Windsor Castle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An essay I wrote for school on Wondsor Castle's history.

Submitted: October 16, 2011

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Submitted: October 16, 2011

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WINDSOR CASTLE

 

Windsor is a unique castle with a long history.  Windsor Castle is located 21 miles north of London, England near the Thames River.  The castle site was chosen by William the Conqueror to protect a battle route into London.  Windsor Castle is exceptional for it has been continuously occupied for over 900 years.  It has been an integral part of public ceremonies and a residence for English royalty throughout its history.

 

Windsor began opposite of most castles.  Most castles start as the private residence of a monarch.  As time goes by, more and more ceremonial activities, duties, and business take place at the residence.  Eventually, the king tires of the overcrowding and moves to a new private place.  In contrast, Windsor began as one of the great fortresses of Britain.  It commanded one of the most important trading and battle routes of the country, the Thames River.  Windsor was a stage for councils, state ceremonials, summit politics, and important feasts.  Later, as the nation became less violent, Windsor evolved into a country retreat and the main private residence of royalty.

Windsor Castle was originally built entirely out of wood around 1070 on the site chosen by William the Conqueror.  He paid the site owner 12 shillings per year for use of the land.It was located in the middle of an oak and beech tree forest.  The great grandson of William the Conqueror, Henry II, replaced the wooden stockades with stone walls and towers.  The stones were brought ten miles from Bagshot.  The silicate and crystalline stones glisten after rainfall hiding the castles real age.  Henry II also remodeled the sandstone keep in 1117 and added the Round Tower.

Later rulers added on to Windsor Castle so that it currently covers nine acres.  The earliest parts of the present structure were built during the reign of Henry III and Edward III.  The completion of the Albert Memorial Chapel in the Lower Ward, which is west of the keep, was interrupted several times.  The initial construction was begun by Henry III.  Henry VII later rebuilt it and then Queen Victoria finally completed it.  St. George’s Chapel was added on in the 1600’s and is a prime example of Gothic architecture with its fan vaulted ceilings.  Within in its structure lie the bodies of Henry VIII, Charles I, William IV, George V, George VI, and other rulers.  The Upper Ward, east of the Central Tower, contains the state apartments which were built in the early 1800’s. 

Windsor is one of the few British castles that saw some serious, messy fighting.  In 1215, King John tried to get the Pope to release him from the Magna Charta.  Because of this, the barons with their French allies surrounded and battled Windsor Castle.  The castle was only defended by the Constable Engelard de Cygony, sixty knights and their attendants.  The barons hurled large stones at the walls.  The Round Tower was a distinct battle  advantage because it had no blind spots that the defenders couldn’t cover.  Windsor’s inhabitants also used secret passages at night to attack the barons’ army.  After three months in battle, the frustrated barons retreated and pursued King John, but some of Windsor’s buildings were reduced to rubble.

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, but luckily, maintenance work was being done on the castle, and most of its valuable works of art and collectable pieces of furniture had been removed.  Unfortunately, a few of the large items were completely destroyed.  The fire is thought to have started by a spotlight shining on a curtain.  It took over 15 hours, 250 fire fighters, and 1.5 million gallons of water for the fire to be extinguished.  Over a 100 rooms had been destroyed and the estimated cost was 50 million euros.  To raise money for the restoration, the Queen opened up Buckingham Palace to the public, for eight weeks.  The restoration work was completed five years later, in 1997, at a cost of 40 million Euros.

Windsor started as the idea of one man, William the Conqueror, as a defensive structure.  His descendants and succeeding royalty have continuously occupied it through the centuries.  Many of those heirs expanded and improved the total complex until it grew into the historic structure it is today.  Windsor castle has remained beautiful in spite of its battles and recent fire.  It is full of rich history and wonderful stories for the world to enjoy. 

WINDSOR CASTLE

 

Windsor is a unique castle with a long history.  Windsor Castle is located 21 miles north of London, England near the Thames River.  The castle site was chosen by William the Conqueror to protect a battle route into London.  Windsor Castle is exceptional for it has been continuously occupied for over 900 years.  It has been an integral part of public ceremonies and a residence for English royalty throughout its history.

 

Windsor began opposite of most castles.  Most castles start as the private residence of a monarch.  As time goes by, more and more ceremonial activities, duties, and business take place at the residence.  Eventually, the king tires of the overcrowding and moves to a new private place.  In contrast, Windsor began as one of the great fortresses of Britain.  It commanded one of the most important trading and battle routes of the country, the Thames River.  Windsor was a stage for councils, state ceremonials, summit politics, and important feasts.  Later, as the nation became less violent, Windsor evolved into a country retreat and the main private residence of royalty.

Windsor Castle was originally built entirely out of wood around 1070 on the site chosen by William the Conqueror.  He paid the site owner 12 shillings per year for use of the land.It was located in the middle of an oak and beech tree forest.  The great grandson of William the Conqueror, Henry II, replaced the wooden stockades with stone walls and towers.  The stones were brought ten miles from Bagshot.  The silicate and crystalline stones glisten after rainfall hiding the castles real age.  Henry II also remodeled the sandstone keep in 1117 and added the Round Tower.

Later rulers added on to Windsor Castle so that it currently covers nine acres.  The earliest parts of the present structure were built during the reign of Henry III and Edward III.  The completion of the Albert Memorial Chapel in the Lower Ward, which is west of the keep, was interrupted several times.  The initial construction was begun by Henry III.  Henry VII later rebuilt it and then Queen Victoria finally completed it.  St. George’s Chapel was added on in the 1600’s and is a prime example of Gothic architecture with its fan vaulted ceilings.  Within in its structure lie the bodies of Henry VIII, Charles I, William IV, George V, George VI, and other rulers.  The Upper Ward, east of the Central Tower, contains the state apartments which were built in the early 1800’s. 

Windsor is one of the few British castles that saw some serious, messy fighting.  In 1215, King John tried to get the Pope to release him from the Magna Charta.  Because of this, the barons with their French allies surrounded and battled Windsor Castle.  The castle was only defended by the Constable Engelard de Cygony, sixty knights and their attendants.  The barons hurled large stones at the walls.  The Round Tower was a distinct battle  advantage because it had no blind spots that the defenders couldn’t cover.  Windsor’s inhabitants also used secret passages at night to attack the barons’ army.  After three months in battle, the frustrated barons retreated and pursued King John, but some of Windsor’s buildings were reduced to rubble.

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, but luckily, maintenance work was being done on the castle, and most of its valuable works of art and collectable pieces of furniture had been removed.  Unfortunately, a few of the large items were completely destroyed.  The fire is thought to have started by a spotlight shining on a curtain.  It took over 15 hours, 250 fire fighters, and 1.5 million gallons of water for the fire to be extinguished.  Over a 100 rooms had been destroyed and the estimated cost was 50 million euros.  To raise money for the restoration, the Queen opened up Buckingham Palace to the public, for eight weeks.  The restoration work was completed five years later, in 1997, at a cost of 40 million Euros.

Windsor started as the idea of one man, William the Conqueror, as a defensive structure.  His descendants and succeeding royalty have continuously occupied it through the centuries.  Many of those heirs expanded and improved the total complex until it grew into the historic structure it is today.  Windsor castle has remained beautiful in spite of its battles and recent fire.  It is full of rich history and wonderful stories for the world to enjoy. 

WINDSOR CASTLE

 

Windsor is a unique castle with a long history.  Windsor Castle is located 21 miles north of London, England near the Thames River.  The castle site was chosen by William the Conqueror to protect a battle route into London.  Windsor Castle is exceptional for it has been continuously occupied for over 900 years.  It has been an integral part of public ceremonies and a residence for English royalty throughout its history.

 

Windsor began opposite of most castles.  Most castles start as the private residence of a monarch.  As time goes by, more and more ceremonial activities, duties, and business take place at the residence.  Eventually, the king tires of the overcrowding and moves to a new private place.  In contrast, Windsor began as one of the great fortresses of Britain.  It commanded one of the most important trading and battle routes of the country, the Thames River.  Windsor was a stage for councils, state ceremonials, summit politics, and important feasts.  Later, as the nation became less violent, Windsor evolved into a country retreat and the main private residence of royalty.

Windsor Castle was originally built entirely out of wood around 1070 on the site chosen by William the Conqueror.  He paid the site owner 12 shillings per year for use of the land.It was located in the middle of an oak and beech tree forest.  The great grandson of William the Conqueror, Henry II, replaced the wooden stockades with stone walls and towers.  The stones were brought ten miles from Bagshot.  The silicate and crystalline stones glisten after rainfall hiding the castles real age.  Henry II also remodeled the sandstone keep in 1117 and added the Round Tower.

Later rulers added on to Windsor Castle so that it currently covers nine acres.  The earliest parts of the present structure were built during the reign of Henry III and Edward III.  The completion of the Albert Memorial Chapel in the Lower Ward, which is west of the keep, was interrupted several times.  The initial construction was begun by Henry III.  Henry VII later rebuilt it and then Queen Victoria finally completed it.  St. George’s Chapel was added on in the 1600’s and is a prime example of Gothic architecture with its fan vaulted ceilings.  Within in its structure lie the bodies of Henry VIII, Charles I, William IV, George V, George VI, and other rulers.  The Upper Ward, east of the Central Tower, contains the state apartments which were built in the early 1800’s. 

Windsor is one of the few British castles that saw some serious, messy fighting.  In 1215, King John tried to get the Pope to release him from the Magna Charta.  Because of this, the barons with their French allies surrounded and battled Windsor Castle.  The castle was only defended by the Constable Engelard de Cygony, sixty knights and their attendants.  The barons hurled large stones at the walls.  The Round Tower was a distinct battle  advantage because it had no blind spots that the defenders couldn’t cover.  Windsor’s inhabitants also used secret passages at night to attack the barons’ army.  After three months in battle, the frustrated barons retreated and pursued King John, but some of Windsor’s buildings were reduced to rubble.

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, but luckily, maintenance work was being done on the castle, and most of its valuable works of art and collectable pieces of furniture had been removed.  Unfortunately, a few of the large items were completely destroyed.  The fire is thought to have started by a spotlight shining on a curtain.  It took over 15 hours, 250 fire fighters, and 1.5 million gallons of water for the fire to be extinguished.  Over a 100 rooms had been destroyed and the estimated cost was 50 million euros.  To raise money for the restoration, the Queen opened up Buckingham Palace to the public, for eight weeks.  The restoration work was completed five years later, in 1997, at a cost of 40 million Euros.

Windsor started as the idea of one man, William the Conqueror, as a defensive structure.  His descendants and succeeding royalty have continuously occupied it through the centuries.  Many of those heirs expanded and improved the total complex until it grew into the historic structure it is today.  Windsor castle has remained beautiful in spite of its battles and recent fire.  It is full of rich history and wonderful stories for the world to enjoy. 

 


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