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Winchester CastleComments

Winchester Castle

Time Overvie
1222 Henry II replaced the great square tower at the northeast of the Castle with a round one. He also rebuilt several other towers during his reign. 14
1240Henry III rebuilt the gatehouse and bridge on the western side of the Castle. 14
1200s 19th century excavations discovered extensive underground passages strategically leading to sally-ports or postern gates, allowing escape at times of siege. Their vaulted roofs and slightly pointed arches suggest 13th century construction. 14
1243 Henry III widened the castle ditch. 14
1252 Great Hall redecorated.
1259 Repainting of mappa mundii.
1265 Henry III's reinforcements enabled the Castle to resists the siege by the rebellious barons under Simon de Montfort. 14
1272 Henry II dies and Winchester Castle ceases to be a provincial royal palace and never regains its national preeminence. Courts of Assize and Quarter sessions were regularly held in the Great Hall. The Castle becomes the nucleus of country administration. The sheriff maintains the Castle's gaol, which sometimes held prisoners of the Welsh and Scottish wars. 18
1280 The Round Table was constructed ~1250-1280, aligning with the interest of Edward I (1272-1307) in Arthurian lore.
1302 Apr 22 A fire breaks out in royal apartments on Easter of 1302, destroying a major part of the Castle. 18
1320s The Castle's defenses were repaired during the Despenser war. 18
Under Richard II (1377-1399), the roof was re-leaded, the 13th century gables were removed and the walls were raised. 18
1520 Painting of King Arthur's portrait onto the Round Table.
1522 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V visits the Great Hall.
1603 Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh held in Winchester Castle.
1631 Castle passed into private ownership and was held by Sir Richard Weston, first Lord Portland (1577-1635).
1635 Sir Richard Weston dies. Shortly thereafter, his son surrendered the Castle to the Crown in exchange for lands in the fens.
1638 Charles I granted Winchester Castle to Sir William Waller (1597-1668), the Member of Parliament for Andover.
1640s In the early 1640s, Winchester Cathedral occupied by royalist troops
1642 Dec Waller, then a colonel in the parliamentary army, successfully besieged the Castle.
1643 The Castle was re-taken by royalists under Sir William Ogle.
1645 Sep 28 Oliver Cromwell comes to Winchester and it quickly falls.
1645 Oct 06 After a week's continuous battering, the Castle falls to Oliver Cromwell.
1789 Restoration of the Round Table by William Cave.
1975 From 1975-1998, the Hampshire County Council (Lord Lieutenant Mrs. Mary Fagan JP) oversaw the careful refurbishment of the Great Hall and Castle Yard.
1976 Restoration and examination of the Round Table.
1981 In 1981, steel gates designed and constructed by Atony Robinson of Shrewsbury were installed at the east end of the Great Hall to commemorate the marriage of HRH Prince Charles. On September 9th 1983, the gates were officially opened to symbolize the announcement of the birth of HRH Prince William in 1982.
1986 HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, opens Eleanor Herb Garden.

Round Table

Constructed between 1250-1280, the Round Table is 18' in diameter and weighs one ton. The Round Table may have been plain at first; it has never been painted with any other design. It was repaired early in Henry VIII's reign, who later oversaw its painting. Above the Tudor rose is an ~1520 portrait of the legendary King Arthur which is thought to uncannily resemble King Henry VIII. This would have dovetailed with wanting to impress Holy Roman Emperor Charles V during his 1522 visit.

The Round Table has post holes in its back, indicating it had twelve legs at one point; however, a 15th century chronicler records it was already hanging by that time. The Round Table was restored in 1789 by notable Winchester artist William Cave. The Round Table originally hung on the east wall of the Great Hall. It was moved in the 1874 to accommodate arches linking the Hall to new Assize Courts. The Round table was restored and examined in 1976, illuminating its 13th century origins that dovetail with the 1252 redecoration of the Great Hall and Edward I's (1272-1307) interest in Arthurian lore. Perhaps the Round Table replaced the wheel of fortune.

Other Features

Feature Overview
Eleanor Garden HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, opened a thirteenth century herb garden in 1986 to the south of the Great Hall; its creation was overseen by the Hampshire Gardens Trust. The garden's eponyms are two queens of England who lived in Winchester Castle: Eleanor of Provence (d 1291), the wife of Henry III; and Eleanor of Castile (d 1290), wife of Edward I.

Studies

14 Informative Plaque #14 at Winchester Castle.


18 Informative Plaque #18 at Winchester Castle.


26 Informative Plaque #26 at Winchester Castle. From Hampshire Record Office, W/BI/4 fo. 157r and 157v and W/K5/8 fo. 8.


35 Informative Plaque #35 at Winchester Castle.