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Winchester and its bollards

Winchester has a special ambiance. I mean the town Winchester in Hampshire, not the gun. The first time I was there was right before Christmas in 2016 when we went to the Cathedral for carol service. As usual, I fell asleep in the car and when I opened my eyes, we were in the middle of Winchester and it immediately struck me. Can’t really tell why, but I wanted to go back since and we finally managed exactly one year later, in December 2017.

Winchester’s heritage

Winchester is interesting not just because of the buttercross, but because it used to be England’s capitol: William the Conqueror was crowned both in London and in Winchester. From the 14th century Winchester started to lose its importance and London became the capitol of England officially. Of course there are other point of interest: the Cathedral of Winchester which is one of the oldest and longest gothic cathedrals in Europe, the castle where you would find King Arthur’s round table, the Guildhall in Gothic revival style which reminds me of castle in a Disney film, or cartoon and of course the statue of Alfred the Great which welcomes every visitor.

winchester cathedral
Winchester cathedral
Very popular before Christmas because of the carol service
winchester king alfred the great
The statue of Alfred the Great welcomes the visitors
winchester guildhall
Winchester Guildhall

Besides these, there are many more things to find in Winchester. There is an old city mill and a town clock which was donated by a local member of the parliament, William Paulet in 1714. I find it rather interesting that in olden days people used to donate/buy something for the town to make it look more pretty. I asked myself the question, why? This gentleman wanted to emulate the Bridges family donation who bought a Statue of Queen Anne for the city. Isn’t it strange? I am not quite sure how the upper class these days rival each other (maybe who goes where on holiday or what car they drive), but certainly not with who donated what statue or clock to a town…

winchester high street

There is something else which makes the town unique.

Not sure the average tourist notice them, I think yes as it is quite distinctive having world famous paintings painted on street bollards close to the Cathedral. They put a smile on your face and make the town even more attractive having a creative feature like this. Because of these bollards I looked up bollards in general and found something really interesting about them.

Winchester bollard

Winchester bollard

Cannons were not wasted

Apparently, old canons were re-used as bollards in the 17-18th centuries. Canons were sunk into the ground so that only 2 thirds of them would be above ground level. According to a rather romantic legend, the canons were from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. As the French canons were far too big to reinstall them on English ships, the English decided to make use of them as bollards – just to annoy the French! In reality the English did not manage to take back any French ships to England from the Battle of Trafalgar (all sunk), therefore this story is not supported. (What a pity…) 🙂 However, between 1793 and 1815 the English did capture French ships and probably canons of these ships were used as bollards. Although the original canon bollards were replaced as the time went by, there are still some to see in East London.

Winchester bollard

Winchester bollard



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