Arcade of modern flying buttresses, Winchester Cathedral, southern England by Philip Mitchell

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Arcade of modern flying buttresses, Winchester Cathedral, southern England by 

As you round the south-west corner of Winchester Cathedral, walking from the centre of town towards the College, this is the view that greets you. It looks all of a piece with the ancient walls, but a Latin inscription on the nearest buttress reads “HIS DECEM ADMINICVLIS SVFFVLTA EST ECCLESIA A.D. MCMXII”, or “With these ten buttresses was the church shored up. AD 1912” Although he took this route on his famous Winchester walks, the poet John Keats would have been nearly 100 years too early to have passed under this arcade.

After a history of more than eight hundred years, at the turn of the twentieth century the cathedral faced catastrophic subsidence. Thanks to the heroic efforts of William Walker, an extraordinary practitioner of early diving-suit techniques, the building was saved for posterity. Clearly he had a large support team, but working purely by feel and in pitch dark over a period of several years, he managed to get huge quantities of concrete placed under the failing foundations. These buttresses followed, to help secure that work. Apart from the not inconsiderable fact that the great medieval building is still standing, this beautiful vista is William Walker’s most visible legacy.

Winchester Cathedral is now one of English Heritage’s Grade 1 listed buildings.

This was the winner in the Arch Shapes In A Church Or Cathedral challenge run by the Christian Churches, Sculptures and Crosses group.

I am based near Winchester in mid-Hampshire (UK) and have enjoyed photographing a wide variety of subjects for over 40 years, though the digital revolution has been a real boon.

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  • JanBickerton
    JanBickertonover 5 years ago

    Lovely perspective and texture in these ancient stone walls.

  • Delighted you like the image. Interestingly the stonework on the left is ancient, that on the right only about 100 years old. Would that all restoration and essential rescue of old buildings were carried out so sensitively!

    – Philip Mitchell

  • CraigsMom
    CraigsMomabout 5 years ago

    Not only did they save it…they did it beautifully. These arches are fabulous

  • I often wonder how many lucky visitors or fortunate residents realise what they are passing as they turn and walk under these. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • CeePhotoArt
    CeePhotoArtalmost 5 years ago

    Your cohosts,
    Cee and Chris

  • Marie Sharp
    Marie Sharpalmost 5 years ago


  • Now this is something extra special: images of mine have been featured in various groups from time to time, but never myself as a member of a group before. I have to add, however, that, were it not for the raw material in front of which I have been lucky enough to stand with my camera, none of this would have happened: Deo volente? Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • Bernadette Watts
    Bernadette Wattsover 4 years ago

    Excellent capture, Philip!

  • Many thanks: I am so glad you enjoyed it. Have you visited the calendars? Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • Themis
    Themisover 4 years ago

    Beautiful arcade and image – thanks for the Description, I’ve learned something today!

    This picture has been featured in Your Country’s Best on Tuesday 15th June 2010 – congratulations!

  • Many thanks for your kind appreciation and especially for the feature: it is a great honour, much valued. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • Karen Stackpole
    Karen Stackpoleover 4 years ago

  • Many thanks for this great honour: it is much valued. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • fauselr
    fauselrover 4 years ago

    very nice, the columns just lead you into the photo. Well done

  • Just as the actual view leads you into the cathedral’s Inner Close. Thank you for your kind appreciation. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • Anuja Manchanayake
    Anuja Manchana...over 4 years ago


  • Glad you enjoyed it. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

  • Anthony Vella
    Anthony Vellaover 4 years ago

    Beautifully composed image. I saw this magnificent Cathedral when in England three years ago. I drove there from Southampton.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a positive comment. Philip

    – Philip Mitchell

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