The Wesgate

The Westgate is one of only two surviving medieval gateways that were one an integral part of the city wall. The other gate being Kingsgate and the church of St Swithun which featured in a previous blog post.

Originally built in the 12th century and later remodelled, the west face was added in the 14th century to defend the city against threatened invasion from France. The openings below the parapet on the west face of the gate were for dropping ammunition such as rocks, oil or even boiling lead on potential invaders. The loops below the shields were designed for primitive hand-held cannons, and the slots in the gateway arch held a portcullis. The little room above the arch, originally a guardroom, served as a debtors’ prison from the 16th to the 18th century, and is now a museum.*

The contents of the museum sound interesting but unfortunately it wasn’t open on the day we passed it on our route to the Great Hall.

The Wesgate

The Wesgate

*From the Pitkin City Guide to Winchester.

13 Comments CherryPie on Nov 26th 2014

13 Responses to “The Westgate”

  1. Anne says:

    I have been to Winchester a few times, but I never made it there.. I used to come out of the car park with my son /daughter in law and down to the centre , always said I should turn right and go up , never did. Thanks for sharing,

  2. ubermouth says:

    Even though I spent nearly a week in Winchester, I clearly missed a lot. Mind you, I wasn’t there for sightseeing. But seeing your photographs, I wish I had stayed on to do so. It’s such a lovely city isn’t it? Or is it a town?

    Was this your first visit, Cherie?

  3. ubermouth says:

    PS I just love thew history of this building. And the shields are amazing!

  4. Amfortas says:

    Style abounded in those far away days.

  5. Astrid says:

    I would ove to go back to Winchester and see it all over again. Beautiful gate, still standing.

  6. ....peter:) says:

    This is a wonderful piece of history that you framed for us today Cherie… i like the detail that you captured in the coats of arms….peter:)

  7. lisl says:

    I like the architectural detail you have caught here, Cherie, especially the little carved heads