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Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England.

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This became a cathedral in the 660s when the West Saxon bishopric was transferred from Dorchester-on-Thames.

The present form of the city dates to reconstruction in the late 9th century, when king Alfred the Great obliterated the Roman street plan in favour of a new grid in order to provide better defence against the Vikings.

The three minsters were the home of what architectural historian John Crook describes as "the supreme artistic achievements" of the Winchester School.

There was a fire in the city in 1141 during the Rout of Winchester.

Three notable bronze sculptures can be seen in or from the High Street by major sculptors of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the earliest a monumental statue of Queen Victoria, now in the Great Hall, by Sir Alfred Gilbert (also known as the sculptor of 'Eros' in London's Piccadilly Circus), King Alfred, facing the city with raised sword from the centre of The Broadway, by Hamo Thornycroft and the modern striking Horse and Rider by Dame Elizabeth Frink at the entrance to the Law Courts.

The novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817 and is buried in the cathedral.

While staying in Winchester from mid-August to October 1819, the Romantic poet John Keats wrote "Isabella", "St.

Agnes' Eve", "To Autumn", "Lamia" and parts of "Hyperion" and the five-act poetic tragedy "Otho The Great".

He created the drainage system, the 'Lockburn', which served as the town drain until 1875, and still survives.

Also in the late tenth century, the Old Minster was enlarged as a centre of the cult of the ninth century Bishop of Winchester, Saint Swithun.

It seems to have been known as Wentā or Venta, from the Brittonic for "town" or "meeting place".) of the Belgae and was distinguished as Venta Belgarum, "Venta of the Belgae".

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