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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester Cathedral

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

Bishop Wykeham's Tomb

The 14th century Bishop William of Wykeham was perhaps the greatest of the Bishops of Winchester. He was a local lad from the village that bears his name, some way south-east of the city. He rose to power through various Royal offices, particularly those concerned with building castles, before being appointed Lord Privy Seal and then Chancellor. He was already one of the most powerful men in the country when, in 1366, he was made Bishop of Winchester.

William did much to beautify the old Norman Cathedral, but is best known for his foundations of Winchester College and New College, Oxford. In 1394, at the age of seventy, he began plans for the erection of a beautiful chantry chapel amongst the southern arcading of the nave of Winchester Cathedral. It was to be his own memorial, housing his coloured effigy, attended by three tiny monkish 'beadsmen' at his feet. It stands there still today, on the very spot where it is said that William listened to mass as a boy.

Next Stop: Old Minster

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