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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester Cathedral

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

Medieval Tiles

Spread across the wide expansive floor of the Retrochoir of Winchester Cathedral is the largest covering of medieval glazed tiles in Europe. Most of these tiles, which you are still allowed to walk on, are late 13th century, though a very few reset ones may date from Prince Henry of Blois' beautification of the building a century and a half earlier. The small squares of clay are red or grey with a white clay infill to demark the pattern stamped on each one. Some have individual pictures or geometric patterns, while others join together to form a larger design. Careful study has shown that each has its story to tell. Some of the tiles have twins discovered at Winchester Castle, others are known to have been made in Marwell not far south of the city. Most come from the so-called 'Wessex School' of Tile Makers.

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