History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: A rare medieval survivor of a church built into a city gate
We do not know when the church was built; the first written record comes from 1264 when it was badly damaged by fire. That bald statement does not tell the real story; what happened was that the Prior of Winchester Abbey was locked in a dispute with the townsfolk. The citizens of Winchester burned down the church in anger.
The first record of the gate itself is from 1148, so it is certainly possible that the church was built into the gate at that early date. It was quite common for small churches or chapels to be built into the gates of medieval cities, where they might be used by travellers to give thanks for a journey safely completed or to pray for a safe trip elsewhere. Only a very few of these 'gateway churches' remain, making St Sithun's a rare survivor. When the monastery at Winchester was dissolved in the Reformation and the shrine of St Swithun at the cathedral destroyed, the tiny church over the gate was put to use as a parish church.
The church is mentioned in Anthony Trollope's novel, The Warden, where Trollope calls it St Cuthbert's.
The church is normally open daylight hours. I can attest to this fact, as I wasn't even aware of its existence on my first visit to Winchester, and practically stumbled into it!
About St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate
Address: St Swithun Street, Winchester, Hampshire, England, SO23 9JP
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Located over the medieval gateway of Kingsgate. The nearest public parking is in College Street
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Winchester Cathedral - 0.1 miles (Cathedral)
Winchester City Museum - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Wolvesey Castle (Bishop's Palace) - 0.2 miles (Castle)
Winchester Guildhall - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Winchester Castle - 0.3 miles (Castle)
Queen Eleanor's Garden - 0.3 miles (Garden)
Westgate Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Nearest Accommodation to St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate: