Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Hampshire Delights Part 2.....

After breakfast on Day two of our visit to Hampshire we set off to the village of Alresford to the railway station

where we boarded a steam train for a 20 mile round trip on the Watercress Line, which runs the 10 miles (16 km) from New Alresford to Alton where it connects to the National Rail network. The line gained its popular name in the days that it was used to transport locally grown watercress to markets in London.   MWM took a short video of our ride on the train, turn up your sound then you will hear all the train sounds.

After our train ride we had a short time in Alresford to get some lunch before boarding the coach again for a visit to Winchester. 

Our destination in Winchester was of course the Cathedral.

The Anglo-Saxon Old Minster was demolished in 1093-4 to make way for the present cathedral.

You can see where the Old Minster stood by the foundations that can still be seen to the side of the new Minster.   The Old Minster contained the shrine of St.Swithun, a bishop of Winchester who died in 863.  His relics attracted pilgrims from far and wide and by the year 1000 the church was "hung about on both walls from end to end with the crutches and stools of the crippled who had been healded by the saint'.  Old Minster was the most important royal church of anglo-Saxon England, among the kings buried there were Egbert in 839 and Alfred in 899 - later moved to the adjacent New Minster.   The Old Minster was also the burial church of King Cnut -Canute, d.1035 and his wife Emma and son Harthacnut d.1042.  

Edward the Confessor was crowned here in 1043. William the Conqueror and after him William Rufus 'wore his crown' in Old Minster at Easter every year they were in England until the monks moved to the new Norman Cathedral in 1093.  The new Cathedral received the relics of St. Swithun, the patron saint of the cathedral,  and the remains of Anglo-Saxon kings and bishops, the Old Minster was then demolished.  According to tradition, whatever the weather on St. Swithun's feast day (15 July) it will continue for forty days and forty nights, which is why in England we pray for fine weather on this date!

One of England's famous authors is also buried in the Cathedral - Jane Austen.
The Cathedral takes you through centuries of English church architecture, from the massive vaults

and it's early Norman crypt.
This mysterious life-size statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands is the work of the celebrated British sculptor Antony Gormley.  The crypt floods during rainy months and to stop the force of the flood water knocking over the sculpture it was filled with water.

It's Renaissance chantry chapels,
 it's beautiful ceilings,

original medieval tiled floors,
stained glass windows,

the view down the aisle to the main altar

and the great screen.
Winchester Cathedral is beautiful and so interesting with it's long history, well worth a visit.

It was almost time to head back to the meeting point for the coach so we ambled through the town taking in more modern architechure - the town hall,

and guess who this is

King Elfred (Alfred),  the only English monarch to be accorded the epithet "the Great".

We thoroughly enjoyed the train trip and the history of Winchester, I hope you did too.

Join me next time for Part 3 when we visit Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, where we see Henry VIII's flagship The Mary Rose amongst other fascinating historic ships.


Jenny Woolf said...

I think you can still buy Alresford watercress! It is lovely to hear the sound of a steam train. And the cathedral always has something to think about. Quite a few places around there lay some claim to Alfred, I think. Wantage in particular.

Cloudia said...

What a super cathedral, town, HISTORY! 😸

Banker Chick said...

I would love to visit Winchester Cathedral just to visit Jane Austen's grave. My Heroine!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

there are some amazing churches, aren't there? wow.

and i know how much mym likes trains. i rode one to tampa and back a few months ago and thought about you two!

smiles, bee

Ron said...

The interior of the cathedral is absolutely stunning. The detail in the architecture is amazing! Love the ceiling.

I adore visiting churches, chapels, and cathedrals, especially old ones, so I would have really enjoy this.

"This mysterious life-size statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands is the work of the celebrated British sculptor Antony Gormley."

When I first looked at the photo, I actually thought it was a real person standing there.

Thanks so much for sharing, m'dear. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed. Looking forward to Part 3!


Valerie said...

We visited Winchester a few years back. The cathedral is beautiful and Joe loved being in Jane Austen territory. H's a fan, you see. He didn't get to see the train though.... I shall keep that info to myself... smiles.

Daryl said...

i am so hoping to see this for myself some day .. but in the meantime thank you for sharing!

Beach Bum said...

My wife and I would flip to visit that wonderful place, we love historical stuff like that. In fact we have the Amazon video streaming service and spend our Friday nights watching travel shows.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I remember visiting Winchester Cathedral when I was 18 - gorgeous place.

Flowerpot said...

Fab pictures too Ak x

A Lady's Life said...

Wow! so cool
Love it.

Akelamalu said...

I do like Watercress, may have even tried Alresford Watercress without knowing without knowing Jenny. I'm sure you're right about Alfred!

Oh yes Cloudia GB is FULL of history, wherever you go and yes Winchester is a great Cathedral town. x

That was a highlight for us too Banker chick x

Well where there's a train trip involved in a trip it is usually one of the deciding factors in whether we go Bee LOL

I love churches too Ron and yes I agree the statue is VERY lifelike! Glad you enjoyed the architecture m'deario. xx

I'm sure you enjoyed Winchester just as much as we did Valerie, shame Joe missed out on the train but I won't tell him. **wink wink**

I hope you get to see it for yourself too Daryl and I'm glad you enjoyed this. xx

Well put it on your to visit list for when you come to GB Beach, you will love it. x

Oh you've been SAW, so glad you enjoyed it! x

Thanks Flowerpot and LL X

CrystalChick said...

As the Dean stated in the video (yes, I clicked on your link!), 'Cathedrals are places of excellence', and I agree. Or certainly this one looks to be. The Dean sounds like a lovely man, so knowledgeable and happy to share the wonders of Winchester. And he sure has a lot to oversee with 100 employees and 600 volunteers!
Nice photos. Ooh, a crypt. Very interesting.