Winchester Cathedral Pilgrimage in a Day – 6.5 miles – Hyde Abbey to Winchester Cathedral. How do you establish your presence in Winchester before you start making pilgrimage to Canterbury? Start at Hyde Abbey, the place clouded in mystery where King Alfred is allegedly buried. Filter water from Hyde stream nearby and, perhaps sing our water song ‘Water Flows’, drink it, before heading to St Lawrence’s Church, built on the site of William the Conqueror’s palace chapel. Head from there to Winchester Cathedral and its crypt, which may be flooded, with the evocative Gormley sculpture rising from the water. Around the shrine of St Swithun gather your thoughts and mind yourselves of the intention you can initially set at Hyde Abbey Gate. This could be either a question that you want answered in your lives, or something that you want to bring into your life or let go of. Then to St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate church, and possibly be silent for several minutes. Then on to the Hospital of St Cross, with the oldest charitable institution of the Wayfarer’s Dole of bread and ale, which you have to ask for. Perhaps lunch there.
Play pooh sticks standing over the River Itchen in the water meadows, and let your stick symbolise our intention flowing with the river. Then up St Catherine’s Hill, and walk the historic labyrinth called the ‘Mizmaze’ (probably 350 years old, possibly older), where you can contemplate your original intention for the eight minutes or so it takes to walk it. Down the hill, along the river towards the oldest parish church in Winchester, St John the Baptist, with Saxon wall paintings, and then finally ending at the Cathedral.
A British Pilgrimage Trust route plotted by Will Parsons, with photos and Google Map waypoint descriptions by Guy Hayward, co-author of ‘Britain’s Pilgrim Places‘.
St Bartholomew’s Church, Hyde Abbey. This was the church of the laypeople which lay outside the monastic compound of Hyde Abbey in medieval times.
Hyde Abbey Gate. Site of old Winchester Gaol (listen to song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-UFMMsquEc). The last remaining fragment of Hyde Abbey, the gate separating laypeople from monks.
King Alfred Memorial Garden. Where King Alfred once rested in the ground, and may still do now.
Hyde Stream – Hyde Abbey’s water source.
St Lawrence’s Church, Winchester. This church is built on the site of William the Conqueror’s Chapel Royal. It is also where new Bishops get robed before entering Winchester Cathedral for the first time as a Bishop.
Winchester Cathedral West Window. See the holy well crypt around which the cathedral was built, the “butterfly” Bishop’s tomb, St Swithun’s Shrine, Jane Austen’s memorial and much more.
Holy Well flooded crypt with Anthony Gormley statue
Lady Chapel, Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral Reredos
St Swithun’s upon Kingsgate. A church built on top of an old city gate. Magical serenity inside.
Inside St Swithun’s upon Kingsgate.
Winchester Water Meadows. Special, and grazed by cows, just how it should be…
Hospital of St Cross. An almshouse now for brothers who renounce their wealth in retirement, and worship each day.
Receiving Wayfarer’s Dole, Hospital of St Cross. Britain’s oldest charitable institution, the Wayfarer’s Dole for pilgrims who ask… bread and ale… and spiritually delicious it is too.
Hospital of St Cross
Pooh sticks over Itchen with St Catherine’s Hill behind
Mizmaze, St Catherine’s Hill. Maybe 400 years old, maybe older. Maybe the labyrinth where wannabe crusaders based at the Hospital of St Cross used to substitute the pilgrimage to Jerusalem with walking this on their knees. For modern feet, just walk holding your intention calmly inside as you approach the centre, the destination of your inner journey. St Catherine’s Mound behind where a C9th chapel is buried.
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