Winchester was the capital of ancient Sussex. Alfred the Great established Winchester as his base when he started to unite together the disparate parts of what would be England. He’s still there today, commanding the High Street opposite the Town Hall.
It always seemed a magical place to me, a world away from the sixties concrete of my home town. It has History with a capital H and if there’s one thing I love, it’s history.
The cathedral itself was founded in 642 and was rebuilt and re-worked for many hundreds of years afterwards. Its age means whenever you visit, it’s fairly like there will be scaffolding around it somewhere. Like painting a bridge, once they’ve cleaned and restored the facade, it’s back the the beginning to start again.
Large ancient monuments, be they castles, stone circles or cathedrals have this power over us. Even in modern times when towering skyscrapers loom over us, we remain in awe. Perhaps it’s because we know these were made before cranes, and trucks and all our modern building technology. They took hundreds of years to complete, and often cost many lives. Literal blood, sweat and tears went into them. It would be rude not to be impressed.
When they were built, they must have amazed the local populace – which of course was the point. To instil fear and promote the idea of God’s home on Earth, a towering testament to his strength.
This notebook comes from the rather good shop (especially glorious during Christmas period). It’s a good, chunky one with plenty of pages if a little plain under the cover.
Some people may feel uncomfortable about religious sites selling souvenirs, but when these were places of pilgrimage, they’d be full of people talking, singing, trading and more.
As with all of my notebooks, it’s the memory that’s of real value. It’s there to remind me of all the places I’ve been and what they mean to me.