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Windsor Castle and
Eton College

Friday 5th October 2012

October 5th started inauspiciously, but by the time we reached Windsor the clouds had parted. We met our guide, Hugh, and made our way to the Castle. We were indeed fortunate to see the changing of the guard. There were about twelve guardsmen and a wonderful band marching with their helmets shining and plumes swinging, all dressed in red.

William the Conqueror built Windsor Castle and the Court was based here at that time. This castle is the only castle to have been continuously occupied. Various kings added their alterations and additions. Henry VIII built the entrance. Charles 11 refurbished the interior and George V! left his mark as well.

In 1348 Edward III founded the Order of the Garter. It is said that Edward picked up the Countess of Salisbury's garter and put it on his own leg. The Order is dedicated to St George and appointments are generally made on that day. All their banners are in St George's Chapel. Edward IV built this chapel and Henry VII finished it. It is indeed a magnificent building and has a wonderful window at the back. There are about seventy Archbishops, Popes and Saints depicted and most are original. On the way out there is a beautiful Albert Memorial chapel. Simply stunning.

Then it was into the Castle. I have never seen so much gilt in my life. Of course, much is nearly new as a lot of the Castle was burnt in 1992. It took five years to complete the refurbishments. There is a wonderful painting of a Chinese man by Sir Geoffrey Kneller. He was known as the "Chinese Convert". He came from China in the reign of James II and was sent to Oxford University to translate documents into English.

Outside there is a long walk (three miles) that was laid out in 1660 (Charles II). Opposite the chapel are the rooms that Mary I had built from the stone of Reading Cathedral that her father Henry VIII sacked.

After lunch we made our way to Eton College. This school was founded by Henry VI in 1440. They still use the first and only original classroom. The boys sat on the floor or around the walls, and there were about four lessons going on at the same time. They drank beer and ate black bread and mutton.

They have a wonderful chapel as well. On the walls are amazing medieval wall paintings, apparently the oldest in the country.

A few facts: they have had 37 VCs, they wrote the rules of Soccer in 1815, there are 25 boarding houses now and 1313 boys. There are a lot of overseas boys and their religious needs are met by Imams, Rabbis, etc.

Susie Floud

Our meeting point outside the Castle

Members watch the parade outside the Guildhall

What a happy band of Cranleigh DFASSers!

We were lucky to see the changing of the guard

Gazing in wonder at the glories of St. George’s Chapel

High security at Eton College!

In the Eton College Quad, outside the superb chapel

Lower School Classroom, still in everyday use!