerful and more constantly centralized, they settled on the lower ground, as at Bristol and Salisbury. Some twenty miles to the south-east there is a fortified height known as “Old Winchester hill,” and so-called from a tradition that the town at first stood upon its summit.

While descending on the turf among the harebells (hairbells?) I found a specimen of the blue gentian. What a study is every flower—how beautifully is it finished inside and outside! I thought of the “lilies of the field.” Solomon and his array! How would he have looked with his robes reversed?

I made my way to the river, and walked along it in a path fringed with golden ragwort, then passed through the millyard, crossed the river, and continued along its margin till I reached the cottage gardens, and emerged close to the bridge at the end of High Street.


[98] Best known to many for the scene in “Henry Dunbar.”
[99] The “Hundred Mennes Hall” is now used as a barn.
[100] She is said to have been “a respectable lady.” The jury hesitated, but Jeffreys insisted. James was swift upon rebels. He wanted his brother Charles to hang Milton.
[101] On the walls are the names of several masters. R. Buteshall was master in 1346. Roger Sherborne and Henry Compton both became bishops.



Ancient Britons — St. John’s Church — Magdalen Hospital — Punchbowl — Chilcombe — St. Peter’s Cheesehill — Twyford — Monoliths — Brambridge Avenue — Otterbourne — Compton — “Oliver’s Battery” — Hursley — Tomb of Keble — Merdon Castle — Farley Mount — The Hampage Oak — Tichborne.

Chilcombe!—in the Domesday Book Ciltecumbe—what a deliciously Celtic name! It reminds us of the time when “Gwent” also was only a group of beehive huts. We can see such in Cornwall at the present day.

“Gwent” (whence Venta Belgarum[102] and Winchester) signified an opening. A river beneath a grassy hill was a cheering sight to the early inhabitant of Britain. The chalk downs here afforded a clear expanse by which he could reach the interior of the[263] country without any fear of losing his way among trees or being attacked by wild beasts. The forests then abounded with large stags, wolves, bears, and wild oxen.

The Itchen.

No doubt the choice of the site was partly determined by the convenience of the Itchen. On its breast we see successively the canoes and coracles of the Britons, the galleys of the Romans, and the royal ships of the Saxons and Danes, with their many oars, pictured sails, and formidable figure-heads. In the time of the Normans it became more crowded, and without it the Cathedral could not have been built, as the stone came from quarries in the Isle of Wight. Even Wykeham obtained materials from this source, and the river must have presented a busy scene in the palmy days of the fair, when merchandise was arriving from distant shores. The river was afterwards disused, obstructed apparently by the construction of mills, for when the city was in a dilapidated condition in Henry VIII.’s time, the Mayor and Corporation suggested that the mills should be “pulled up, so that barges might come to the city as formerly.” In recent times a canal has been made, called “the navigable Itchen,” a name which, as we look at its silent and deserted course, seems to have a sound of mockery.


Chilcombe is a large parish, and reaches nearly into Winchester. Cynegils in the seventh century gave it to the monastery. But on the high ground above Chilcombe Lodge, the present parsonage, was lately found a curiosity which carries back our retrospect far beyond all such modern history. In sinking a well an aërolite was discovered imbedded forty feet in the chalk! Can we imagine the time when this bolt fell hissing into the sea, and lodged upon some of the shellfish, whose remains formed these white rocks? The “everlasting” hills did not then exist, and the most important inhabitants of the earth were huge and hideous lizards. Does the thought occur to us that in the cycles of ages the time may return

“When all the bloomy flush of life is fled”?—

if it does let us banish it.

Crossing Soke Bridge and passing Water Lane I came, on the same side, to St. John’s Street. Close to this, on the slope of St. Giles’ hill was the original school where Alfred was instructed. We find, in the Close Rolls, King John ordered William of Cornhill, to make one “Jeffery” attend school at Winchester, and provide him with necessaries for the purpose.

St. John’s.
St John’s from a Cottage Garden

St John’s from a Cottage Garden

Proceeding along the street I came to the Church[265] of St. John. It has no chancel, and is nearly square—would have been perfectly so, only for the road which passes it. This was the old Roman road from Canterbury, and this was the first church pilgrims came to in the suburbs of Winchester, hence we find a Decorated niche outside the east wall in which stood a figure of the Virgin for their benefit. Inside the church are many little niches, a very pretty triple one has just been discovered near the altar. There are also two “squints.” The tower, which may be partly Saxon, is a mass of chalk six feet thick. There were at one time some frescoes on the north wall, in which[266] the devil was a principal character, but for more than twenty years they have been decently plastered up, and there is nothing now to offend the eyes of the worshipper unless it be the large crucifix over the rood screen. A new stained east window has lately been inserted in memory of a curate who died here at the early age of twenty-five. He took great interest in the church, and bravely continued his work until within four months of his death. The centre of the window contains what I was told was a good likeness of him.[103]

Near the end of the street I came to an ancient wooden cottage with heavy beams, which had formerly been the “Blue Ball.” Opposite stands “St. John’s Croft,” a large red-brick edifice, adorned with wood-carving on its porch, and with some cut stone bosses from Magdalen Hospital. A few yards behind this there is a row of four brick-and-tile cottages—the last remains of that celebrated foundation.

Morn Hill.

Passing in front of St. John’s Croft I came to a[267] pathway on a bank beside the high road, and soon, as I proceeded up the hill, a fine view opened on the left over the valley and the rich fields through which the Itchen meanders—and then the country on the right became visible, and I reached a breezy down spangled with harebells and eyebright. Here I came to Victoria Hospital; and on the right hand, about a hundred yards this side of the farmhouse beyond it, stood the Magdalen (“Morn”) Leper Hospital. I am able to speak with certainty, for a lady told me that an old gentleman, who died twenty years ago, pointed out the spot to her and showed her some tiles that had fallen from the roof. A well was lately found in the field opposite. I am sorry to say that this establishment was badly treated in 1643 by the Royalist soldiers, who burned the gates and consumed the provisions.

A picture of the four pointed arches and lofty windows which stood here at the end of the last century can be seen in the Winchester Museum. It is interesting now that every vestige of this hospital has disappeared—except the archway in the Roman Catholic Chapel in St. Peter’s Street—to read in the Harleian Manuscripts (328) of the ornaments it once possessed—the silver pix and cups, the vestments and books, the green carpet powdered with birds and[268] roses, the Spanish cloth, given by William of Basing, and the standards to be carried on Rogation days. This hospital was founded in 1174 by Bishop Toclyve, whose signature to a document is a great curiosity in the British Museum. The ruins were removed at the beginning of this century, as they had become an harbour for mendicants not belonging to religious orders.

The distance is about a mile and a half from the Butter Cross, and this seems to have been thought anciently, as it is now, a safe position for the location of infectious and contagious diseases.

Returning, and passing the Victoria Hospital a few hundred yards, I struck right across the downs and saw on my left five mounds, which brought other sad memories of disease, for here the bodies of those who died of the plague were thrown into pits. It was on these downs that King John hypocritically fell down on his knees before the Pope’s prelates. Here they, weeping, raised him up, and all proceeded to the Cathedral singing the Fiftieth Psalm.[104]


Looking southwards I saw under me the Petersfield road, to which I descended, and walked on it right away for more than a mile to visit the Punchbowl,[269] a circular hollow in the downs, almost capacious enough for that thirsty Dutchman who drank the Zuyder Zee. From thence, if I had desired, I might have marched on for three or four miles to the beautiful woods of Longwood. I well remember having once walked through them on a summer evening, when the sunshine was casting a chequered glow through the oaks and beeches—such scenes are not easily forgotten. Lord Northesk still retains the old family mansion, though a handsome new residence has been built beside it.


On this occasion I was not so enterprising, so returning nearly to where I took the road, I turned to the left towards Chilcombe, which I saw lying in a nook among the hills shaded with large trees. This hamlet is still nearly as small as it was in the time of the ancient Britons. After reaching and passing by the half-dozen cottages which compose it, the road decreased to a lane, and became steep as I approached the church. This was truly the “church in the wilderness.” There was no house near it at which I could obtain the key, so I had to turn back to the village. On my way I met some little children playing, one of whom, a girl of about twelve, regarded me through her dark eyes with undisguised curiosity.


“Can you tell me who has the key of the church?” I inquired.

“The clerk has it,” she replied; “but he’s dead.”

Chilcombe Church

Chilcombe Church.

This answer well-nigh threw me into despair; but I determined to inquire at some neighbouring cottages. At one where I applied, the fair occupant also gave me a vague reply, saying that, “If it’s anywhere, Mrs. Solomons has it.” I observed that this little dwelling was in a very decrepit state. The ceiling, which a tall man might reach, was innocent of plaster, and made a sad exhibition of[271] “ribs and trucks.”

“This seems to be an old house,” I said.

“Oh yes, sir, very,” she responded. “It has been for a long time falling down through the chimney,” she added, pointing to the wide hearth.

Following her advice, I went to the former parsonage, close at hand, which I reached under a snow-white mass of fragrant clematis. There I obtained what I required and returned to the church.

A Chilcombe Tombstone


This tiny sanctuary has a wooden bellcot for a tower, and the smallest east window I ever saw,[272] inserted within the original Norman opening. There are three Norman arches here, some fifteenth-century tiles, and an old flat monumental slab, from which all but a large cross has been worn off by the feet of generations. And this is all that remains of the nine churches which once adorned Chilcombe!

The lane leading to the church gradually dwindles to a footpath and crosses the downs to Morestead—a pleasant walk. I met some boys coming along it, carrying wallets full of nuts, with which the wayside abounds.

On my return I diverged to the right along a green bridle path, and thus made a circuit of the hamlet.

Before reaching Winchester (two miles) I passed a large tree standing up quite dead, a piteous skeleton, shining and bleaching in the sun. It had been struck with lightning, I was told. I never before saw such a sight; but in Australia, where the settlers pay the natives to ring-bark the trees, you may see forests of them raising up their bare arms to heaven, as if appealing against the treatment they had received.

Saint Peter Cheesehill

Saint Peter Cheesehill from above the Station.

Passing Chilcombe Lodge, with its cypresses, I came to an old inn called “The Brewers Arms,” and was told that a hostel formerly called “The Drum” had stood on this site for four hundred years. Close to it is the church of St. Peter’s Cheesehill. The[275] people call it “Chisel”; it is named from gravel like the Chesil Beach near Weymouth. The church is square like St. John’s. It contains some handsome chalk niches, with heads carved under them, and there is a curious grating high up in the west wall for those in the adjoining house to hear the service.


A pleasant walk leads from the bridge along the bank of the river to Twyford—three miles distant—but I started in that direction through Southgate Street, which is part of the Southampton Road. After passing St. Cross and proceeding on for about a half-mile, I came to a bifurcation and a signpost, and took the lower road to the left, walking by grassy banks golden with fleabane. I crossed the Itchen, and soon a branch of that river—fringed with a line of wild foliage, purple willow-herb and hemp agrimony. Then I reached Twyford Lodge, the residence of Colonel Bates, and farther on took the right-hand turning to the church. It is modern except the window, but stands on a ring of prehistoric monoliths, preserving the old sanctity of the place. The graveyard is adorned with some magnificent coniferæ, specimens of the Wellingtonia, deodara, picea pinsapo, cypress, and cedar; but the pride of the whole is an immense yew-tree which rises in the centre[276] in ancient majesty. It is of great girth, and withal as sound as a bell, and it is cut into the form of one—or, I might say, of Robinson Crusoe’s umbrella. Go beneath it and gaze up into its maze of branches—a wondrous sight!

On leaving this shrubbery I turned round to the left, and, had I desired, I could have walked through “silken grass,” across a couple of fields, to the railway station, passing by the woods round Shawford Park (Sir Charles Frederick’s), and over the river, which is here divided into three parts.[105] But I sat down to rest upon a seat placed by some fairy godmother at the first bridge, and looked down into the Itchen, where the long green foliage was waving like the hair of water nymphs. Does not Tennyson speak of our life swaying “like those long mosses in the stream”? I seemed to be looking down into a clear agate and the liquid murmur was only broken at intervals by the jumping of a trout.

Before me lay two elephantine blocks of stone, brought by some of our unknown predecessors. I amused myself with conjuring up pictures of the past, and thinking that here—

“Sage beneath the spreading oak,
Sat the Druid hoary chief.”


and while I fancied I could still hear his low chanting, my mind wandered off to reflect that this neighbourhood is sacred to a real modern “druid.” There was a celebrated school at Twyford and among its pupils was Pope. His satiric talent brought, as usual, disgrace, for he was sent away for writing a squib on the master, who had become a Roman Catholic.

Returning to the church, I regained the high road, and immediately on my right saw a large red-brick house, which had an air of old-fashioned importance. I was anxious to find Shipley House, where Franklin, as a guest of Bishop Shipley, wrote his life. I could find no one to inquire from, but soon a labouring man came along, and I asked him if this was Shipley House.

“No, sir,” he replied, “this is Twyford House. Shipley House is nearly a mile further on.”

I was surprised to hear this.

“Is it an old house?” I said.

“Oh yes, sir—it was built in 1860.”

This then was not the object of my search, and I found that the mansion I was looking at was the old Shipley House.


Twyford. Queen of Hampshire Villages.

Passing by a school on the left, and entering the street of the little town, I saw in the centre of it a[278] blacksmith’s shop with another megalith in front of it. Dean Kitchin has given the great stones, with which this place abounds, their full weight, and considers that Twyford may be so called from Tuesco, the deity we commemorate on Tuesday. Further on I came to a brewery, evidently not for small beer, for it had a triumphal arch with a profusion of embellishments which must irritate the feelings of good teetotalers. There are besides these new structures some timber-crossed cottages in the village, with old-fashioned hollyhocks, blue campanulas, and masses of phlox. Before leaving,[279] I may observe, that this “Queen of Hampshire villages” ought to be in high favour with the fair sex as many of them have become Young by residing in it.

Proceeding straight on into the country, I came to the Manor farm with several old arches in front of it, suggestive of a monastery. A little beyond this is the lodge of the present Shipley House, with two tall cypresses (Lawsonianæ) in front of it. Then, coming to another finger-post, I took the beautiful road to Brambridge,[106] overhung on both sides with trees. And now a long wall of gravel and mortar skirts my right along Brambridge Park.[107] The avenue here is said to be the finest in Hampshire. It consists of four rows of lime-trees. The double line on each side is a study for an artist, the outer branches drooping down and resting on the ground, while the inner, being close together, have been drawn up, so that they rise on either side like the columns of a cathedral. The house belonged to the Fitzherbert[280] family, and it is locally supposed that George IV. was privately married in the old chapel attached to it.

Turning round the park on the right, I again crossed the river, or rather canal, saw a pretty cascade caused by the old lock, and soon reached the little old church of Otterbourne—forsaken and neglected—standing in the midst of a yard full of mouldering gravestones. Many a large and handsome monument—thought much of in its day—is here entirely concealed in ivy; as completely obscured and lost to view as those to whose memory it was erected. Proceeding to the north, I entered the village of Otterbourne, with its neat new brick cottages and large green common. In its centre some children were playing round a large horse-chestnut tree, whose leaves had been touched by the rosy fingers of autumn. At the right-hand corner is an old house of comfortable dimensions, covered with a variety of climbing plants. This is the quiet village home of Miss Yonge, the authoress of the “Heir of Redclyffe.”


From this point I regained the Southampton Road, and in about a mile turned up to the left to visit Compton, which consists of a few picturesque tiled cottages. The tiny church stood in a bed of luxuriant grass. The fine old oak porch was taken[281] down by some Vandals fifty years ago, and the present unsightly one substituted. Lately some of the parishioners wanted the rector to have a new door, a request he happily withstood, saying he was proud of the existing one, which is of great age and of massive oak. On the lock can be seen the marks of the axe with which it was rudely shaped. The entrance arch is Norman, adorned with half-a-dozen lines of zigzag carving. There is, as at St. Bartholomew’s, a kind of reflected arch behind it. This church is an anomaly, inasmuch as it has no foundation; it merely stands on the chalk, of which the dressings of the window are also made. Towards the altar there is on the wall a fresco representing a bishop with a crozier standing beside the gable of a church, perhaps intended for the Cathedral. A stone coffin, containing the skeleton of a giant measuring six feet to his shoulders, was found here in front of the altar.

This church stands only a few hundred yards from the Southampton Road, by which I returned (2 miles) to Winchester.

Now for a round of fourteen miles. Passing through the Westgate, I turned to the left by the barracks and crossed the railway cutting, proceeding on the road which leads toward the magnificent[282] Norman church of Romsey, which is twelve miles distant. On the left I soon came to the Catholic Cemetery, with its high wall, built in 1829. It contains many tombstones whose inscriptions are worn away by age; one preserved by lying flat under the turf is to a member of the Tichborne family, dated 1637. Farther on, upon the right, behind a beautiful belt of trees and some bright flowers stands concealed the grim arch of the County Gaol. Nearly opposite is the Infirmary. Farther on, I passed a large school and waterworks; these buildings are handsome, and of red brick.

Oliver’s Battery.

I continued on up the long ascent known as “Sleeper’s Hill.” The country people tell you that here seven men fell asleep in a field when the Cathedral was commenced, awoke when it was finished, and, after going to inspect it, came back to their cold bed and crumbled into dust. In about a mile I saw a clump of dark fir-trees on the left, standing on a spot called “Oliver’s Battery.” (Any one wishing to visit it should take the first turning to the downs, for you cannot cross the fields farther on.)

This entrenchment was really constructed by Hopton, though named after Cromwell. On this ground, the highest near Winchester, we stand in[283] the centre of a grand panoramic scene. Below lies the city—its red houses, green trees, and grey Cathedral. It looked more formidable when this camp was made; the castle stood at its head, and the long wall extended down, crowned at intervals with round towers. There were no suburbs then, and it seemed among the surrounding pastures like “a quaint old mosaic in a ring of emeralds.” After leaving the “Noll” and rejoining the road, I continued towards Hursley, and observed on the right a monumental structure just peeping over the hill. On inquiring I found that this was not a memorial to a hero, but to a horse! As I go down hill with fine plantations skirting the road, I observe that I am in the country of yew-trees, which here replace the “hedgerow elms,” generally characteristic of England. Sweet marjoram and masses of wild foliage rise on either side, and above it gleam in rich profusion the scarlet clusters of the “dogwood.” On the left is a hill prettily dotted with small yews and junipers.



The church of Hursley is large and handsome, and the graveyard beautifully adorned. Inside, at the west end, we found a brass, not much larger than an octavo page, recording the name of John Wolkland, who was keeper of the neighbouring Castle of Merdon in the fifteenth century. Close to[284] it rose a large stone slab, commemorative of many members of the Cromwell family. Richard Cromwell, the Protector’s son, married one of the Major family here, and became possessed of the manor. At his death the place was purchased from the daughters by Sir W. Heathcote, who took down the old mansion, saying, I am told, that “the roof which harboured a Cromwell was not fit to shelter an honest man.” These reminiscences of fame and decay are somewhat melancholy. A brass corresponding to that of Wolkland has a sweeter sound. It bears the following inscription:—

“If ever chaste or honneste godly lyfe
Myghte merit prayse of eber lastyng fame,
forget not then that worthy Sternhold’s wife
Our hobbies make[108] Ane Horswell cald by name
frome whome alas, to sone for hers here lefte
hath God her soule and deth her lyfe byreft.
Anno 1559.”

Sternhold lived in the neighbouring village of Slackstead. He was Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII.


Passing through the southern door into the graveyard, we find in the grass two flat stones side by[287] side with crosses on them and the name of Keble with that of his wife. He was vicar of this parish. Although we see here the cold and polished granite under which he lies, we feel that there is no man more truly alive among us. He lives in our hearts and memories—on our tables, and in our churches. A friend of mine—a clergyman who passed early to his rest—was accustomed to play and sing every night with his family that inspiring hymn, “Sun of my soul.” This large and handsome church is Keble’s monument, for it was built out of the proceeds of “The Christian Year.”

From this I return back a short distance to “Standon Gate,” where a turnpike stood, to visit Merdon Castle. I pass up a steep hill between nut-trees to the keeper’s Swiss châlet. Entering the enclosure, I find vast grassy mounds standing about on all sides, covering the ruins of the walls and towers. In one place over the deep fosse a huge tower of flint masonry remains, the upper part of which is concealed in ivy. This castle was built by De Blois in 1138, and fell to decay in the fourteenth century. A tragic scene took place on this spot at an earlier date. At “Meretune” King Cynewulf was murdered by Cynehard in 784. The former had deposed the brother of the latter, who[288] was soon afterwards murdered, and Cynehard determined to be revenged. He lay in wait for some time among these woods until his victim should come here with few attendants to visit his mistress. Then he surrounded the house and killed him.

Farley Mount.
Farley Mount

Farley Mount.



After leaving Merdon I took another turning to see the monument on Farley Mount. It is in the form of a pyramid, and stands on such a high point of the downs that Salisbury spire is visible from it in clear weather. Inside there is a room where wayfarers[289] and picnic parties may rest and be thankful. On the wall we read that the horse of Paulet St. John leaped into a chalk pit and not only was unhurt, but won the plate at a race the next year!

Many a good man is overlooked in this world for want of a “horse.” This animal not only bore its master nobly during life, but has carried his name to posterity after death. Thus in Olympic times did Aura immortalize the Corinthian Phidolas, who raised a statue in her honour.

The sun was sinking like a ball of fire before I left this spot, and the shadow of the pyramid was lengthening into a spire on the smooth down. Descending, I walked along a wire-netting put up to circumscribe the “bunnies” who swarm in this neighbourhood, and then came to Crab Wood. Thence I reached, by the old Roman highway, Tegg Down, where the soldiers were practising at targets, and soon was back on the main road near “Oliver’s Battery.”

The ancient “Gwent” was surrounded by a sea of foliage. Only in one direction was there an opening—over the chalk downs westward. This vast forest was part of the great Andreds wood which clothed the chief part of Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire. Different districts in it had local names.[290] Southwards from Winchester it came to be called Bere Forest, and afterwards Waltham Chase. Roman roads from “Venta Belgarum” pierced it in several directions.

There is a story about part of it connected with the building of the Cathedral. Bishop Walkelin found himself in want of timber, and applied to the Conqueror to let him have as much timber as he could carry out of Hanepinges Wood in four days and nights. William at once granted the request. The astute bishop then collected all the woodmen in the neighbourhood, and they managed to cut and carry the whole wood within the appointed time. When the King returned to Winchester and went into the district he exclaimed—“Am I bewitched, or have I lost my senses? Why I thought I had a most delightful wood here?”

The cause of the clearance was explained to him, and he was angry; but Walkelin pacified him by falling on his knees and offering to resign his bishopric. “I was too lavish a donor, and thou wast too grasping a receiver,” he finally replied.

Hampage Oak.

There is a tradition that one tree was spared in this general clearance—an oak under which St. Augustine had preached. I was anxious to see this venerable relic, and inquired where Hanepinges[291] Wood was. No one could give me any information. At last I came to a man upon whom the light seemed suddenly to break.

“Hanepinges? It must be ‘Hampage.’ There is the Hampage oak, to the south-east, near Itchen Abbas. It is rather more than five miles off.”

Wishing to make a round, I walked again to King’s Worthy, and, keeping to the right, passed on my left hand Miss Turner’s handsome new residence; and, on my right, a fine old house with a kind of tower, which I heard, to my surprise, had been the old parsonage. A little further on a larger house with a long façade is that of King’s Worthy Park.

A road pleasantly fringed with trees leads to the Itchen Abbas station. By taking the train I might have saved four miles of my walk.

Near this point, a little to the left, on a hill, a Roman pavement was discovered some years ago. It was a fine specimen, adorned with the heads of Medusa, Venus, Neptune, Mercury, and Mars. A house was built over it for its protection, but was not kept in repair, the rain came in, the mice and the tourists arrived, and when I saw it there was little left; what there is has now been earthed up. Thus what had lasted nearly two thousand years was destroyed shortly after it was found.


From Itchen Abbas station I made my way to the Plough Inn—a little distance in front towards Easton—and passed over the river fringed with its “long purples.” Then I entered Avington Park, through a wood of lofty trees, and obtained, across a sheet of water, a view of the house.

This mansion stands on the site of one of old renown, which belonged to the princely Brydges, Dukes of Chandos; and where the “Merry Monarch,” when sojourning at Winchester, often came and held high carnival. It was graced or disgraced by a lady of note; for the first Brydges, being a man of courage, married that Countess of Shrewsbury, who, disguised as a page, held a horse for Buckingham while he killed her husband in a duel. The last Duke of Chandos built the present house, and also the brick church—to which we soon came—in memory of his wife. Their daughter, a descendant of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII.’s sister, became Duchess of Buckingham, and her son sold this property to Mr. Shelley, the present owner’s father.

Nearly opposite the church is a handsome sarcophagus to the late Mr. Shelley. The plantations around the domain are magnificent, the avenue being two miles in length. After leaving the church I came to a baker’s shop, and saw a pretty person[293] standing in the doorway with “Goodchild” inscribed in large letters over her. This seemed promising, so I asked her if she could tell me where to find St. Augustine’s Oak.

“Oh, you mean the Gospel oak?”[109] she replied. “You must go through the wicket-gate a few yards above this, and keep along the line of the fence for about a mile. None of the children here know it. I doubt whether any of the villagers do. I am sorry I cannot accompany you, but I am engaged.”

I thanked her. Old Syrus says that a pleasant companion is as good as a carriage, but as I had no such conveyance on this occasion, I trudged on in solitary silence. Following the instructions given, I soon came to a line of lime-trees, between which and the fence I walked for half a mile. I began to fear that I might miss the tree, and go on for an indefinite distance. There was no one to inquire of, and nothing to break the stillness save when a wood-pigeon was heard cooing, or, startled by my approach, burst out of a tree with great commotion. Thus I tramped on, over turf sweet with thyme and starry with cinquefoil. I felt so lonely that I was glad to see a squirrel which ran along the top of the[294] railing beside me, and would stop now and then as if looking back to see if I was following. Was it—

“Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen genius of the wood.”

I know not, but soon he reached a tree up which he ran, and lo! behind it stood the Hampage Oak. It was a mere shell about twelve feet high, and kept together with an iron hoop, but duly honoured by having an iron fence round it. Among the green, luxuriant trees it looked like an emblem of death. I observed that it stood in the centre where two green alleys crossed. It may have been in this state of decay for centuries, for oak is very durable, and Augustine may actually have preached under it. I should think, from its standing on the cross roads, that Saxon “moots,” or meetings, may have been held here, and the chief man may have taken up his position under it.


Returning to the main road, I proceeded through the village to Tichborne, about three miles farther on—the name has become so celebrated that I could not omit it.[110] About a mile beyond it lies Cheriton,[295] where the engagement took place between the Royalists and Roundheads, which ended in the former being defeated and pursued all through a dreadful night.

The name of Tichborne is supposed to have sprung from the soil, or, I should say, from the stream which winds along the park. The church in the village is most interesting. It retains high oaken pews, many of them enriched with carving. One side is entirely occupied by the Tichborne chapel, in which generations have been laid to rest, but the earliest memorial is a brass dated 1569. There is a curious little old effigy of a baby in a red frock, and a very handsome monument of marble or alabaster to the Tichborne and his wife of the time of James I.

There is a piece of ground near the house which, by the unpleasant name of the “Crawls,” commemorates a most noble action. The lady of Tichborne in Henry I.’s reign was famed for her liberality, and, when aged and dying, wished to establish a dole of bread to be given to all comers on every Lady Day. Her husband, who perhaps misliked such indiscriminate charity, replied that she should have as much land for the purpose as she could herself walk round while a torch was burning. Nothing daunted, she rose from her bed, commenced her pilgrimage, and on her hands and knees actually encircled several[296] acres before her flame expired. The dole of 1,900 loaves continued to the end of the last century, when old Sir Roger’s misgivings were justified, and as a substitute money was given to the parish poor. There can be no doubt about the substantial character of the gift, but a few regard the story of the “Crawls” as somewhat airy, and even connect the name with our old friends the crows.

A magnificent festival was held here lately when the present baronet came of age. It lasted three days, and at night the avenue of enormous elms and beeches shone with thousands of variegated lamps. Rich and poor were entertained, and many old Winchester people said, and deliberately too, that they did not think there ever was a more splendid spectacle.


[102] The Belgæ came to this country two hundred years before Cæsar.
[103] Nearly opposite this church stands a large old building, now let in several tenements. It is called by the people in the neighbourhood “St. John’s Barracks,” or “Mundy’s Buildings.” The edifice is supposed to have been at different times a barrack and a workhouse. In one tenement there are remains of an oak staircase with an ornamental balustrade, and in another there is in an upper room a good chalk chimneypiece.
[104] He was absolved in the chapter house.
[105] One is the disused canal, another has a cascade.
[106] Two miles from Twyford.
[107] Since writing the above a Roman pottery kiln has been discovered about eight miles beyond Brambridge, on the property of Admiral Murray-Aynsley. It can be reached by train, being a mile and a half from the Botley station in the direction of Shidfield.
[108] Mate. She married secondly one of the Hobbys who held this manor.
[109] It is supposed a Gospel was read here during the perambulation of the bounds.
[110] A turning north leads to Hampage from the Alresford (Magdalen) road, by which road Tichborne is about six miles from Winchester.






Transcriber’s Note

The following changes have been made:

References to footnotes 15 (page 16) and 73 (page 179) have been inserted, as they were missing in the original.

On page 31 “farewill” has been changed to “farewell” in “at their farewell”.

On page 260 a repetition of the word “the” has been removed from “the Cerne Giant”.

Some entries in the Index have been changed to match the spelling in the body of the book: