|St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle|
|The Queen's Free Chapel of the College of St George, Windsor Castle|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Previous denomination||Roman Catholicism|
|Heritage designation||Grade I listed|
|Deanery||Dean and Canons of Windsor|
|Diocese||Jurisdiction: Royal Peculiar |
|Precentor||Martin Poll (Chaplain)|
|Canon(s)||Mark Powell (Steward)|
|Canon Treasurer||Hueston Finlay (Vice-Dean)|
|Organist/Director of music||James Vivian|
|Music group(s)||Choir of St George's Chapel|
St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is a chapel built in high-medieval Gothic. It is both a Royal Peculiar, a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. It is located in the Lower Ward of the castle.St George's castle chapel was originally founded in the 14th century by King Edward III and extensively enlarged in the late 15th century. It has been the scene of many royal services, weddings and burials. Windsor, England's premier castle, is the principal residence of the monarch.
The running of the Chapel is the responsibility of the Dean and Canons of Windsor who make up the College of St George. They are assisted by a Clerk, Verger and other staff. The Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, a registered charity, was established in 1931 to assist the College in maintaining the Chapel.
In 1348, King Edward III founded two religious colleges: St Stephen's at Westminster and St George's at Windsor. The new college at Windsor was attached to the Chapel of St Edward the Confessor which had been constructed by Henry III in the early thirteenth century. The chapel was then re-dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, George the Martyr and Edward the Confessor, but soon became known only by its dedication to St George. –54. It was used as the entrance to the new college.Edward III also built the Aerary Porch in 1353
St George's Chapel became the church of the Order of the Garter, and a special service is still held in the chapel every June and is attended by members of the order. Their heraldic banners hang above the upper stalls of the choir where they have a seat for life.
The period 1475–1528 saw a radical redevelopment of St George's Chapel set in motion by Edward IV and continued by Henry VII under the supervision of his most esteemed counsellor, Sir Reginald Bray (later Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster), and by Henry VIII. The thirteenth-century Chapel of Edward the Confessor was enlarged into a cathedral-like space under the direction of Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury, and the master mason, Henry Janyns. The Horseshoe Cloister was constructed for the new community of 45 junior members: 16 vicars, a deacon gospeller, 13 lay clerks, 2 clerk epistolers and 13 choristers. The Choir of St George's Chapel continues to this day and numbers 20. The choristers are borders at St George's School, Windsor Castle. In term time they attend practice in the chapel every morning and sing Matins and the Eucharist on Sundays and Evensong throughout the week, except on Wednesdays.
St George's Chapel was a popular destination for pilgrims during the late medieval period, as it was considered to contain several important burials: the bodies of John Schorne and Henry VI and a fragment of the True Cross held in a reliquary called the Cross of Gneth.[ citation needed ] It was seized from the Welsh people by Edward II after his conquest along with other sacred relics. These relics all appear to have been displayed at the eastern end of the south choir.
The Chapel suffered a great deal of destruction during the English Civil War. Parliamentary forces broke into and plundered the chapel and treasury on 23 October 1642. Further pillage occurred in 1643 when the fifteenth-century chapter house was destroyed, lead was stripped off the chapel roofs, and elements of Henry VIII's unfinished funeral monument were stolen. Following his execution in 1649, Charles I was buried in a small vault in the centre of the choir at St George's Chapel which also contained the coffins of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. A programme of repair was undertaken at St George's Chapel after the Restoration.
The reign of Queen Victoria saw further changes made to the structure of the chapel. The east end of the choir was reworked in memory of Prince Albert. The Lady Chapel, which had been abandoned by Henry VII, was completed. A royal mausoleum was completed underneath the Lady Chapel. A set of steps was built at the west end of the chapel to create a ceremonial entrance to the building. In the 21st century, St George's accommodates approximately 800 people for services and events.
On the roof of the chapel, standing on the pinnacles, and also on pinnacles at the sides, are seventy-six heraldic statues representing the Queen's Beasts, showing the Royal supporters of England. They represent fourteen of the heraldic animals: the lion of England, the red dragon of Wales, the panther of Jane Seymour, the falcon of York, the black bull of Clarence, the yale of Beaufort, the white lion of Mortimer, the greyhound of Richmond, the white hart of Richard II, the collared silver antelope of Bohun, the black dragon of Ulster, the white swan of Hereford, the unicorn of Edward III and the golden hind of Kent.
The original beasts dated from the sixteenth century, but were removed in 1682 on the advice of Sir Christopher Wren. Wren had criticised the Reigate stone, the calcareous sandstone of which they were constructed. The present statues date from 1925, when the chapel was restored.
Members of the Order of the Garter meet at Windsor Castle every June for the annual Garter Service. After lunch in the State Apartments (Upper Ward of the Castle), they process on foot in their robes and insignia, down to St George's Chapel for the service. If new members are to be admitted, they are installed at the service. After the service, the members of the order return to the Upper Ward by carriage or car.
The Order frequently attended chapel services in the distant past, however they tailed off in the 18th century and were finally discontinued in 1805. The Garter service was revived in 1948 by King George VI for the 600th anniversary of the founding of the Order, and has since become an annual event.
After their installation, members are each assigned a stall in the chapel choir above which his or her heraldic devices are displayed.
A member's sword is placed beneath a helmet which is decorated with a mantling and topped with a crest, coronet or crown. Above this, a member's heraldic banner is hoisted emblazoned with his arms. A Garter stall plate, a small elaborately enamelled plate of brass, is affixed to the back of the stall displaying its member's name and arms with other inscriptions.
On a member's death, the sword, helmet, mantling, crest, coronet or crown, and banner are removed. A service marking the death of a late member must be held before the stall can be assigned to anyone else. The ceremony takes place in the chapel, during which the Military Knights of Windsor carry the banner of the deceased member and offer it to the Dean of Windsor, who places it on the altar.
The stall plates, however, are not removed. They remain permanently affixed to the stall, so the stalls of the chapel are emblazoned with a collection of plates of the members throughout history.
St George's Chapel is among the most important medieval chantry foundations to have survived in England. The college was itself part of a medieval chantry, and there are a number of other chantry elements in the form of altars and small chapels in memory of various English monarchs and of a number of prominent courtiers, deans and canons. Special services and prayers would also be offered in memory of the founder. Henry VIII had originally intended another chantry to be set up in the chapel, despite the fact that his ecclesiastical changes led to the Reformation in England and the eventual suppression of chantries.
The much-admired iron gates in the sanctuary of the chapel as well as the locks on the doors of the chapel are the work of the medieval Cornish metalsmith John Tresilian.The status of the college as a royal foundation saved it from dissolution at the Reformation. As a result, many of the smaller chantries within the chapel were preserved. These are the only remaining chantries of their kind in England which have never been suppressed.
The Rutland Chantry chapel, forming the northern transept of St George's Chapel, was founded in 1491 in honour of Sir Thomas St Leger (c.1440–1483) and Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter (1439–1476).Sir Thomas was Anne's second husband. She was the eldest surviving daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and thus elder sister of kings Edward IV (1442–1483, reigned 1461–1483) and Richard III (1452–1485, reigned 1483–1485). A monumental brass in memory of Anne of York and Sir Thomas survives on the east wall of the Rutland Chantry, the inscription of which records that the chantry was founded "with two priests singing forevermore":
"Wythin thys Chappell lyethe beryed Anne Duchess of Exetur suster unto the noble kyng Edward the forte. And also the body of syr Thomas Sellynger knyght her husband which hathe funde within thys College a Chauntre with too prestys sy’gyng for ev’more. On whose soule god have mercy. The wych Anne duchess dyed in the yere of oure lorde M Thowsande CCCCl xxv"
The chantry received its current name in honour of the earls of Rutland, descendants of Anne and Sir Thomas, their daughter, also Anne, married to George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros and their son, Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland. The tomb of George and Anne Manners is a prominent feature of the chantry. Their effigies are carved in English alabaster.
The chantry comprises five panels which represent the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Temptations of Christ in the wilderness and the Miracle at Cana. They were commissioned from embroiderer Beryl Dean and took five years to complete. Only one panel is normally on display to the public, but the others may be seen on request.
The chapel has been the site of many royal weddings, particularly of the children of Queen Victoria. They have included:
The chapel has been the site of many royal funerals and interments. People interred in the Chapel include:
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England, as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by King Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross. The Order of the Garter is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.
The title of Duke of Kent has been created several times in the peerages of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, most recently as a royal dukedom for the fourth son of King George V. Since 1942, the title has been held by Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II's cousin.
The Royal Standards of the United Kingdom refers to either one of two similar flags used by Queen Elizabeth II in her capacity as Sovereign of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. Two versions of the flag exist, one for general use in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and overseas; and the other for use in Scotland.
Prince Arthur of Connaught was a British military officer and a grandson of Queen Victoria. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 20 November 1920 to 21 January 1924.
Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York KG, was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, born in Shrewsbury. Richard and his older brother, who briefly reigned as King Edward V of England, mysteriously disappeared shortly after Richard III became king in 1483.
George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros of Helmsley was an English peer.
Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, 12th Baron de Ros of Helmsley, KG, of Belvoir Castle, Rutland, was created Earl of Rutland by King Henry VIII in 1525.
The Queen's Beasts are ten heraldic statues representing the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II, depicted as the Royal supporters of England. They stood in front of the temporary western annexe to Westminster Abbey for the Queen's coronation in 1953. Each of The Queen's Beasts consists of an heraldic beast supporting a shield bearing a badge or arms of a family associated with the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II. They were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works from sculptor James Woodford. They were uncoloured except for their shields at the coronation.
The Military Knights of Windsor, originally the Alms Knights and informally the Poor Knights, are retired military officers who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle, and who provide support for the Order of the Garter and for the services of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. They are commanded by a senior retired officer as Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor.
The Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter is a constituent group of the Foundation of the College of St George, Windsor Castle which is a national charity in England. The society includes more than 5,100 members worldwide to "protect, preserve and enhance" the college, its St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and the royal chivalric knighthood, the Order of the Garter.
Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.
Mary of York was the second daughter of Edward IV of England and his queen consort Elizabeth Woodville.
The Royal Burial Ground is a cemetery used by the British Royal Family. Consecrated on the 23rd October 1928, it surrounds the Royal Mausoleum, which was built in 1862 to house the tomb of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The burial ground lies on the Frogmore Estate, part of Windsor Home Park, in the English county of Berkshire. Many members of the Royal Family, generally except for sovereigns and their consorts, have been interred on the Royal Burial Ground, among them Queen Victoria's children and one sovereign: Edward VIII, 1894–1972. In the adjacent Frogmore Gardens stands the mausoleum of Queen Victoria's mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter, aka Anne Plantagenet, was the first child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She was thus the eldest sister of kings Edward IV (1461–1483) and Richard III (1483–1485); and of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, Elizabeth of York, Duchess of Suffolk, Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy and of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence.
Sir Thomas St LegerKB was the second son of Sir John St Leger (d.1441) of Ulcombe, Kent, and his wife, Margery Donnet. He was also the second husband of Anne of York, daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and thus she was an elder sister of Kings Edward IV (1461-1483) and Richard III (1483-1485). His younger brother, Sir James St Leger of Annery in Devon, married Anne Butler, daughter of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond, and was therefore an uncle to Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire.
Anne St Leger was a niece of two Kings of England, Edward IV and Richard III. Before she was 8, she had inherited a vast fortune and been disinherited of it. Married at 14, she had 11 children, and is a link in the maternal line that was used to identify the remains of Richard III.
Sir Robert Poyntz, lord of the manor of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire, was a supporter of the future King Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He was buried in the Gaunt's Chapel, Bristol, in the magnificent "Chapel of Jesus", a chantry chapel built by him.
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