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Title: Windsor Castle
Author: Thomas, Edward, 1878-1917
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Windsor Castle" ***

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Internet Archive)

[Illustration: THE CURFEW TOWER]


  Described by EDWARD THOMAS
  Pictured by E. W. HASLEHUST




_Blackie & Son's "Beautiful" Series_

Beautiful England


Beautiful Ireland


Beautiful Switzerland




The Curfew Tower                          _Frontispiece_

Windsor Castle from Fellows' Eyot, Eton                8

The Lower Ward, Windsor Castle                        12

The Horse-Shoe Cloisters and St. George's Chapel      16

The Hundred Steps                                     22

The Norman Gate                                       26

The Canons' Cloisters                                 30

Anne Boleyn's Window, Dean's Cloisters                36

North Terrace and Winchester Tower                    40

Nell Gwyn's House and Henry VIII Gateway              44

Eton College from Windsor                             48

Virginia Water                                        52

[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE]


Celebrated places make a strong and often a visual impression upon the
mind before they are seen either in reality or in picture. Windsor
Castle, especially from the west and at some little distance, is one of
those which confirm and even augment, when first seen, the mysterious
vision of the imagination. Seen from the flat meadows of Clewer on a
moist morning, when thrushes are singing in the elms, Windsor Castle
rises up like a cloud in the east, with nothing behind, or on either
side of it, but a sky of dull silver, and nothing below but the smoke
wreaths of the town gently and separately ascending. It is like a cloud,
a huge soft cloud, without motion yet full of change; and it is
presently resolved into the predominant Round Tower, and on one side of
it the perpendicularly carved St. George's Chapel and the Curfew Tower,
on the other side the cliffy, long front of the State Apartments. Even
thus clear, the buildings are as remote as a cloud in a mental
atmosphere of time and undefined associations. For these green meadows
of Clewer belong to to-day. Behind their cheap fences they seem to
expect the builder; they are edged by lowly and modern houses which vote
Liberal and flutter white linen on the grey air. And on every hand the
country is what it has been made within recent times. The river, the
Court, and Eton College have changed the face of this countryside into
something characteristic in every detail of a piece of England which is
both attractive in itself and conveniently near London--almost within
half an hour by rail and hardly more by road, if you ignore the law and
the multitude. It is dotted with neat white-windowed houses of the rich
and comparatively rich. The very dogs are wearing Conservative ribbons
as they trot between their slouching red-faced masters and their
delicately stepping indolent mistresses. The roads are many and
excellent, and the beat of carriage horses' hoofs is a constant music,
though interrupted by the motor car's hoot and throb and hiss. Every
road is "as smooth as a die, a real stockjobber's road". For centuries
the roads to Windsor must have been exceptionally good; in Swift's time
it was little more than a three-hours' journey from London. The inns are
many. Bread and cheese and a drink cost half a crown, by paying which
the visitor confers upon himself a companionship in a nameless but very
honourable Victorian or Edwardian Order. There are many other
instruments of civilization--railway stations, boathouses, Wellington
College, the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, the Royal Holloway
College for Women, not to speak of the racecourses at Ascot and at
Windsor, and the Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, while Aldershot
itself is really in the same district.

On one side of the road from Staines to Old Windsor are gasworks,
perhaps the most impressive and singular of purely modern architectural
monuments; on the other is Runnymede, a vast green level, skirted by the
river and walled by woods, perfectly worthy of the scene of King John's
humiliation and the Barons' triumph in 1215, which have left it probably
as it was before them, except for the hedges of whitethorn. The
Workhouse at Old Windsor lies close to some of the most masculine iron
oaks, some of the quietest reedy water and furry turf. And if the near
neighbourhood of a running river, wide grass, embowered hills, and the
great skies over the Thames, cause new things to rasp a little more
harshly than usual, these in their turn give an exquisite edge to the
rusticity. Nowhere are elmy meadows, mistletoed poplars, willowy
serpentining brooks, sweeter than at Datchet: the very name has a
country sound before it is seen, and without any magical help from _The
Merry Wives of Windsor_. Nowhere more beautifully does the deer trip
half a dozen steps and then rise and glide the same distance with only a
forward motion, than under the spruces, at the edge of the high road,
within half a mile of the confectionery turrets of Holloway College.


This tract of country was one of the earliest to be highly civilized,
and for three centuries the dilettante has admired it. John Evelyn was
at Windsor on June 8, 1654, and found the Castle rooms "melancholy and
of ancient magnificence", but walking on the terrace, he thought that
"Eton, with the park, meandering Thames, and sweet meadows yield one of
the most delightful prospects". Ten years later, Pepys exclaimed: "Lord!
the prospect that is in the balcony in the Queen's lodgings, and the
terrace and walk, are strange things to consider, being the best in the
world, sure". Swift told Stella that Windsor was "a delicious place".
Gray stood on the same terrace looking towards Eton, and wrote a poem
which began as if it was to be his _Ode on the Intimations of
Immortality_, such was the feeling of its first two verses, and these
lines especially:

  I feel the gales that from ye blow
  A momentary bliss bestow.

I forget the rest. Gray had an aunt at Stoke Poges, near Eton, and
visited Stoke Park, where in 1799 a Mr. Penn put up a monument to him as
author of the _Elegy in a Country Churchyard_. As famous by name, but
far less read, is the "Cooper's Hill", which Sir John Denham wrote in
the first year of the Civil War. In the opening lines--

  Sure there are poets who did never dream
  Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
  Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
  Those made not poets, but the poets those.
  And as courts make not kings, but kings the court,
  So where the Muses and their train resort
  Parnassus stands; if I can be to thee
  A poet, thou Parnassus art to me--

the feeling and versification foreshadow much later and better work. But
few readers can now do more than remember having heard the four lines to
the Thames which express the poet's vain aspiration:

  O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
  My great example, as it is my theme!
  Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
  Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.

Denham lived on Cooper's Hill, at Ankerwyke Purnish, three miles from
Windsor; his contemporary, Edmund Waller, at Hall Barn at Beaconsfield,
ten miles away; Milton at Horton and Chalfont; Pope stayed at Binfield,
and, sixty years after Denham's poem, wrote his _Windsor Forest_. With
all his asseveration he does nothing to convince us that he was ever at
Windsor, or that, if so, he was glad to be there. It is hard to believe
that a lover of trees wrote:

  Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
  Th' immortal huntress, and her virgin train;
  Nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen
  As bright a Goddess, and as chaste a Queen;
  Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
  The Earth's fair light, and Empress of the main.

He alludes to Queen Anne. The greater part of the poem is in a language
no longer intelligible, and it should be remembered it was written at
the time when Windsor Park began to be what it now is. I recognize the
same familiar strangeness in the style of an anonymous poet who
described a stag chase in Windsor Forest in 1739. That Frederick, Prince
of Wales, was his theme did not daunt but inspired him, and he says:

  Round Frederick's Brows their Crowns let Dryads wreath,
  Hence taught to grasp at Dangers, Wounds, and Death.

This was a language not only praised by Swift as well as by later
critics, but then commonly understood, though there is no proof that it
was ever spoken. It is fairly certain that an anonymous poet of 1708
represented some inner truth and vision, now alas! irrecoverable, by the
words in his "Windsor Castle":

  Beneath this Palace flows fair Thames's Streams,
  Where spreading Elms shade from the Sun's hot Beams;
  Where beauteous Sea-Nymphs on the Waters sport,
  And bulky Tritons grace the splendid Court.

For him Queen Anne was like the sun, and he believed that:

  Clouds with mourning Sables deck'd the Skies,
  Till Anna like another Sun did rise.

If we take "Queen Anne" as being the equivalent of "Sun", it may still
be possible to make out the cipher which he and Pope used so

These are not the only great men connected with Windsor and the
neighbourhood in the days of its transformation. Cowley, the eagle
Cowley, came to the Porch House at Chertsey for his last years, and died
there in 1667. Colley Cibber, the famous Laureate, was drawn into the
charmed land at Hill House, White Waltham. Later came Thomson to
Richmond. Beaconsfield was the home and burial place of Burke, where
Johnson and Mirabeau talked with him. At St. Anne's Hill, near
Chertsey, Charles James Fox, that lover of nightingales, lived for five
years at the end of his life. It was to Dropmore, and its library and
gardens, that Lord Grenville retired for his last twenty years. And at
Marlow Shelley moored his boat to write _Laon and Cythna_; at
Bishopsgate he wrote _Alastor_; but for a romantic poet to come within a
few miles of Windsor, even though he was once an Etonian, was a rash if
not a sacrilegious act, and it is out of the picture. For this country
is the creation of the ages of Denham and Pope and George the Fourth,
who probably did not read Shelley. The plantation of the two miles of
elms in the Long Walk was begun under Charles II in 1680, and these are
far more impressive than the oaks at Swinley, which remind the
imaginative of Alfred and the Confessor. The straight lines of this Walk
and of Queen Anne's ride dominate the Park. At Cranbourne the
significant fact is not that William the Conqueror's Oak is in the White
Deer Enclosure, but that the racehorse "Eclipse" was born here in 1764.
The Bray Wood oak trees that sprouted in the Middle Ages were suddenly
modernized by being named after Queen Anne and Queen Charlotte.


When Hazlitt went to see the pictures at Windsor, he said: "Pope's lines
on Windsor Forest suggest themselves to the mind and make the air
about it delicate". It looks a little odd to attribute to such a poem
the effect of making the air delicate--Banquo having observed to Duncan
that where the martlets "most breed and haunt ... the air is delicate".
Yet it has a truth. The delicacy is sophisticated; it is the delicacy of
three--not to say nine--centuries of artifice, or of Nature hand in hand
with Sir Christopher Wren, Grinling Gibbons, Antonio Verrio, Alexander
Pope, Esquire, and the great gardeners. This artifice is triumphant on
the East Terrace of the Castle itself, the smooth walk half a mile long,
the orangery, the dark and bright symmetrical Italian garden, with its
marble and bronze statuary and its elephants and nymphs, seen from the
white-and-gold royal dining-room. It is strong on the smooth sculptured
turf below the Round Tower and the rose garden in the ditch, though
quaintly alleviated by the gorse above that; still strong in the avenues
of great elms in the Home Park, the lime trees, the grass, as smooth as
a lake and untrodden save by birds, under the Castle hill and the high
rookery trees. If you escape it among the bracken and the warty oaks of
the Great Park, it is suddenly upon you with violence when you look up
at Snow Hill and see the colossal copper statue of Farmer George on
horseback, more magnificent and less amiable now than in life. It is
more than perfect--it is rampant and even, so far as is consistent with
its formality, rollicking--at Virginia Water, the largest artificial
water in England, completed under George III, with its laced waterfall,
its ruined columns brought from Tripoli by George IV, its marble altar
dedicated to Jupiter Helios; the dark yews, close by, and the cedars and
stone pines of Belvidere Wood; the heronry, and the Fishing Cottage
which imperfectly replaces a Fishing Temple in the Chinese style. If
Pope's "Windsor Forest" has become obscure in the night of two hundred
years, Virginia Water speaks in an unquestionable and still flourishing

The Castle itself, that sublime cloud upon the western horizon, if it is
approached more nearly, is not what it seems when, from a road or river
far to the west, it is fit to embody our fancies of that fairest castle
that man ever saw, in the dream of Maxen; or from the fields of Datchet;
or from the railway arch over the Clewer footpath, which gives a view of
smooth water gleaming between old walls, with swans, placid masts and
curled pennons, and to the left Eton Chapel and its high dark windows
among poplars and serrated roofs in a sky of grey satin, and to the
right the closely gathered huge bulk of the Castle above the small town.

As you walk under the Curfew Tower, the Garter Tower, the Salisbury
Tower, in Thames Street, only the mass and outline announce antiquity;
the streets, the names over the shops, even the old man who has dyed his
white beard to get work as a scaffolder, look more ancient. Doubtless
the jackdaws, gliding straight out into the clear air from the Round
Tower, have been there since Creçy, but the stonework is new. That also
is the work of George IV. Except St. George's Chapel, the timber and
herring-boned brick of the Horse-shoe Cloister, and the stone houses of
the Military Knights where men obviously live, and the tranquil and
leafy Canons' Cloister at the top of the Hundred Steps, most of the
exterior of Windsor looks and is new. There is little foliage on the
walls, very little moss and green mould, and small space given to the
festoons of the bellflower, which contrives its ivy-shaped humid leaves
out of the driest stone. The thrush sings with a clear, wild note that
seems scarcely earned by the barren hard walls. Even if searched for,
ancient buildings are not numerous or easy to find. Part of the lower
story eastward from the Devil's Tower, and some foundations, are of
Henry II's time. From Henry III's more survives--the outer wall on the
west and its three towers, the wall of the South Ambulatory in the
Dean's Cloister, a door behind the altar of the chapel, the remains of
the _Domum Regis_ on the north of the chapel in one of the Canons'
houses, and the King's Hall, now a library. The work of Edward III and
William of Wykeham gives its form to the Castle as a whole. Of Edward
IV's work St. George's Chapel and the Horse-shoe Cloisters remain. St.
George's Chapel is the finest and most perfect survival from the Castle
as it was at the end of the middle ages. Ruskin called it "a very
visible piece of romance". It is exquisite and elaborate. It holds and
embalms the sunlight. It might be called hard, and the nave and aisles
are at first sight a little cold on account of the lack of history,
except for the mildly pathetic monument to George V of Hanover. But the
choir, with its pomp of banners, the swords, helmets, mantels, and arms
of the Garter Knights, is of an incomparable sombre gorgeousness. The
groined vault of the nave of St. George's Chapel, and the Tudor
buildings on the north side, and the south and east walls of the Tomb
House, are Henry VII's; the groined vault of the choir at St. George's,
and the entrance gateway, are Henry VIII's. The gallery and façade, with
the postern at the west end of the North Terrace, are Elizabethan.


The furniture and decorations of the Castle are splendid and costly, but
not of great age. The collection of pictures is as large but not as
well displayed as if it were a public gallery. The tapestries are
more suitable to a residence, if less pleasing in themselves; they
belong to the last two centuries. Grinling Gibbons' life-like carvings
of fish, fowl, and fruit are extraordinarily appropriate here. We miss
Lely's portraits of the beauties of the Restoration, which have gone to
Hampton Court; for they belong to the last period when the Castle was
thoroughly alive, royally and humanly. None of the furniture and
household effects mentioned in an inventory of 1547 is left. There is no
Elizabethan or true Jacobean work, because the furniture was continually
renewed and kept up-to-date in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Nothing has come down from the time of Cromwell's occupation, but much
of Charles II's, William and Mary's, Anne's, and George IV's. George IV
was also the first considerable collector of ancient arms at Windsor.
The armoury is the Prince Consort's. Neither Henry V's "harnois de
teste" worn at Agincourt, nor the white armour of Joan of Arc, said to
have been sent to Henry VI, is anywhere to be seen.

It was probably the greatest work of George IV, with the help of the
architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville, to make Windsor Castle as young as the
Brighton Pavilion. He made it fit for a king of taste to live in. His
raw material was not a mediæval castle slowly accumulated by Angevins,
Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkists, and Tudors, but a mediæval castle
which had been iced or Italianized for Charles II by Wren. Edward III
had been as sweeping, but he destroyed the old and built the new in the
living fashion of his own time. George IV had not the strength or
purpose, though he had the money, to do the same. He lived at the
beginning of an age that knew so much of other ages, what they did, and
how they did it, that it had no trust in itself, seeing itself as but
part of a process, and therefore incapable of acting freely and
instinctively in that co-operation with past and future which makes a
sane and hearty present. If he had lived later in this age, he might
have restored Windsor with more knowledge and less temerity. But it is
better as it is. Better to have what George IV really liked than what a
generation of art critics timidly believes and vociferously asserts to
be correct. He has left us a substantial building of roughly mediæval
appearance which might still enable Burke to compare the British
Monarchy to "the proud keep of Windsor". It is still national in its
magnitude and position, in its history and reputation, as what Michael
Drayton called "that supremest seat of the great English kings".


The singular pride of Windsor Castle's position is clear to all who
travel within a long sight of it by road, river, or rail. Windsor first
owed its importance to its position. It stands upon a single blunt cone
of chalk projecting through the clay of the surrounding low lands, which
the Castle thus overlooks and commands, as from an island, like the
castles of Corfe, Lincoln, Belvoir, and Montacute among others. This
advantage of singular eminence above any other place upon the Thames and
near London was strengthened and served both by the river, which flows
on the north along a winding shore (which was perhaps the origin of the
name Windsor), and by the dense, broad tracts of forest extending far to
the south and west. It lay within a few miles of Staines, and so was
only a long day's march from London, by the Roman road from Winchester
and Silchester which crossed the Thames at that point.

There is no clear evidence of its importance before the Conquest, and in
the _Domesday Book_ Windsor is neither a parish nor a manor. But halfway
between the chalk hill and Staines the Saxon kings had a palace at Old
Windsor. It may have been close to the river, west of Old Windsor
Church, where there used to be a farmstead having a river-fed moat; but
not a sign of this palace remains. Edward the Confessor held his court
there, we know, and the most vivid memory of it is connected with the
year before the landing of the Conqueror. The king was at Old Windsor,
and with him Earl Godwin's two strong sons, Harold and Tostig. Harold
was drinking with Edward, when Tostig seized him by the hair and
shamefully handled him, to the dismay of the household. Harold in return
caught his younger brother up in his arms and dashed him to the floor.
The guards then leapt forward from all sides and forcibly separated the
fighters, while the mild king foretold God's anger and a fatal end to
their violent ways.

Only five years after this, in 1070, the Conqueror held his court on the
hill of what was then New Windsor. In the Domesday survey of 1086 a
castle there is mentioned, but what it was we cannot be sure, and there
are no visible remains of it. The position had struck and pleased the
Conqueror as soldier and hunter, for he not only fortified the hill but
recovered, to form part of a forest, some neighbouring lands which the
Confessor had given to his Abbey of Westminster. The early Norman
castles in England and Normandy were of timber, and consisted of a
ditched and palisaded mound and a court, or several courts, also ditched
and if possible moated with water. Under William the castle tended to
become a high stone keep of rectangular form, with towers at the
corners, depending for its strength upon the thickness of its own walls,
not on a series of outer fortifications. In 1095 Windsor was used as a
prison for Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, by the second
William, but Old Windsor was still at times a royal residence while the
new castle was being built. Henry I added "many fair buildings",
including a chapel, and held his court there for the first time at
Whitsuntide in 1110. At Windsor Henry married his second queen, Alice
the Fair, and there also he kept Whitsuntide when David of Scotland and
the English barons swore fealty to his daughter, the Empress Maud. At
the time of the peace between Henry and Stephen the Castle was the
second fortress in the kingdom, and its castellan, like those of London,
Oxford, Lincoln, and Southampton, gave hostages for its surrender to
Henry in the event of Stephen's death.

Henry II held his court at Windsor at Easter, 1170, accompanied by
William the Lion of Scotland and his brother David; there he held a
parliament in 1175, and often resided; he knighted his son, Prince
John, within its walls; and it is said that one of the apartments was
decorated with a picture of a dying eagle attacked by four eaglets, to
represent himself and his rebel sons. When Richard I lay in prison, on
his way home from the Crusade, John seized Windsor, but was forced by
the barons to give it up. When John succeeded to the kingdom he
frequently kept Christmas at the Castle, and there in 1210 he confined
William de Braose of Bramber's wife and son, and the son's wife, in
chains until they died of hunger and misery. A contemporary says that
the captives were shut in a room with a sheaf of wheat and a piece of
raw bacon, and that in eleven days the mother was found sitting upright
between her son's knees, her head thrown back on his breast, and that
she had gnawed his cheek, probably after his death, as he sat with his
face bowed. From Windsor John rode out to Runnymede in June, 1215, to
sign _Magna Charta_. When he broke his faith soon after, Louis of France
and the English barons subdued all the south of England save Dover and
Windsor. Windsor they besieged with a great force under the Count de
Nevers; but John corrupted him to treachery, and was then free to gather
an army from his garrisons and lay waste the eastern counties, in that
furious and hasty course which led to his death in 1216.

[Illustration: THE HUNDRED STEPS]

John's son, Henry III, was a great builder at Windsor. He raised the
Bell, the Clewer, the Berners, and the Almoners' Towers on the north
side, and on the south-west the Garter and Salisbury Towers, completed
the ditch on the west and added a barbican, and in the upper ward made
two great chambers for himself and his queen, and a chapel with painted
windows. The King's Hall, in the Clewer Tower, is now the Library of the
Dean and Chapter. In 1248 Henry received the Papal nuncios at the
Castle. In 1261 he kept Christmas there with his queen and his daughter,
the Queen of Scotland. It was a fine season, more like summer than
winter, and Margaret of Scotland had come that she might bear her first
child in her native place. She had been born at Windsor in 1240, and
spent her childhood in the Castle with her brother, afterwards Edward I,
who was a year older. Married as a child to Alexander III, she spent an
unhappy girl-wifehood in Scotland, and was not allowed to visit England.
But in 1261 she concealed the nearness of her time from the Scots and
her husband and came to Windsor where, after a long waiting with her
mother, the child was born. There was then no more splendid castle in
Europe, says Matthew of Westminster. As a fortress it was of first
importance, as a palace it was unrivalled. On the outbreak of the war
with the barons Henry's son Edward occupied the Castle, placed his wife
Eleanor there, and strengthened it with foreign troops, who devastated
the surrounding country. It was used as a prison for London citizens.
Two years later, in 1265, it surrendered to de Montfort. After his
death, followed by the Ban of Kenilworth and the conclusion of peace,
Henry came to Windsor again in 1268.

Edward I and his queen often lived at Windsor; three of their children
were born there; and in 1278 he held a tournament in the Park with
thirty-eight of his knights. His son, Edward II, kept Christmas at the
Castle in 1308 and afterwards, and in 1312 his first son, Edward III "of
Windsor", was born there. When the Despensers returned in 1321 and the
opposition barons were put to death, Francis de Aldenham suffered at

Edward III made Windsor his chief residence, and began a remodelling and
rebuilding of the castle which lasted twenty years, though some of it
was done in such haste that assuredly the oak timber did not lie long
enough by the roadside for its ends to bourgeon into gophered fungi of
the colour of gold. It was worth the haste, beyond doubt, for a boy to
see it begun, then in his prime to ride back again and to see suddenly
the whole range of it, beautiful in its pale new stone under the dawn,
the trees of home whispering above him and the night of absence behind.
The Castle of Edward III, in its outline, mass, extent, and arrangement,
has dominated all succeeding changes until the present day, though
little of the actual structure is to be seen except in the Dean's
Cloister, the "Norman" gate at the Round Tower, the vaulted basement of
the Devil's Tower, and the groined vaulting under the north side of the
Castle between the kitchen and King John's Tower. He built the Round
Tower on the mound, the great Hall of St. George, lodgings on the south
and east of the upper ward, a Chapel of St. George (to supplant Henry
I's chapel, dedicated to the Confessor), and the whole circumference of
the walls with their towers and gates. Of those works it is possible to
give some account. "The Tower, though usually called round," says the
historian of the _Life and Times of Edward III_, "is not really so; the
east side next the upper Castle is flattened to accommodate the building
to the form of the mound--a clear proof that the mound was not made for
the tower.... The tower was built entirely in ten months, in the
eighteenth year of Edward III. It was built in great haste by the
special command of the King, to receive the Round Table for the new
order of Knights of the Garter, then just established.... A large
number of hands were employed for a few weeks to collect materials, dig
out stone, fell trees in the forest, prepare lime-pits and sand-pits,
and all things necessary for a great work to be done in a short time.
Many were employed in the royal quarry at Bisham, near Marlow, on the
Thames, a few miles above Windsor, in digging out the chalk or soft
stone there, of which the bulk of the wall consists; but it is faced
with better stone, a large proportion of it having been brought from
Wheatley in Oxfordshire, and a smaller part from Caen. Some of this was
bought in London by the Dean of St. Paul's, who had prepared it for some
other purpose, but as that was not enough, three ships' loads were
brought direct from Caen. The timber must have been used quite green, as
the carpenters were sent out to cut it in the forest. Messengers were
despatched to every part of England to impress the most skilful workmen.
For a short time as many as 600 men were employed in the Castle, and 122
in the quarry in addition. But the number was soon reduced rapidly, the
chroniclers say, on account of the wars, and the consequent want of
money, but more probably because, when the materials were all prepared,
only a small number of hands were required, or could work at the same
time. The drawbridges were strengthened for the purpose of carrying
the materials across them, and in various ways it is evident that the
circular wall which makes the Round Tower was built to receive the Round
Table for the knights to dine at. The table was placed in a wooden
gallery within the tower wall, with a passage under it for the servants,
and an open space in the centre. The building was covered by a roof of
tiles; part of the wooden arcade of the gallery remains, and nearly the
whole of the cornice of the roof with the fine mouldings of the
fourteenth century. There are entries in the accounts for the purchase
of tiles for covering the wall of the building over the Round Table, and
the carting of them from Penn in Buckinghamshire, where they were made.
The kitchen for the table was on the top of the square tower on the
slope of the mound, called the Kitchen Tower, which also served for the
tower of a drawbridge over the moat.... The knights sat on one side only
with their backs to the wall. The King and his sons dined with them all
on the same level, without any high table. The whole cost of the Round
Table, with the tower to contain it, was rather more than £500 of the
money of that day, equal to about £10,000 of modern money."

[Illustration: THE NORMAN GATE]

But the new Castle, though so strong, was to be famous as a palace and a
prison rather than a fortress. In 1347 King David Bruce of Scotland
came to it as a prisoner after his defeat at Neville's Cross. His
confinement in a tower on the south-west wall of the upper ward, and
elsewhere, lasted eleven years, until the ransom of 100,000 marks, equal
to £1,250,000 of our money, was paid. In or about the year of the Black
Death, 1349, Edward founded the Order of the Garter at Windsor, perhaps
in remembrance of the capture of Calais in 1347, perhaps fantastically
influenced by a traditional association of the hill of Windsor with
Arthur and his Round Table. This Order of twenty-six knights was to
promote "honour and nobleness" under the patronage of the Trinity, the
Blessed Virgin Mary, St. George of Cappadocia, and St. Edward the
Confessor. There were to be annual Whitsuntide jousts for English and
foreign knights, and feasts at a great Round Table; and in the first
tournament Edward himself and the captive King of Scotland took part.

"He instituted the Order of the Garter," says the chronicler of the
kings of England, "upon what Cause is not certain: The common opinion
is, that a Garter of his own Queen, or (as some say) of the Lady Joan,
Countess of Salisbury, slipping off in a Dance, King Edward stooped and
took it up; whereat some of his Lords that were present, smiling, as at
an amorous Action, he seriously said, It should not be long e'er
Sovereign Honour should be done to that Garter; whereupon he afterward
added the French Motto, _Honi soit qui mal y pense_; therein checking
his Lords' sinister suspicion."

The Joan, or Alice, of Salisbury of the legend is that countess of whom
Froissart tells one of the finest of his tales. Her lord had been taken
prisoner by the French before Lille, and she was in his castle at Wark
when King David of Scotland invaded England in 1341. The invaders and a
drove of English beeves passed by without stopping, whereupon Sir
William Montague, Captain of the castle, sallied out and carried off the
cattle from the rear-guard. The Scots turned back to assault Wark. The
besieged kept a brave heart, "for by the regard of such a lady and by
her sweet comforting a man ought to be worth two men at need". After
some days Sir William slipped out with a prayer for help to Edward III,
then at York. The relieving army arrived on the day when the Scots
raised the siege, and Edward stayed at the castle to salute the
countess, whom he had not seen since her marriage, and to learn the
conduct of the attack and defence.

"As soon as the lady knew of the king's coming, she set open the gates
and came out so richly beseen, that every man marvelled at her beauty
and could not cease to regard her nobleness, with her great beauty and
the gracious words and countenance that she made. When she came to the
king, she kneeled down to the earth, thanking him of his succours, and
so led him into the castle to make him cheer and honour, as she that
could right well do it. Every man regarded her marvellously: the king
himself could not withhold his regarding of her; for he thought that he
never saw before so noble nor so fair a lady. He was stricken therewith
to the heart with a sparkle of fine love that endured long after: he
thought no lady in the world so worthy to be beloved as she. Thus they
entered into the castle hand in hand: the lady led him first into the
hall and after into the chamber, nobly apparelled. The king regarded so
the lady, that she was abashed: at last he went to a window to rest him,
and so fell in a great study. The lady went about to make cheer to the
lords and knights that were there, and commanded to dress the hall for
dinner. When she had all devised and commanded, then she came to the
king with a merry cheer, who was in a great study, and she said, 'Dear
sir, why do ye study so for? Your grace not displeased, it appertaineth
not to you so to do. Rather ye should make good cheer and be joyful,
seeing ye have chased away your enemies, who durst not abide you. Let
other men study for the remnant.' Then the king said: 'Ah! dear lady,
know for truth that sith I entered into the castle, there is a study
come to my mind, so that I cannot choose but to muse: nor I cannot tell
you what shall fall thereof: put it out of my heart I cannot.' 'Ah!
sir,' quoth the lady, 'ye ought always to make good cheer to comfort
therewith your people. God hath aided you so in your business, and hath
given you so great graces, that ye be the most doubted and honoured
prince in all Christendom; and if the King of Scots hath done you any
despite or damage, ye may well amend it when it shall please you, as ye
have done divers times or this. Sir, leave your musing and come into the
hall, if it please you: your dinner is all ready.' 'Ah! fair lady,'
quoth the king, "other things lieth at my heart that ye know not of: but
surely the sweet behaving, the perfect wisdom, the good grace, nobleness
and excellent beauty, that I see in you, hath so sore surprised my
heart, that I cannot but love you, and without your love I am but dead.'
Then the lady said, 'Ah, right noble prince, for God's sake mock nor
tempt me not. I cannot believe that it is true that ye say, nor that so
noble a prince as ye be would think to dishonour me and my lord my
husband, who is so valiant a knight and hath done your grace so good
service, and as yet lieth in prison for your quarrel. Certainly, sir, ye
should in this case have but a small praise, and nothing the better
thereby. I had never as yet such a thought in my heart, nor I trust in
God never shall have, for no man living. If I had any such intention,
your grace ought not all only to blame me, but also to punish my body,
yea, and by true justice to be dismembered.'...


"All that day the king tarried there and wist not what to do. Sometimes
he imagined that honour and truth defended him to set his heart in such
a case, to dishonour such a lady and so true a knight as her husband
was, who had always well and truly served him. On the other part love so
constrained him, that the power thereof surmounted honour and truth.
Thus the king debated in himself all that day and all that night. In the
morning he arose and dislodged all his host and drew after the Scots, to
chase them out of his realm. Then he took leave of the lady, saying, 'My
dear lady, to God I commend you till I return again, requiring you to
advise you otherwise than you have said to me'. 'Noble prince,' quoth
the lady, 'God the Father glorious be your conduct, and put you out of
all villain thoughts. Sir, I am and ever shall be ready to do your grace
service to your honour and mine.' Therewith the king departed all
abashed; and so followed the Scots...."

At the same time as the Garter the College of St. George was founded,
consisting of twenty-six Canons and twenty-six Poor Knights, all to live
within the walls of the lower ward. The name of "Poor Knights" was
recently changed, out of a characteristic modern dislike, to "Military

In 1357 King John of France arrived as a prisoner at Windsor. He and his
son Philip were captured by the English at Creçy. He rode through London
to the palace of the Savoy "on a white steed with very rich furniture,
and the Prince of Wales on a little black hackney by his side". There he
kept his household for a time, and was visited and entertained by the
King and Queen of England, "consoling him"--whatever that may mean--"all
in their power". He was transferred to Windsor, and there hunted and
hawked and took what other diversions he pleased in the neighbourhood.
Nevertheless he died in England in 1364. The tower at the north-west
corner of the upper ward is called King John's after this captive.

A year after Creçy, in 1357, and also in 1358, the year of the great
tournament, Chaucer was at Windsor, at the Garter feast of St. George.
He was in the train of the Countess of Ulster, wife to Prince Lionel,
and it is known that at Easter in 1357, when he was about seventeen, he
received a short cloak, a pair of breeches in red and black, and shoes.
On St. George's Day, sixteen years later, after his embassies in Italy
and France, he was granted a daily pitcher of wine for life, which was
commuted to a pension of the annual value of about £200 in modern money.
Only forty years after Edward III built it, St. George's Chapel was
threatened with ruin, and Chaucer superintended the repairs. Richard II
was now king, and in his presence at Windsor Henry Bolinbroke accused
Mowbray of treason in 1398. Bolinbroke's banishment followed, and few
barons cared to come to the tournament proclaimed at the Castle by
Richard, though "forty knights and forty squires clothed in green with
the device of a white falcon" were to hold the lists against all comers,
and the queen and her ladies were to grace the feast. The king parted
from his wife in the old Deanery of the Castle, lifting her up in his
arms and kissing her many times--"great pity it is they separated, for
they never saw each other more".

Henry IV also used the Castle as a prison, first for the infant Earl of
March and his brother, who were descended from an elder brother of
Henry's father, John of Gaunt. Lady Despenser, who had the care of them,
got them out of the Castle and on the way to Wales, but the alarm was
given, and the maker of the keys lost his hands and then his head. In
1406 Prince James of Scotland, then eleven years old and on his way to
school in France, was caught by a privateer and imprisoned in the
Octagonal Tower at the top of Castle Hill, in the south-west corner of
the upper ward--a tower once called the Maiden's but now the Devil's.
Under Henry IV and Henry V the prince's imprisonment lasted seventeen
years, during some of which he was King of Scotland by name. In 1413 he
had Griffin ap Owen Glendower as a fellow prisoner, and in 1415 the poet
Charles of Orleans, taken at Agincourt. The treaty of release in 1423
provided for the payment of 60,000 marks and his marriage with some
English lady of noble birth. He chose his bride without difficulty--Jane
Beaufort, a young daughter of the Earl of Somerset--married her at St.
Mary Overy in Southwark, and at once set out for Scotland. He was a
short stout man, but vigorous and agile, broad in the shoulders, narrow
in the waist, and his hair auburn; he had a good singing voice, played
on musical instruments, and excelled in games. He was murdered, and his
Queen Jane wounded, by conspirators, thirteen years later. He loved his
wife to the end, and was one of the few kings who had no mistress and no
bastards. Before he left England he had written the poem, _The Kingis
Quhair_, which records his captivity and courtship at Windsor. It was
spring, but he was sad--

  The bird, the beste, the fisch eke in the see,
  They lyve in fredome everich in his kynd;
  And I a man, and lakkith libertee--

yet not wholly sad, because he rose early and went to look out of the
window at the world and at the people passing by, and though he was
steeled against mirth, to look did him good. Outside his window, at the
foot of the tower, was a fair garden, so fenced with hawthorns and so
set with dense foliaged trees that a man walking in it could not be seen
by the passer-by. There the nightingale sang on the small green
branches. There he saw the maiden, Jane Beaufort. It is difficult and
perhaps unnecessary to consider the poem apart from the known
personality and acts of the king who wrote it, though nobody need
trouble to say that he wrote like a king, for he did not; he wrote like
a poet--much like Chaucer, in fact--and like a man. But allow what we
know of him, his captivity, his hard life, and tragic death, to suffuse
the images created by the poem, and _The Kingis Quhair_ is one of the
loveliest ceremonious poems of love.

Under Henry V, in the year of Agincourt, the Emperor Sigismund came to
the feast of St. George. He brought with him the heart of St. George as
an offering to the chapel.


Henry VI, the founder of Eton College in 1440, was born at Windsor, and
buried in the south aisle of St George's Chapel, but not until some
years after his death.

Edward IV rebuilt St. George's Chapel, or began the building which was
completed under Henry VIII and Edward VI. On the north side of the
Chapel he built the Dean's and Canons' houses, and those of the petty
Canons. Edward and his queen were buried near the altar under a tomb of
such splendour that it was plundered in 1642.

Henry VIII began the royal tomb-house at the east end of St. George's as
a sepulchral chapel for himself. Later he granted it to Wolsey, who
caused a black marble sarcophagus to be made, bordered and canopied with
costly bronze work. The Cardinal never lay under it. It was stripped,
and the ornaments sold, by Parliament soldiers a century later. The
sarcophagus itself was afterwards used to cover the body of Nelson at
St. Paul's. In the choir of the Chapel of St. George lie Jane Seymour
and Henry VIII, who built the gateway bearing his name, under which the
public enter the lower ward.

When Henry VIII's queen, Anne Boleyn, was crowned in June, 1533, Henry
Howard, Earl of Surrey, and then about sixteen years old, carried the
fourth sword. This young man, who was to be atrociously executed at the
age of thirty by the same Henry, lived at Windsor for some time as the
companion of the king's bastard son, the Duke of Richmond, and while
confined there some years later he wrote a poem which gives perhaps the
most beautiful picture connected with Windsor. I will belittle the rest
of this little book by here quoting the poem in full: "Prisoned in
Windsor he recounteth his pleasure there passed":

  So cruel prison how could betide, alas,
  As proud Windsor? Where I, in lust and joy,
  With a King's son, my childish years did pass,
  In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy.
  Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour,
  The large green courts, where we were wont to hove,
  With eyes cast up into the Maiden's tower,
  And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love.
  The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue,
  The dances short, long tales of great delight;
  With words and looks that tigers could but rue;
  Where each of us did plead the other's right.
  The palme-play, where, despoiled for the game,
  With dazzled eyes oft we by gleams of love
  Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame,
  To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above.
  The gravel'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm,
  On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts;
  With chere, as though one should another whelm,
  Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts.
  With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth,
  In active games of nimbleness and strength,
  Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth,
  Our tender limbs, that yet shot up in length.
  The secret groves, which oft we made resound
  Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise;
  Recording oft what grace each one had found,
  What hope of speed, what dread of long delays.
  The wild forest, the clothed holts with green;
  With reins availed, and swiftly-breathed horse,
  With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between,
  Where we did chase the fearful hart of force.
  The wide walls eke, that harbour'd us each night:
  Wherewith, alas! reviveth in my breast
  The sweet accord: such sleeps as yet delight;
  The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest;
  The secret thoughts, imparted with such trust;
  The wanton talk, the divers change of play;
  The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just,
  Wherewith we past the winter night away.
  And with this thought the blood forsakes the face;
  The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue:
  The which, as soon as sobbing sighs, alas!
  Up-supped have, thus I my plaint renew:
  "O place of bliss! renewer of my woes!
  Give me account, where is my noble fere?
  Whom in thy walls thou dost each night enclose;
  To other lief; but unto me most dear."
  Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue,
  Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint.
  Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,
  In prison pine, with bondage and restraint:
  And with remembrance of the greater grief,
  To banish the less, I find my chief relief.

The critics, I believe, regard this poem as a conventional poetical
exaggeration of some unimportant or wholly imaginary event in Surrey's
life, because he was then married, and because the lady who is
conjectured to have been the subject of his "Description and Praise of
Geraldine" was then only twelve years old.

Queen Elizabeth built the North Terrace of the Castle in 1576, a gallery
to the west of it now used as a library, and an octagon banqueting hall,
at the east end, which Charles I pulled down to substitute a gateway and
drawbridge leading into the Home Park. He also demolished the fountain
of Queen Mary Tudor in the Upper Ward. He thought, but in vain, to build
another banqueting hall, and to construct a fountain, where Hercules was
to have been seen strangling Antæus, so as to make it appear that "by
squeezing of him the water came out of his mouth". Charles often held
his Court at Windsor, and was at the Castle in January when the Civil
War was at hand; there was a garrison of forty officers and four hundred
horse, and wagons of ammunition were arriving. But in October, 1642,
appeared a pamphlet, entitled "Exceeding true and happy news from the
Castle of Windsor declaring how several troops of Dragoons have taken
possession of the said Castle to keep it for the use of the King and
Parliament". "For King and Parliament" was a euphemism. Windsor was
esteemed one of the strongest places in the kingdom, and could the
Cavaliers have retained and fortified it, they might have descended upon
London. And so "several well-affected Gentlemen and valiant Religious
Commanders have gone to raise several troops of Dragooners and
Volunteers, some of which are already arrived at Windsor, and have taken
possession of the Castle". The intruders took the chapel plate of St.
George's and coined it into money for the Parliament; they despoiled
Wolsey's tomb; and they carried off Edward IV's embroidered surcoat of
crimson velvet, wrought with gold and pearls and decorated with rubies,
which had hung over his tomb since the opulent funeral of 1483.


Prince Rupert attacked the Castle in the same year, 1642, but without
success, and in the winter and spring following Essex made it his
headquarters and a prison for Royalists, while Rupert flickered here and
there about Oxford. At the end of the war Windsor was the strange foil
to that notable prayer meeting of the Army officers held some time early
in 1648. The Army was uneasy in its relations with people and
Parliament; it had cause to fear a revival of royalism; and some
officers had thought of laying down their arms, because what they had
done, and were willing to do, for the nation was not acceptable to it.
Therefore they spent two days together in prayer at Windsor Castle,
enquiring when it last was that they could say with confidence: "The
presence of the Lord was among us". On the third day the "gracious hand
of the Lord" showed them how they had come to their present trouble and
uncertainty. It was through their treating with the king and his party,
this of course being prompted by their own "conceited wisdom, fear, and
want of faith". Thus they were led to loathe their iniquities. They wept
for shame of their unbelief and trust in the wisdom of this world, and
they arrived at a humble confidence and "a very clear and joint
resolution, That it was our duty, if ever the Lord brought us back again
in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an account for
that blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to his utmost, against
the Lord's Cause and People in these poor Nations". These are the words
written in 1659 by Adjutant Allen, who was at the prayer meeting.

In less than a year, on Christmas Eve, 1648, there was "terrible and
bloody news from Windsor". The king was brought from Hurst Castle by
Colonel Harrison and ten troops of horse. At the passing of the king the
people of Windsor cried: "God bless your majesty and send you long to
reign"; and after he entered the Castle the Royalists of the town drank
a carouse to their dread sovereign, but were "taken off from that
ceremonial and cant-like action" by several files of musketeers, not
before several had been wounded and three killed. Charles did not return
to Windsor again until he was dead. His body was borne thither without
pomp or noise. When the attendant lords--the Duke of Richmond, the
Marquis of Hertford, and the Earls of Southampton and Lyndsy--requested
that the body might be buried according to the form of the Common Prayer
Book, the Governor "expressly, positively, and roughly refused to
consent to it, and said it was not lawful; that the Common Prayer Book
was put down...." As the coffin was brought to St. George's Chapel, snow
fell and gave the black pall the "colour of innocency". Such were the
dismal mutations of the Chapel, that the lords scarce knew where they
were. "A fellow of the town" showed them the vault of Henry VIII and
Jane Seymour, and there they laid him. At a later date the vault was
opened to receive a nameless child of Queen Anne's. There in the vault
just before the altar, John Evelyn in 1654 found "our blessed martyr,
King Charles".

Cromwell occasionally lived at Windsor. Charles II used it as his summer
lodging, and Nell Gwynn had a house, called Burford House, close to the
Castle. The king was at St. George's Feast in 1663 with Lady Castlemaine
as well as the queen. Pepys heard that the Duke of Monmouth danced with
the queen, his hat in his hand, and that "the king came in and kissed
him, and made him put on his hat, which everybody took notice of".
Pepys spent a cheerful, carnal day in the Castle and at Eton on
February 26, 1665, admiring the Chapel and the banners and the singing
and "the most romantique castle that is in the world", and "giving a
great deal of money to this and that man and woman". When Evelyn saw the
Castle in August, 1670, Prince Rupert was Constable, and "had begun to
trim up the keep or high round tower, and handsomely adorned his hall
with furniture of arms, which was very singular, ... so disposing the
bandoleers, holsters and drums, as to represent festoons, and that
without any confusion, trophy-like. From the hall we went into his
bed-chamber, and ample rooms hung with tapestry, curious and effeminate
pictures so extremely different from the other, which presented nothing
but war and horror." The king was hunting the stag, walking in the Park,
and planting it with rows of trees. The Castle was "exceedingly ragged
and ruinous", and about to be repaired. Wren Italianised the façade, and
the Castle was to some extent rebuilt and altogether remodelled into
something which later critics considered monotonous and commonplace. The
interior was decorated by the carvings of Gibbons and Antonio Verrio's
inert and luscious paintings of "Judith and Holofernes", "Leda and the
Swan", and the like, which Evelyn, who saw the frescoes of St.
George's Hall in 1683, admired for their "full and flowing, antique and
heroical" style. Gibbons also made the copper statue of the king on
horseback, which was newly set up in July, 1680, on its pedestal of
white marble, where it still stands. The outer ditches of the Castle
were filled in. Terraces were formed on the south and east, and the
north terrace was enlarged. The Devil's Tower was given to the Maids of
Honour. Charles meant to face the mound of the Round Tower with red
brick, but was prevented.


James II turned the Tomb House into a chapel for the practice of his own
religion, and its ceiling was decorated by Verrio. At Windsor he
received the Papal Nuncio. On the king's downfall a revolutionary crowd
therefore attacked the Chapel, destroyed the windows, and left the
interior in ruin. Further alterations planned by William III were not
carried out. Queen Anne's work was in the Park. In her reign Swift was
often at Windsor with his friend Harley, the Secretary of State, supping
with Prior and Arbuthnot, playing twelvepenny picquet and winning seven
shillings at it, putting his thumb out of joint by boxing Patrick's ear
for carelessness, riding out in the forest on "the finest day in the
world"--October 4, 1711--"a noble caravan of us", Maids of Honour, the
Duke and Duchess of Shrewsbury, Arbuthnot, and others, some driving,
some riding, and Swift on horseback in a coat of light camlet, faced
with red velvet, and silver buttons. On September 1, 1711, Swift came to
Windsor with a basket of fruit for his friend Lewis from Lord
Peterborough's garden at Parson's Green. "I durst not eat any fruit, but
one fig," he writes to Stella, and asks, "Does Stella never eat any?
What, no apricots at Donnybrook? Nothing but claret and ombre? I envy
people maunching and maunching peaches and grapes, and I not daring to
eat a bit. My head is pretty well, only a sudden turn any time makes me
giddy for a moment, and sometimes it feels very stuffed; but if it grows
no worse, I can bear it very well. I take all opportunities of walking;
and we have a delicious park here just joining to the castle, and an
avenue in the great park very wide, and two miles long, set with a
double row of elms on each side. Were you ever at Windsor? I was once a
great while ago; but had quite forgotten it."

The two first Georges neglected the Castle--though the second placed
there Windsor's last prisoner, the Maréchal de Belleisle--to such an
extent that George III had to build the "Queen's Lodge" for himself and
his family. This building is immortalized by the king's remark to Fanny
Burney, a Maid of Honour to his Queen Charlotte, "Was there ever such
stuff as much of Shakespeare? ... only of course one must not say so";
but it is now pulled down. St. George's Chapel had been completely
neglected, probably because there was no need of it, for many years
before George III began to renovate and repave it in 1787. He removed
the tracery and glass of the east window, in order to exalt a new
picture of the Resurrection in painted glass. The walls were then
stained to harmonize with the heavy colouring of this picture, and
finally the Chapel was darkened by the blocking up of the clerestory, to
destroy the painful contrast between the sunlit walls and the glass.
George III also restored the ruined Tomb House and dug a royal vault
beneath it. Under George IV the monument to the Princess Charlotte of
Wales was placed in the chantry at the west end of the north aisle. Two
years before, Wyatville (né Wyatt) began to rebuild the Castle. The
incongruous buildings and external additions of the Restoration were
removed. The entrance gateway to the upper ward, with its two towers of
Lancaster and York, was made. The height of the Round Tower was
increased by thirty-nine feet and a flag turret added. The old houses
under the Curfew, Garter, and Salisbury towers were cleaned away. Thus
in four years the exterior of the Castle, shaken more free of the little
town clambering and clustering about it, was brought to its present
state, which may or may not have blasted the hopes of the author of this

  Let restless George who can leave nothing quiet,
  Change if he will the good old name of Wyatt:
  But let us hope that their united skill
  May not make Windsor Castle Wyatville.

The Tomb House was converted by Queen Victoria and Sir Gilbert Scott
into the Albert Memorial Chapel, on the death of the Prince Consort in
1861. As a memorial to the same prince, the mullions were restored to
the east window of St. George's Chapel in 1863. Queen Victoria lived
much at Windsor, and in her time the interior of the Castle attained its
present height of costliness and domesticity. The majesty without and
the splendour within answer fully to the expectations usually founded
upon a reading of history and a sober loyalty to the Crown.



In the Conqueror's time and before, it must have been hard to say what
was Windsor Forest, or what was not, on the south side of the middle
course of the Thames. After choosing the mound of Windsor for a castle,
William enlarged the Forest so that it included a great part of
Berkshire, as far west as Hungerford; some of Buckinghamshire, which is
on the north side; parts of Middlesex, Oxfordshire, and Hampshire, and
in Surrey both banks of the Wey as far as Guildford. The Forest and the
river surrounded and isolated the Castle on every side. The Forest was
named after Windsor from early times, but was also sometimes called
Oakingham or Wokingham Forest. All this wild virgin country of heath,
swamp, tangled wood, and high land held many deer for the king's
hunting, and fattened many swine. Partly by the number of swine feeding
in it the value of a forest was estimated; and the right to send swine
among the acorns of Windsor was retained or acquired by many of the
dwellers at the edge of the Forest or within it, from the boor to the
nuns of Ankerwyke near Datchet.

There were many portions of cultivated land running into the forest or
islanded in its midst. Some even of the woods inside the borders, such
as Clewer, Bray, Hurley, Bisham, and Finchhampstead, remained under
separate ownership, with their own woodwards, though open to admit the
king's game. The oaks of the Forest are often mentioned in early
records, together with alders, birches, beech, and ash. There are oaks
at Cranbourne, and a beech at Smith's Lawn, which are conjectured to
have been seedlings at the Conquest, perhaps earlier. Gifts of timber
for building were frequently made to religious houses in the
neighbourhood and to private men. Six oaks were sent to the Tower in
1276, wherewith to burn lime for the masonry; and the builders of
Windsor Castle in William I's, Henry II's, Henry III's, and Edward III's
time must have drawn abundantly from the oaks in the clay of the lower
lands. The game in the Forest was of many kinds. The red deer was the
noblest in appearance, in speed, and in esteem. Fox, otter, badger, wild
cat, and hare were also hunted. There were wild cattle as late as 1277,
for in that year the Constable of Windsor was ordered to capture and
sell them. Among the Forest offences were the carrying away of boughs
and felling of trees, the pasturing of sheep, the taking of does with a
noose, hunting with greyhounds, hawking at pheasants and partridges.
The poachers included labourers, husbandmen, gentlemen, and a rector. A
tenth part of the venison, under Henry I, Henry II, and Richard I, was
granted to God and St. Mary of Abingdon.

In the reign of Edward I the Chief Forester was under the orders of the
Constable of Windsor. Under Edward III the Constable was also Parker of
the Great Park, which had gradually been fenced in out of the larger and
vaguer extent of the Forest itself. Yet another enclosure was made in
1467 by Edward IV, namely two hundred acres close to Windsor, which were
the origin of the "Home Park", once called the "Little Park". There
Henry VII and Philip of Castile killed deer "with their own hands, with
their crossbows"; even so early was it a notable thing for a sovereign
to do what many a man does without thinking about it. Henry VIII loved
the chase, and hunted in Windsor Forest all day, from morning until
nightfall. He also shot, hawked, fished, and played tennis, and having
killed the deer, watched the men who ate quantities of venison for a
wager. Elizabeth hunted at Windsor, attended by half a hundred ladies on
hackneys, and once, in 1602, shot a great fat stag, and sent it to
Archbishop Parker as a gift. It is supposed to have been in her
childhood, in her father's reign, that the events which led to the
story of Herne the hunter took place:

  There is an old tale goes that Herne the hunter,
  Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
  Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
  Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
  And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
  And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
  In a most hideous and dreadful manner.

So speaks Mistress Page in opening her plans for the discomfiture of
Falstaff. It is said that a yeoman hanged himself on a tree for fear of
the king after hunting in the Forest without leave. The tree was cursed,
and a ghostly stag haunted the place and butted at the tree and breathed
smoke and fire as it tore the roots. There was also a story that Herne
was a keeper and went mad after being gored by a stag. He tied a pair of
antlers upon his head, ran naked through the Forest, and hanged himself
on the tree, near Shakespeare's Oak in the Home Park, which was called
Herne's Oak for centuries, and was blown down in 1863, or, according to
another opinion, cut down by George III. Queen Victoria planted the oak
which marks the site of the legendary tree.

[Illustration: VIRGINIA WATER]

In Elizabeth's reign the first systematic planting was begun by Lord
Burleigh. Thirteen acres near Cranbourne Tower were sown with oaks which
were never pollarded, like most other trees in the Forest, to provide
browsing for the deer. This planting in 1580 was to supply the navy,
especially in case the Spaniards should destroy the oaks of the Forest
of Dean, as they had planned to do. Since that date a more or less
contemporary record of successive plantings has been made, and where the
planter has been a royal or distinguished personage, his or her name is
attached to the recording plate.

James I hunted in the Forest, closed the Little Park against the public,
and turned out some wild pigs, of which a few are still left. In his
time the circumference of the unenclosed Forest on the Berkshire side of
the river measured seventy-seven miles and a half, and here ran the red
deer. The Home Park of two hundred and eighty acres held two hundred and
forty fallow deer, and the Great Park of three thousand six hundred and
fifty acres held eighteen hundred. Charles I also hunted there, and at
the beginning of the Civil War deer were lawlessly killed and the pales
of the Park destroyed. Bulstrode Whitelocke was Constable of the Castle
and Keeper of the Forest under the Commonwealth, but could not keep down
the poaching. Charles II and William III planted the Long Walk.

Queen Anne hunted in a chaise, and Swift, in 1711, says that she was
hunting until four in the afternoon, and covered more than forty miles.
She planted with oaks the ride known by her name. Sarah, Duchess of
Marlborough, was Ranger for many years, and has to be gratefully
remembered for protecting the trees against Walpole when he was in need
of money. Though the first two Georges did nothing for the Castle except
by neglecting it, in their reigns there were several plantings of trees.
The avenue of lime trees east of Cumberland Lodge was made under George
I. Under George II were formed some of the plantations round about the
heathery Smith's Lawn at the south end of the Park: these were the first
to be shaped according to the lines of the ground, and not circular or
in parallelograms as before; and it is said that some of this work was
given, for lack of anything else, to soldiers raised against the
Rebellion of 1745. In the time of George II thirteen-hundred red deer
ran in the Forest. By 1806 they numbered only three hundred, though as
late as 1813 the Forest was fifty-six miles and a half in circumference,
and included Wokingham and a great part of Bagshot Heath. The Forest was
still unenclosed, but squatters had been steadily enlarging their pieces
of land by carrying forward their ditches at the time of scouring them,
while parishes within the boundaries had raised money by allowing
persons to enclose and acquire portions of the common land. In 1817
awards were given, settling the claims of various occupants, and the
Forest, or every tract of it which retained that title, was enclosed and
the deer driven into the Great Park. This is now eighteen hundred acres
in extent, and holds a thousand fallow deer and a hundred red deer,
Cranbourne Park holding a small herd of white deer.

Though crossed by public footpaths and roads, it is at most times and
places clear that the Park is the front garden of Windsor Castle. There
is even a sense of privacy unintentionally disturbed at spots here and
there where the family grief or rejoicing of royalty has been celebrated
by planting a tree--as when Queen Victoria planted an oak to mark the
place where the Prince Consort finished his last day's shooting,
November 23, 1861. Yet the Park is about six miles in length from the
Castle southward to Virginia Water, and at most points from two to three
miles wide. Considering this extent, it has no great effect of space.
This is due to the lack of any great quality of art or nature in the
Park. Its outline has no natural wholeness, and the boundaries, marked
by fences and walls and several lodges, are not easily forgotten. The
eighteen hundred acres have little grace of undulation or natural
variety; and they are made up of a number of separate but not integral
parts, so that it is not one but many. Curiosity, admiration, respect,
and surprise follow one another too rapidly for any but the first and
last to be satisfied. There are a thousand excellent or notable
things--some due to chance and antiquity, some to deliberation and
design--but the Park as a whole has no supremacy over others of the same
or even less extent. I have no sooner admired the exquisite giant
birches, or the craggy vast oaks, or the perfectly formed younger ones,
than I come to lines of rhododendrons, the symbols of very modern
riches, or to lines of venerable stately trees which are not satisfying
except on the rare occasions when they overhang some human stateliness
or splendour. The Park was grand and stern under Plantagenets or Tudors,
when the poet could say of it--

  No Forest, of them all, so fit as she doth stand,
  When Princes, for their sports, her pleasures will command,
  No Wood-nymph as herself such troops hath ever seen,
  Nor can such quarries boast as have in Windsor been;

it was sweet and gallant under Stuarts and early Hanoverians. But the
charm is faded and the grandeur confounded, and the Park should either
be artistically treated as a whole, or allowed a century of nature and
wise neglect, if these qualities are to return in a measure worthy of
its repute and history.


  Text in italics is surrounded with underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

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