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Built between 1079 and 1532, Winchester Cathedral has had an unusual architectural history. The exterior, apart from the modified windows, gives the impression of a massive Norman building and indeed, when first completed, the Norman Cathedral was second only in size to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. However, the west front is now Perpendicular, with its huge window filled with fragments of medieval glass. Inside, only the crypt and the transepts have retained their Norman appearance. The spectacular Perpendicular nave with its tall arcade arches and strong vertical emphasis has been literally carved out of the original Norman interior. The Very Rev. Sykes wrote of it “Well might the visitor who enters … by the west door gasp with amazement". Winchester is also famous for its carved wooden fittings of many different periods.
Important events which took place at Winchester Cathedral include:
- Funeral of King Harthacanute (1042)
- Funeral of King William II of England (1100)
- Coronation of Henry the Young King and his queen, Marguerite (1172)
- Second coronation of Richard I of England (1194)
- Marriage of King Henry IV of England and Joanna of Navarre (1403)
- Marriage of Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain (1554)
- Funeral and burial of Jane Austen (1817)
- Alec Clifton-Taylor 1967. The Cathedrals of England Thames & Hudson, London.
- Sykes N. A pictorial history of Winchester Cathedral.
- Park Honan 1987. Jane Austen: her life. St. Martin's Press, New York, p407. ISBN 0-312-01451-1