Windsor is included in our 16 days "Best Castles of
Britain and Ireland" tour.
information was researched by our volunteer team member
Location: London, England
There has been a castle on this site for over 900 years. Windsor Castle is still lived in to this day and it is the "largest inhabited castle in the world."
It is the home of the present Queen of England, several of her royal ancestors, and "non-royal" spirits, one of whom, according to legend was an ancient Saxon hunter named Herne, who was renowned thought out the area for his outstanding hunting abilities. One story tells of Herne, as one of the Royal keepers for King Richard II (1367-1400), who was hated by the other keepers for his exceptional skills. One day the King was in danger of being trampled by an enraged stag while hunting and how Herne putting himself between the King and the stag was mortally wounded. Other legends tell of witchcraft and suicide, and a demonic horned being upon whose appearance brings illness and misfortune to all who see him, especially the Royal family. He can be seen in the castle’s gardens with "his trademark stag’s head."
King Henry VIII has been seen walking the hallways of the castle. His footsteps, along with agonizing moans, have been heard by many guests of the castle.
One of his wives, Anne Boleyn, has been seen standing at the window in the Dean’s Cloister, as well as, Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth I has also been seen in the Royal Library. She has been seen walking from one room to another. She is always dressed in a black gown with a black lace shawl draped over her shoulders.
King Charles I, has been seen many times in the library and the Canon’s house, and although he was beheaded during the English Revolution, his ghost is seen as a whole. It is said he looks exactly like his portraits.
King George III had many bouts with mental deterioration. During these times he was kept out of the public’s eye. He can be seen looking out the windows located below the Royal Library where he was confined during the recurrence of his illness.
The first Duke of Buckingham, Sir George Villiers, is said to haunt one of the bedrooms of the castle. And many spirits haunt the Long Walk, one of whom is a young solider who shot himself after, while on his guard watch, he saw marble statues moving "of their own accord." He ghost was seen by another solider on guard duty afterwards.
Windsor Castle has been a Royal residence "since the reign of William I, (1066-1087). In the 13th century the castle was rebuilt by Edward III, and further improvements have been made by successive monarchs. The castle is almost one mile in circumference and is the largest in Britain. 900 years after it’s first foundation was laid, it is still used today as one of the Queen’s official Royal residents. The original Norman castle consists of the Middle Ward, the Round Tower was built in 1272 by Henry III, and was extended in 1344 by Edward III.
In the Lower Ward, the Horseshoe Cloister, the Chapel of Saint George, and the Deanery were all built during the late medieval period. The Chapel of Saint George was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed by Henry VIII. It is dedicated to the patron Saint of the order of the Garter, Britain's highest Order of Chivalry. It is famous for its fan vaulting and for the banners and stalls for the Knights of the Garter, and many monarchs and royals are buried here, including Henry VIII, Jane Seymore, Edward VII and Alexandra, George the V and Mary, Charles I and George VI. King Henry VII built the Albert Memorial Chapel and it was rebuilt by Queen Victoria.
The Upper Ward was begun by Henry II (1154-1189) and completed by Charles II (1660-1685). It includes the Throne Room, Saint George's Hall, and the great Reception Room. The Upper Ward contains the State Apartments which are used for Court ceremonial and State official occasions. The monarch’s private apartments, visitor’s apartments, and holds a priceless collection of paintings, drawings and the Royal Art Collection.
On November 20, 1992 a devastating fire destroyed over 100 rooms including the 14th century roof and 19th century Gothic Revival interior of St. George’s Hall. Most of the Royal art collection was saved, but the greatest loss was Sir William Beechey’s enormous equestrian portrait of George III which was beyond repair. Renovations began immediately, and the castle was reopened in its entirety in November 1997. Many discoveries were made during the restoration. Fragments of Antonio Verrio’s 17th century mural for Charles II had been found under layers of plaster in St. George’s Hall. 14th century timbers were discovered in the Great Kitchen, and a medieval well was found that reached down to the Thames River.
Northeast "of the castle is Home Park," 500 acres of land which contains the "Royal Mausoleum, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried. South of the castle is Windsor Great Park (about 1,800 acres) with its fine old trees, traversed by the Long Walk, at the end of which is Snow Hill, which commands a magnificent view of the castle."