Winchester had a bad time during the Civil Wars. This is an edited account of some of the damage inflicted by the victorious Parliamentarian troops in December 1642:
The surrender of Winchester Castle took away the last check upon Sir William Waller MP's forces, and Wednesday was spent by the soldiers in plundering the city and the Close.
On Thursday, December 14, 1642 the doors of the Cathedral were violently broken open, and the army started to deface that glorious church.
The House of Commons, on September 8, 1641, ordered the removal of the Communion Table from the east-end of the church, chapel, or chancel, into some other convenient place, to remove the rails, and to level the chancels.
Crucifixes, pictures of the Holy Trinity, and images of the Virgin were to be destroyed, and all tapers, candlesticks, and basons were to be removed from the Communion Table.
Mercurius Rusticus (p. 144): "The doors being open as if they meant to invade God himself, as well as His profession, they enter the church with colors flying, their drums beating, their matches fired, and that all might have their part in so horrid an attempt, some of their troops of horse also accompanied them in their march, and rode up through the body of the church and quire, until they came to the altar; there they begin their work, they rudely plucked down the table, and break the rail, and afterwards carrying it to an ale-house, they set it on fire, and in that fire burnt the books of Common Prayer, and all the singing books belonging to the quire; they throw down the organ, and break the stones of the Old and New Testament, curiously cut out in carved work, beautified with colours, and set round about the top of the stalls of the quire; from hence they turn to the monuments of the dead, some they utterly demolish, others they deface.
They begin with Bishop Fox his chappel, which they utterly deface, they break all the glass windows of this chappel, not because they had any pictures in them, either of Patriarch, Prophet, Apostle, or Saint, but because they were of painted coloured glass; they demolished and overturned the monuments of Cardinal Beaufort, son to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, by Katharine Swinfort, founder of the hospital of S. Cross, near Winchester, who sate Bishop of this See 43 years.
They deface the monument of William of Wainflet, Bishop likewise of Winchester, Lord Chancellor of England, and the magnificent founder of Magdalen College in Oxford, which monument in a grateftil piety, being lately beautified by some that have or lately have had, relation to that foundation, made these rebels more eager upon it, to deface it, but while that colledge, the unparalleled example of his bounty, stands in despight of the malice of these inhuman rebels, William of Wainflet cannot want a more lasting monument to transmit his memory to posterity.