Windsor, Berkshire
Overview
 
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area
Unparished area
In England, an unparished area is an area that is not covered by a civil parish. Most urbanised districts of England are either entirely or partly unparished. Many towns and some cities in otherwise rural districts are also unparished areas and therefore no longer have a town council or city...

 in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough of Berkshire, in South East England. It became a unitary authority on 1 April 1998.It is home to Windsor Castle, Eton College, Legoland and Ascot Racecourse....

 in Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

.

The town is situated 21 miles (33.8 km) west of Charing Cross
Charing Cross
Charing Cross denotes the junction of Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square in central London, England. It is named after the now demolished Eleanor cross that stood there, in what was once the hamlet of Charing. The site of the cross is now occupied by an equestrian...

. It is immediately south of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

, which forms its boundary with Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

. Windsor and the surrounding areas contain some of the most expensive and desirable housing in the UK. The village of Old Windsor
Old Windsor
Old Windsor is a large village and civil parish in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-Location:...

, just over 2 miles (3 km) to the south, predates what is now called Windsor by around 300 years; in the past Windsor was formally referred to as New Windsor to distinguish the two.
The early history of the site is unknown, although the site was almost certainly settled many years before the medieval castle was built.
Encyclopedia
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area
Unparished area
In England, an unparished area is an area that is not covered by a civil parish. Most urbanised districts of England are either entirely or partly unparished. Many towns and some cities in otherwise rural districts are also unparished areas and therefore no longer have a town council or city...

 in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough of Berkshire, in South East England. It became a unitary authority on 1 April 1998.It is home to Windsor Castle, Eton College, Legoland and Ascot Racecourse....

 in Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

.

The town is situated 21 miles (33.8 km) west of Charing Cross
Charing Cross
Charing Cross denotes the junction of Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square in central London, England. It is named after the now demolished Eleanor cross that stood there, in what was once the hamlet of Charing. The site of the cross is now occupied by an equestrian...

. It is immediately south of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

, which forms its boundary with Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

. Windsor and the surrounding areas contain some of the most expensive and desirable housing in the UK. The village of Old Windsor
Old Windsor
Old Windsor is a large village and civil parish in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-Location:...

, just over 2 miles (3 km) to the south, predates what is now called Windsor by around 300 years; in the past Windsor was formally referred to as New Windsor to distinguish the two.

History

The early history of the site is unknown, although the site was almost certainly settled many years before the medieval castle was built. Histories of the town note that the combination of the navigable river and the strategically placed hill point to the likelihood of continuous human settlement from early times. Evidence includes archaeological finds from Windsor, such as palaeolithic hand-axes, neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 flint picks, Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 swords and an Iron Age
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron-Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ireland, and which had an independent Iron Age culture of...

 brooch. Although Roman
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 remains are few, there is ample evidence of Anglo Saxon settlement in the area.

Windsor is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great...

. The name originates from old English Windles-ore, or 'winch by the riverside', a royal settlement, now called Old Windsor
Old Windsor
Old Windsor is a large village and civil parish in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-Location:...

, located about 3 miles (5 km) from the modern town. Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 in the decade after the Norman conquest
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

 of 1066, a timber motte and bailey structure in the manor
Manorialism
Manorialism, an essential element of feudal society, was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the villa system of the Late Roman Empire, was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe, and was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market...

 of Clewer
Clewer
Clewer is an ecclesiastical parish and region of Windsor making up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-History:...

. It was noted in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 as 'Windsor Castle'. Some time after 1086, probably in the reign of King Henry I
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

, the royal household relocated upstream to the recently-built castle. By 1110, important crown wearings (Great Council of state) were noted as taking place at the castle and King Henry married his second wife there in 1121, after the 'White Ship
White Ship
The White Ship was a vessel that sank in the English Channel near the Normandy coast off Barfleur, on 25 November 1120. Only one of those aboard survived. Those who drowned included William Adelin, the only surviving legitimate son and heir of King Henry I of England...

' disaster. The settlement at Old Windsor largely transferred to this 'New' Windsor during the 12th century, although substantial planning and setting out of the new town (including the parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

, marketplace
Marketplace
A marketplace is the space, actual, virtual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. The term is also used in a trademark law context to denote the actual consumer environment, ie. the 'real world' in which products and services are provided and consumed.-Marketplaces and street markets:A...

, bridge
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

 and leper
Leprosy
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

 hospital) did not take place until c. 1170, following the civil war
The Anarchy
The Anarchy or The Nineteen-Year Winter was a period of English history during the reign of King Stephen, which was characterised by civil war and unsettled government...

 of Stephen
Stephen of England
Stephen , often referred to as Stephen of Blois , was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was King of England from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne by right of his wife. Stephen's reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda...

's reign. At about the same time, the present upper ward of the castle was rebuilt in stone. Windsor Bridge is the earliest bridge on the Thames between Staines and Reading, having been built when bridge building was not common. It played an important part in the national road system, linking London with Reading and Winchester, but also by diverting traffic into the new town, underpinned its success.

The town of New Windsor, as an ancient demesne of the Crown, was a privileged settlement from the start, apparently having the rights of a 'free borough' for which other towns had to pay substantial fees to the king. It had a merchant guild (known by the fourteenth century as the Fraternity or brotherhood of the Trinity) from the early 13th century and, under royal patronage, was made the chief town of the county later in the same century. Windsor was granted royal borough status by Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

's charter
Charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

 in 1277. This gave no new rights or privileges to Windsor but, as one historian puts it, "recognised [Windsor's] existence and gave it a legal status as a borough". Importantly, as a self governing town, it maintained a 'common cheest' paying for improvements to the town from its own resources. The town accounts of the sixteenth century survive, although most of the once substantial borough archive was destroyed, probably in the late seventeenth century.
New Windsor was a nationally significant town in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, certainly one of the fifty wealthiest towns in the country by 1332. Its prosperity came from its close association with the royal household. The repeated investment in the castle brought London merchants (goldsmiths, vintners, spicers and mercers) to the town and provided much employment for townsmen. The development of the castle under Edward III (1350–68), for example, was the largest secular building project in England of the Middle Ages, and many Windsor people worked in the castle on this building project. Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

, a hundred years earlier, had spent more on Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

 than on any other royal building project, save the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. The Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 in 1348, although reducing some towns' populations by up to 50%, seems to have had less of an impact in Windsor. Possibly 30% of the town's population died, but the building projects of Edward III brought many building workers to the town, possibly doubling the population: the Black Death, and the plagues that followed in 1361 - 72, were a 'boom' time for the local economy. New people came to the town from every part of the country, and from continental Europe, to benefit from royal expenditure at the castle. The poet Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

 worked at Windsor Castle as 'Clerk of the Works' in 1391.

The development of the castle continued in the 15th century. Windsor became a major pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 destination, particularly for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

ers. Pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s came to touch the royal shrine
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

 of the murdered Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

 and the fragment of the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

 in the new St George's Chapel (1480) and to visit the same king's college at Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

 (Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

), which was dedicated in 1440 to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

. Pilgrims came with substantial sums to spend. There were over 29 inns in Windsor to provide accommodation, some very large. The town became very prosperous. For London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 pilgrims, Windsor was probably second in importance only to Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

 and the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion...

. Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 was buried in St George's Chapel in 1547, next to the body of Jane Seymour, the mother of his only legitimate son, Edward (Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

). Henry, the founder of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, may have wanted to benefit from the stream of Catholic pilgrims coming to the town. His will gives that impression.

Tudor and Stuart periods

The town began to stagnate about ten years after the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. The castle was considered old fashioned and shrines to the dead were thought to be 'superstitious'. The early modern period
Early modern Europe
Early modern Europe is the term used by historians to refer to a period in the history of Europe which spanned the centuries between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, roughly the late 15th century to the late 18th century...

 formed a stark contrast to the medieval history of the town. Most accounts of Windsor in the 16th and 17th centuries talk of its poverty, badly made streets and poor housing. Shakespeare's
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 play The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though believed to have been written prior to 1597. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary Elizabethan era English middle class life...

is set in Windsor and contains many references to parts of the town and the surrounding countryside. Shakespeare must have walked the town's streets, near the castle and river, much as people still do. The play may have been written in the Garter Inn, although this was certainly not part of the modern Harte and Garter Hotel opposite the castle. Windsor was the home of the New Model Army
New Model Army
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration...

 and the castle was garrisoned by Colonel Venn during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. Despite its royal dependence, like many commercial centres, Windsor was a Parliamentarian
Roundhead
"Roundhead" was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers , who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings...

 town. Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 was buried without ceremony in St George's after his execution
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 at Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

 in 1649. The present Guildhall, built in 1680, replaced an earlier market hall that had been built on the same site around 1580, as well as the old guildhall, which faced the castle and had been built around 1370. The contraction in the number of public buildings speaks of a town in decline.
In 1652 the largest house in Windsor Great Park was builit on land which Oliver Cromwell had appropriated from the Crown. Now known as Cumberland Lodge
Cumberland Lodge
Cumberland Lodge is a 17th century country house in Windsor Great Park located 3.5 miles south of Windsor Castle. It is now occupied by a charitable foundation which holds residential conferences, lectures and discussions concerning the burning issues facing society. The primary beneficiaries of...

 after the Duke of Cumberland’s residence there in the mid eighteenth-century, the house was variously known as Byfield House, New Lodge, Ranger’s Lodge, Windsor Lodge and Great Lodge.

Georgian and Victorian periods

In 1778, there was a resumption of the royal presence, with George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 at the Queen's Lodge and, from 1804, at the castle. This started a period of new development in Windsor, with the building of two army barracks
Barracks
Barracks are specialised buildings for permanent military accommodation; the word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes. Their main object is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training and esprit de corps. They were sometimes called...

. However the associated large numbers of soldiers led to a major prostitution problem by 1830 in a town where the number of streets had little changed since 1530. The substantial redevelopment of the castle in the subsequent decade and Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

's residence from 1840, as well as the coming of two railways in 1849, signalled the most dramatic changes in the town's history. It catapulted the town from a sleepy medieval has-been to the centre of Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 - many European crowned heads of state came to Windsor to visit the Queen throughout the rest of the 19th century. Unfortunately, excessive redevelopment and 'refurbishment' of Windsor's medieval fabric at this time resulted in widespread destruction of the old town, including the demolition of the old parish church
Church of England parish church
A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, known as a parish.-Parishes in England:...

 of St John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 in 1820. The original had been built in 1180.

Later periods

Most of the current town's streets date from the mid to late 19th century. However the main street, Peascod Street is very ancient, predating the castle by many years. It formed part of the 10th century parish structure in east Berkshire and in comparison, the 1000 year old royal castle, although the largest and longest occupied in Europe, is a recent development. "New Windsor" was officially renamed "Windsor" in 1974.

Shopping

Windsor is particularly well served when it comes to shops. As a tourist town there is a wide selection of gift shops around the castle, together with stylish shops and restaurants in Windsor Royal Station. The main shopping street, Peascod Street, includes as an independent department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

, Daniels, noted for its large toy department, as well as national chains such as Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

 and Boots. King Edward Court, a
pedestrian-only shopping centre, has a Waitrose
Waitrose
Waitrose Limited is an upmarket chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom and is the food division of the British retailer and worker co-operative the John Lewis Partnership. Its head office is in Bracknell, Berkshire, England...

 supermarket alongside other stores including H&M
H&M
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB is a Swedish retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing offerings for women, men, teenagers and children....

.

Tourism

As a result of the royal residence, Windsor is a popular tourist destination and has facilities usually found in larger towns: two railway stations, a theatre and several substantial hotels. The town is also the location of Legoland
Legoland Windsor
Legoland Windsor is a child-oriented theme park in Windsor, Berkshire in England, themed around the Lego toy system. The park opened in 1996 on the former Windsor Safari Park as the second Legoland after Legoland Billund in Denmark. The park is located within close distance of Windsor Castle and...

, built on the site of the former Windsor Safari Park
Windsor Safari Park
Windsor Safari Park was a popular family attraction built on St. Leonards Hill on the outskirts of the English town of Windsor in Berkshire; it has since been converted into the site of Legoland Windsor...

. During construction, several tons of hippo excrement had to be removed from the enclosure used by the animals.

Regular return riverboat cruises operate daily from February to November from the Promenade, Barry Avenue. These include forty-minute and two-hour trips and provide unique views of the Castle.

The Royal Windsor Wheel is a more recent addition to the town's tourist attractions, and provides an overhead view of the surrounding area, including the castle, Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

 and the Thames Valley
Thames Valley
The Thames Valley Region is a loose term for the English counties and towns roughly following the course of the River Thames as it flows from Oxfordshire in the west to London in the east. It includes parts of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, North Hampshire, Surrey and west London...

. Located in Alexandra Gardens near the River Thames, it is assembled in the summer and dismantled in the autumn.

Transport

Windsor is accessible from Junction 6 of the M4
M4 motorway
The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...

 and Slough
Slough
Slough is a borough and unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Royal Berkshire, England. The town straddles the A4 Bath Road and the Great Western Main Line, west of central London...

 via a 3-mile long dual-carriageway. Bus services in the town are mostly provided by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley
First Berkshire & The Thames Valley
First Berkshire & The Thames Valley is a bus operator serving Bracknell, Slough and Wokingham, in England. It is part of First Group, a major bus and train operator with a turnover of nearly £2.5 billion a year and 62,000 employees across the UK and North America...

, although a Park-and-ride service and one local route are operated by Courtney Coaches
Courtney Coaches
Courtney Coaches are a bus operator baseed in Bracknell, Berkshire, England. They operate a network of commercial and contracted local bus services and school buses in and around Bracknell and Maidenhead...

.

Windsor has two railway stations. Windsor & Eton Central railway station has a shuttle service to Slough
Slough
Slough is a borough and unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Royal Berkshire, England. The town straddles the A4 Bath Road and the Great Western Main Line, west of central London...

 which has access to trains into London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 Paddington, and west to Maidenhead
Maidenhead
Maidenhead is a town and unparished area within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It lies on the River Thames and is situated west of Charing Cross in London.-History:...

, Reading
Reading, Berkshire
Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, some west of London....

 and as far as Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

. Windsor & Eton Riverside station provides a service to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 Waterloo
Waterloo station
Waterloo station, also known as London Waterloo, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. The station is owned and operated by Network Rail and is close to the South Bank of the River Thames, and in Travelcard Zone 1....

. Both stations were built at around the same time in the 19th century, as the two train companies which owned the lines both wanted to carry Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 to Windsor, with the first line opened gaining the privilege. From 1883 to 1885, the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

's District Line
District Line
The District line is a line of the London Underground, coloured green on the Tube map. It is a "sub-surface" line, running through the central area in shallow cut-and-cover tunnels. It is the busiest of the sub-surface lines. Out of the 60 stations served, 25 are underground...

's westbound service ran as far as Windsor.

Windsor is linked to the town of Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

 (which is situated on the opposite bank of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

) by Windsor Bridge
Windsor Bridge
Windsor Bridge or Windsor Town Bridge, is a road bridge over the River Thames between the towns of Windsor and Eton in the English county of Berkshire. It now only carries pedestrian and cycle traffic, and crosses the Thames just above Romney Lock....

. Originally a fully trafficked road bridge, Windsor Bridge is now for pedestrian
Pedestrian
A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running. In some communities, those traveling using roller skates or skateboards are also considered to be pedestrians. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case...

s and cyclists only and provides an excellent walking route from Windsor to Eton's High Street. To the south of the town lies Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park is a large deer park of , to the south of the town of Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. The park was, for many centuries, the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle and dates primarily from the mid-13th century...

 and the towns of Old Windsor
Old Windsor
Old Windsor is a large village and civil parish in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-Location:...

, Egham
Egham
Egham is a wealthy suburb in the Runnymede borough of Surrey, in the south-east of England. It is part of the London commuter belt and Greater London Urban Area, and about south-west of central London on the River Thames and near junction 13 of the M25 motorway.-Demographics:Egham town has a...

 and Virginia Water
Virginia Water
Virginia Water is an affluent village, a lake and, originally, a stream, the village being in the Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey and the bodies of water stretching over the borders of Runnymede, Old Windsor and Sunninghill and Ascot, England....

.

Windsor lies on National Cycle Route 4 (London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 — St David's
St David's
St Davids , is a city and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, it is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population, the final resting place of Saint David, the country's patron saint, and the de facto ecclesiastical capital of...

). The main access roads serving the town have adjacent cycle paths or nearby alternative traffic-free cycle routes.

Notable residents

Other than HM
HM
HM may refer to:* HM , a Christian hard rock magazine* HM , pseudonym of Henry Molaison, a man with anterograde amnesia* HM, the IATA airline code for Air Seychelles...

 Queen Elizabeth II and other British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 members, Windsor has many notable residents both former and current.
  • Actress Anna Friel
    Anna Friel
    Anna Louise Friel is an English actress. She rose to fame in the UK as Beth Jordache on the Channel 4 soap Brookside.-Early life:...

     spent several years living in Windsor, but moved away in 2007
  • Australian pop singer Natalie Imbruglia
    Natalie Imbruglia
    Natalie Jane Imbruglia is an Australian singer-songwriter, model and actress. In the early 1990s, Imbruglia was known to audiences as Beth Brennan in the popular Australian soap Neighbours. Three years after leaving the programme, Imbruglia launched a singing career with the international hit,...

     owns a house on White Lilies Island
    White Lilies Island
    White Lilies Island is the second album by Natalie Imbruglia. It was released in Europe and Australia in late 2001 and in the United States on 5 March 2002. The name of this album comes from the location of Imbruglia's home in Windsor.-Sales:...

     in the Clewer
    Clewer
    Clewer is an ecclesiastical parish and region of Windsor making up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.-History:...

     Village area of Windsor but does not currently live there.
  • Actor Michael Caine
    Michael Caine
    Sir Michael Caine, CBE is an English actor. He won Academy Awards for best supporting actor in both Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules ....

     lived at the Old Mill House at the end of Mill Lane, Windsor during the 1960s and '70s. The house was subsequently sold to guitarist Jimmy Page
    Jimmy Page
    James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page...

     of the rock band Led Zeppelin
    Led Zeppelin
    Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

    , who sold the property in 2004.
  • Actor Kris Marshall
    Kris Marshall
    Kristopher "Kris" Marshall is an English actor, best known for his role as Nick Harper in My Family, and as Adam in the adverts for BT Group since 2005.-Career:...

     is a long time and current resident of Windsor.
  • Dhani Harrison
    Dhani Harrison
    Dhani Harrison is an English musician and the son of George Harrison of The Beatles and Olivia Harrison. Harrison debuted as a professional musician when completing his father's final album Brainwashed after George Harrison's death in November 2001...

    - English musician, son of George Harrison
    George Harrison
    George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other...

    , was born in Windsor
  • Comedian Freddie Starr
    Freddie Starr
    Freddie Starr is an English comedian who became famous in the early 1970s. He is also an impressionist and singer, with a chart album After the Laughter and UK Top 10 single, "It's You", in March 1974 to his credit.-Early career:Under his real name, he appeared as a teenager in the film Violent...

     - Lived in Windsor in the 1970s in the St Leonards Hill area
  • Pop Star Lisa Scott Lee - Formerly of the teen band Steps and now a solo performer
  • Margaret Oliphant - 19th century novelist and historical writer; lived at Clarence Crescent. Today the house is named "The Oliphant House".
  • Ranulph Fiennes
    Ranulph Fiennes
    Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE , better known as Ranulph Fiennes, is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records. He is also a prolific writer. Fiennes served in the British Army for eight years including a period on counter-insurgency service while...

     - Adventurer, Explorer and Author was born in Windsor
  • Actor Alex Pettyfer
    Alex Pettyfer
    Alexander Richard "Alex" Pettyfer is an English actor and model. He appeared in school plays and on television before being cast as Alex Rider, the main character in the 2006 film version of Stormbreaker. Pettyfer was nominated for a Young Artist Award and an Empire Award for his role. He has been...

     - Starred in I Am Number Four
    I Am Number Four
    I Am Number Four is a 2011 American teen action science fiction film, directed by D. J. Caruso, starring Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Kevin Durand, and Callan McAuliffe...

     and Beastly
    Beastly
    Beastly is a 2007 novel by Alex Flinn. It is a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast set in modern-day New York City from the view of the beast. Flinn researched many versions of the Beauty and the Beast story to write her book...

  • Actress Sue Holderness
    Sue Holderness
    Sue Holderness is an English actress. Since 1985 she has played the role of Marlene Boyce in the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses and its spin-off The Green Green Grass .-Career:...

     - Played Marlene in the long running UK TV sit-com Only Fools and Horses
    Only Fools and Horses
    Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003...

     and in The Green Green Grass
    The Green Green Grass
    The Green Green Grass is a British sitcom, created and initially written by John Sullivan, produced by Shazam Productions for the BBC. It is a spin-off of the long running sitcom Only Fools and Horses and stars John Challis, Sue Holderness and Jack Doolan...

  • Sir Sydney Camm - Inventor of the World War II Fighter Aircraft the Hawker Hurricane
    Hawker Hurricane
    The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

    . Lived at 10 Alma Road.
  • Zinzan Brooke
    Zinzan Brooke
    Zinzan Valentine Brooke is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played at number eight...

     - New Zealand Rugby Union International, who formerly played amateur rugby for Windsor Rugby Football Club. A current Windsor resident
  • Hugh Thomas
    Hugh Thomas
    Hugh Thomas , is a British historian and life peer.Hugh Thomas may also refer to:* Hugh Thomas , American choral conductor, pianist and educator* Hugh Thomas , Australian rules football coach...

     - historian, was born in Windsor

Sport

Windsor's senior football team is Windsor F.C.
Windsor F.C.
Windsor F.C. is an English football club formed in 2011 after Windsor & Eton folded. The new club was placed into the Combined Counties Football League Premier Division and will play at Windsor & Eton's Stag Meadow ground.-Ground:...

 (www.windsorfc.net). The team currently plays in the Combined Counties League Premier Division and their home is Stag Meadow, St. Leonard's Road, granted to the original club by King George VI in 1911. The ground, in Windsor Great Park, is one of the most iconic football locations in the UK. The Club's President is the famous BBC commentator Barry Davies
Barry Davies
Barry George Davies MBE is a British sports commentator. He has covered a wide range of sports in a long career, primarily for the BBC.-Broadcasting career:...



Windsor Cricket Club's clubhouse and pitches are at Home Park in the shadow of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

. The club played host to the 2006 Lord's Taverners
Lord's Taverners
The Lord’s Taverners is a thriving club, the official charity for recreational cricket and the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity whose objective is to 'give young people, particularly those with special needs, a sporting chance'.The Lord’s Taverners was founded in 1950 by a...

 cricket match. The Windsor 1st team currently play in the 1st Division of the Thames Valley League.

Neighbours, Windsor Rugby Club also use the ground and the team currently plays in the Southern Counties - South division.

Several other local sports clubs are based at Home Park, including: Hockey and Archery Clubs, and the Datchet Dashers running club.

Politics

Windsor is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough of Berkshire, in South East England. It became a unitary authority on 1 April 1998.It is home to Windsor Castle, Eton College, Legoland and Ascot Racecourse....

 which is administered by an elected unitary authority
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

. The mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 is Cllr
Councillor
A councillor or councilor is a member of a local government council, such as a city council.Often in the United States, the title is councilman or councilwoman.-United Kingdom:...

 Catherine Bursnall.

The current MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for the Windsor constituency
Windsor (UK Parliament constituency)
Windsor is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In its modern form, it elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post system of election.-Boundaries:...

 (which includes surrounding small towns and villages, such as Eton
Eton, Berkshire
Eton is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, 2 miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980. Eton was in Buckinghamshire until...

 and Datchet
Datchet
Datchet is an English Thameside village and civil parish situated in the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead in the county of Berkshire. It was transferred to Berkshire from Buckinghamshire in 1974....

) is Adam Afriyie
Adam Afriyie
Adam Afriyie is a British Conservative Party politician, and the Member of Parliament for Windsor. He was first elected at the 2005 general election and re-elected at the 2010 election.-Early life:...

 (Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

), who was elected at the 2005 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

. Afriyie is notable for being the first black Conservative MP.
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