Old Windsor Church, Berkshire

Although there is nothing to indicate it today, Old Windsor – as it’s name suggests – is indeed older than it’s larger and more famous neighbour upriver. There is no record whatsoever of the founding of the church – probably just St. Andrew’s, but it is believed that it was attached to the hunting lodge of Edward the Confessor in the early 11th Century who added his favourite saint, St. Peter, to the dedication.

Old Windsor remained an important Royal seat until Henry I moved the court up to the new Castle built on a hill further up the Thames and “new” Windosr began to grow. Still Old Windsor Church remained important until 1215 when King John sealed Magna Carta at nearby Runnymede. After Magna Carta was a done deal French mercenaries came up the Thames and destroyed the church and much of the town.

The church was rebuilt in, more or less, the current form it maintains today starting in 1218 and the small church and heavily built tower reflect the need for a touch of fortification, although trouble never really arose here again. During the Georgian period the church proved too small and a gallery was added for the poor of the parish who were notoriously badly-behaved, enough that a beadle was appointed to keep them in order.

In 1865 Giles Gilbert Scott carried out an extensive rebuild, removing most of the Georgian additions and adding a spire on the tower. A terrible fire on Easter Day 2008 resulted in much damage, but this has all been repaired now. Flooding in 2014 effected the whole area, although the church itself was not damaged.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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