St.-Swithun-upon-Kingsgate Church, Winchester

4.8
#8 of 13 in Historic Sites in Winchester
St Swithun upon Kingsgate is a Church of England church in Winchester, Hampshire, England, built in the Middle Ages in the Early English style. Located above the medieval Kingsgate, one of the principal entrances to the city, the church is unusual in forming a part of the fabric of the old city walls. St Swithun's first appears in 13th century records, and under the fictional name of St Cuthbert's, is mentioned in Anthony Trollope's novel The Warden.HistoryMedieval originsThe first mention of the church is recorded in 1264, when it was apparently burned by the citizens of Winchester during a dispute with the Priory. Most likely the church served as a chapel for lay people who worked for the Abbey. In 1337 some woodwork was done on the church, costing a total of fifteen shillings, and in 1484 the windows underwent repair.St Swithun was an Anglo Saxon saint, born in Winchester and in 852 becoming the 19th bishop of the city. He died in 862 when King Alfred the Great was still a young man. It is possible that St Swithun was tutor to the young king, and accompanied him on a pilgrimage to Rome.According to legend, St Swithun has a special association with the English weather, a legend which dates from July 971 when the bones of the saint were moved from outside the old Saxon cathedral and brought inside the building, apparently causing a great thunderstorm: "On St Swithun's Day, if then dost rain,For forty days it will remain:St Swithun's Day, if then be fair,For forty days 'twill rain nae mair." St Swithun's Day is celebrated on July 15.
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St.-Swithun-upon-Kingsgate Church Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
47 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Tucked away round the back of the cathedral but directly you enter you can feel the history. Worth a climb up the stairs to have a look.  more »
  • Not many tourists come here, which make it so much better. Very close to the Cathedral. They suggest you make a donation, free entrance.  more »
Google
  • Not at all what one would expect. A 'real' church built over an ancient gatehouse arch...remarkable. A quiet place of peace and reflection. Unfortunately a steep staircase is the only access, but if you can negotiate this, you must visit.
  • A glorious hidden gem
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