Winchester College Publication A Winchester Walk - Page 6

A Winchester Walk 6
Surviving 1390s glass of the Jesse Window , Thurburn ’ s Chantry , Chapel .
Beyond Middle Gate is Chamber Court , home since the earliest days of College to the 70 Scholars who slept , worked , studied , prayed and ate in this quadrangle consisting of Chapel , College Hall , the old schoolroom ( Seventh Chamber ) and dormitories (‘ Chambers ’), then at ground-floor level . At this time , ten Fellows , three chaplains , the Headmaster and an assistant master occupied rooms on the first floor .
From the start , non-Scholars ( or ‘ Commoners ’, a name given to them as they had to pay for their daily food allowance or ‘ commons ’) were educated alongside the Scholars ( though most were accommodated separately ). The statutes provided for ten Commoners ; today , there are over 600 , living in ten separate boarding Houses to the west of the main site .
College Hall and Chapel occupy the south range of the quadrangle , of dressed stone rather than the vernacular flint used elsewhere . Though much altered since Wykeham ’ s day , both buildings still fulfil the functions established by the Founder : regular prayer and regular feeding , though the quality of food has mercifully improved since the days when meals were identified by different nicknames , all equally unappealing : Cat ’ s Head , Fat Flab , Flesh , Long Dispar , Middle Cut , Rack .
Wykeham entrusted William Wynford ( died 1405 ) with the building of most of the medieval buildings of the school . Wynford , a master mason , had honed his skills at Windsor Castle , Wells Cathedral and New College , Oxford , before starting work at Winchester ( from 1386 ).
Much of the stone he used was shipped from the Isle of Wight , transported by horse and cart before being shaped on site .
On entering Chapel , bright with its late- Georgian glass , look up at the fine painted wooden vaulting above , designed by Hugh Herland , King Richard II ’ s chief carpenter . Thurburn ’ s Chantry is to the south-west ; it contains some of the Chapel ’ s medieval glass , taken out in the 1820s , and repositioned here thanks to the generosity of Kenneth Clark and others . Exit Chapel , go through Seventh Chamber Passage ( the racks on the left-hand side were built for boaters and top hats when boys wore such things , taking them off before entering Chapel ) and turn left into the 14thcentury courtyard of Cloisters , with its 15thcentury chantry chapel ( a place of perpetual prayer for the souls of the dead , built in memory of John Fromond , a steward of the College ’ s estates ).
The walls of Cloisters are decorated with plaques to Wykehamists and College servants , some famous , some obscure . Look for the mountaineer George Leigh Mallory ’ s memorial in the northeast corner , ‘ who was lost to human sight between heaven and earth while attempting to reach the summit of Everest June 8th , 1924 ’. And at the opposite end of East Walk , in a pavement memorial , Latin testimony to the Wykehamist Thomas Welsted , who was killed by a falling stone ‘ and therefore proceeded to Heaven rather than to Oxford ’.
Until the building of School ( see below ) in the