Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Guincestre, Wincestre, Wynchester

Winchester is a historic city located in Hampshire, south central England.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was founded by King Hudibras in the tenth century BC. Winchester is named by Geoffrey as the location of the second battle between Arthur and Mordred, following the battle of Richborough and preceding the battle at the River Camel.

Wace says that Guerdon was Arthur’s Earl of Winchester, Layamon gives this distinction to Mauron. Chrétien de Troyes and other writers say that Arthur occasionally held court here.

The Vulgate Merlin describes Winchester as a seaport and says that Ambrosius and Uther landed there on their way to conquer Britain from Vortigern. In the Post-Vulgate, it is fortified by Mordred’s two sons after the death of Arthur and Mordred. Lancelot defeated and killed the sons there. In Palamedes, it serves as the locale of a tournament won by Segurant the Brown.

Arthour and Merlin names it as Constantine’s burial place, the site of Maine’s (Constans’) murder, the court where Uther received the crown of Britain, and the location of a battle where Uther and Ambrosius fought Vortigern and Hengist the Saxon.

Finally, in Malory, the city is identified with Camelot itself. It was the location of three great tournaments in the waning days of Arthur’s reign. Malory’s assertion may have been influenced by the Winchester Round Table. Chrétien de Troyes, however, who elsewhere gave us our first named record of Camelot, cites Winchester under its own name as among Arthur’s court cities.

Leaving Southampton on a May daybreak, and following the direct route, Alexander and his Greek companions arrived in Winchester before 06.00 a.m. to find Arthur.

Winchester | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period
Winchester, known as Venta Belgarum in Roman times, was an important Roman town in the first century AD. It served as a regional administrative center and marketplace, with significant Roman structures and roads. The city was part of the Roman province of Britannia.

Anglo-Saxon Period
After the Romans left Britain in the fifth century, the Anglo-Saxons established control over the region. Winchester became the capital of the Kingdom of Wessex in the ninth century, with King Alfred the Great choosing it as his royal residence.

King Alfred the Great
King Alfred played a crucial role in the city’s history during the late ninth century. He is known for his efforts to resist Viking invasions and to promote learning and scholarship. He established a royal mint in Winchester and supported the city’s growth as a political and cultural center.

Ecclesiastical Center
Winchester became an important ecclesiastical center during the Anglo-Saxon period, with the establishment of the Old Minster and the New Minster monastic foundations. These institutions played a significant role in the religious and cultural life of the region.

Transition to Medieval Period
By the end of the ninth century, Winchester was one of the leading cities in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and it continued to play a prominent role in the consolidation of England under the reign of King Alfred’s successors.

See also
Amphibalus | The Legend of King Arthur
Astolat | The Legend of King Arthur
Bishop of the Butterfly | The Legend of King Arthur
Cadbury Castle | The Legend of King Arthur
Camelot | The Legend of King Arthur
Constans of England | The Legend of King Arthur
Duke of Gore | The Legend of King Arthur
Earl of Winchester | The Legend of King Arthur
Eopa | The Legend of King Arthur
Guerdon | The Legend of King Arthur
Guillac of Denmark | The Legend of King Arthur
Guinnon | The Legend of King Arthur
Hudibras | The Legend of King Arthur
Maurin | The Legend of King Arthur
Melehan | The Legend of King Arthur
Melou | The Legend of King Arthur
Pandragon | The Legend of King Arthur
Peter des Roches | The Legend of King Arthur
Saint David’s | The Legend of King Arthur
Tournament | The Legend of King Arthur
Vortigern’s Tower | The Legend of King Arthur
Worcester | The Legend of King Arthur

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Brut | Layamon, late 12th century to mid-13th century
Cligés | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Second Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Attributed to Wauchier of Denain, c. 1200
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Mort Artu | 1230-1240
Palamedes | c. 1240
Arthour and Merlin | Late 13th century
The Stanzaic Le Morte Arthur | 14th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470