building began in about 1076 under the leadership of Bishop Stigand and
continued under Bishop Ralph De Luffa. A fire in 1114 hindered progress
but most of what we see today existed by 1123. The Cloisters were built in
approx. 1400, followed by the seven light window in the North Transept.
The Chapter House was also completed at about this time. The detached bell
tower was built during the early part of the 15th Century and while
many Cathedrals once had such a building, only the one at Chichester remains today.
It was built to take the weight of the eight massive bells from the Central
Tower. The spire and The Arundel Screen are also 15th Century.
The original Arundel Screen was removed in 1859 and this possibly precipitated
the collapse of the tower in 1861. In 1961 it was restored to its original
position as we see it today. The Prebendal School where the Choristers are
educated stands alongside the Cathedral and is the oldest school in Sussex and
was originally endowed by Edward Storey, Bishop in 1478. The vicars hall
bordering South Street is Circa 15th Century. The 12th
Century Undercroft is now the restaurant. The Vicars' Close also early 15th
Century. The Deanery was built in 1725 and the gateway at the end of Canon
Lane leading to the Bishops Palace is Circa 1327. The Palace just South of
the Cathedral contains a lovely 12th Century Chapel. The
gardens and serenity of this Cathedral is a joy to behold.
The Abbey dates back to
the start of the 10th century. Anglo-Saxon foundations have in fact been
discovered. (a trapdoor exists to access the remains from the church). The
main building however does date back to the 12th Century built by Henry de Blois,
Bishop of Winchester. The church was actually sold to the town for £100
during the dissolution. With the exception of the West front the Abbey is
entirely 12th Century. The Norman nave is over 250ft long and soars to a
height of over 70ft. Some very interesting items are to be seen within the
walls, especially at the rear of the altar in the South choir aisle, where you
can see a small Anglo-Saxon rood showing Christ with angels and soldiers.
Also on the West wall of the South transept hangs a crucifixion with the hand of
god reaching down, it is verified that this also dates back to Anglo-Saxon
times. A delightful Abbey which cannot fail to inspire and enthuse one.
The first sight of the
Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture. Its
spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost
6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing. The Nave measures
198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.
With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was
begun in 1220 and completed in 1258. The Cloisters and Chapter house being
finished in 1280. It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with
Secular Clergy called Canons. This arrangements continues today.
Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to
the Cathedral for short periods of time. The present houses round the
close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.
building was started in 1079 and consecrated in 1093. Work from this
period can still be seen in the crypt, transepts and East part of the cloister.
Between 1189 and 1204 the Lady Chapel was built and the Quire extended. It
is the longest Medieval Cathedral in Europe (556ft) In 1110 the central tower
collapsed and was rebuilt with the supporting piers greatly strengthened (they
are now 20ft in width). Among its treasures is the Great Winchester Bible, dating
back to the 12th Century. This illuminated copy was written in the scriptorium
at Winchester and is now preserved in the Cathedral library.