|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|
|Years built||14th century|
|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 designed in the high-medieval Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar, a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. Seating approximately 800,it is located in the Lower Ward of the castle.
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.
A Royal Peculiar is a Church of England parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese and the province in which it lies and subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and later the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.
St. George's castle chapel was established in the 14th century by King Edward III and began extensive enlargement in the late 15th century. It has been the location of many royal ceremonies, weddings and burials. Windsor Castle is a principal residence for Queen Elizabeth II.
Castle chapels in European architecture are chapels that were built within a castle. They fulfil the religious requirements of the castle lord and his retinue, sometimes also served as a burial site. Because the construction of such church edifices was expensive for the lord of the castle, separate chapels are not found at every seat of the nobility. Often, a secondary room furnished with an altar had to suffice.
The day-to-day running of the Chapel is the responsibility of the Dean and Canons of Windsor who make up the religious College of St George, which is directed by a Chapter of the Dean and four Canons, assisted by a Clerk, Virger (traditional spelling of 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.
The Dean and Canons of Windsor are the ecclesiastical body of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons: a non-monastic or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost. In its governance and religious observance a collegiate church is similar to a cathedral, although a collegiate church is not the seat of a bishop and has no diocesan responsibilities. Collegiate churches were often supported by extensive lands held by the church, or by tithe income from appropriated benefices. They commonly provide distinct spaces for congregational worship and for the choir offices of their clerical community.
A chapter is one of several bodies of clergy in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Nordic Lutheran churches or their gatherings.
In 1348, King Edward III founded two new 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 rededicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, George the Martyr and Edward the Confessor, but soon after became known only by the 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 Stephen's Chapel, sometimes called the Royal Chapel of St Stephen, was a chapel in the old Palace of Westminster which served as the chamber of the House of Commons of England and that of Great Britain from 1547 to 1834. It was largely destroyed in the fire of 1834, but the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the crypt survived.
Westminster is an area in central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.
St George's Chapel became the Mother Church of the Order of the Garter, and a special service is still held in the chapel every June and is attended by the members of the order. Their heraldic banners hang above the upper stalls of the choir where they have a seat for life.
Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement. The achievement, or armorial bearings usually includes a coat of arms on an shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.
The period 1475–1528 saw a radical redevelopment of St George's Chapel under the designs of King Henry VII's most prized counsellor Sir Reginald Bray (later Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster), set in motion by Edward IV and continued by Henry VII and Henry VIII. The thirteenth-century Chapel of Edward the Confessor was expanded into a huge new Cathedral-like chapel under the supervision of Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury, and the direction of 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 clerks epistoler and 13 choristers. The choristers of St George's Chapel are still in existence to this day, although the total number is not fixed and is nearer to 20. The choristers are educated at St George's School, Windsor Castle. They are full boarders at the school. In term time they attend practice in the castle every morning and sing Matins and Eucharist on Sundays and sing Evensong throughout the entire week, with the exception of Wednesdays.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office in the Government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.
Richard Beauchamp was a medieval Bishop of Hereford and Bishop of Salisbury.
St George's Chapel was a popular destination for pilgrims during the late medieval period. The chapel was purported to contain several important relics: the bodies of John Schorne and Henry VI and a fragment of the True Cross held in a reliquary called the Cross of Gneth. It was taken from the Welsh by Edward II after his conquest along with other sacred relics. These relics all appear to have been displayed at the east end of the south choir aisle.
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 pillaging 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 following the Restoration of the monarchy.
The reign of Queen Victoria saw further changes made to the architecture of the chapel. The east end of the choir was reworked in devotion to Prince Albert; the Lady Chapel, which had been abandoned by Henry VII, was completed; a royal mausoleum was completed underneath the Lady Chapel; and a set of steps were 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 persons for services and events.
On the roof of the chapel, standing on the pinnacles, and also on pinnacles on 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 condemned 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 in the Upper Ward of the Castle they process on foot, wearing their robes and insignia, down to St George's Chapel where the service is held. If any new members have been admitted to the Order 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 formerly had frequent services at the chapel, but, after becoming infrequent in the 18th century, they were discontinued in 1805. The ceremony 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 below a helm which is decorated with a mantling and topped by a crest, coronet or crown. Above this, a member's heraldic banner is flown emblazoned with his or her 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, helm, mantling, crest, coronet or crown, and banner are removed. A ceremony marking the death of the late member must be held before the stall can be assigned to anyone else. This 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; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the members throughout history.
St George's Windsor is among the most important and ambitious medieval chantry foundations to have survived in England. The college, itself a medieval chantry, also contains a number of independent chantries in the form of altars and small chapels dedicated to various members of the English monarchy and also to a number of prominent courtiers, deans and canons. Masses, the Office and prayers would be offered in these chantries for the good of the founder. Henry VIII had intended a chantry to be set up in the chapel, despite the fact that he instituted the religious changes which brought about 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 formally been suppressed.
The Rutland Chantry, forming the northern transept of St George's Chapel, was founded in 1491 to honour 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 named Anne, married George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros and gave birth to 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 chapel has been the site of many royal weddings, particularly of the children of Queen Victoria. These weddings include:
The chapel has been the site of many royal funerals and interments. Persons interred here include:
Mary of Teck was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King George V.
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was the third son and fourth child of King George V and Queen Mary. He served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947, the only member of the British royal family to hold the post.
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.
Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife was the third child and the eldest daughter of the British king Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark; she was a younger sister of George V. She was the eldest granddaughter of Christian IX of Denmark. In 1905, her father gave her the title of Princess Royal, which is usually bestowed on the eldest daughter of the British monarch if there is no living holder.
Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom was the fourth child and second daughter of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark, and the younger sister of George V.
George V was the last king of Hanover, the only child and successor of King Ernest Augustus. George V's reign was ended during the Unification of Germany.
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 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.
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.
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.
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