County Council Helps Bring Winchester Cathedral's Past Into The Present
22 November 2012
The archive heritage of Winchester's most famous attraction will for the first time be available to explore online, thanks to the collaboration of Hampshire County Council's Record Office and Winchester Cathedral.
Local residents and historians across the globe will now be able to browse through a catalogue of the Cathedral's archives from the comfort of their own home, as descriptions of 2,000 records are published online, providing a unique insight into the Cathedral's history, and also the heritage of local communities across Hampshire.
The extensive catalogue includes the charters which re-established the Cathedral under a newly-formed Dean and Chapter in 1541, after the Dissolution of the former Priory by Henry VIII, as well as the minutes of Chapter from the Tudor period right up to the twentieth century.
Other archives include the accounts of the monks who worked and worshipped in the Priory before the Reformation, and records of daily life on the Priory's estates across Hampshire and Wiltshire.
More records will be added to the catalogue on a regular basis until the entire archive is available, comprising more than 12,000 individual documents and bringing the Cathedral's history to life.
Hampshire Record Office is also celebrating the completion of the first stage in a conservation project to open up archives wilfully damaged by soldiers in the Cathedral in the 17th Century Civil Wars.
Grant funding from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust and Hampshire Archives Trust has enabled skilful repairs to medieval parchment rolls. This means that researchers can now handle and study the documents for the first time in three centuries, and that they will be preserved for future generations.
Winchester Cathedral's Guides were inspired by the conservation project and worked to develop a programme of fundraising events. Their donation of £6,550 will now enable more of these important rolls to be conserved.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman said:
"This is a wonderful achievement for Hampshire Record Office and Winchester Cathedral. Everyone will now be able to access more information online about Winchester's local heritage and learn more about the history of the Cathedral.
"I'd like to thank the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, Hampshire Archives Trust and Winchester Cathedral Guides for their support to conserve and open up these historic documents. Through their help important pieces of our history have been safeguarded and further documents will be saved and made accessible."
The online catalogue was launched by the Dean of Winchester, The Very Reverend James Atwell, at an event held by the County Council's Record Office on Wednesday 21 November 2012, to celebrate the partnership. He said:
"It is great that the partnership between the Cathedral and the Record Office has enabled access to archives previously difficult to consult. Winchester Cathedral has a rich history and it is important to be able to share it. This complements the activity of the voluntary Guides at the Cathedral who have been raising money in all sorts of inventive ways, in order to conserve these documents."
For more information visit the Hampshire Archives websites.