Windsor. if indeed there was anything more than a Castle, was neither a Parish nor a Manor. The Castle, built by the Conqueror, was within the Manor, and probably the Parish of Clewer, of which Windsor was only a Chapelry. However, it afterwards became an extensive seat of honour. William seemed to have intended his Castle as a Military Post. Old Windsor appears to have been an ancient town at the time of the Norman survey. It belonged to the Saxon Kings, who are supposed to have had a Palace there, and here also Edward the Confessor certainly kept his Court. It appears after Windsor Castle was built, that the Palace of Old Windsor was occasionally inhabited by the Kings of England till 1110, when, Henry I having completed additional buildings in the Castle, Old Windsor seems to have lost its consequence.
There is no account of Windsor whatever before Saxon times, when it was called Wyndle-shora, 'the dwelling on the winding shore," from the winding course of the Thames in this part. [Editor: More recent thinking is that it evolved from the windlasses used to 'wind' boats through the shallows of the river at that point]. The town was made a free Borough, with various privileges to its inhabitants, by King Edward I, in 1276, from which period it has been gradually increasing. Windsor, for a time, was the County Town, but so many inconveniences arose from its situation at one corner of the County, that the removal of the Assizes to Reading was soon felt to be desirable, and 1314 a petition was presented to Parliament complaining of these inconveniences. Edward II at first gave a decided negative to the request, but afterwards agreed to the removal to Reading.
The Corporation Seal formerly bore the likeness of Edward III and Queen Philippa. The appointment of the Corporation was made in the time of James I and confirmed by Charles II but as it is now constituted under the Municipal Act of 5th and 6th William IV, cap. 76. The first Book of Orders, or Hall Book of the Corporation, begins in 1653, and ends in 1725.
The Hall, a large and handsome room,
fitted up as a Court of Justice, with raised seats for the Mayor
and Aldermen, and, with the Council Chamber, is adorned with
paintings of George III and Queen Charlotte, presented to the
Corporation- by George IV, Charles I, Charles II, James II, William
III, Queen Mary, Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne (by Closterman),
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Rupert (Constable of Windsor Castle,
and High Steward of the Borough in 1668), Earl of Nottingham
(Lord High Steward of the Borough), Archbishop Laud, and other
Over the Mayor's seat is a beautifully carved Coat of Arms of Queen Anne, who constantly made Windsor her summer residence, and out of singular regard to whom, the Corporation erected, in a niche at the north end of the Guildhall, a statue in her Royal Robes, with a sceptre in her right hand, a globe in her left, and under her feet, an inscription written by William Peisley, Esq., at that time Under Steward of the Borough:
Carver forbear, thy art no Anne can show
Would'st thou show Anna, set a goddess to our view
This statue cost the Corporation £40.
At the south end is a statue of His Royal Highness George, Prince of Denmark, in a Roman military habit. This statue was erected at the expense of Christopher Wren, Surveyor of Works at the Castle, and, for a short period, one the representatives of the Borough in Parliament. In his right hand Prince George holds a baton, as a General, and on his left is a globe set on a pedestal with compasses, as an Admiral - with an inscription under his feet, of which the following is a translation:
To His Most Serene George, Prince of Denmark,
an Hero to be revered in every age.
This structure was erected by Christopher Wren, Esq., 1713.
In the area underneath the Town Hall
(where the weekly Corn Market is held on Saturdays), may be noticed
four pillars, which were put up to satisfy the scruples of certain
members of the Corporation, who imagined the upper portion of
the building was not sufficiently supported; curiously, however,
they do not touch the ceiling by something like an inch.
The Basement is fitted with a commodious kitchen and cellars, which were formerly used as a store-house for Windsor porter or Brown stout.
It will be noticed that steps once led up to the centre of the Corn Market from the roadway in High Street.
The ancient building on the right of the plate, was at one time known as Trinity Hall, but in the present day as the Three "Tuns."
For every Horse and Coach passing over the Bridge with a Corpse
For every Hackney Coach
For every Load of Goods, Wool,
For every Load, Passage or Carriage with Corn, Hay, Straw, Wood, &c.
For every Score of Sheep
For every Horse laden
For every Barge going under the Bridge down stream
Certain persons having refused to pay
the said tolls, the Corporation, in 1735, applied to their Members
in Parliament, Lord Beauclerk and Lord Sidney, to support their
demands, and by whose assistance their rights were maintained.
Since that period the rights of the Corporation have been menaced,
and now, after a lapse of more than 160 years, the question is
again brought before the Courts and likely to be determined once
and for all. [Editor:
Indeed, at this time the tolls for using Windsor Bridge were
The present bridge was built in 1823-4, at the expense of the Corporation.