Though there’s been a cathedral in Winchester since 642, construction of the longest medieval cathedral in Europe started in 1079. Much of the limestone that the cathedral is built from was to be transported from quarries on the Isle of Wight, across the Solent. The early Kings of England are buried here, as is novelist Jane Austen, who lived in the city at the end of her life. In 1642, during the Civil War, the medieval stained glass west window was shattered deliberately by Cromwell’s forces. In 1660 the broken glass was reassembled at random, creating a beautiful mosaic of colour.
Did you know?
The first record of an organ at Winchester Cathedral is from the 10th century. The huge machine had 400 pipes, needed two men to play it, 70 to blow it, and could be heard throughout the city. Winchester is also perhaps the only cathedral to have had a popular song written about it. ‘Winchester Cathedral’ by The New Vaudeville Band made it to number one in the US charts in 1966.