Windsor Parish Church, Berkshire

In a town as historic as Windsor it seems odd that parish church is both not massively large nor particularly ancient.

This is deceptive because a church has existed here since the Saxon period – most likely pre-dating Windsor Castle itself – and it was massively enlarged over the Norman and subsequent medieval period. Henry I moved the Royal Court from what is now Old Windsor to the site on the hill and it seems probable that the church was enlarged to reflect this importance during this period.

This ancient and large church survived long enough to be sketched during the 18th Century, but by the time it reached the early 19th Century it was a “vast building with 10 side alters and several chantries” but it was also becoming massively expensive to keep in good repair and so the decision was made in 1818 to spend £14,000 rebuilding the church from scratch.

The old church was demolished entirely and Charles Hollis was employed as architect to construct the new church. It took just three years to complete and it was consecrated in June 1822. The Chancel and Apse were added around 1870 and the last major work, a chancel screen in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 60th year as monarch.

Today, the church, like Windsor itself, is rather dominated by the massive Castle and its Royal connections and often overlooked by visitors.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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