06 Jun 2008 • 3,007 views
Alfred, King of Wessex and all England.
The last of this group of pictures from Winchester is of King Alfred.
He stands offering his sword - not in anger, but presented downwards with the hilt forming a cross, the symbol of Christianity and peace - to the people of Winchester, the Kingdom of Wessex and all England. This statue is at the end of The Broadway and only a hundred yards or so from the Guildhall. - here -
which is where we started this little tour.
On the plinth is the inscription :-
TO THE FOUNDER OF THE KING AND NATION
D. OCTOBER DCCCCI
WINCHESTER AND THE ENGLISH NAME
EARL OF ROSEBERRY - ORATOR
HAMO THORNEYCROFT - SCULPTOR
ALFRED BOWKER - MAYOR
More information from - King Alfred in Winchester -
This magnificent bronze Statue, by Hamo Thornycroft, was commissioned by Alderman Bowker and the City Corporation to mark the millennium of Aelfred's death. It was erected in 1901. It is 2.5 times life size, 15 feet (4.57 m) high, and weighs 5 tons. The base, in two parts, is of Cornish Granite, and the whole stands 40 ft high. The right hand grasps a cross-hilted sword, the symbol of Christianity which was to combat the power of heathenism. The left foot strides forward in a rather Pharonic gesture of Kingship and the subjugation of ones enemies. A Saxon helmet crowns the head, and the left hand rests lightly upon a Saxon circular shield. The cloak, thrown back over the right shouder, shelters the King and encourages the viewer to walk around the statue to view it face on. The granite pedestal bears just one word - AELFRED.
A plaque in the grass alongside the statue says :-
"Alfred, King of the West Saxons (AD 871-899) drove the Danish invaders from Wessex. He created fortified centres, of which Winchester, the largest, was his capital.
During his reign the streets in use today were first established.
Alfred was the most esteemed of English Kings. He encouraged the revival of learning and monastic life, and laid the foundation for a Kingdom of England.
This statue by Hamo Thorneycroft, was erected in 1901."
So, you see, King Alfred did a bit more than burn a few cakes.
I have cheated a bit with this picture because I replaced some of the area of white cloud with a shade of blue, it looks so much nicer and seemed to fit the rest of the picture. This is one of my favourite statues, anywhere. I hope I've done him justice.
addenda July 2009
I have just found - these pages - which show the statue being erected. Interesting, I think.