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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester

Tour the City of Winchester
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

King's Gate

Winchester is lucky in having retained two of its city gateways, despite the destruction of most of its ancient walls. The King's Gate, south of the Cathedral, stands on the site of the original Roman South Gate. The present building largely dates from around 1300 and straddles on the main route between the Castle and Bishop's Palace. It is unusual for having a tiny church within its upper floor which is still in service.

The gateway has been a scene of violence of the centuries. During the Barons' War of the mid-13th century, tensions were running high across the country. The citizens of Winchester accused the Cathedral Prior of blocking routes to market. They attacked the Priory and burned the King's Gate. Three hundred years later, the gate was the scene of a viscous attack on the hostiarius of Winchester College. He was an ardent reformer of the church and was not too popular in certain quarters, particularly with his own headmaster.

The main vehicular arch of the King's Gate in Winchester dates, like most of the building, from about 1300. The two smaller pedestrian arches with brick heads on either side were inserted in the 18th century. Within the left hand arch as you exit the city is a tiny house. It has, for many, years been a local Hampshire book and antique print shop filled with many treasures.

Next Stop: Wykeham Arms

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