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In 1378 William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to Richard II, obtained the pope's license of the foundation of his great school at Winchester, and in 1387 he began the buildings which were opened in 1393. The College was founded to provide a suitable grounding for candidates seeking admission to New College Oxford, also founded by Wykeham.  The original foundation provided for a warden, ten fellows, three chaplains, seventy scholars, and sixteen chiristers. The scholars were originally of  8-12 years of age. There are still 70 scholars (known in the school as Collegemen), now aged between 12 and 14, out of a total school population of over 660. The scholars still live in the original medieval buildings of Winchester College, continuing a tradition unbroken for six centuries.

Location Map Winchester College web site
Aerial view of Winchester College, - Copyright Hampshire Chronicle


Whilst they are taught alongside boys from the ten Commoner houses, the scholars still study in their Chambers (Day rooms) and eat in the College Hall, overseen by the Master in College and their tutors.

The ten Commoner boarding houses, in nearby streets,
are small communities within the school. Here boys, when not attending formal classes, eat, sleep and work during their time at the school.

College Street

Since the fourteenth century many buildings have been added to the original school. A fine Schoolroom, built in the late seventeenth century, a Sick House dating from the Commonwealth period, classrooms by Butterfield in the Victorian Tudor Gothic style, and the War Cloisters built to commemorate members of the College killed in the First World War. All these adjoin Meads with its ancient enclosing stone walls and two hundred year old plane trees.

More recent additions include a concert hall, Theatre, science school, music school,  art school and Physical Education Centre, together with courts for rackets, fives, and squash. As befits a school that was at the forefront of educated and enlightened thinking when it was founded, Winchester College continues to grow, adapt and respond to the needs of its pupils and the society it serves.

College entrance
St Michael's Church St Michael's Church

The religious life of the school is served by the 14th century Chapel which dominates the original College buildings. There are three chaplains, who also teach, minister to the boarding houses and lead the services in Chapel, in Chantry, and in St Michael's Church. While Chapel is the centre of College life, arrangements are made for boys of other denominations and faiths.

The Pilgrims School, from the Cathedral Close

The College also has close links with the Pilgrims´ School. Here the sixteen Quiristers, who sing in the College Chapel, receive their education. Many go on to become pupils at the College. The Pilgrims School buildings are within the grounds of the Cathedral, and the Quiristers also sing in the Cathedral.

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