PLANS have been approved to install a statue of an iconic Winchester woman at the city’s Discovery Centre.

The tribute to Medieval businesswoman Licoricia of Winchester and her son Asser are set to be erected at the site in Jewry Street.

When constructed, the two metre-tall statue will be placed outside the library facing onto Jewry Street.

Licoricia was a member of the significant Jewish community and was murdered in 1277, a killing that was never solved.

She was a highly educated wife and mother and, together with Winchester’s Jewish community, raised funds for Henry III and Queen Eleanor as well as a number of national and local projects, including Hyde Abbey, the Great Hall and Westminster Abbey.

In the Middle Ages Winchester had a thriving and affluent Jewish population, with Licoricia noted as one of the country’s wealthiest women despite a fierce anti-Semitic climate.

In 1290, cash-strapped King Edward I was forced to raise taxes and in exchange for the hike he issued an edict expelling Jews from England.

Winchester Castle even had a tower called the Jews’ Tower where they were imprisoned, yet there is no mention of this in the permanent exhibition at the Great Hall opened in the late 1990s.

The invisibility of the Jews is despite one of the major roads in the city centre being called Jewry Street.

A spokesman for Winchester Discovery Centre said in the plans: “As one of very few statues of women in this country, it will be an inspiration to women, particularly those juggling with work and family responsibilities and will illustrate the role of education in providing opportunities for women.

“It will educate people about Winchester’s important medieval Jewish community, its achievements and its persecution. It will promote religious tolerance and the acceptance of diversity in the community.

“The statue will be of national interest and a lasting enhancement to the city of Winchester.”

As previously reported, the Winchester Discovery Centre first opened its doors on November 27, 2007, and was designed by Hampshire County Council to blend a traditional library with a performance hall, art gallery and cafe.

In its first decade, the discovery centre has seen three million book loans, as well as welcoming half a million visitors and serving 55,000 cups of tea and coffee a year.

Last November, the centre celebrated its 10th anniversary, welcoming members of the public and dignitaries to an event which saw a cake covered in children’s book character presented.

The creation of the Discovery Centre saw the restoration of the existing Grade II* listed former Corn Exchange and library, which was originally built in 1838.

The statue plans, submitted by William Carver of The Licoricia of Winchester Statue Appeal, were approved by city council planning officers without objection.