Heritage Highlights: Henry III's great hall is a superb building
The castle was extended and rebuilt under Henry III, who added the Great Hall, and Edward II. In 1302 Edward and his second wife, Margaret of France, narrowly escaped death when the royal apartments of the castle were destroyed by fire.
The site was later acquired by Charles II. It was Charles' intention to built upon this site a grand royal palace, called King's House, elaborate enough to rival the palace of Versailles in France. Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to begin building King's House, but plans were abandoned by James II. Today, only the Great Hall of Henry III (1222-35) survives, offering a glimpse of what the original castle must have looked like.
The Great Hall is an interesting building, built to a "double cube" design (that is, the height and width are exactly half that of the width. The interior measures 110' x 55' x 55'). Upon one end wall is hung a huge Round Table, reputed to be that of King Arthur, though recent investigation assigned a 13th century date to the workmanship of the table. The table was repainted during the reign of Henry VIII. A photo of the Round Table can be seen at the top of this page.
Attached to the Hall is an enjoyable small museum epicting the history of Winchester through historic documents and photographs.
Across an open courtyard from the Great Hall are the scanty remains of the Castle foundations. Little can be seen above ground, though you can descend a steep, dimly lit stairwell that dives down into the castle cellar. A few feet from the exposed foundation in the photo above is Westgate, now a museum depicting medieval Winchester and daily life in the medieval period.
Address: The Great Hall, The Castle, Winchester,
England, SO23 8PJ
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: In the centre of Winchester, just west of the market. Well signposted from the city centre.
Website: Winchester Castle
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.Historic Time Periods: Find other attractions tagged with:
13th century (Time Period) - castle (Architecture) - Charles II (Person) - Christopher Wren (Person) - Civil War (Architecture) - Cromwell (Person) - Edward II (Person) - Henry III (Person) - Henry VIII (Person) - James II (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Norman (Architecture) - Oliver Cromwell (Person) - Parliamentary (Historical Reference) - Royalist (Person) - William the Conqueror (Person) -