William the Conqueror had Winchester’s old Saxon cathedral demolished and a new Norman church built to replace it, begun in 1079 in the Romanesque style. This Cathedral is at the heart of what had been Alfred’s Wessex and of a diocese which once stretched from London’s Thames to the Channel Islands.
WInchester’s bishops were men of enormous wealth and power, none more so than William of Wykeham, twice Chancellor of England, Founder of Winchester College and of New College, Oxford. It fell to him to complete the remodelling of the Nave and West End, begun by Bishop Edington, so acquiring the glorious appearance they have today. The much plainer style of the massive central Norman tower is just visible above and behind, as seen here from Great Minster Street. The cathedral is classified as a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.
The Outer Close provides a calm green open space, popular with locals and with visitors alike, especially in the summer months, much as Keats mentions from his visit to Winchester in 1819.