A Timeline of Winchester

By Tim Lambert

Early Winchester

70 The Romans build a town on the site of Winchester. They called it Venta Belgarum.

c. 200 The Romans build stone walls around Winchester. The town flourishes.

407 The Roman army leaves Britain. Afterward town life breaks down and Winchester is abandoned.

650 The Saxons build a church called the Old Minster inside the walls of Winchester

c.676 The Bishop of Wessex moves his seat to Winchester and the Old Minster Church is made a cathedral.

c. 880 Alfred the Great revives the Roman town at Winchester. He creates a burh or fortified settlement.

903 A nunnery is built in the flourishing town of Winchester

1086 The population of Winchester is about 8,000 making it one of the largest towns in England

1079 The Normans demolish the Old Minster Cathedral. They build a new cathedral to replace it.

1136 The Hospital of St Cross is built in Winchester

1141 During a civil war a terrible battle is fought in Winchester

c. 1230 The Black friar and Grey friars arrive in Winchester

1265 During another civil war Simon De Montfort’s men capture Winchester and loot it.

1348-49 The Black Death strikes Winchester and kills perhaps half the population. Afterward, the town goes into decline.

1382 Winchester College is founded

1500 The population of Winchester has fallen to about 4,000

1522 Henry VIII meets Emperor Charles V at Winchester. (It is believed the Round Table was painted in Henry’s reign).

1538 Henry VIII closes the friaries and abbeys in Winchester

1579 A House of Correction for the poor is built

1603 The plague strikes Winchester

1625 Another outbreak of plague

1642-45 During the Civil War Winchester changes hands several times

1665-66 The plague is back in Winchester

1700 The population of Winchester is still about 4,000

1736 The Royal Hampshire County Hospital is built

1755 Horace Walpole calls Winchester ‘a paltry town and small’

1771 A body of men called the Paving Commissioners is formed to pave the streets of Winchester and light them with oil lamps

1785 A theatre opens in Jewry Street

Modern Winchester

1801 Winchester has a population of less than 6,000

1838 A Corn Exchange is built in Winchester

1840 The railway reaches Winchester. A Teacher Training College opens in Winchester. Later it becomes King Alfred’s College

1847 A Museum opens in Winchester. The streets are lit with gas for the first time.

1856 Winchester gains a piped water supply

1891 The population of Winchester is over 17,000

1898 Westgate is made a museum

1908 A riot takes place in Winchester

1914 The first cinema is built in Winchester

1921 A War Memorial is erected

1938 A by pass opens

1948 Winall Industrial estate is created

1966 A new Police HQ is built

1988 River Park Leisure Centre opens

1989 Winchester Cattle Market closes

1991 The Brooks Centre opens

1993 A new Public Records Office opens