Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral
Deedie and David newly anointed

Here were our choices for a weekend activity — a visit to the thousand year old Winchester Cathedral, with a stop at the cheese and chili festival there, or “Paws in the Park” in nearby Bracknell featuring competition for fastest recall, agility and scurry and “have a go rings” along with promised “various exciting dog displays.”

Obviously a tough choice.  After some back and forth we opted for the history and cheese option over the dogs.  We’ll never know if it was the right one, but the Cathedral tour was fact-filled by our knowledgeable guide, a retired professor of American politics. That’s David talking: Think of all the practical things we could have learned at the Paws event.

But before we go to the Cathedral, let’s talk about Friday evening’s Art Walk in Wokingham. We stopped first at a pub with linens and finer food. By the time we got out, we couldn’t find a bit of art or anyone walking about. Next time, we guess.

Winchester cathedral has the longest  center aisle in the world

The cathedral has the longest or maybe second longest center aisle in the world, which Mark explained has changed over the centuries by builders and destructors, almost like an accordion.  At the east end is the most interesting stained glass window of any ancient cathedral we have visited. It’s mosaic. Not the original design but all original glass. Apparently, during the English civil war, Cromwell’s forces smashed the original, 30-foot tall  windows.  After restoration of the monarchy, with no drawings of what the windows looked like before, workers randomly reassembled the windows using the left behind shards.  They invented modern art.  This was in the 1600s.

Jane Austen

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral
Jane Austen

The tour included stops at the burial spot of Jane Austen among a mass of military leaders, parliamentarians , church leaders, etc. We found another famous person noted on a stone marking the dedication of the new gift shop and restaurant revealed that the dean at the time was one Trevor Beeson — a long-lost Deedie relative, probably one who had strayed.

After the tour we found the Cheese and Chile festival, which was so popular there was a long line of families to enter.  A reconnaissance peek inside the gate confirmed that this maybe wasn’t a venue for thirsty, older visitors.  We found a pub instead.  Smartly it was across the street from the site of the old castle that dates back to William the Conqueror in the 13th century.  The great hall is the only surviving room, but it features what may be, could be or maybe wasn’t King Arthur’s round table. It’s huge, for sure. But we couldn’t sit down at it because it’s now  mounted at the top of one wall. Scientific dating confirms that the wood is 12th century. It certainly is a new concept for interior decoration using old tables.

Davis Once reported on the Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh taken place at the Great Hall

Following the lead of others, we dug into a stash of old garments and head gear to pose for a photo op, with coaching from some young English people who knew in a flash how capes fit and what kind of head gear would be appropriate. The Great Hall has been used as a court house where the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh occurred three hundred years ago and in recent times for trials of Irish IRA rebels.  And painted on one wall are the names of local members of Parliament over an 800 year time period!  Those from the 1880’s on not included.

The Deanery was having a Book Sale on our way out. For a mere 10 pounds, we got six books.

Our Sunday plans included a mix of Reading experiences — Quaker meeting and then the Reading versus Cardiff football match. It could work with meeting ending at 11:30 and the game beginning at noon. Alas, the weather didn’t cooperate. Meeting was rich and we were greeted warmly.  William Penn had attended meeting on the same site, they said. Ministry offered centered on Penn’s concern that he still wore a sword, even  after denouncing violence against others. George Fox advised him to, “Wear it as long as you can.”

Tea and Crumpets

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral
Tea and Crumpets

We lingered over tea and crumpets. Threatened by rain along with unseasonable cool breezes led us to skip the game in favor of a restaurant serving roast beef and Yorkshire pudding along with other Sunday dinner fare.

Things we didn’t  buy at the grocery: steak and kidney pie, sardines, Aunt Bessie’s puddings and cakes, Polish blueberries, school uniforms.
Things we did buy: French wine, Irish butter, Polish blueberries
What we learned: How to unlock a shopping cart — Put a pound in the lock to unhitch it.     When you put it back and lock it, your pound magically reappears.
Number of pubs visited — 3
Number of times we went somewhere without using Google maps — 5

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral

Our Visit to the Thousand Year Old Winchester Cathedral