Virtual Tour

Area 4 (Retro-Choir)

General view of Retrochoir

The Retro-choir is thought by many to be the loveliest part of the Cathedral, with superb spatial qualities. The design is 13th century Early English, though the blind tracery on the west walls dates from the following century.

Blind Tracery

This area was used as the Bishop's Court, and during the reign of Queen Mary I heresy trials were held here. Among those condemned to death by Bishop Gardiner of Winchester were Prebendary John Rogers, burnt at Smithfield, and Bishop Hooper who was returned to his cathedral city of Gloucester to be burnt.

In the early part of Queen Elizabeth I's reign, this area was no longer used for services, and was screened off. It was let to a baker and shortly afterwards the vestry men were disturbed to discover that he was also keeping pigs in the building!

By 1623, the retro-choir was once more part of the church.

Nowadays, there are four chapels, divided by screens designed by Sir Ninian Comper. He also designed the chapels' furnishings.

St Andrew's Chapel

St Andrew's Chapel

In this Chapel are commemorated those who live and die under the shadow of HIV and AIDS. This is a very contemporary concern for a disease that affects large groups of men, women and children worldwide, particularly in Africa. A communion service is held for them every Saturday at 9.15 am.

 

Click here to find out more about other HIV and AIDs memorials worldwide.

 

St Christopher's Chapel

St Christopher's Chapel

This chapel was designed as a children's chapel. The painted panel behind the altar includes butterflies, symbols of resurrection and human souls.

The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel

Originally this chapel extended further east and the foundations can be seen in the east churchyard outside.

St Francis of Assisi and St Elizabeth of Hungary Chapel

St Francis of Assisi and St Elizabeth of Hungary Chapel

Both saints were known for their concern for the poor. Those employed in social work are especially commemorated in this chapel.

Impressive stained glass window by Alan Younger

On the south side of the St Francis and St Elizabeth Chapel is an impressive stained glass window by Alan Younger.

Four bands of colour depict the seasons and the natural elements, pierced by three white shafts representing the Trinity and sub-dividing into twelve spaces representing the months and the Apostles.

Rider Memorial Window

In the south wall is the Rider Memorial Window, commemorating the builder of the nave in 1895. It show's scenes from the Cathedral's history. In the left upper light the nun's ferry is shown and below it, Bishop Peter des Roches surveys the smoking ruins of the priory in 1212. In the centre light are the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated; Christ holds a set square 'by which we might shape our lives'. Beneath them are depicted Bishops Giffard and Talbot. In the right-hand light is Bishop Yeatman-Biggs surveying the building of the new nave in 1895, whilst below are portraits of donors throughout the ages. What makes this window particularly interesting is a series of drawings in brown stain of workers: masons, plasterers, carpenters and stained-glass artists can be seen whilst Mr Rider is sitting in an armchair, holding plans of the nave.

Diamond Jubilee window

Diamond Jubilee

 

 

 

 

 

A window designed by Leifur Breidfjörd for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 completes the range of stained glass found in this area of the Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond Jubilee window