Winchester Cathedral is home to a rich collection of rare and beautiful artefacts, each with a special place in its long and fascinating history. These outstanding national treasures form an important record of all aspects of the life of the building and its people, and are part of a unique heritage which we seek to share and conserve for the future.
This beautiful 17th-century library includes a collection of almost 2000 rare books bequeathed by the Bishop of Winchester, George Morley (1598-1684), and still boasts its original carved shelves. Morley also left money to buy ‘two globes of the best and largest size’, one terrestrial and once celestial. You can find the Library in the South Transept as part of the Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation exhibition.
The ancient, polished dark stone font, with its carvings of the miracles of St Nicholas, the kindly children’s saint, is one of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures. It was brought from Tournai, in modern Belgium, in the 12th century, and has been in constant use ever since. You can find it on the north side of the Nave.
Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation is a stunning three-level exhibition, part-funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The exhibition houses some of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures including all four volumes of the Winchester Bible. It also contains a charming 15th-century sculpture of the Madonna and Child and an imposing head of God the Father, both part of the original medieval statuary of the Great Screen.
The Winchester Bible is the largest and perhaps finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its entire text in Latin, while artists worked on its exquisitely illuminated capital letters. The glowing colours, including gold and lapis lazuli, are as intense today as 800 years ago.