Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Europe Adventure: Day Four- Part Two- Winchester

After leaving Stonehenge we drove east to Winchester to visit the grave of Jane Austen.
I was still getting used to driving and a bit nervous. 
For some reason I pictured Winchester as a small town and so I was surprised when we drove into it and I was suddenly bombarded with lots of cars and lots of people and no where to park, or so it seemed. 
I went off the road we were on trying to find a car park and got us kind of lost. As we drove around I was more and more freaked out that I was going to run into someone or something as the roads were quite narrow with cars parked everywhere. Finally I turned down a small road and saw a car park. 
I pulled in and found a spot. 
We had no idea how close we were to the Winchester Cathedral or Great Hall (our two destinations in Winchester) but I couldn't keep driving around at that point. 
I paid for the parking and saw a man walking to his car. 
We went over to him and asked him if he was familiar with the area. He told us that he was so we asked if he could tell us how to get to the cathedral. 
He gave us very good directions (luckily only about a mile) but of course along the way we somehow got lost again and asked a woman out in front of a beautiful manor gardening and she showed us the way to get back on track again. 
On the way from the car park (before we got lost again) we passed under the WestGate. Westgate is one of Winchester's two remaining fortified Medieval gateways. It was built as early as the 12th century.
I was glad we passed this on our way to the Cathedral because it was very close to the Great Hall and we knew we were going there next.

Soon we were finally on the right track and the Winchester cathedral loomed up in front of us. 

Much of the cathedral that we can visit today was built in the 16th century. The old minster stood very close by and you can still see the outline on the ground. That one was built in 635.
Pilgrims have been coming to Winchester for over a thousand years. 

The Cathedral was beautiful. 
We had to pay a fee to enter and then we wandered around freely.

We climbed the itty bitty circular staircase up to the tower. 
My mom didn't love these staircases but this would not be the last!

Soon we found our way over the the memorial and the gravestone for Jane Austen. 
Her gravestone on the ground of the cathedral (from 1817) didn't mention anything about her writing. Her nephew Edward wrote the memorial that was placed on a plaque on the wall  (1872) that would mention her writing.
Jane did not live in Winchester. As she grew more and more ill, her sister Cassandra accompanied her to Winchester and they took up boarding in a home near the cathedral hoping that a celebrated doctor in Winchester's hospital could help her. 
She died there. 
So she was buried in the Winchester cathedral. Her funeral was held in the morning before services with only four people in attendance. 

 "Jane Austen, Known to many by her writings, endeared to her family by the varied charms of her character and ennobled by her Christian faith and piety was born at Steventon in the County of Hants, December 16,1775 and buried in the Cathedral July 18, 1817. 
'She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness.' "

Her gravestone:

"In memory of Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Revd' George Austen, formerly Rector of Steventon in this County. She departed this life on the 18th of July, 1817, aged 41, after a long illness supported with the faith and the hopes of a Christian.
The benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper, and the extraordinary endowments of her mind obtained the regard of all who knew her and the warmest love of her intimate connections.
Their grief is in proportion the their affection, they know their loss to be irreparable but in their deepest afflictions they are consoled by a firm though humble hope that her charity, devotion, faith, and purity, have rendered her soul acceptable in the sight of her REDEEMER."

Above the plaque on the wall there is also a window commissioned in her honor. It was erected in 1900 by public subscription.

Unfortunately I didn't get the best picture of the window. 
In the head of the window is a figure of Saint Augustine, whose name in its abbreviated form is Saint Austin.
In the center of the upper row of lights is David with his harp. In the bottom row is St. John holding a book, displaying on the open page the first sentence of his gospel. 
After exploring the Cathedral, we walked back up the steep hill to the Great Hall.
There were some entrances to old tunnels across from it that I had to get a picture of.

To see a cool video of the cathedral, follow the link here.

Then there it was: The Great Hall

Winchester used to be the capitol of England. 
The Great Hall is "one of the finest surviving aisled halls of the 13th century". 
It is all that now remains of Winchester Castle. Winchester Castle was built in 1067. King Henry 3rd extended the castle building the Great Hall.
It was one of the largest great halls in England.
It is also the home to King Arthur's Round Table.

There was a statue of Queen Victoria in there as well. 

The Round Table!

The round table was originally a standing table built from oak. 
It is huge and very heavy. The legend is that is the famed round table of King Arthur. 
It was hung on the wall in the great hall at approximately 1540.
It wasn't originally painted like this. 
King Henry the 8th had it painted with the tudor rose and the king (that just happened to look like him) and the places for the knights of the round table. 

After seeing the round table we walked the rest of the way up the hill back to our car park and then left for our next Jane Austen destination!


Stephanie said...

You must take excellent journal notes! I mean you can remember what was put in the windows and everything!!! That's amazing what a treasure you will always have!

The Kings said...

I just went through the pictures and write-up of our visits to Stonehedge, Westminster Abbey, Paddington Station, Bath Abbey, and the Roman Baths. All your pictures and the journaling were awesome! Good job. I showed and read them to dad...he was impressed. I thought I wouldn't comment after each one so this is my post for all of the above. And I did enjoy my soup and sandwich at our Hotel in Bath!! Oh what an amazing and wonderful trip! I loved the Bath Abbey! Well, everything! And I did laugh again at the brake story!! Ha! That will always be a fond remembrance of Bath!

cheryl said...

I did take a lot of notes in my journal and I also always collect brochures and handouts at the places so I can remember details.

Mom- glad you could get another laugh at my brain glitch. Haha.

Seth and Julie said...

I am with your mom 100% when it comes to those staircases. I remember them all too well from my trip. My sister does too, since I clung to her for dear life and hyperventilated all the way up every single one of them. I hate heights and tights spaces, but it was always worth the climb. So many incredible views from the top of those evil staircases.

Donna said...

Wow! How in the heck did they build those cathedrals and old buildings without electrical power or any of the equipment we have today? That amazes me. And how neat to see Jane Austen's gravesite and King Arthur's round table. I actually didn't realize King Arthur and the round table were real. I thought it was all fictional!

cheryl said...

Julie- the funny thing is I am afraid of heights too but I love those little staircases! :)

Donna- Well, it is actually not 100% that he is real. There is a lot of argument over who he really was and what is fact vs. fiction. So pretty much everything over there that has to do with him is "legend" rather than "fact". But I choose to believe in him!:)

I was always in awe over the architecture everywhere we went. I agree. How did they do that back then?And why, now that we have things to make building so easy, don't we do it anymore??? Everything was built so well and so beautifully back then. There was always such a stark contrast between the old and new.