Windsor Castle, England


East Terrace, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

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The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.

Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become “the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England”.[6] Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.
Wikipedia

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Long Walk. Windsor Castle.
Postmarked 1907.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

A dramatic first impression is exactly what Charles II intended when he created the Long Walk between 1683 and 1685. As part of a major programme of improvements to the Castle, the King restored Windsor’s Great Park, which had been divided and sold off by Parliamentarians during the Civil War. By planting trees, taking land out of arable use and bringing in over 500 deer from Germany and Richmond Park, he turned the land south of the Castle back into a great royal hunting forest. To connect the Castle and the Great Park, he ordered a ruler-straight avenue of four rows of elms stretching for two and a half miles.
Royal Collection Trust


Windsor Castle, South Front
c.1920
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Henry VIII. Gateway, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons


Windsor Castle, the Round Tower

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At the heart of Windsor Castle is the Middle Ward, a bailey formed around the motte or artificial hill in the centre of the ward. The motte is 50 feet (15 m) high and is made from chalk originally excavated from the surrounding ditch. The keep, called the Round Tower, on the top of the motte is based on an original 12th-century building, extended upwards in the early 19th century under architect Jeffry Wyatville by 30 ft (9 m) to produce a more imposing height and silhouette. The interior of the Round Tower was further redesigned in 1991–3 to provide additional space for the Royal Archives, an additional room being built in the space left by Wyatville’s originally hollow extension. The Round Tower is in reality far from cylindrical, due to the shape and structure of the motte beneath it.
Wikipedia.

The walls of the Castle were originally made of timber, but in the late 12th century Henry II began to replace them with stone. The original Norman keep was rebuilt as the Round Tower in 1170, and the entire outer perimeter was renewed over the next 60 years. . . .The gothic transformation of the Castle continued after George IV came to the throne in 1820. George IV and his artistic adviser Sir Charles Long wanted the exterior of the Castle to have a more imposing appearance. They raised the height of the Round Tower, reclothed the exterior in massive masonry and added towers and battlements.
Royal Collection Trust


Windsor Castle. The Presence Chamber.
1910-1940

Queens’s Presence Chamber: Royal Collection Trust


Windsor Castle. The Throne Room.
c.1910
Publisher: F. Frankel & Co. (1904-1916)

GARTER THRONE ROOM: Created as part of Jeffry Wyatville’s reconstruction of the Castle, the Garter Throne Room served as Queen Victoria’s principle Throne Room, and is still the room where new Knights and Ladies of the Garter are invested by the Queen.
Royal Collection Trust


Windsor Castle The Rubens Room.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

KING’S DRAWING ROOM: Originally the room where Charles II would receive important visitors and hold court assemblies, by the time of Queen Victoria this had become known as the ‘Rubens Room’, as it was hung entirely with works by or thought to be by the Flemish painter.
Royal Collection Trust


The Vandyke Room, Windsor Castle
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: F.G.O. Stuart (1902-1923)

QUEENS’ GALLERY Until the creation of the Grand Reception Room and Waterloo Chamber in the 1830s, this was the principle ballroom of the castle. The room took on its present appearance during the reign of Queen Victoria, when it was hung exclusively with portraits by Anthony van Dyck. These include The Five Eldest Children of Charles I, and George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-87), and Lord Francis Villiers (1629-48). The magnificent chandeliers were also hung at this time. The silver furniture in this room, including an English table and mirror originally made for Kensington Palace, and a side table made for Charles II, are exceptionally rare survivals of perhaps the ultimate symbol of prestige and power.
Royal Collection Trust.


Windsor Castle, Horseshoe Cloisters
c.1920
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Google Street View.

At the west end of the Lower Ward is the Horseshoe Cloister, originally built in 1480, near to the chapel to house its clergy. It houses the vicars-choral, or lay clerks of the chapel. This curved brick and timber building is said to have been designed to resemble the shape of a fetlock, one of the badges used by Edward IV. George Gilbert Scott heavily restored the building in 1871 and little of the original structure remains.
Wikipedia.


Windsor Castle: Lower Ward & St George’s Chapel
c.1920
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Google Street View.

The Lower Ward lies below and to the west of the Round Tower, reached through the Norman Gate. Originally largely of medieval design, most of the Lower Ward was renovated or reconstructed during the mid-Victorian period by Anthony Salvin and Edward Blore, to form a “consistently Gothic composition”. The Lower Ward holds St George’s Chapel and most of the buildings associated with the Order of the Garter. On the north side of the Lower Ward is St George’s Chapel. This huge building is the spiritual home of the Order of the Knights of the Garter and dates from the late 15th and early 16th century, designed in the Perpendicular Gothic style.
Wikipedia.

The walls of the Castle were originally made of timber, but in the late 12th century Henry II began to replace them with stone. The original Norman keep was rebuilt as the Round Tower in 1170, and the entire outer perimeter was renewed over the next 60 years. Henry III completely rebuilt Henry II’s buildings in the Lower Ward and added a large new chapel, all around a courtyard with a cloister. He further improved the private apartments in the Upper Ward and completed the circuit of stone walls round the Lower Ward.
Royal Collection Trust


Windsor Castle – Interior of St. George’s Chapel
Publisher: Brooks’ Stores

College of St George: 360o Virtual Tours

St George’s Chapel within the grounds of Windsor Castle is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. Construction of the present Chapel began in 1475 under the reign of Edward IV.
Royal Collection Trust

St. George’s Chapel was a popular destination for pilgrims during the late medieval period, as it was considered to contain several important burials: the bodies of John Schorne and Henry VI and a fragment of the True Cross held in a reliquary called the Cross of Gneth. It was seized from the Welsh people by Edward II after his conquest along with other sacred relics. These relics all appear to have been displayed at the eastern end of the south choir.

The Chapel suffered a great deal of destruction during the English Civil War. Parliamentary forces broke into and plundered the chapel and treasury on 23 October 1642. Further pillage occurred in 1643 when the fifteenth-century chapter house was destroyed, lead was stripped off the chapel roofs, and elements of Henry VIII’s unfinished funeral monument were stolen. Following his execution in 1649, Charles I was buried in a small vault in the centre of the choir at St. George’s Chapel which also contained the coffins of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. A programme of repair was undertaken at St. George’s Chapel after the Restoration.
Wikipedia.


The Albert Memorial Chapel, Windsor.
c.1910
Publisher: F.G.O. Stuart, (1902-23)

At the east end of St George’s Chapel is the Lady Chapel, originally built by Henry III in the 13th century and converted into the Albert Memorial Chapel between 1863 and 1873 by George Gilbert Scott. Built to commemorate the life of Prince Albert, the ornate chapel features lavish decoration and works in marble, glass mosaic and bronze by Henri de Triqueti, Susan Durant, Alfred Gilbert and Antonio Salviati.
Wikipedia.

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