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Windsor Castle
Early Medieval Expansion

Henry III greatly improved the castle. The old hall in the Upper Ward was abandoned for a new and larger one in the Lower Ward and, in 1272, he roofed the Keep. Part of the cloister still stands as it was then built. On the town side, three great towers were built and, on the north, was erected a tower on the same site as now stands the Winchester Tower. All the buildings were handsomely decorated with paintings and windows filled with glass. In one of the new towers, on the western side, was possibly the dungeon connected with a scene in Henry's career, which proved him, for all his piety, a worthy son of his father. The Londoners, headed by their Mayor, FitzThomas, had long resisted Henry's exactions and when, in 1265, the King was in their power and Earl Simon De Monfort ruled the land, FitzThomas addressed to his King words in St. Paul's which sank deep into Henry's soul. His son had tried to hold Windsor Castle against the Barons two years previously, but was compelled to surrender. When the Battle of Evesham delivered the King's enemies into his hands, the castle became the scene of his revenge. Henry summoned the Mayor and chief citizens to Windsor, giving them a safe conduct. They were then thrown into prison, from which it does not appear that FitzThomas ever emerged, though the others, to the number of forty, were eventually released.

The two eldest sons of Edward I were born at Windsor and, though the King himself rarely visited the castle, Queen Eleanor seems often to have resided here.

Part 3: Chivalric Splendour under King Edward III

Edited from PH Ditchfield's "Bygone Berkshire" (1896)


    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.