Henry of Blois
Henry of Blois known as Henry of Winchester, was Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey from 1126, Bishop of Winchester from 1129 to his death. He was a younger son of Stephen Henry, Count of Blois by Adela of Normandy, daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. Thus, he was a younger brother of King of England. Henry was one of five sons of Stephen II, Count of Blois, by Adela of Normandy and the younger brother of King Stephen, his birth date is uncertain, along with his siblings but he was the 4th or youngest son and he was most born at Blois c.1096, before his father left on the first crusade c.1100, soon after his father's return. Henry's father died in 1102 while on crusade during the Second Battle of Ramla, leaving an estate with more than 350 castles and large properties in France including Chartres. Henry was educated at Cluny and adhered to the principles of Cluniac reform, which included a sense of intellectual freedom and humanism, as well as a high standard of devotion and discipline.
Henry was brought to England by King Henry I. On 4 October 1129, he was given the bishopric of Winchester and allowed to keep his beloved Glastonbury Abbey, he was consecrated bishop on 17 November 1129. He had ambitions to become Archbishop of Canterbury, but refused to abandon his work and obligations to Glastonbury. Soon after his appointment to the see of Winchester, Henry came to resent his subservience to Canterbury, he therefore set about building a power-base to persuade the king to create a third, West Country archdiocese with himself at the head. This scheme was unsuccessful. However, on 1 March 1139, during the reign of his brother Stephen, Henry obtained a commission as papal legate, which gave him higher rank than Theobald of Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, making him the most powerful figure in the English Church during the troubled times of the so-called "Anarchy". Thus, when his brother was unavailable, Henry of Blois was the most powerful, the wealthiest, man in England. Stephen of Blois was crowned King of England in 1135, but the relations between the two brothers were not always peaceful.
After the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, Henry found it more advantageous to support Empress Matilda. That year, Henry rejoined his brother's side and, with the help of Queen Matilda and an army commanded by William of Ypres, his successful defence of Winchester against the Empress was the turning point of the civil war; as Abbot of Glastonbury, Henry remained in contact with Peter the Venerable at Cluny and was made aware of most of the controversies on the continent the persecution of Peter Abelard and the translation of the Koran from Arabic to Latin. Before and after his elevation to Bishop, Henry of Blois was an advisor to his brother Stephen and survived him. Henry of Blois engineered hundreds of projects, including villages and canals and smaller churches, he was most proud of his contributions to the greatest developments at Glastonbury Abbey, long before the destructive fire of 1184. Unlike most bishops of his age, Henry had a passion for architecture, he built the final additions to Winchester Cathedral and Wolvesey Castle in Winchester, including a tourist tunnel under the cathedral to make it easier for pilgrims to view relics.
He designed and built additions to many palaces and large houses including the castle of Farnham and began the construction of the Hospital of St Cross at Winchester. In London he built Winchester Palace as a residence for the bishops of Winchester. In Rome, John of Salisbury reported, he acquired an impressive number of ancient Roman sculptures, defending his purchases as preventing the Romans of his day from worshipping these "idols". Henry was responsible for building six castles in 1138, namely those at Bishop's Waltham, Farnham, Merdon and Wolvesey. Contemporaries were surprised. Much of Henry's work was undone in 1155, when the new king, Henry II, ordered that his castles be thrown down. Henry was enamoured of books and their distribution, he wrote or sponsored several books including On the Antiquity of the Glastonbury Church by William of Malmesbury, a close personal friend. He sponsored the Winchester Bible, the largest illustrated Bible produced, it is a huge folio edition standing nearly three feet in height.
This Bible is still on display at Winchester, although it was never finished. His production of the Winchester Psalter known as the Blois Psalter, is preserved in the British Library and is considered a British National Treasure; the expiration of Henry's legatine commission when Pope Innocent II died on 23 September 1143 deprived him of much of his power. His efforts to renew the commission were unsuccessful, but he made a personal visit to Rome and secured several favours for Glastonbury and the Benedictine order in general. Shortly after his brother's death and the accession of Henry II, the bishop retired to Cluny, where he had sent much treasure, for at least two years and mourned there his mentor Peter the Venerable, who died on Christmas Day, 1156. In his years, he was among the Bishops forced to agree to the Constitutions of Clarendon in January 1164, which paved the way for the Becket Controversy, he was appointed to preside over the trial of Thomas Becket and secretly supported Becket's family before and after his assassination.
Henry died on 8 August 1171. Among his gifts to Cluny, was a pyx set with gems in the choir. Henry of Blois is now buried in Winchester Cathedral in a plain stone crypt in the choir, but there
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso; the Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the order, who formed as much as 90% of the order's members, managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, developing innovative financial techniques that were an early form of banking, building its own network of nearly 1,000 commanderies and fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land, arguably forming the world's first multinational corporation.
The Templars were tied to the Crusades. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust, King Philip IV of France – in debt to the order – took advantage of this distrust to destroy them and erase his debt. In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip; the abrupt reduction in power of a significant group in European society gave rise to speculation and legacy through the ages. After Europeans in the First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099, many Christians made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in the Holy Land. Although the city of Jerusalem was secure under Christian control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits and marauding highwaymen preyed upon pilgrims, who were slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa through to the interior of the Holy Land.
In 1119, the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request at the Council of Nablus in January 1120, the king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque; the Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, from this location the new order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights; the order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse; the impoverished status of the Templars did not last long. They had a powerful advocate in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading Church figure, the French abbot responsible for the founding of the Cistercian Order of monks and a nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding knights.
Bernard put his weight behind them and wrote persuasively on their behalf in the letter'In Praise of the New Knighthood', in 1129, at the Council of Troyes, he led a group of leading churchmen to approve and endorse the order on behalf of the church. With this formal blessing, the Templars became a favoured charity throughout Christendom, receiving money, land and noble-born sons from families who were eager to help with the fight in the Holy Land. Another major benefit came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II's papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the order from obedience to local laws; this ruling meant that the Templars could pass through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, were exempt from all authority except that of the pope. With its clear mission and ample resources, the order grew rapidly. Templars were the advance shock troops in key battles of the Crusades, as the armoured knights on their warhorses would set out to charge at the enemy, ahead of the main army bodies, in an attempt to break opposition lines.
One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped several thousand infantry to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26,000 soldiers. Although the primary mission of the order was militaristic few members were combatants; the others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman, interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.
This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques. Based on this mi
Hedingham Castle, in the village of Castle Hedingham, Essex, is arguably the best preserved Norman keep in England. The castle fortifications and outbuildings were built around 1100, the keep around 1140. However, the keep; the keep. The manor of Hedingham was awarded to Aubrey de Vere I by William the Conqueror by 1086; the castle was constructed by the de Veres in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the keep in the 1130s and 1140s. To accommodate the existing castle, a large ditch was cut through a natural spur westward into the Colne Valley in order to form a ringwork and inner bailey; the stone keep is the only mediaeval structure to survive, is in an excellent state of preservation. The keep is nearly square, a common shape for Norman keeps; the east and west sides are 53 ft long and the north-south sides about 58 ft. The main part of the keep stands more than 70 ft tall, the turrets rise an additional 15 to 25 ft above the parapets, commanding the countryside around it from its elevated position atop the ringwork.
The walls are about 11 ft thick at the base and average 10 ft thick at the top. They are constructed from flint rubble bound with lime mortar, but unusually for an Essex castle, are faced with ashlar stone transported from a quarry in Barnack, Northamptonshire; the keep has five floors including the Great or Banqueting Hall with a great fireplace and a central arch extending two stories. The top floor may have been added around the 15th century, replacing an impressive pyramid-shaped roof; this is a recent theory and many older sources have noted the similar plans of Hedingham Castle and Rochester Castle, begun about 1126 and has four floors and four turrets. Changes were made in subsequent years during the Tudor period. Two of the original four corner turrets are missing, it seems however, that their demise was an attempt to demolish the building for materials rather than a result of military action. The outer buildings, including the hall and others, were replaced during the Tudor period. However, those structures have now been lost.
The only exception is the red-brick bridge of four spans that connects the inner bailey to the outer bailey, lying to the north-east of the keep. The bridge has been restored several times. A chapel was located to the south of the stone keep within the inner bailey. Around 1700, a Queen Anne style red-brick mansion was built in the outer bailey by Sir William Ashhurst, an MP and a former Lord Mayor of London; this was built sometime between his purchase of the property in 1693 and his death in 1719. Hedingham Castle may occupy the site of an earlier castle believed to have been built in the late 11th or early 12th century by Aubrey de Vere I, a Norman baron. Hedingham was one of the largest manors among those acquired by Aubrey I; the Domesday Book records that he held the manor of Hedingham by 1086, he ordered that vineyards be planted. It became the head of the Vere barony. Aubrey II and Aubrey III are candidates for initiating the construction of a major stone tower at Hedingham to reflect the enhanced status of the family.
In 1133 Aubrey II, son and heir of the first Aubrey, was created master chamberlain of England by Henry I. In 1141, his son and heir Aubrey was granted an earldom by Empress Matilda. By that time he had been Count of Guines for several years by right of his wife's inheritance of that continental territory. Matilda, wife of King Stephen, died at Castle Hedingham on 3 May 1152; the castle was besieged twice, in 1216 and 1217, during the dispute between King John, rebel barons, the French prince.. The castle was held by the de Vere family until 1625. Among the more famous earls are Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford. In 1713 the castle was purchased by Sir William Ashhurst; the Majendie family owned Hedingham Castle for 250 years until Miss Musette Majendie left it to her cousin, The Honourable Thomas Lindsay, descended from the de Veres through both maternal and paternal lines. His son Jason Lindsay and wife Demetra now live at Hedingham Castle with their children. While Hedingham Castle remains a family home, the Norman keep and grounds are open to the public from Easter to October.
Educational school visits take place throughout the year. Today the castle is a venue for a range of events, including jousting, falconry, re-enactment battles, fairs and vintage car shows, music concerts and theatre productions. Hedingham Castle is used for wedding ceremonies and corporate or private parties. Weddings are held by candlelight in the keep with space for 100 seated guests and standing room in the Minstrels’ gallery. Civil ceremonies, Civil Partnerships, Renewal of Vows and Naming ceremonies are all permitted; the Queen Anne mansion house and marquee are used for wedding parties. The castle has been described as "the best preserved Norman keep in England." Hedingham Castle was the location for episode 2 of The Landscape of Man aired on Channel 4 in 2010 in which the castle grounds and gardens, left to become a wilderness throughout the 20th c
Faversham Abbey was a Cluniac style monastery to the north-east of the town of Faversham, in Kent, England. It was founded by King Stephen and his wife Matilda of Boulogne in 1148. A party of monks from Bermondsey Abbey provided the first abbot. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Sir Thomas Cheney assigned the abbey to Thomas Arden and it was destroyed in 1538. Thereafter the site of the abbey came into the possession of the Sondes family and now lies within the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School; the Abbey was the burial place of King Stephen, Queen Matilda, their eldest son, Eustace IV of Boulogne. Their bones were thrown into the nearby Faversham Creek when the abbey was demolished, their empty tombs were unearthed in 1964 near. However, there is a canopy tomb with no contemporary inscription in the nearby Parish Church, where it is said that their bones were re-interred
Henry I of England
Henry I known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. Henry was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England but Henry was left landless. Henry purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but William and Robert deposed him in 1091. Henry rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert. Henry was present when William died in a hunting accident in 1100, he seized the English throne, promising at his coronation to correct many of William's less popular policies. Henry married Matilda of Scotland but continued to have a large number of mistresses by whom he had many illegitimate children. Robert, who invaded in 1101, disputed Henry's control of England; the peace was short-lived, Henry invaded the Duchy of Normandy in 1105 and 1106 defeating Robert at the Battle of Tinchebray. Henry kept Robert imprisoned for the rest of his life.
Henry's control of Normandy was challenged by Louis VI of France, Baldwin VII of Flanders and Fulk V of Anjou, who promoted the rival claims of Robert's son, William Clito, supported a major rebellion in the Duchy between 1116 and 1119. Following Henry's victory at the Battle of Brémule, a favourable peace settlement was agreed with Louis in 1120. Considered by contemporaries to be a harsh but effective ruler, Henry skilfully manipulated the barons in England and Normandy. In England, he drew on the existing Anglo-Saxon system of justice, local government and taxation, but strengthened it with additional institutions, including the royal exchequer and itinerant justices. Normandy was governed through a growing system of justices and an exchequer. Many of the officials who ran Henry's system were "new men" of obscure backgrounds rather than from families of high status, who rose through the ranks as administrators. Henry encouraged ecclesiastical reform, but became embroiled in a serious dispute in 1101 with Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury, resolved through a compromise solution in 1105.
He supported the Cluniac order and played a major role in the selection of the senior clergy in England and Normandy. Henry's only legitimate son and heir, William Adelin, drowned in the White Ship disaster of 1120, throwing the royal succession into doubt. Henry took a second wife, Adeliza of Louvain, in the hope of having another son, but their marriage was childless. In response to this, Henry declared his daughter, Empress Matilda, his heir and married her to Geoffrey of Anjou; the relationship between Henry and the couple became strained, fighting broke out along the border with Anjou. Henry died on 1 December 1135 after a week of illness. Despite his plans for Matilda, the King was succeeded by his nephew, Stephen of Blois, resulting in a period of civil war known as the Anarchy. Henry was born in England in 1068, in either the summer or the last weeks of the year in the town of Selby in Yorkshire, his father was William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy who had invaded England in 1066 to become the King of England, establishing lands stretching into Wales.
The invasion had created an Anglo-Norman elite, many with estates spread across both sides of the English Channel. These Anglo-Norman barons had close links to the kingdom of France, a loose collection of counties and smaller polities, under only the minimal control of the king. Henry's mother, Matilda of Flanders, was the granddaughter of Robert II of France, she named Henry after her uncle, King Henry I of France. Henry was the youngest of Matilda's four sons. Physically he resembled his older brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus, being, as historian David Carpenter describes, "short and barrel-chested," with black hair; as a result of their age differences and Richard's early death, Henry would have seen little of his older brothers. He knew his sister Adela well, as the two were close in age. There is little documentary evidence for his early years, he was educated by the Church by Bishop Osmund, the King's chancellor, at Salisbury Cathedral. It is uncertain how far Henry's education extended, but he was able to read Latin and had some background in the liberal arts.
He was given military training by an instructor called Robert Achard, Henry was knighted by his father on 24 May 1086. In 1087, William was fatally injured during a campaign in the Vexin. Henry joined his dying father near Rouen in September, where the King partitioned his possessions among his sons; the rules of succession in western Europe at the time were uncertain. In other parts of Europe, including Normandy and England, the tradition was for lands to be divided up, with the eldest son taking patrimonial lands – considered to be the most valuable – and younger sons given smaller, or more acquired, partitions or estates. In dividing his lands, William appears to have followed the Norman tradition, distinguishing between Normandy, which he had inherited, England, which he had acquired through war. William's second son, had died in a hunting accident, leaving
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, is located at the western end of the South Downs National Park, along the course of the River Itchen, it is situated 60 miles south-west of London and 13.6 miles from its closest city. At the time of the 2011 Census, Winchester had a population of 45,184; the wider City of Winchester district which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop's Waltham has a population of 116,800. Winchester developed from the Roman town of Venta Belgarum, which in turn developed from an Iron Age oppidum. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe; the city is home to the University of Winchester and Winchester College, the oldest public school in the United Kingdom still using its original buildings. The area around Winchester has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with three Iron Age hillforts, Oram's Arbour, St. Catherine's Hill, Worthy Down all in the nearby vicinity.
In the Late Iron Age, a more urban settlement type developed, known as an oppidum, although the archaeology of this phase remains obscure. It was overrun by the confederation of Gaulish tribes known as the Belgae sometime during the first century BCE, it seems to have been known as Wentā or Venta, derived from the Brittonic for "town" or "meeting place", or the word for "white", due to Winchester's situation upon chalk. After the Roman conquest of Britain, the settlement served as the capital of the Belgae and was distinguished as Venta Belgarum, "Venta of the Belgae". Although in the early years of the Roman province it was of subsidiary importance to Silchester and Chichester, Venta eclipsed them both by the latter half of the second century. At the beginning of the third century, Winchester was given protective stone walls. At around this time the city covered an area of 144 acres, making it among the largest towns in Roman Britain by surface area. There was a limited suburban area outside the walls.
Like many other Roman towns however, Winchester began to decline in the fourth century. Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 410, urban life seems to have continued at Venta Belgarum until around 450 AD, a small administrative centre might have continued after that on the site of the Anglo-Saxon palace. Ford identifies the community as the Cair Guinntguic listed by Nennius among the 28 cities of Britain in his History of the Britons. Amid the Saxon invasions of Britain, cemeteries dating to the 6th and 7th centuries suggest a revival of settlement; the city became known as Wintan-ceastre in Old English. In 648, King Cenwalh of Wessex erected the Church of SS Peter and Paul known as the Old Minster; this became a cathedral in the 660s when the West Saxon bishopric was transferred from Dorchester-on-Thames. The present form of the city dates to reconstruction in the late 9th century, when King Alfred the Great obliterated the Roman street plan in favour of a new grid in order to provide better defence against the Vikings.
The city's first mint appears to date from this period. In the early tenth century there were two new ecclesiastical establishments, the convent of Nunnaminster, founded by Alfred's widow Ealhswith, the New Minster. Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester was a leading figure in the monastic reform movement of the tenth century, he replaced them with monks. He created the drainage system, the'Lockburn', which served as the town drain until 1875, still survives. In the late tenth century, the Old Minster was enlarged as a centre of the cult of the ninth century Bishop of Winchester, Saint Swithun; the three minsters were the home of what architectural historian John Crook describes as "the supreme artistic achievements" of the Winchester School. The consensus among historians of Anglo-Saxon England is that the court was mobile in this period and there was no fixed capital. Martin Biddle has suggested that Winchester was a centre for royal administration in the seventh and eighth centuries, but this is questioned by Barbara Yorke, who sees it as significant that the shire was named after Hamtun, the forerunner of Southampton.
However, Winchester is described by the historian Catherine Cubitt as "the premier city of the West Saxon kingdom." There was a fire in the city in 1141 during the Rout of Winchester. William of Wykeham played a role in the city's restoration; as Bishop of Winchester he was responsible for much of the current structure of the cathedral, he founded the still extant public school Winchester College. During the Middle Ages, the city was an important centre of the wool trade, before going into a slow decline; the curfew bell in the bell tower, still sounds at 8:00 pm each evening. While Jews lived in Winchester from at least 1148, in the 13th century the Jewish community in the city was one of the most important in England. There was an archa in the city, the Jewish quarter was located in the city's heart. There were a series of blood libel claims levied against the Jewish community in the 1220s and 1230s, the cause of the hanging of the community's leader, Abraham Pinch, in front of the synagogue that he was head of.
Simon de Montfort ransacked the Jewish quarter in 1264, in 1290 all Jews were expelled from England. The City Cross has been dated to the 15th century, features 12 statues of the Virgin Mary and various historical figures. Several statues appear to have been added t