Facts about Winchester
Winchester is a cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, at the western end of the South Downs National Park, on the River Itchen. It is 60 miles (97 km) south-west of London and 14 miles (23 km) from Southampton, the closest other city. At the 2011 census, Winchester had a population of 45,184. The wider City of Winchester district, which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop’s Waltham, has a population of 116,595. Winchester is the county town of Hampshire and contains the head offices of Hampshire County Council.
The area around Winchester has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with three Iron Age hillforts, Oram’s Arbour, St. Catherine’s Hill, and Worthy Down all nearby. In the Late Iron Age, a more urban settlement type developed, known as an oppidum, although the archaeology of this phase remains obscure.The settlement became an important centre for the British Belgae tribe, however it remains unclear how the Belgae came to control the initial settlement. Caesar recorded the tribe had crossed the channel as raiders (probably in the 1st century BCE), only to later establish themselves. The Roman account of continental invaders has been challenged in recent years with scientific studies favouring a gradual change through increased trade links rather than migration.