Location : Winchester, Hampshire, S023 9NB
After enjoying our time at Netley Abbey, we travelled north towards Winchester, Hampshire. The remains are very easy to get to and sign posted throughout Winchester, if you are travelling via car there are a number of car parks throughout the city, but we found that our satnav took us straight to the destinations entrance, where there was plenty of parking (free for 2 hours) along the road.
So a bit about Wolvesey Castle, it is said to be known as one of the greatest medieval castles in England, it was home to some of the powerful and influential bishops of Winchester. The original site was built around 970 AD and a second section was built in the 1110’s by William Giffard, the second Norman bishop and finally the palace was completed by Henry of Blois who also added the castle to the palace. The ruins are close to Winchester cathedral and stand on the south-east corner of the city and the remains of what is left is a baroque house, where it is home to the present Bishop of Winchester.
The remains are still in good condition, and you are able to make out the layout of the palace grounds, the site has information with some pictures of how it might have looked when it was being used. The palace compromises of a courtyard with stables, a wool store, a bishops prison and a barn. You can also see the turreted gatehouse and the two halls, the east and west.
Above is a photograph to show you some of the earliest known medieval plumbing. Bishop Henry installed this cutting edge innovative technology making sure that a water supply was avaliable throughout the palace. The water supply was sifted through these stone troughs into the different halls and buildings.
It was nice to wander through the old bishops palace, we were lucky enough to be some of the only people visiting which made it feel more exclusive. The palace is tucked away down a long path and it’s incredible that the building stands so prominent and well maintained. Ideally this palace would be a great visit along with Winchester cathedral which is very close to this site and not forgetting Winchesters town centre. The town centre is full of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes and all of the buidlings have medieval artitecture, making it a really quaint and lovely place to visit!
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