Festival Spotlights

The oldest of the original seven English public schools

One of the things I love about volunteering for Winchester Heritage Open Days is that I keep discovering something new about this wonderful city. And it was thanks to some research I did following our interview with the new headmaster of Winchester College that I discovered the College’s original name is ‘St Mary’s College’, or more accurately Collegium Beatae Mariae Wintoniensis prope Winton – The College of the Blessed Mary of Winchester, near Winchester.

In September I hope to attend at least two of their six Heritage Open Day events. One of the events I am hoping to go to – tour of the War Cloister  – will be particularly moving for me as only last week I was in Belgium for Passchendaele to visit the grave of my Great Uncle Thomas who died 31st July 1917 at the 3rd Battle of Ypres.1. War Cloister

Winchester College are running six events this year (details below) and are also sponsoring our programme. Their support has helped transform this year’s Heritage Open Days, and we are delighted they are now such a key part of this annual festival. Five of their events need to be booked in advance, and we have heard that places are going fast so book today if you haven’t already! The sixth – Winchester College Treasury – you can pick up tickets on the day from Kingsgate Books and Prints.

Tour Dates Description
Archives Saturday only – 9:30am and 11am This hour-long tour allows a rare opportunity to view two of the medieval rooms which house the Winchester College archives. Documents and artefacts relating to the history of the school, including the Foundation Charters and Founder’s Statutes, will be on display. (NB. Access is via a spiral stone staircase of 36 & 52 steps with no handrails).
College Daily – 2 to 4 tours per day Believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country, Winchester College was founded by William of Wykeham in the 14th century and has been described as one of the finest collections of historic buildings in southern England. Join a guided tour to find out more. Unsuitable for children under 11yrs.
Fellows’ Library Friday only – 1pm and 2pm This tour includes part of the Warden’s Lodgings, now home to the school’s historic library. There will be an exhibition of medieval manuscripts and an opportunity to see the study of John Harmar, one of the translators of the King James Bible. Unsuitable for young children.
Science Collections Saturday only – 2pm and 3pm An opportunity to view items from a wide range of science teaching apparatus and natural history specimens, from eighteenth century microscopes to the present day Periodic Table installation.  This is a 45-minute tour with the keeper of the science archive and a unique chance to see the Science School building. Unsuitable for young children.
Treasury Saturday and Sunday afternoon Treasury houses the outstanding collections of art and archaeology belonging to Winchester College. The converted medieval Warden’s Stables contain four galleries filled with objects from around the world. The usual entry fee will not apply during Heritage Open Weekend and visits will be free on these two days.
War Cloister Thursday only – 2pm and 3pm Within the precincts is the beautiful and peaceful War Cloister, a memorial to Old Wykehamists who died in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts. Listen to their stories and the story of the building of this wonderful memorial. Unsuitable for young children.


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