Inside Winchester Cathedral


Once we got inside Winchester Cathedral, I was less inspired by the size than by the details. Some of the smaller things we saw that day have really stayed with me, whereas my overall impression of the size was more of an “eh, typical cathedral” reaction. Perhaps that’s not fair, but as we see more and more churches and more and more castles, I’m thinking that they are going to have to be pretty special to stand out from the crowd.

This is going to be a very picture-heavy post, so my apologies for that. But I’m not always very good at describing architectural things – it’s much easier to show! So please enjoy my pretty pictures.

Looking down the longest nave in Europe.

I found the ceiling quite interesting. The brickwork has been whitewashed, making the whole space feel much lighter and brigher that usual. Also, the thinkness of the ribs, combined with their close relationship to one another, reminded me a bit of a spider web. I thought the effect was rather heavy.

Looking upward toward the ceiling above the nave. I really liked the fan pattern, and how the columns arched outwards at the top. It almost looks like the capital of the column has spread onto the ceiling.

A close-up of one of the fan-patterns. The brickwork has been painted white, while the ribs remain a darker grey. From a distance it looks almost delicate, but a closer inspection reveals that the ribs are quite robust and the joints appear swollen. The pattern lacks delicacy.

Looking up at the central tower. They've obviously carried the fan-pattern through, and I really love how it looks with the dark wood and lighter spaces. The star shape in the center is a nice result, no?

This is the ceiling in the older section of one of the transepts. It looks like the grid has gone a bit wonky -- effects of the subsidence, perhaps?

This is in one of the transepts. These wood pillars were placed next to the stone pillars as support several hundred years ago, and still serve that purpose!

Looking down onto a choir rehearsal. I love the shape of the gothic arch.

These mortuary boxes contain the bones of Saxon kings such as King Eadwig of England and his wife Ælfgifu. The bones were moved from the old church to the new, and are now stored in boxes perched above and around the altar.

This is the ceiling of the Lady Chapel. I don't have much information about this chapel, other than it was repaired with funds from local Catholics. But look how colorful that ceiling is!

When I first saw this sign I was confused, because it was perched along a stone wall and there were no tiles hanging on that wall. But then I realized it meant the tiles I was actually standing on!

These are the very historic tiles -- still being walked on! They are lovely, but I couldn't help feeling self-conscious stepping on them. Perhaps it's my American attitude, but shouldn't something like this be preserved better?

A bit of graffiti. From 1609! And now we all know that John Rowse was here.

Oops! I forgot to post this pic of the great screen. It was pretty impressive, and if you can see, those are rows and stacks of statues of old men in the background. And yes, they are looking down on you in a judgmental manner. You are being judged.

This is in the transept, and is obviously one of the older parts of the Cathedral. The arches are romanesque rather than Gothic, and the stonework is different.

This is an old window, and those are some very old cobwebs. They look to be about 2-3 inches thick, along the bottom of the sill. Henry VIII probably had them installed.

And last but not least, the very narrow but adorably blue door to one of the chantry chapels. These smaller chapels look a lot like prison cells, and separate the main nave from the side aisles. There were several of them, and each contains the remains of someone important (and dead, obviously).

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Posted on 01/04/2011, in Castles & Cathedrals, Exploring the UK, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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