The Winchester Bible

Above: The Calefactory as it is now and artist impressions of the Calefactory and the new Bible Exhibition Area as it will be.

The stunning 12th century illuminated Winchester Bible will be re-located to the ground floor and form the centrepiece of a new exhibition about its history in the development of Christianity and in the development of the book.

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 has been 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 will be re-bound in authentic Romanesque style and a full digital copy taken of the dis-bound pages – a process which will record scribe’s notes currently hidden in the margins.

Once it is conserved and re-bound, we will move the Bible to the ground floor area of the South Transept known as the Calefactory where an exhibition will be created which reflects 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