Within the old enceinte of the
city, approached by the wonderful
lime-tree avenue leading from the
Square, is the Cathedral Church,
with its precincts and Close.
The house known as Cheyney Court stands on the
east side of Prior's Gate, in the angle of the Close wall.
It appears to be of mid-15th-century date. The
lower portion of the front, which faces on the close,
is of flint and stone rubble; the oversailing upper
stories are of half-timber construction and crowned
by three nearly equal-sized gables. The western
gable, next the gate-house, has a richly carved bargeboard; in all probability the two other gables had
similar barge-boards, but these have now disappeared.
The house appears to have been originally of four
stories throughout, two in the stone basement and
two above. The western portion of the Close front
is now occupied by the porter's lodge, and a small
room of half-timber construction overhanging the
east side of the gate-house wall is built out at right
angles from the west gable, reached from the second
floor of the house by a small staircase with its spandrel
and soffit exposed externally. The lower portion of
the back wall of the house is formed by the Close wall
itself. The interior has been much modernized, and
the original staircase has disappeared. The original
doorway opening into the centre room on the Close
front is now built up, and a new doorway has been
formed to the east of it. The original door has been
made up to fit the opening. At about half the height
of the east side of the centre room is a beam, now
plastered over, a portion being left exposed, carved
with the initials L.B. and the date 1632. On what
is now the first floor was originally a large room, now
cut up by modern partitions. In the back wall, which
is entirely of stone, are some original stone mullioned
two and three-light windows with external labels.
Adjoining the house on the east side is a barn built
out at right angles to the Close wall, part of which
has recently been thrown into the house. The
chimney stacks have been mainly rebuilt. The roof
is covered with tiles; in the attics the original roof
timbers may still be seen.
West of the Cathedral Close is Minster House, at
the corner of Little and Great Minster Streets, a welldesigned house of the first years of the 18th century.
It is built of red brick with a diaper of burnt headers,
a tiled roof, and a very well designed wooden cornice
with modillions. The principal entrance is unfortunately marred by a poor porch. In this, or one of
the adjoining houses, John Keats lived when he wrote
his 'Ode to Autumn.'
Leading south from Minster Street to St. Swithun's
Street by the high west wall of the Cathedral Close is
Symond's Street, at the St. Swithun's Street end of
which are the red brick buildings of Christ's Hospital.
They have been a good deal restored, all the windowframes, doors, roofs, &c., being modern or nearly so.
The central block of three stories is flanked by two long
wings, the whole
divided into small
Street. The building is set back from
the street line, and
has a long narrow
garden in front of
it. In the central
block is a small
stone tablet bearing
the arms: Gules
a cheveron between three trefoils
or, and the inscription 'Peter
1607.' This is
repeated on the
north block, and
was also apparently
on the south, now
covered by a
The old tablet has
been reset in the new wall. In each case a smaller
stone below that bearing the arms is inscribed 'Christes
Hospital.' There is also a modern tablet fully recording the foundation.
Christ's Hospital, Winchester
(From an original drawing [c. 1820] lent by Mr. Thomas Stopher)