Living in the wonderful tiny, historic community of about a dozen households in The Close, the Cathedral is our parish church. We’ve gone to countless services there, especially to evensong, which Stephen and Susanna and Edward particularly love. We went to our dear friends Paul and Michelle’s wedding there a couple of years ago, and now Paul will both give our address in the wedding mass and sing for us in the choir. At New Year we go to drinks in the Deanery and then to go and ring in midnight in the belfry of the Cathedral. We take the children and the firm skating in the ice rink and shopping in the Christmas market outside its doors. This is our church.
Winchester Cathedral goes back seven centuries- St Swithun worked endless miracles from here. King Alfred of the cakes and Cnut of the waves were both buried here, followed by William Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror, who had it rebuilt to Norman design. Jane Austen is also laid to rest here, her gravestone in the floor making no mention of her writing as it was seen as risqué at the time. Oliver Cromwell, the vandal, right but repulsive, smashed up its windows and the townsfolk and royalists (wrong but romantic) saved the shards so later artists could piece them back together after a fashion. Antony Gormley’s statue of a thinking man stands alone in the crypt, knee-deep in the water, symbol of the spirit and of life, upon which this magical cathedral floats. It is the most immense privilege to be able to engage in the sacrament of marriage in a place so suffused with history.