City and administrative district (pop., 2001: 107,213), central part of the administrative and historic county of Hampshire, England. Initially founded by Celtic peoples, it became important as Venta Belgarum under Roman rule. It was the capital of Wessex and a centre of learning under Alfred the Great; later it was the seat of the Danish king Canute's government. It remained important under the Norman kings until the emergence of London as the sole capital of England late in the 12th century. Winchester is known for its cathedral (11th–14th centuries), Britain's longest (556 ft [169 m]), and for Winchester College, founded in 1382.