Just got back from a trip across the pond to England. Went as a family of four along with a couple who are close friends. The husband in our friend couple was born in England so he has some insider’s knowledge and gave us a great condensed tour. We were there for 6 nights and crammed a bunch of sites in for that amount of time.
We arrived at Heathrow Airport on a Saturday morning. We packed up the rental, a Mercedes passenger van, and headed toward Windsor Castle. We happened to get there just in time to catch the changing of the guards which I’d love to link but I’m cheap and didn’t pay for premium WordPress. Google it, there are several versions out there.
The first photo is the view near St. George’s Gate. Not entirely certain for whom the statue is for near St George’s gate – when in doubt go with Henry, Charles or George, pretty popular names there. The moat garden is not spectacular this time of year but it will be soon. The Round Tower (subtle name) was built by Henry II. The castle began as a motte-and-bailey structure which was built by William the Conqueror (WC) sometime between 1070 and 1086 AD. In case you aren’t familiar with ancient castle terms let me fill you in.
A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.
Definition of moat (Merriam-Webster)
1 : a deep and wide trench around the rampart of a fortified place (such as a castle) that is usually filled with water
- The moat can be crossed by a drawbridge.
2 : a channel resembling a moat (as about a seamount or for confinement of animals in a zoo)
- A Bengal tiger stared at me from across the moat.
The original structure is long gone but there are nods to it’s history throughout. Many additions and revisions have taken place over the course of nearly 1,000 years. One of the more recent reconstructions occurred after a fire in 1992 which impacted the Upper Ward. Naturally some people embrace the revisions and others do not, think neighborhood association meeting for nearly a millennium. Some feathers are bound to get ruffled.
An observation about WC, the guy was really into real estate. The first rule of real estate is location, location, location. After the Battle of Hastings, his penchant for castles really kicked in and he started building them all over the place. His castles would have somewhat humble beginnings with a motte-and-bailey to start, once he secured the land he would “remodel” with stone and such. Update the kitchen maybe get a Viking Stove…on second thought they probably weren’t too fond of Viking anything. Many of the castles he ordered to be built are still standing today (stone lasts ya’ll).
Here’s a link to a very interesting post regarding WC’s castles in case you want to dive into that rabbit hole.
I will continue this journey on subsequent posts so I can bore you in bite size pieces.