/win"ches'teuhr, -cheuh steuhr/, n.1. a city in Hampshire, in S England: cathedral; capital of the early Wessex kingdom and of medieval England. 88,700.2. a town in E Massachusetts, near Boston. 20,701.3. a city in N Virginia: Civil War battles 1862, 1864. 20,217.4. a city in E central Kentucky. 15,216.5. a town in NW Connecticut. 10,841.6. See Winchester rifle.7. Computers. See Winchester disk.
* * *ICity and administrative district (pop., 2001: 107,213), central part of the administrative and historic county of Hampshire, England.Initially founded by Celtic peoples, it became important as Venta Belgarum under Roman rule. It was the capital of Wessex and a centre of learning under Alfred the Great; later it was the seat of the Danish king Canute's government. It remained important under the Norman kings until the emergence of London as the sole capital of England late in the 12th century. Winchester is known for its cathedral (11th–14th centuries), Britain's longest (556 ft [169 m]), and for Winchester College, founded in 1382.II(as used in expressions)Hawks Howard WinchesterWinchester Oliver FisherWavell of Eritrea and of Winchester Archibald Percival Wavell 1st Earl
* * *town and city (district), in the central part of the administrative and historic county of Hampshire, England, best known for its cathedral. The town lies in the valley of the River Itchen. Although few traces of the ancient Venta Belgarum remain, its central position in the Roman road system points to its early importance. The West Saxon episcopal see was removed there from Dorchester in the 7th century, and Winchester became the capital of the kingdom of Wessex. Under the Saxon bishops and Alfred the Great (ruled 871–899) Winchester became a centre of learning. It was also the seat of the Danish king Canute's government (ruled 1016–35), and several early kings, including Alfred and Canute II, were buried there. Its prosperity continued after the Norman Conquest (1066), when it benefitted from its proximity to the English Channel port of Southampton 12 miles (19 km) to the south, which provided access to the royal possessions in Normandy. One of the earliest seats of the English wool and cloth trade—its merchant guild dates to Saxon times—it gained further importance with William II's 11th-century grant to Bishop Walkelin of the Fair of St. Giles, which was maintained until the 19th century. In the 13th century, Winchester contained a large Jewish community, commemorated in the street name Jewry. During the civil wars of Stephen's reign (1135–54) the city was burned, and thereafter London, with greater geographical advantages, superseded it as England's leading city.Winchester has grown only modestly in modern times. It remains an important agricultural market centre, and its administrative functions as the long-established county town have grown. There is little manufacturing. The residential attractiveness of Winchester has brought commuters and retired persons in increasing numbers.The glory of the historic city is its great cathedral, the longest (556 feet [169 metres]) in England. The original Saxon Cathedral Church of St. Swithun was replaced by the Norman structure of Bishop Walkelin (1070–98). The nave is Perpendicular work of the great 14th-century bishops William of Edington and William of Wykeham. The cathedral was built on piles in the alluvium of the Itchen Valley floor and has required extensive 20th-century restoration, including underpinning of its insecure foundations. Of the Norman castle, only the great hall remains. King's Gate and West Gate are surviving gateways of the medieval city wall, and there is a graceful city cross. The Hospital of St. Cross (1136) is a unique example of a medieval almshouse still maintained. Among many educational institutions the most famous is the boys' school, Winchester College, founded by William of Wykeham in 1382.The city constitutes a district that extends well beyond the historic cathedral town to include a broad rural area. There are army and navy establishments within the district. Trout fishing is popular in the Itchen Valley. Area city (district), 255 square miles (659 square km). Pop. (2001) town, 41,420; (2004 est.) city (district), 110,000.city, seat (1738) of Frederick county (though administratively independent of it), northern Virginia, U.S. It lies at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia)Pennsylvania Quakers first settled in the area in 1732. Fredericktown (as it was first known) was founded there by Colonel James Wood in 1744, near the site of a Shawnee Indian village, on lands belonging to Thomas, 6th Baron Fairfax of Cameron (Fairfax, Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Baron); since c. 1750 it has been the site of the county courthouse. Renamed in 1752 for Winchester, England, it served as George Washington (Washington, George)'s headquarters when he surveyed lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (Blue Ridge) and again when he commanded Virginia troops during the French and Indian War. Washington's surveying office, which he used while constructing Fort Loudoun (1756–57; a remnant remains), is now a museum. During the American Civil War, Winchester changed hands repeatedly; the area was the site of six battles and served as the headquarters for Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (Jackson, Thomas Jonathan) (Confederate) and Philip Sheridan (Sheridan, Philip H.) (Union).The city, in the heart of an apple-growing region, is a processing centre. The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is an annual event in April–May. Manufactures include rubber goods, plastics, tin cans, and textiles. Orland E. White Arboretum at Blandy Farm, the state arboretum, is just east of Winchester. The city is home to Shenandoah University (1875) and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (2005), which is the centrepiece of a complex that also includes gardens and a historic home. Winchester is the birthplace of polar explorer Richard E. Byrd (Byrd, Richard E.), country music singer Patsy Cline (Cline, Patsy), and writer Willa Cather (Cather, Willa). Inc. town, 1779; city, 1874. Pop. (1990) 21,947; (2000) 23,585; (2003 est.) 24,434.
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