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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester

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


The West Gate is one of the two remaining gateways into medieval Winchester and it has stood proudly at the top end of the High Street for many centuries. It's core is 11th century, though most of the present building dates from two hundred years later. The imposing west front, with its flamboyant Royal arms and its intimidating machicolations (murder-holes), was added in the 1300s.

As well as its obvious defensive role, the gate has, over the years, acted in varied capacities. It was always a place for the collection of tolls and the imposition of law and order, being shut at curfew every night. Later it was a debtors prison, a pub extension and a repository for the city archives. Since 1898 it has been one of Winchester's Museums housing weights and measures, arms and armour.

Next Stop: Great Hall, Winchester Castle

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