04.10.2012 13 °C
This morning we got up at 5:30AM to get a ride from Robert to Winchester. He had to head that way for a meeting and offered to drop us off there and pick us up on his way home. We left at 6:30AM and it took us approx. 2 hours to get to the Park and Ride where we caught the bus into Winchester. We found the famous cathedral without any difficulty and paid our admission. We were told that if we waited for a few minutes there would be a free tour of the cathedral. A woman named Elizabeth, who was about our age, came and asked us if we wanted a tour. Well, we had the most detailed and informative tour! We had her to ourselves and so were able to ask all sorts of questions and get detailed answers. The cathedral that stands there now is the second cathedral to be built on the site. They tore down the old one in the 12th century when the new larger one was built. Tradition states that the English kings Cnut and Alfred are buried here along with many other lesser known kings. Winchester was the capital city of England for centuries. During the Civil War 1642-1648, the cathedral was attacked and many of the beautiful leaded windows were destroyed. What the parishoners did then was gather up all the glass and make new windows out of the fragments. The result is quite pleasing and modern-looking. We also found out that Jane Austen lies buried in this cathedral. (We walked over her grave. It lies in the middle of the left-side aisle.) She died at the age of 41 of an unknown wasting disease. After the tour we went and looked at the ancient illuminated bible that is housed there. This bible was commissioned when the cathedral was built and looks like new. I'm sure that the pages that we saw were lovingly restored and they were beautiful. The text was written with quill by one of the Benedictine monks there and illustrated in gold leaf and lapis lazuli by various artists that passed through the town. If I recall correctly, it took him 11 years to complete the bible. At 12:00 approx. we went to the refectory and had a satisfying lunch. We walked around town a bit and went to the railway station to be picked up by Robert. I fell asleep in the back seat as the car hurtled through the countryside toward home.