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Windsor Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Windesores; Wildesore; Windlesores

In the civil parish of Windsor.
In the historic county of Berkshire.
Modern Authority of Windsor & Maidenhead.
1974 county of Berkshire.
Medieval County of Berkshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU96967700
Latitude 51.48384° Longitude -0.60439°

Windsor Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


England's largest castle and a royal palace, covering some 13 acres. The castle dates back to William the Conqueror but the first stone buildings were erected by Henry II between 1165 and 1179. The round keep stands on an artificial motte and there are baileys known as the Lower, Middle and Upper Wards. Continuos additions since this time with particular activity following the foundation of the Order of the Garter by Edward III in 1348, the ensuing St George's Chapel of 1475-1511; and extensive rebuilding for Charles II by Hugh May. The present aspect of the Castle largely results from the alterations, additions and restorations carried out by James Wyatt and Sir Jeffry Wyatville circa 1800 to 1830, with further work carried out by Blore and Salvin in Queen Victoria's reign. Dominant cliff-top setting. The circular 'theatre' in the inner ward, of which some remnants were found by Time Team, was a short lived feature. The work of Edward III was extensive and complex but remarkably restrained without much 'fussy' detail, apparently an aesthetic choice by the king.

The castle was originally constructed as a motte and bailey, by William the Conqueror during the 1070s-80s, as part of a chain of defences designed to protect London. It comprises a motte with a large bailey on either side. Henry I used the castle as a royal residence and it became a palace during the reign of Henry II. The collegiate chapel of St Edward the Confessor, which stood East of the Chapel of St George,was collegiate from circa 1130-1348, when it was replaced by St George's Chapel. A hospital and chantry chapel were associated with the secular colleges, but an almshouse provided for in Edward IV's will was probably not created. Henry II was responsible for the first major programme of rebuilding in 1165-71 when parts were rebuilt in stone. Further rebuilding took place during the reign of Henry III when the castle became one of three principle royal palaces. Additions to the castle during the reign of Edward III included the rebuilding in Gothic style of the Lower and Upper Wards. St George's Chapel was built in the reign of Edward IV. A major programmme of rebuilding took place after the Civil War, from 1660 to 1685 which included the construction of the State Apartments and rebuilding of the Upper Ward in baroque style. Further alterations also took place in the 1780s-90s. Alterations between 1823-35 included the raising of the Round Tower by 30 feet, and rebuilding of all external facades of the Upper Ward in Gothic style. Minor alterations to the castle took place thoughout Queen Victorian's reign. Parts of the castle, including St George's Hall, the Private chapel and Brunswick Tower were damaged by fire in 1992. A programme of restoration was completed in 1997. (PastScape)

The castle was not built on the site of the Saxon royal palace (at Old Windsor) but some distance away on an isolated ridge overlooking the Thames, although, significantly it took the Windsor name. Indeed the site was not even a royal holding. Its development as the prime royal palace was complex and long and the Great Park was not linked to the castle by directly owned royal land until the reign of Victoria. Often the hunting lodges in the Great Park were the preferred medieval royal residence, with the castle being used for administration and as ancillary accommodation. However the surrounding medieval landscape was rich with high status buildings and institutions including many hunting lodges and Eton College, directly across the Thames.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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