Winchester, Hampshire

Winchester was the Roman town of Venta Belgarum and King Arthur is said to have made it his 'Camelot'. His supposed Round Table still hangs in the castle's great hall. However, it was under the Saxon that the place really flourishsed. The Kings of Wessex made it their home and when St. Birinus converted them to Christianity, so did did the Bishops of Winchester, at Wolvesey Palace. The city became the capital of England and the Kings were buried in the Saxon Old Minster, including King Canute. King Alfred was the city's great patron and was buried in the adjoining New Minster. Famous Saxon bishops included St. Aethelwold and St. Swithun whose shrine attracted pilgrims throughout the middle ages. Later bishops included William Waynfelete and William of Wykeham who founded Winchester College. The cathedral lost its priory at the Dissolution, but some of the buildings survive including the Abbot's Lodgings where King Henry VII's eldest son, Prince Arthur, was born. Winchester was a Royalist centre during the Civil War and King Charles II later planned to built a palace there to rival Versailles, but it was never completed and was taken over by the army.

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