Stunning New Cathedral Exhibitions

16
May
2019

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Stunning new Cathedral Exhibitions: By Winchester Today News Editor Kevin Gover

Eight years on and at last we can talk about the stunning new exhibitions at the Cathedral!

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Members of the press have been given a sneak preview of the new 11-million pound state-of-the-art exhibition complex at Winchester Cathedral that’s been ten years in the planning and eight years in the making.

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Kings and Scribes – the birth of a nation – uses an area of the South Transept over three floors that shows the Cathedral’s pivotal role in early English history.

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We were there to have a look round – and the Dean, The Very Revd Catherine Ogle gave her reaction: “This is a really exciting time in the life of the Cathedral.

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“I really feel that in THIS generation we’re really making our contribution to caring for this wonderful place and opening it to more people.”

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Professor Kate Robson-Brown has been working on the project to analyse the contents of Winchester Cathedral’s mortuary chests – and says it’s a relief that she can now actually talk openly about it: “This is – for us – the end of nearly eight years of research, so I’m incredibly excited to be able to share this with the public.

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(Kate Robson-Brown and Heidi Dawson-Hobbis)

“We’re able to not only talk about the life history of the individuals from the remains we’ve found, but also something about the scientific process that we’ve done in order to present this. So, on both counts I’m happy!”

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(The mortuary chests)

Some of the remains found in the mortuary chests are now thought to be of Queen Emma, who was the daughter of Richard I – and who married two Kings of England (Ethelred and Cnut) – and mother of King Edward the Confessor and King Hardacnut. She is now on display:

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(Queen Emma. Probably.)

Dr Heidi Dawson-Hobbis has also focused on the people who once lived at the Cathedral: “We actually found two juveniles, young adolescents, which we weren’t expecting at all. They were both quite complete skeletons as well.

“We’ve commissioned a special facial reconstruction of one of these individuals, so people can actually look at the face of somebody from the past.”

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What I found splendid is that the Winchester Bible now has its own dedicated, dark space.

Winchester Cathedral Exhibition

The exhibition itself opens next week (21 May). Take the lift by the way for at least part of the journey… it’s been specially created for the space!

Images: Winchester Cathedral / Kevin Gover