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Photographer's Note

Winchester Cathedral is a beautiful Anglican cathedral in the county of Hampshire, southeast England. The present structure, dating mostly from 1097, it is the longest cathedral in the country

A Saxon church was built on this spot in 648 and was soon used by a Benedictine monastery which came to be named the Priory of St. Swithun.

Saint Swithun (d. 862) was bishop of Winchester and a tutor to young King Alfred. Despite his importance in life, the saint humbly requested that he be buried outside upon his death, so that "passers by might tread on his grave and where the rain from the eaves might fall on it." He was initially buried in the churchyard in accordance with his wishes, in a highly prestigious position.

But when the Saxon cathedral, the Old Minster, was enlarged in 971, the saint's remains were moved inside. According to legend, it then rained nonstop for 40 days. Local lore still has it that if it rains on St. Swithun's Day (July 15), 40 days of rain will follow:

The present church, the longest medieval cathedral in Britain, dates from 1079, and was built in the Norman (Romanesque) style. St. Swithun's remains were moved to the new church in 1093. The cathedral was at the heart of a powerful diocese that stretched from the Thames River to the Channel Islands and attracted many pilgrims who came to pray at the tombs of Swithun and other saints.

The influential and wealthy bishops of Winchester further developed and adorned their cathedral throughout the Middle Ages. The east end was expanded in the 13th century. Even more remodeling and expansion took place in the 14th century, including the Gothic nave, west front and choir stalls.

Stephen Gardiner (1531-55) was the last important Roman Catholic bishop of Winchester, during the reign of Queen Mary I. He officiated at her marriage to Philip of Spain, which took place in Winchester Cathedral.

Cheers,
Ral

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Additional Photos by Ralf Lai (kim_gwan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 99 W: 0 N: 368] (1142)
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