The Winchester Bible

The stunning 12th-century illuminated Winchester Bible is on display on the ground floor of our spectacular new National Lottery Funded exhibition Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation.

The Winchester Bible is arguably the greatest Bible ever made in England. Believed to have been commissioned in 1160 by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror and Bishop of Winchester, it is thought to have been crafted in the Cathedral.

For many years, the Winchester Bible was exhibited in four Victorian style display cases and interpretation of it rested with a guide. The cases were housed in a first floor room in the South Transept. Only 10% of our visitors got to see it.

The painstaking process of conserving the Bible started in January 2014. Each volume has been re-bound in authentic Romanesque style and full digital copies have been taken of the dis-bound pages – a process which enabled the conservators to record scribe’s notes hidden in the margins.

Now conserved and re-bound, all four volumes of the Bible are now on display in the ground floor area of the South Transept known as the Calefactory where a state-of-the-art exhibition explores the Bible’s significance in the history of Christianity and in the history of the development of the book.

‘The Winchester Bible is a candidate for the greatest work of art produced in England…to have survived nearly 900 years without moving is breathtaking.’

Dr Christopher de Hamel, Cambridge University

This project has been supported by Winchester City Council