Saturday, August 3, 2013

There's A Song in My Head

You might be wondering about my blog title.  I'll get to it shortly.

We began our day at Waterloo station.  There were swarms of bicyclists all headed into London to participate in the Prudential Ride London event. An estimated 50,000 cyclists turned out to enjoy riding on eight miles of car-free roads in the heart of London today.  Major road and bridges were closed to car traffic for much of the day to accommodate them. It was a good day to get out of town.

We headed for Winchester.
Thus the 'song in my head'.  If you are of a certain age, then you probably can hum the tune to the 1966 hit "Winchester Cathedral".  I can!

Winchester developed from a Roman town, and by 680 was the defacto capital city of southern England until the Norman invasion of 1066. It has the remains of a Roman wall, old gate houses, a working mill, a city cross, and guild house. The River Itchen flows along fast and clear just outside of the old city walls.

There is a thriving, bustling High Street.

But the most iconic building in Winchester is its cathedral.

The cathedral has the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.

The first period of construction of the current cathedral was from 1079-1093. Several parts of the cathedral remain true to this simple imposing Norman style.

It is a grand uplifting building, and the burial place of many pre-Norman kings.  In 1544 King Henry VIII's daughter, Queen Mary I married Philip I of Spain in Winchester Cathedral.

The cathedral is full of angels.

There is a lovely medieval quire that survived the Reformation and Civil War undamaged.

And lots of folks looking down from upon high.

The crypt has never been used as it floods regularly. The water is clear and pure so the statue then appears to be wading.

According to legend, in a time of famine a mother pelican would draw blood from her own chest and give the blood to her chicks.  Thus the pelican symbol in Christianity, also called pelican-in-her-piety, came to symbolise the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  The cathedral has numerous pelicans emblems. 

Winchester Cathedral also has an unbroken view from end to end.

And some of the most amazing ceilings I've seen thus far.

The floors are remarkable too.

One section of the cathedral still retains its 13th century tiles.

I took hundreds of photos of the cathedral.  I think Mom and I could have happily spent the entire day there.

We did, however want to see more of the sights.

Jane Austin is buried in Winchester Cathedral.  This is the home she and her sister lived in the last few weeks before her death. 

 This is Winchester College.  It is a public boys school founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to both Edward III and Richard II.  He originally accepted 70 poor boys as students with the hope that they would be educated for life-long careers in the church.  The boys finished their education at Oxford after matriculating from Winchester.

The college is closed to visitors, but we were able to join a small group tour.  We got to see the dining hall, the chapel, class rooms, and living quarters. It was all very Harry-Potterish looking!

We then took a short walk along the River Itchen as did the poet Keats. The building just past the bridge is a working mill and we were able to watch as mill ground wheat into flour.

Our last stop was the Great Hall - all that remains of Winchester Castle.

This well named 13th century hall was once the center of court life.  On the wall hangs the 700 year old Round Table associated with King Arthur.

Your reward for reading this very long post is new post box.  This is an old Queen Victoria letter box - the first of this type I've come across.

I did want to say thank you to those of you who indicated an interest in making a contribution to Tearfund.  I am so humbled by your spirit of generosity and willingness to give to others. I think we will meet and surpass our goal of £50.


Ann at Beadlework. said...

Lovely photos today Beth, I've never been to Winchester but the cathedral looks impressive.

Barb said...

What a collection of amazing photos!The floors and ceilings are unbelievable. That looks like a wonderful place to visit!

Margaret said...

Ok, this was super cool! I so remember that song "Winchester Cathedral!" lol! Thanks for the pics -- I really enjoyed seeing everything!

hazel said...

Another lovely day for you both and you were so wise to get out of London.

I remember the round table and working mill so well when I visited with friends a few years ago.


Mountain Ash said...

Another lovely post telling me more about my own country that I didn't know. I check your blog every day to see where you have been. So glad you and your Mum are enjoying yourselves over here.

Carol said...

I certainly remember that song, Beth! And now--after scrolling through the past two weeks worth of your posts, I can't get it out of my head :) Yes, I was that far behind on your blog! I tend to save them up to view several days at once, but let it get too far behind this time... Promise to keep up better from now on!

Are you ever coming home? I'm amazed that you are still over there (and a bit envious if truth be told!!). How nice nice that your sister will be joining you and your mom.

Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the past two weeks from Oxford to the gorgeous churches and gardens to the rotund Henry VIII himself :)

It's a good thing you are blogging about your trip--you would never be able to remember all these magnificent sights if you weren't!

Vickie said...

I have agreed with Carol many times. It is awesome to blog about this and have it all on record.
That crypt!!!!!!! Wow!!
Thank you so much for today's post.
And including the Jane Austin home. =)

Deb said...

Wow! What wonderful pictures and a great history lesson. Really enjoyed your update!

Heather Cartwright said...

Isn't Winchester the best? I have half-made plans to move there after I've finished my degree! I even had the pleasure of singing in the cathedral with my University Chamber Choir!

Chris said...

Another wonderful day. I love all the detail in the cathedral. How cool that the great hall is still there.
Woohoo on the Victoria letter box.

Andrea said...

Winchester looks a very nice place to visit. Great photos.

Melanie said...

Such lovely, lovely photos. What a great day!!

Maggee said...

Yeah, I now have that song rattling about in my mind... just great! Pretty cool place! Lots of history made there. Even Jane Austen, one of my faves! And the Round Table... oooh cool! Hugs!