Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation

Be one of the first to explore Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation, a stunning new exhibition now open at Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral is a living monument to the heritage of England and is one of the most historically significant buildings in Britain. From the time of Alfred the Great until after the Norman Conquest, Winchester was England’s capital and the Cathedral was its royal chapel. Much of England’s early history was based here and twelve English kings are believed to be buried here – meaning that Winchester can lay claim to being the first Royal Mausoleum.

The opening of Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation marks the culmination of an ambitious seven-year project to unlock the Cathedral’s stories and treasures by inspiring active engagement in the interpretation and exploration of our heritage.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous supporters, a spectacular three-level exhibition space in the South Transept takes visitors through over 1,000 years of history, whilst offering awe-inspiring views of the Cathedral.

There are four exciting galleries to explore:

A SCRIBE’S TALE
The Winchester Bible is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. Hear the incredible story of how and why the Winchester Bible was made, in the Cathedral where it was created, and admire its exquisite illuminated initials and elaborate decorative schemes.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION
Winchester played a unique role in shaping early English history and Old Minster, the Anglo-Saxon Cathedral, lay at the centre of its foundation. Join us on an intriguing journey of discovery as we unearth the secrets hidden within the Cathedral’s mortuary chests, meet influential Anglo-Saxon kings in the city from which they ruled and discover the role of Winchester’s Anglo-Saxon and Norman Cathedrals in the birth of a nation.

DECODING THE STONES
Unlock the mysteries of Winchester Cathedral, a building which has been created, destroyed and remade over centuries of struggle and Civil War. Decoding the Stones tells the story of the Cathedral itself, linking modern restoration works and contemporary craftspeople with their medieval predecessors.

THE MEZZANINE
Explore the realities of monastic life at Winchester Cathedral Priory with a fascinating rolling programme of displays from the Cathedral archives. The Mezzanine also provides access to the remarkable 17th-century Morley Library and its outstanding collection of books, which have remained in their current location for over 400 years.