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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester Cathedral

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

Flying Buttresses

The southern side of Winchester Cathedral should be the area covered by the contemplative cloisters. However, with the Dissolution, in 1539, of the Priory of St. Swithun which was attached to the Cathedral, many of the monastic buildings disappeared. Being superfluous to the daily routine of the newly instituted Dean and Chapter, they were quickly appropriated by the crown. An edifice such as the cloister was full of good building stone which, by 1563, had been carted away and sold for reuse elsewhere. Only the slip and the chapter-house arches remain to indicate where it once stood.

Of course, without the support of the cloister, the south wall of the nave was in danger of collapse. The enormous flying buttresses along here today were erected in 1909 and 1912 to prevent such an occurrence. They blend in perfectly and have created a fine spot for benches on which to sit, admire the close and feed the birds.

Next Stop: West Front

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