Winchester is the county town of Hampshire and contains the head offices of Hampshire County Council.
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Winchester developed from the Roman town of Venta Belgarum, which in turn developed from an Iron Age oppidum.
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Winchester was one of the most important cities in England until the Norman conquest in the eleventh century.
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Winchester appears in early Welsh literature and is commonly identified as the city of listed among the 28 cities of Britain in the History of the Britons .
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Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester was a leading figure in the monastic reform movement of the later 10th century.
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Winchester expelled the secular canons of both minsters and replaced them with monks.
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Winchester created the drainage system, the "Lockburn", which served as the town drain until 1875, and still survives.
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Martin Biddle has suggested that Winchester was a centre for royal administration in the 7th and 8th centuries, but this is questioned by Barbara Yorke, who sees it as significant that the shire was named after Hamtun, the forerunner of Southampton.
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However, Winchester is described by the historian Catherine Cubitt as "the premier city of the West Saxon kingdom" and Janet Nelson describes London and Winchester as Alfred the Great's "proto-capitals".
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In 1770, Thomas Dummer purchased the Buttercross from the Corporation of Winchester, intending to have it re-erected at Cranbury Park, near Otterbourne.
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In 2013, businesses involved in the housing market were reported by a local newspaper as saying that the city's architectural and historical interest, and its fast links to other towns and cities, had led Winchester to become one of the most expensive and desirable areas of the country and ranked Winchester as one of the least deprived areas in England and Wales.
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Winchester is situated on a bed of Cretaceous lower chalk with small areas of clay and loam soil, inset with combined clay and rich sources of fuller's earth.
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Winchester Cathedral was originally built in 1079 and remains the longest Gothic cathedral in Europe.
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Winchester Cathedral Close contains a number of historic buildings from the time when the cathedral was a priory.
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Winchester is well known for the Great Hall of its castle, which was built in the 12th century.
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Winchester has a variety of Church of England primary schools, including both state and private provision schools.
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Winchester'spherds Down Special School is a state funded special school for pupils aged 4 to 11, located just outside of the city in the boundaries of Compton.
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University of Winchester is a public university based in Winchester and the surrounding area.
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Winchester School of Art was founded in the 1860s as an independent institution and is a school of the University of Southampton.
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Winchester is located near the M3 motorway and at the meeting of the A34, A31, A3090 and A272 roads.
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Winchester Combined Court Centre consists of a crown court and county court.
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Winchester is a first-tier court centre and is visited by High Court judges for criminal and for civil cases .
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Winchester has a separate district probate registry, which is part of the High Court.
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Since 1974 Winchester has hosted the annual Hat Fair, a celebration of street theatre that includes performances, workshops, and gatherings at several venues around the city.
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Winchester is the home of Blue Apple Theatre, a theatre company that supports performers with learning disabilities to develop theatre, dance and film productions.
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Winchester had its own radio station, Win FM, from October 1999 to October 2007.
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In March 2016, Winchester was named as the best place to live in Britain by the "Sunday Times Best Places To Live" guide.
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Winchester gave its name to a suburb of Paris, from a manor built there by John of Pontoise, Bishop of Winchester, at the end of the 13th century.
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