Just the most stunning window on Window Wednesday this week, from Winchester Cathedral.
The window above might be one of the most impressive windows I have ever seen. And Winchester Cathedral might be one of the most impressive buildings I have ever entered, it being one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. Even back in the day (and I am talking 1500 years) ago it was a place of importance. The Bishop back then had a diocese that stretched from the edge of England at the channel, to the edge of London at the Thames.
King Alfred the Great is buried here, as is King Canute. And it was him that I thought of as we stood in the Crypt looking at the Antony Gormley figure: Sound II. The figure was made from a mould of Gormley’s own body and is simply staring a bowl of water. Sometimes, after heavy rains, the figure is up to his thighs in water. Though when we visited he was merely a bit damp round the edges. But it did remind me of King Canute and him trying to move water. It’s a pretty impressive pumping system doing that now.
The Cathedral is also home to the Winchester Bible. Handwritten, in Latin, by one scribe on to 468 calf hides it dates back to 1200 and as you stare at it behind glass it is hard to believe it is so old. The colours of the accompanying art work is as vivid as it must have been back then. A monk was tasked with checking over the scribe’s work and you can see his corrections in the margin. It’s fascinating. And unfinished! If you visit the Cathedral, do make a point of going to see it. Strictly no photography though which is why I can’t share any with you.
Of course the Cathedral is also the final resting place of Jane Austen. She had gone to live in Winchester after “taking unwell” in the village of Chawton, 16 miles away. Her sister Cassandra drove Jane to Winchester as there were doctors and a hospital who would have been able to care for her. Sadly two months later, in July 1817, Jane Austen died, and was buried in the Cathedral after a funeral attended by just four people.
As with many places though I am ashamed to say it was the floor that grabbed me (and the windows of course). The areas of tiling in the Cathedral had me mesmerized and totally distracted from the libraries, fonts, and smaller chapels in the building. Oops.
You can find out more about the Cathedral, including admission costs and events by visiting: Winchester Cathedral’s website