Then we wandered round the centre - I was intrigued by "God Begot House" - but it seems that God Begot may mean Good Bargain, or possibly Getter of Goods, and there is no spiritual significance in the name at all. This part of town was, a thousand years ago,the property of Emma, wife of Ethelred the Unready. Parts of the house date back to 1050!
We looked at other old buildings- Winchester is full of them.
In the picture below, reading clockwise from top right- The Cathedral, The City Mill, The Guildhall, The Round Table, and The Great Hall.
We decided to forego the Cathedral - it costs £7.50 per person [twenty five years ago, I went round for nothing with Liz and Steph] "But what if I want to go in and pray?" I said to Bob - he said the sign said you could go in on a Sunday if you made a donation.
The City Mill is a National Trust property, and very interesting- clearly geared up for school visits. It was great fun trying out different ways to grind corn- and to watch the mill race, and the millwheels turning. Henry VIII seized an earlier mill on the site, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries- and his daughter Mary Tudor gave it back to the city in recompense of the cost of her lavish wedding in the nearby Cathedral [she married Philip of Spain in 1554] The Guildhall is a fabulous piece of architecture- many of the rooms now available for hire- and "Eighteen71" is a lovely little eatery at one end.[good Jacket Potatoes]
The Great Hall is part of the Castle, and inside hangs King Arthur's Round Table. It has been there since 1463 - but it is very unlikely it is the real thing! It's free to enter. The Hall is decorated with names of Victorian Hampshire MPs at one end - and there are many stained glass windows, bearing the coat-of-arms of various members of the nobility. I was fascinated to see that only one commoner is commemorated - Elias of Dereham [I first heard about him last year in Salisbury]
Winchester is full links with a variety of interesting people - Jane Austen is buried inside the Cathedral, and round the city there are pieces by modern sculptors like Antony Gormley [he of the Peckham Bollards] whose 'Man II' stands in the crypt, David Kemp [Hampshire Hog]and Elizabeth Frink [horse and rider], as well as a much older memorial of King Alfred the Great.
I really need to find out more about King Alfred - I have always felt an affinity with someone who was so busy thinking that he did not notice the cakes burning.
Winchester is fun if you like history [as I do] - but a bit upmarket shop-wise. Not many God Begot-Good Bargains to be had there this week.