COVID-19 update: The cathedral is not currently open for general visits or tours but remains open for private prayer and reflection 11-3pm (1pm-3pm on Sundays). From the 8th of March, two weekly public services will resume inside the Cathedral, Wednesdays, 12noon, starting 10th March and Fridays, 12noon, starting 12th March. Please continue to check the website for the latest updates. All services will continue to be online, and everyone is welcome to join.
The Cathedral is home to some particularly rare, precious and beautiful items, each with a special place in its long history. These outstanding national treasures form a part of a unique heritage which we seek to share today and conserve for the future.
This beautiful 17th-century library houses a collection of rare books bequeathed by Winchester’s Bishop Morley, and still boasts its original carved shelves. He also left money to buy of ‘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 our new exhibition Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation.
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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 new 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, housed in the Cathedral Library, 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 its exquisitely illuminated capital letters. Their glowing colours, including gold and lapis lazuli, are as intense today as 800 years ago. Currently closed due to our Capital Projects work. Find out more here. Find out more