Tuesday, 16 February 2021
A tale of two cities: Winchester (1)
Like Ely, Winchester has a cathedral and a famous school, but is rather grander, being a royal capital in Anglo-Saxon times (and Charles II had grand ideas in that direction as well, till he came up against financial reality), and a garrison town with many military connections. It once had a great castle, of course, of which only the Great Hall remains. Used for various functions over the years, mainly as a court room until quite recent times, now it's there to attract visitors with its Tudor version of King Arthur's Round Table (early PR to attach romantic legend to the court of Henry VIII), together with assorted royal and local memorabilia, and of course a dress-up area for children, complete with a chance of the gruesome thrill of re-enacting (under the distinctly not amused gaze of Queen Victoria) the outcome of some of the trials that took place here, such as that of Sir Walter Raleigh, and Judge Jeffreys's ruthless response to the Monmouth Rebellion.