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King Alfred's Winchester
Roman Town
Revitalised

Hamo Thorneycroft's majestic statue of King Alfred the Great was unveiled at the lower end of the Broadway in Winchester during the millenary celebrations of his death in 1901. It was the culmination of a host of celebratory activities masterminded by Mayor Alfred Bowker. These included the issue of commemorative medals with the image of King Alfred on one side and that of his Mayoral namesake on the other! Scholars may argue that King Alfred actually died in 899, but 901 has always been the date preferred by the populace.

This most famous of the Saxon monarchs of Wessex ruled most of England in his time and is generally credited as being the principal founder of the modern city. The area within the city walls was largely the domain of the church until Alfred established the place as one of his fortified towns or 'burghs' where the needy could assemble in desperate times, particularly when under the threat of Viking attack. The statue stands immediately in front of the site of the old East Gate into the city: one of the entry points of the new street plan laid out by the monarch and still to be seen today. Winchester quickly became Alfred's capital. He died and was buried there, in the New Minster (later being removed to Hyde Abbey).

 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.