From Winchester’s St Giles Hill in southern England, we can see in the distance the tower of Winchester College Chapel rising behind the east end of the Chapel of Wolvesey Palace, with part of the ruins of Wolvesey Castle in front. All three are amongst English Heritage’s Grade I listed buildings. The links between them are considerable.
Winchester College was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and twice Chancellor of England, and the chapel was started in 1387. Wolvesey Castle had already been the established residence of the Bishops of Winchester for several hundred years, though the ruins we see today are what remains of the 12th-century work of Bishop Henry of Blois. By 1684, a castle was no longer considered an appropriate residence for a bishop of the Church, so its stone was plundered by Bishop Morley in 1684 to build Wolvesey Palace, leaving only the former castle’s chapel standing. This was incorporated into the new building and is still in use today as the Bishop’s private chapel.
These were already ancient buildings when John Keats visited Winchester in 1819, and he would undoubtedly have seen them as he walked past. Though he does not describe them specifically in his letters, he does mention the view from St Giles Hill.
This has also been reworked for an iPhone case.