A city situated on the right bank of the Itchin on the eastern declivity of a hill, gradually sloping to the river, nearly in the centre of the county. From its having been founded in a chalky soil, it was called by the Britons Gaer Gwent or the White city, by the  Romans it was called Venta Belgarum,  by the Saxons it was called Witcanceaster. Under the Romans and while in their occupation,this city became a very considerable place. Here they manufactured cloth for the Emperor and army with all sorts of linen and here they kept all the  public archives and records.

During the latter part of the reign of Charles II Winchester appeared to be in a fiar way of regaining much of its former splendour being the constant residence of that king, when business did not require his  presence in London. He also purchased the site and remains of the antient castle and began to erect a spacious and magnificent castle, the shell of which  yet remains. It was never finished  but has ben fitted up of late years for the  reception of prisoners of war and is now converted  into barracks.

The city is about a mile and a half in circumference round the walks through which there are  6 gates and suburbs leading to everyone of them. It contained formerly 32 parish churches but at present there are only 6 beside the cathedral which is  a large and beautiful structure.

Text : Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales and Traveller’s Companion etc., (1807) Published by B Crosby and Co, Stationer’s-Court, Ludgate Street, London.

(NOTE : this was the same firm of publishers, owned by Benjamin Crosby, who bought the copyright of Northanger Abbey, then known by the title “Susan”, in 1803 for £10 but never published it. Jane Austen eventually purchased the manuscript back from them . The correspondence between them included her famous letter of April 5, 1809 which she wrote under the pseudonym of Mrs Ashton Dennis thus enabling her to end the letter with the following phrase, I AM GENTLEMEN, MAD.)

Jane Austen References

May 24th 1817 Jane Austen moved from Chawton to Winchester, Hampshire to be treated for her illness. She did not return to Chawton but died in lodgings at a house, 8 College Street, Winchester on Friday, July 18th 1817, aged 41. She was buried at Winchester Cathedral on July 24th, 1817.

The Letters

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 27th October 1798

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 1st December 1798

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 8th January 1799

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 21st January 1799

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 25th october 1800

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 20th November 1800

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 7th January 1807

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 26th June 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 7th october 1808

Letter to Alethea Bigg dated 24th January 1817

Letter to Anne Sharp dated 22nd May 1817

Letter to James Edward Austen dated 27thMay 1817

Letter to Frances Tilson dated 28th May 1817

Letter from Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight dated 20th July 1817