Winchester College Cloisters

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HCC Site ID: 1600 Parish: Winchester
Designations: CA Area: Small
Access: Historic site/College Tours available Ownership: Winchester College

Location and Site

The Garden is situated in the grounds of Winchester College. There is an entrance from Kingsgate Street.

Historic Development

Winchester College had only five acres of gardens when it was founded. A gardener was employed from the start and it can be said  that the gardens have always played an important part in the life of the college. A notable 20th century addition was the Cloisters and Garden of Remembrance, designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1922 with dedication in 1924.

The whole was originally created to commemorate the death of 500 Wykehamists who fell in service  in World War I. Their names are engraved on the outer walls and represent various Regiments. Those who fell in World War II are listed  on the inner columns.   The arcaded Cloisters consisting of knapped flint, dressed stone and English oak reflect the medieval cloister built by the school’s founder, William of Wykeham. There are four grassed rectangles with  a central cross designed by Alfred Turner.  The central gabled entrance has a Madonna by Charles Wheeler.  Within the cloister is the Garden of Remembrance for which Gertrude Jekyll drew up a planting plan, a copy of which is in the College Library.  A pamphlet of 1924 describes the architecture, sculpture, heraldry and symbolism behind the cloister. It also describes, ‘ A narrow bed of flowers, in which roses and white lilies prevail and make a fringe to the grass squares where they touch the arcades’.  Following a revamp of the  Garden  in the 1960s much of the Jekyll planting was replaced.

Current Description

There was a further major redesign of the Garden in 2014. The view was taken that the trees had grown making the gardens too gloomy, and that the plants suggested by Jekyll were either no longer available or even that insufficient evidence existed to show exactly what she recommended. There is now almost no evidence left of Jekyll’s planting.  (ii)
The Garden is reputedly now the largest private War Memorial in Europe.

Summary and significance

Cloisters and a Garden of Remembrance created   to commemorate the 500 Wykehamists who lost their lives in WW1, designed by Herbert Baker, 1922-1924. Gertrude Jekyll created a planting plan, which resides in the College archives.  Subsequent  redesigns  have left almost nothing of Jekyll’s planting, though as a designed  WWI memorial  garden, it maintains its significance in the college setting.

Information: Hampshire County Council 1999
Hampshire County Magazine 1990
Visit by HGT Research Group, July 2004

Our address

Winchester Historic site/College Tours available Click for Disclaimer & copyright
51.05788591331995, -1.313408373389393

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