Winchester was one of the Cathedrals we visited while on holiday a couple of weeks back. Inside it contained something of an unexpected bonus, although the basic information must have been somewhere in my memory in a file labeled long forgotten.
The unassuming tomb of Jane Austen, a plaque of a latter date has been added on the wall, but without the helpful leaflet handed to you when you arrive, you could easily miss this gem.
Actually Winchester Cathedral is full of gems.
From the Medieval paintings, like this one of Christ being taken down from the cross :-
to the stunning modern sculpture, standing all along in the crypt by Antony Gormley, Sound II.
From the hidden glories of the candlesticks and altar in the St Andrew’s chapel, made from wood and embellished with copper :-
to the more obvious use of damaged stained glass from every era and all over the diocese in some of their windows.
And angels in stone,
and stained glass.
Not to mention the ones in wood and fabric which we somehow managed not to get photographs of.
Like Norwich Cathedral which we later visited, Winchester Cathedral was in mid preparation for an event, increasingly in fact this seems to be the case when visiting Cathedrals. While I understand the need for the extra revenue and the sense in shutting off areas to make sure that visitors don’t fall over cables or decapitate themselves on the strung wires, and also that unsightly extra seating has to be laid out before the forthcoming event; I also feel that Cathedrals, such as Winchester which have an admission charge, should also remember that those who are visiting are also helping with the upkeep of the Cathedral and I for one don’t like an hour plus of sound system testing accompanying me as I wander round a house of God.