In establishing the school, it was William of Wykeham’s intention that “Christ may be more fervently and frequently preached, and faith and the worship of God's name increased and more firmly maintained.” Today, whilst remaining true to our origins we welcome pupils and staff from a variety of faiths and beliefs.
Regular worship in the Chapel draws boys inclusively into a community informed by Christian values and Sunday services offer a moment of contemplation and peace for all. On Sunday mornings, there are various Faith Circles held for those of other religions, and a Roman Catholic Mass.
A strong commitment to the choral tradition of the Church is maintained by the renowned Chapel Choir, made up of pupils and staff from across the school, and sixteen Quiristers drawn from The Pilgrims’ School.
Choral Evensong is sung in Chapel at 5:30pm on most Tuesdays, and Sung Eucharist at 5:30pm on most Thursdays during term. Due to COVID restrictions, these services are not currently open to the public but we very much look forward to welcome back a wider congregation soon.
The Chaplaincy plays a key role in promoting the spiritual wellbeing of all the boys. The chaplains support various prayer and discussion groups, and are available to the school community for pastoral and sacramental counsel. A Catholic Chaplaincy is also available.
The inside of Chapel has seen many alterations but still has its original timber cusped lierne-vault, very like a fan-vault, designed by Hugh Herland, Richard II’s chief carpenter. It is thought to be the earliest vault of its kind.
The stained glass is a copy made between 1821 and 1828 by Betton and Evans of the original, made by Thomas Glazier of Oxford between 1392 and 1394. The medieval glass was later relocated and a large section of the original east window, a Tree of Jesse design, was acquired through the generosity of the art historian Kenneth Clark and installed in Thurburn’s Chantry. A further portion, subsequently located, was purchased or gifted to the College and forms the east window of Fromond’s Chantry.
O, Eternal God, the life and the resurrection of all them that believe in thee, always to be praised as well for the dead as for those that be alive, we give thee most hearty thanks for our Founder, William of Wykeham, and all other our benefactors, by whose benefits we are here brought up to godliness and the studies of good learning; beseeching thee that we, well using all these thy blessings to the praise and honour of thy Holy Name, may at length be brought to the immortal glory of the Resurrection, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the absence of physical services in the Chapel due to COVID restrictions, the Chaplaincy has developed virtual alternatives. Please find a selection of these below including; Founder's Obit - an annual commemoration of the death of the school's founder, William of Wykeham. Typically taking place with all pupils and staff at Winchester Cathedral, this year's digital alternative reminds us of Wykeham's legacy. (Filmed in September 2020) and Remembrance Day 2020.
16th October 2020
'A Winter's Night' is a wonderful collection of Christmas classics and choral music from Winchester's Chapel Choir. Released on Signum records on 16 October 2020.
1st June 2020
Two brothers write of their experiences of lockdown together, with one studying for exams, and the other continuing his singing, remotely.
31st May 2020
Quiristers have been singing at Winchester College since 1394. The current situation could not be allowed to disrupt that tradition. Therefore online rehearsals and recording individual voices remotely have become the new ways of keeping the sound of Chapel Choir with us.
13th April 2020
In celebrating Easter - despite being separated from one another - James McKinnel finds reassurance that love, life and hope will win out in the end.
6th April 2020
Marking the start of Holy Week, the College Chaplain considers how we keep going when told to socially distance ourselves from ones we love.
27th March 2020
Whilst we are unable to gather for our Passiontide Service, it is still possible to share the music we would have enjoyed, and find a moment of peace.