The Church of St Swithun upon Kingsgate has been a place of worship for more than 750 years. The church, built in the middle ages is located above the medieval Kingsgate, one of the principle entrances to the city. The church is unusual in that it forms part of the city wall.
The first mention of the church is recorded in 1264, when it was apparently burned by the citizens of Winchester during a dispute with the Priory. Most likely the church served as a chapel for lay people who worked for the Abbey. In 1337 some woodwork was done on the church, costing a total of fifteen shillings, and in 1484 the windows underwent repair.
St Swithun was an Anglo Saxon saint, born in Winchester and in 852 becoming the 19th bishop of the city. He died in 862 when King Alfred the Great was still a young man. It is possible that St Swithun was tutor to the young king, and accompanied him on a pilgrimage to Rome.
By the 17th century the church had fallen into disrepair, and had become home to one Robert Allen, the porter of Kings Gate, and his wife, “who did and doth keep swine at ye ende of the Chapell”. The situation was improved around 1660 when the church was restored, its bells re-hung in 1677. It has remained a place of worship since that time.