David Mulhern from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA writes:
I am a middle-aged American from Portsmouth, New Hampshire with a strong enthusiasm for cathedral
architecture in general and Winchester in particular. I lived and studied in England as a boy, and I now regularly travel there. Of the many, many Cathedrals I have visited (in England and elsewhere),
Winchester is easily my favorite. I believe that it merits this affection on architectural grounds alone. In particular, the combination of the enormous length of the nave, matched with the sweeping verticality of
the pointed arches, make the scene which confronts the visitor entering at the West front a sensory tour-de-force. There are numerous other important highlights: The contrast of the rougher stonework and Romanesque
arches in the transepts, the sagging of the Southeast-corner, the Lady Chapel, the remains of all those Saxon kings. This is an extraordinary place!
In some sense, given Winchester's prominence in earlier days
(even to some degree after 1066), Winchester Cathedral seems to me to be the most quintessentially ENGLISH place there is. The epicenter of Englishness! It certainly fires the imagination to think of its importance
in Saxon England /Wessex, and it makes St. Paul's and even Westminster Abbey seem like Johnny-come-latelies!
As you can see, I can wax lyrical about Winchester Cathedral on purely architectural and historical
grounds. However, I also visit the Cathedral in the footsteps of Christian pilgrims through the ages. I am well aware that Americans are often viewed as too emotive and garrulous about religion, but I can't
convey the depth of my attachment to Winchester Cathedral without making it clear that it has great religious importance to me. It is not merely an impressive old building; it is a living Christian house of
Worship. I have experienced remarkable spiritual joy there, and when I visit, it is for renewal and Christian devotion. As a Roman Catholic, I cherish an ambition someday to attend one of the RC masses, which I
understand are held (with a view towards ecumenism) from time to time. Someday!
Well, there you have it: I am not a great scholar or licensed tour guide. Just a visitor with a profound tie to the
Cathedral. I can't begin to tell you how blessed I think you are to live in Winchester!
Thanks for inquiring further about my interest, and also for an enjoyable and useful web-site!