28 March 2013


Yesterday we headed south again, but this time we only went about an hour and a quarter until we stopped at Winchester. We began by looking about the Hospital of St. Cross which is one of the oldest philanthropic organizations still carrying out the same function that it was built for. Rather than being a medical hospital, it is an establishment that takes care of those suffering under "noble poverty," as they phrased at its opening in the 1130s. It is now a lovely hodgepodge of architecture as it fell in and out of the hands of bad and bad patrons who tore chunks out of it to line their own pockets or built it back up again in the latest styles.


On the grounds was the loveliest little chapel that's really quite grand compared to anything I'd ever been in excepting these last three months. A note of particular interest is the arches. While they are pointed, you can tell that they were once simple, sturdy Norman arches which were simply split in half by another pillar in order to give them the fashionable pointed peak.


Another point of interest is, while this one below is a Victorian reproduction, there are some fantastic sculptures which managed to escape the Iconoclast. 


We then took a quick treck across the fields which the poet John Keats walked as his health began to fail him and about which his last great poem, Ode to Autumn, was written. Presiding over our way was St. Catherine's Hill, which was a pre-medieval groundwork fortress. The great gullies and ridges dug into it at that time are still visible.


We then arrived at Winchester college, which I will tell you about tomorrow.

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