Winchester Cathedral an unexpected pleasure

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC had a few hours to spare in Hampshire, England, before catching up with some friends. We spotted Winchester on the map, and came across the cathedral almost by accident.

My impressions? An awe-inspiring building with gracious hosts.

Word of the day

Knapping is the word of the day. It’s what you do to shape a piece of flint into a tool or an ornament, by tapping and chiselling until the stone has the shape you need. You can therefore refer to knapped or unknapped flint. The word knapping is related to the Germanic root knopp, meaning to strike.

Travel tip

Chat to the guides in the cathedral, even if you don’t take a guided tour. The guides are kind, enthusiastic and knowledgable.

Recommended restaurant

The Stable, 31b The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX, UK. Excellent pizza, catering also for vegan and gluten free diets. Good cider and friendly staff.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me and William Walker, the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. William dressed in heavy diving gear and went into the water under the building every day for six long years, shoring up the foundations. He saved the cathedral from collapse.

Being short in stature, I appreciate a good floor. Winchester Cathedral has a good floor:

This heart-breaking memorial for a six-week old baby caught my eye:

Also on the floor is the tomb of Jane Austen, beloved author. It’s interesting to note that the inscription makes no mention of her fame as a writer:

Raising your eyes to the TC’s level rather than this worms, you’d see the thoughtful gaze of Jane Austen:

Here lies Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester from 1189 to 1204:

The positioning of the three moons is interesting on this memorial stone. To a modern eye, they seem to form a smiley face. This worm wonders what folks thought of them in 1700:

The large book below is a roll of honour to the Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918). The page turner shown in the display is a thin, engraved and shaped piece of wood, for use only with this roll of honour:

Inside the cathedral are a number of inner walls, enclosing tombs and sanctuaries. Many of them are intricately carved, like the one below. There are also caskets atop the wall:

Symmetry in the crypt below the cathedral:

The shot below is taken from the back of the cathedral, looking down the main hall (the nave) towards the altar:

Construction of the cathedral started in 1079. The main hall was built later, in the years between 1350 and 1525.

The stained glass window at the back of the church was rebuilt from pieces of shattered glass in 1660, after English Parliamentary troops (the so-called Roundheads led by Cromwell) destroyed the original window:

The west face of Winchester Cathedral:

Walking down to the right of the west face, you’ll see this view of the building:

Four Norman arches stretch away from the main building:

Pieces of flint embedded in the walls around the cathedral:

That’s all for today, folks.

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