Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation


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:

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.

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.

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.

Explore the realities of monastic life at Winchester Cathedral Priory with a fascinating rolling programme of displays from the Cathedral archives.

If you have visited our new exhibition since it opened, we would like to hear from you. We appreciate your feedback! Click here to leave feedback.


Monday – Saturday: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Sunday: 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Last entry into Kings & Scribes: The Birth of a Nation is 30 minutes prior to closure.

Please note:

  • Social distancing measures will be in place throughout the exhibition.
  • Occasionally for services and special events it is necessary to close Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation. Please check our closures page in advance of your visit.

Included with admission to Winchester Cathedral.  Please present your annual pass to gain entry to the exhibition.