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The New Minster, Winchester
Alfredian Mausoleum

The New Minster, with the Old Minster behind.Winchester New Minster was founded in AD 901 by King Edward the Elder, both as a Royal Mausoleum for his father, King Alfred the Great, and as a town church for the newly established burgh. It originally dominated the little 7th century 'Old Minster' standing alongside. However, during the late 10th century, this was completely rebuilt on a huge scale. In order to try and compete, the New Minster erected a six storey bell tower in the AD 980s. An extant description shows that it was covered in rich carvings, presumably in the well-known 'Winchester style'. With the building of the present Cathedral after the Norman Conquest, the New Minster was demolished and the monks forced to move north to just outside the City's North Gate at Hyde. Here a fine Abbey Church was built and the bodies of both King Alfred and King Edward were reburied within it.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries, in the late 1530s, brought an end to Hyde Abbey. A large Tudor mansion was erected over the site, but this was largely demolished in 1769. Only the 15th century gatehouse survives today opposite Hyde Church. It bears a plaque recording the last resting-place of the two great Saxon Kings. They are thought to lie under the River Park Leisure Centre Car Park.

 

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