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Windsor Castle

and its Environs

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Picturesque Annual
for 1840

Windsor Castle

and its Environs

Leitch Ritchie, Esq.

Read sample text here from Chapter VIII (Garter Robes)

Published 1840 for the proprietor

by Longman, Orme, Brown, Greene, and Longmans.

Appleton and Co., New York; and Fisher and Co. Paris



King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table - Origin of Modern Chivalry - Ashmole's Eulogium of Knighthood - Connexion of the subject with the History of Windsor Castle - Derivation of the Name - William the Norman - The Pawnbroker and the Crusader.

Judgment upon the Conqueror's family - Completion of the First Castle - Removal from Old to New Windsor - Royal Eloquence - The bereft Father - "He never smiled again" - Maimers of the Time - Private Wars - General Confusion.

The Unnatural Family - The Governor of the Castle - Royal penitence - William of Scotland imprisoned in Windsor Castle - Policy of Henry II - Death of Prince Henry - New Rebellions of the UnnaturaI Family - Despair and Death of the Father.

Richard Coeur de Lion - Order of the Garter - Legend of the Leather Thong - The Two Rival Bishops - A New Governor of the Castle - Prince John - Horrible Atrocity - Fighting Bishops.

Garter Service at St George's Chapel

King John - Horrible Barbarity - Henry III - Robbery of the City of London - Refinement of Cruelty - Anecdotes - Original Form of the Castle - Fortifications - Description of the Different Stages - Grand Entrance - Anglo-Normans and Anglo-Saxons.

Progress of Civilization - Windsor Castle assumes a New form - Zeal of Edward III - Improvement of Workmen - Royal Triumph over Death - Institution of the Order of the Garter - Heathen Gods and Christian Saints - King Edward's Round Table - Tradition of the Garter - The Fair Maid of Kent - Unsuccessful Wooing of Edward - The Queen's Garter.

Love and Gallantry of Chivalry - The Cours d'Amour - Love Cases for the Casuists - Officers of the Courts of Love - Equality of the Knights of the Garter - Mottos and Devices - Patrons of the Garter - Legend of St. George - Statutes of the Order of the Garter - The Points of Reproach.

Habits and Ensigns of the Order of the Garter - The Garter ­ The Mantle - The Surcoat - The Hood - The Collar - The George - The Lesser George - Procession of the Knights Elect to Windsor - The Offering - Investiture with the Robe - Girding with the Sword - The Oath - Investiture with the Other Insignia - Grand Festival of the Order - Ceremony of the Degradation of a Knight-Companion.

Origin of the Poor Knights of Windsor - Their duty - Statutes of the Poor Knights - Annual allowance - Saint George's Chapel.

French fashions - The captives of Windsor - Richard II - Anne of Bohemia - Tournament - Importance attached to the order of the Garter - Famous appeal of high treason - The Citizens of London - Henry IV - Plot against the usurper's life - Grotesque fashions of the age - The philosopher's stone.

James I of Scotland a captive at Windsor - Heroic fidelity - Henry V - The veritable heart of St. George - Chartism of the fifteenth century - Edward IV or the royal rake - The two kings - Richard III - Henry VII - Royal castaways at Windsor.

The Defender of the Faith - The Priest and the Butcher - The Duke of Shoreditch - Fall of the price of relics - Fashion - Diary of Edward VI - Philip and Mary - Hentzner's Description of Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth - Her celebrated Terrace - Her literary occupations at Windsor - Her influence on literature and fashion - Merry Wives of Windsor - Herne the Hunter - Personal vanity of Elizabeth - Silk stockings - Clear-starching - Baths of wine and milk - Edict against ugly portraits of the Queen - Descriptions of Elizabeth by different authorities - A beau of her time - Character of the English by a foreigner.

James I - Visit of the King of Denmark - The goodly ancient gentlemen - Institution of the order of Baronets - Its origin - Achmole's account of the institution - Controversy respecting the character of James - Mr. D'Israeli's defence - Witches.

Charles I - Royal romance - Man's love and woman's love - The Infanta of Spain and Henrietta of France - Conflict of the Gracesayers - Windsor the prison of its master - Weekly newspapers of the time - The castle repaired and embellished by Charles II - The new Queen and her train of uglinesses - Barbara Villiers - The brutal husband - Cannibal loyalists - Evelyn's account of Windsor - James II.

Changes in taste - Specimen of bad taste - Round Tower - Sir J. Wyatville - External appearance of the castle - Principal gateway Upper ward - Entrance to the state apartments - Queen's Ball Room - Introduction of Verrio to Windsor - Anecdotes - Grinling Gibbons - Pictures in the Queen's Ball Room - Countess of Carlisle Duchess of Richmond - Countess of Dorset - Lady Venetia Digby - Karew and Killigrew - Henrietta Marie - Charles I.

The Queen's Drawing Room - Queen's Closet - Duke of Hamilton - King's Closet - The blacksmith painter - Anecdote of the princess Charlotte - Emperor Charles V - Steenwyck's prison scene - King's Council Room - Duke of Marlborough - Luther - Prince Rupert.

King's Drawing-room - Pictures by Rubens - The Vestibule - Battle of Poictiers - Queen Philippa - Throne Room - Picture of the installation of the Knights of the Garter - Ball-room - Waterloo Gallery - St. George's Hall - Guard Chamber - Ancient Arms and engines of war - Queen's Presence Chamber - Queen's Audience Chamber.

English rabble - Terra incognita of the palace - Grand Vestibule and Staircase - Dining-room - Stupendous toy - Saloons - Library - Grand Corridor - Sir Jeffry Wyatville.

King Charles's Beauties - Mrs. Middleton - Miss Warminster - Miss Hamilton - Duchess of Richmond - Duchess of Cleveland - Lady Ossory - Lady Denham - Lady Whitmore - Lady Northumberland - Countess of Sunderland - Duchess of Somerset - Lady Byron - Lady Rochester - Mrs. Lawson - Queen Catherine - Anne Hyde - Duchess of Portsmouth.

The Round Tower - View from the summit - History of the tower - The imprisoned poet - Lord Surrey's lament at Windsor - Geraldine - Lower ward of the castle - Cloisters - Inscriptions - Royal tombhouse - Its modern inhabitants.

Royal Chapel of St. George - Interior - Choir - West window - Screen - Stalls of the Knights - Monuments - Cenotaph of the Princess Charlotte.

The German prince's opinion of Windsor - Eton College - Little Park - Frogmore - Misconceptions in taste - The Long Walk - Statue of George III - Great Park - Virginia Water - The Cascade - Ruins - Frigates of the Lake - Fishing Temple - Belvidere Tower - Bridges - Return to Windsor - Royal Lodge - Cumberland Lodge - Eclipse - Queen Victoria.


List of Engravings and Engravers

The Queen On Horseback (Frontispiece) by F. Heath

Eagle Tower (Vignette) by Ratclyff

Windsor Castle, From The Road Between Datchett And Eton by Allen

Windsor Castle, From The Home Park by Smith

Interior of St. George's Hall by Wallis

Interior of St. George's Chapel by Mottram

Windsor Castle, From The Clewer Meadow by Allen

Windsor Castle, From The Eton Playing Fields by Willmore

Windsor Castle, From The Long Walk by Varrall

Waterloo Gallery by Le Keux

Windsor Castle, From The Great Park by Wallis

Eton, From The Windsor Castle Terrace by Prior

Eton, From The Playing-Fields by Willmore

Ruins Virginia Water by Watkins

Fishing Temple, Virginia Water by Wallis


Windsor Castle

and its Environs

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Sample Text

Habits and Ensigns of the Order of the Garter
(From Chapter VIII)

THE habit and ensigns of the order of the garter are in six parts; the four first, viz., the garter, mantle, surcoat, and hood, assigned to the knights' companies by the founder; and the two last, the George and collar, by Henry VIII. The materials of the original garter are not known, but those sent to sovereign princes by Philip and Mary, and later sovereigns, were richly wrought with gold and precious stones. That of Gustavus Adolphus, contained four hundred and eleven diamonds, the motto being traced in small diamonds; such likewise was the case with the garter worn by Charles I, at his execution. This latter, subsequently to the tragedy, was sold to Ireton, lord mayor of London; but after the restoration, recovered by the crown by a process at law.
The mantle was originally of woollen cloth, and probably continued so till the reign of Henry VI, when velvet first appears. The colour was originally blue, but seems to have been changed at the fancy of different sovereigns.
   The surcoat was a tunic, fastened round the body with a girdle, and reaching a little below the knee.
   The hood, intended at first to defend the head and shoulders from the weather, was still retained, hanging upon the back, after a cap or hat came to be worn. The hood was of the same stuff as the surcoat; the hat of black velvet, adorned with white feathers. "This custom of wearing caps and feathers," says Ashmole, "at the grand solemnities of the order, had for some time been omitted; and, therefore, in a chapter held the 13th of April, anno 10, Jac. I, this commendable custom was reestablished." To these may be added the cross and star.
   The collar was ordered to contain thirty ounces of gold, troy weight, neither more nor less; but a slight difference was made in the case of some of the later sovereigns. It is expressly prohibited by the laws of the order that the collar should be ornamented with precious stones. Not so the George, a figure hanging from the middle of the collar, representing Saint George in his conflict with the dragon, which is allowed to be adorned in as costly a manner as the owner chooses. The lesser George was a model of the saint, worn on the breast within the ennobled garter, to distinguish the knights-companions from other gentlemen, who wore gold chains, the ordinary ensigns of knighthood. This George was suspended round the neck by a blue ribbon. We have now to describe, as briefly as may be, from the verbose Ashmole, the ceremonies of installation.
   The knights elect proceeded from London to their installation at Windsor, in a solemn and stately cavalcade, which was performed on horse-back, with the greatest grandeur, whether we refer to the number of their honourable friends, who, on gallant coursers, rode along with them, or the multitude of their own attendants, well mounted, the magnificence of whose apparel, jewels, gold chains, rich embroideries, and plumes of feathers, of their lord's colours, dazzled the eyes of the spectators.
   Corresponding to this pompous show was the feast, which contained in it all manner of stateliness and plenty, as well of provision, as other incidents that might increase its glory, in which the elect knights, who kept it at their own expense, strove not only to out-vie their predecessors, but to excel one another, so that all ambassadors and strangers esteemed it one of the goodliest and noblest sights that were to be seen in Christendom.
   But to make the splendour of the cavalcade no less conspicuous to the city of London, than to the town and castle of Windsor, the knights elect took up their lodgings, sometimes in the Strand, sometimes in Salisbury Court, in Holborn, or within the city; and took care to pass through some great thoroughfares, that the people might the better see the show.
   King James I, observing the excesses the elect knights ran into upon this occasion, and willing to check the growing inconveniences, at the installation of Francis, Earl of Rutland, Sir George Villars, knight (afterwards Duke of Buckingham), and the Viscount Lisle, anno 14 of his reign, forbade livery coats, for saving charge, and avoiding emulation; and shortly after, in a chapter at Whitehall, anno 16, with the consent of the knights-companions then assembled, in order to put some restraint upon the number of attendants, he decreed that each of the knights-companions should have fifty persons to attend him to the annual solemnities of the order, and no more.
The offering of the knights-commissioners, coming to the castle on the eve of the installation, is founded upon an article of Edward III, which runs to this effect: that if any of the knights-companions, being upon a journey, should accidentally pass by Windsor Castle, he is to turn in thither, in honour of the place, and prepare himself to enter into the chapel to offer; first putting on his mantle, without which he must never presume to enter; but upon emergencies, and allowable causes, he is to be excused. This offering was made in gold or silver.
   The ceremonies of receiving an elect knight being over, he disrobes himself of his upper garment, then the surcoat and kirtle is taken from the table, with which he is invested; and during this ceremony, the following words of admonition, entered at the end of King Henry VIII's book of English statutes, are read or spoken.
   "Take this robe of purple, to the increase of your honour, and in token, or sign, of the most honourable order you have received; wherewith you being defended, may be bold, not only strong to fight, but also to offer yourself to shed your blood for Christ's faith, the liberties of the church, and the just and necessary defence of them that are oppressed and needy."
After this, his sword is close girt about him over his surcoat, by the commissioners, (or the assistants to the lieutenant, or some of the knights-companions,) and sometimes in the way of assistance, Garter himself does this service; and as soon as the ceremony is over, the sovereign, or his lieutenant, proceeds into the choir, leaving the elect knight behind them.
The knight elect proceeds from the chapter-house along the north aisle, and enters the west door of the choir in solemn order; but his place in this procession is changed, for here he is led between two knights-companions.
   Whilst the oath is administering, the elect knight holds his right hand on the holy evangelists; and when the register has pronounced the words, he immediately responses, "I will, so help me God," and then takes of his hand reverently, kissing the book; and by this ceremony, seals his obligation to the statutes of this most noble order.
   The form of the ancient oath appointed by the statutes of institution, to be taken by a knight-subject, was very short, but comprehensive: "That he should well and faithfully observe, to the utmost of his power, all the statutes of the order;" till towards the end of King Edward IV's reign, it was decreed, That all the knights'-companions then alive, and all such as should afterwards be admitted into the order, should be obliged to subjoin the words following: "That they would aid, support, and defend, with all their power, the royal college of St. George, within the castle of Windsor, as well in its possessions, as in all other things whatsoever;" which being drawn in form, was entered in the black book, but has since received many alterations.
   As soon as the knight elect has taken the oath, he is led to his appointed stall, and placed before it. In the interim, Garter advancing into the lower row of stalls, to the place where the elect knight stood when he took the oath, presents from thence the mantle, collar, and book of statutes, to those who led him, who invest the knight elect first with the mantle, by putting it on his shoulders.

Windsor Castle

and its Environs

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