St Swithun's Church

St Swithun's Church

The church of St Swithun's over Kingsgate is first recorded in 1264 and although the church is now in use it was in a ruinous condition by the 17th century. The Kingsgate historically belonged to the Cathedral Priory and the present structure is 14th century in date. It replaced an earlier building that was gutted by fire in the year 1264 when the citizens of Winchester attacked the Prior and monks for fear they were going to allow Simon de Montfort into the city. This was a time when de Montfort and the barons were in dispute with King Henry III with the city supporting the King and the Priory supporting de Montfort.


An article in the Hampshire Observer in September 1928 quoted an unknown publication from 1772 in which King John is credited with having built the Kingsgate to ease entry into this part of the city. The church was said to have already existed as part of the walls and that it was rebuilt over the new gateway. Another theory is that the gateway was put through the wall to aid entry and exit for the Prior and Bishop. However, all this is local legend as Kingsgate is recorded in the Winton Domesday of c.1110 as Chingeta and there may well have been a gateway in this position dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. The alignment of the north/south roads of Roman Winchester suggests that the Kingsgate was the site of a gateway in the Roman walls and large foundation stones have been observed.


The Kingsgate is located at the junction of St Swithun Street, Kingsgate Street and College Street, Winchester.