History Originally the most important royal church in Anglo-Saxon England, by the turn of the 10th century Winchester was home to a community of monks who lived a peaceful life, praying eight times each day. Gradually the Bishop built the church up into a thriving Cathedral that towered over Winchester. The bones of a previous Bishop, St Swithun, were dug up and placed in a shrine, becoming widely famed for their healing powers. People would make the pilgrimage from all across Europe, and legend has it that the wall round his shrine was adorned with crutches of the people his bones had healed. Henry VIII's reign brought many of England's monasteries to their untimely closure, so down came St Swithun's Priory to be reinstated as a Church of England Cathedral. By the early 16th century, much of the cathedral you can see today had been rebuilt, and would continue standing with the help of deep-sea diver William Walker, who worked tirelessly for six years underwater to stabilise the Cathedral's subsiding foundations.