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We cross the swiftly-flowing Itchen by a bridge said to have been built by St. Swithun, and stand at the foot of St. Giles' Hill, on the brow of which the last great Saxon leader, Waltheof, lost his head, and on whose summit was held one of the mightiest fairs of the middle ages. Turning to the right at the picturesque City Mill, beside the Itchen, we speedily reach a pleasant boulevard beneath the crumbling walls of Wolvesey Palace, replete with history, where Alfred dwelt and Cromwell fought.
Yonder ancient gateway gives entrance to Winchester College, one of the greatest of England's public schools, the munificent foundation of the illustrious William of Wykeham. Hard by, is the house where Jane Austen spent her last days, and we pass under the King's Gate, which bears upon its back the little Church of St. Swithun. The Close Wall has stood for a thousand years perchance, and has saved the Cathedral more than once. The Close is fair and lovely. Yonder also is the Pilgrim's Hall, wherein Chaucer's company may have lodged, and the Deanery, once in days gone by the Prior's refectory. The destroyed Chapter House and fragments of the monastic buildings will detain the antiquary.
Bishop Walkelin built the present Cathedral upon the site of the ancient Saxon Church of St. Ethelwold. No church in the country is so rich in monuments, jvith the exception of Westminster Abbey. It is also the longest church in England. A portion of the nave was rebuilt by Bishop Edyngton, but William of Wykeham boldly cased the ancient Norman work of the remaining portion, transmuting the heavy Norman nave into the graceful beauty of the new style. The transepts and crypt remain as Walkelin left them. Bishops Godfrey de Lucy and Courtenay built the eastern portions of the Cathedral, mainly as a church for pilgrims to the great shrine of St. Swithun. No other Cathedral is half so rich in chantries, or altered chapels built by Bishops in their lifetimes, for their last resting places. Beneath them lie Bishops Edyngton, Wykeham, Beaufort, Fox, Gardiner, and Waynflete; a wondrous galaxy of talent. In a corner of the nave is probably the oldest piece of grille work in England.
Pause at the graves of Jane Austen and of William Unwin, friend of Cowper. The black marble font seems to have been the gift of Bishop Henry of Blios, brother of King Stephen. The grave of Isaac Walton is a kind of Mecca for countless visitors, as is also the tomb of William Rufus. The magnificent screen begun by Beaufort, completed by Fox, and lately restored to its pristine beauty, is unsurpassed by any work
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