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CHAP. I.—THE TOWN OF WINDSOR
CHAP. V.-GENTLEMEN'S SEATS, &c.'
ROYAL WINDSOR GUIDE,
TOWN OF WINDSOR.
NTEW WINDSOR is situated on the eastern border of the county IV of Berkshire; it is distant 22 miles from the Metropolis, 19
miles from Reading, 40 from Oxford, and 14 from Hampton Court. Its pleasant situation has made it the favourite residence of most of our monarchs from the time of William the Conqueror; and in the year 1276 it was declared a free borough. Charles II., in the sixteenth year of his reign, granted the inhabitants a charter, confirming and extending their former privileges; some restrictions were imposed by his successor, but at the Revolution in 1688 the original provisions of this charter were reverted to, and have since then remained unaltered. The corporation consists of a high steward, recorder, mayor, six aldermen, five justices, eighteen councillors, town clerk, treasurer, and the customary subordinate officers. The mayor and justices are annually chosen from among the aldermen.
The magistrates hold their meetings twice a week. Windsor has sent members to Parliament, with occasional omissions in the thirteenth century, since the 30th year of Edward I. The present members are John Ramsbottom, Esq. and R. Neville, Esq. The town is divided into two wards, and is of considerable size, well paved, and lighted with gas, which is supplied from a manufactory situated in a meadow at the back of Peascod-street and Thames-street. Its population, from the last census in 1841 was upwards of 10,000, including the two regiments of military stationed here. At the eastern entrance of the town is the Long Walk, leading to the Great Park. This very noble avenue-of which it has been justly said, that “imagination cannot picture an approach of greater magnificence, produced by circumstances which ages alone could bring about, and of which ages alone can produce a rival,” is nearly three miles in length, and has a carriage drive in the centre, with footpaths on each side shaded by a double row of elms, and forming a delightful promenade. On the east side of the High-street stands the Parish Church.
THE PARISH CHURCH. This spacious and commodious edifice is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Its exterior is in the plain Gothic style, with an embattled square tower at the west end, crowned with pinnacles at the angles. The interior is fitted up with great neatness, and affords accommodation for eighteen hundred persons. A well-executed painting of the Lord's Supper is placed over the communion table; the name of the artist is unknown, and the picture was discovered in 1707, concealed behind some wainscoating in St. George's Chapel, where it probably had been secreted during the civil wars of Charles I. Subsequently to its discovery it formed the altar-piece of that venerable edifice, and was presented to the parish by George III. in 1788, when the Collegiate Chapel underwent a general repair. Two handsome Gothic chairs, for the service of the officiating ministers, were presented by Her late Royal Highness the Princess Augusta; they were originally given to Queen Charlotte by Lord Bagot, being made from oak cut down at his estate at Blithfield, in Staffordshire; and the oaken rail inclosing the altar, was also presented by George III. from the private chapel at the Castle, and is beautifully carved by the celebrated Gibbons. A handsome organ, (presented by George III.) ornaments the west end of the church, on each side of which is a gallery for the children of the Free School, and two others above them contain seats for those of the National Schools. The mayor's pew is on the north side of the central aisle, surmounted by a canopy of fine old carved work; the royal arms are fixed at the back of the seat, and the arms of the borough are emblazoned in front of the desk. At the east end of the church are two elevated recesses, neatly fitted up, appropriated to Her late Royal Highness the Princess Augusta and the members for the borough. There are several tablets and monuments, of which the following may be particularised :-In the south-east entrance from St. Alban's-street is a tablet to the memory of Chief Justice Reeve, a munificent benefactor to the town, who died in 1735,; it is ornamented with busts of the learned judge and his lady, supported by two attendant figures, one holding a medallion sculptured with the attributes of justice, the other leaning in an attitude of grief on an extinguished torch. Near this are two tablets, the inscriptions on which are in black letter, but only these words are legible :
Wylliam Canon, sumtime maior of Wyndesore, and Elizabeth his wyfe, and their childerne, the which Wylliam departed out of this world the 5 daie of December, in the yere of our Lord God, 1509, fyrst yere off the rayne of King Harry VIII.
In the north aisle is a curious monument, with the following inscription, but having no date appended to it:
In happie memory of Edward Jobson and Elynor his wyfe, by whom the sayd Edward had issue vi. sons, vidt. Edward, Frances, Hvmphrie, James, William, Richard, and iiij davghters, Elizabeth, Elizabetb, Catherine, Sara.
The parents and nine of their children, habited in the costume of the sixteenth century, are carved in relievo, kneeling on each side an altar reading desk, under which is a recumbent figure of an infant; above are the family arms, and the sides of the monument are ornamented with carved fruit and foliage. On the opposite side of the church is a tablet in remembrance of Miss Catherine Henley and her mother, both of whom were unremitting in their endeavours to ameliorate the condition of the poor in the town and neighbourhood. An urn is represented on the upper part of the tablet, encircled by a wreath of cypress, and partially covered by a funeral pall : beneath it is an inscription, containing the names and ages of the deceased, to which the following lines were annexed :
Gentle they were, and eminently good,
And sounds of rapture wake th' obstructed ear.
Richard Gales, ob. St. Andrewe's day, 1574, thrice maior of Newe Windsor, in whych office he worthily purchased praise by his discreet government.
In the north-west entrance is a large monument to a lady named Braham ; at the sides of the inscription are the statues of Wisdom and Piety : the pediment is supported by angels, and at the base is an urn with two weeping cheribim. Near this are two tablets, one to the memory of Topham Foot, Esq., with a bust of the deceased by Scheemaker; the other surmounted by a shield bearing a coat of arms, and thus inscribed :
Matthew Day, gent., five times maior and constant patron of the rights and customs of the town and corporation of Newe Windsor. After his pilgrimage of 87 years, 9 months, and 22 dayes, he finished his course, 18th December, 1661.
In the porch on the opposite side, a handsome monument, formed of Corinthian columns of finely veined marble, supporting a corresponding pediment, is erected to the memory of Dr. Richard Hale ; and a Latin inscription on an oval tablet records the virtues of John Dugdale, Esq., son of Sir William Dugdale, Knt., who died January 9, 1570. In the churchyard is the tomb of the Rev. Dr. Foster, with a Latin inscription written by himself shortly prior to his decease; he was the son of a tradesman at Windsor, and having received a classical education, so sedulously pursued his studies at Cambridge, that he obtained the greatest academical honours, and subsequently
filled the high situation of head master at Eton College : he was afterwards appointed a canon of Windsor, and died in 1773. The tower contains a peal of eight fine-toned bells, presented to the parish by the cofferer of Queen Elizabeth, four of which were recast when the present church was erected. The church was built by Messrs. Tebbott and Bedborough, from a design by Mr. C. Hollis, and was consecrated on the 18th of June, 1822. The expense of its erection was £14,070 17s. 3d.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Oxford. The present vicar is the Rev. Isaac Gosset.
The first stone of a new District Church, in Clarence Crescent, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was laid by His Royal Highness Prince Albert, attended by several Dignitaries of the Church, the clergy of the neighbourhoood, the Mayor and Town Council of Windsor, &c., on Monday, April 4, 1842. The design is by Mr. Blore, and the contractors for building the sacred edifice were Messrs. Bedborough and Jenner. The ground for the site was liberally presented by Mr. Bedborough, Sen.
A neat and commodious meeting-house, for a congregation of Independent Dissenters, is situated in William-street ; another for the Wesleyans in Peascod-street; and a Baptist Chapel in the New Road.
THE TOWN HALL
Is situated near the centre of the High-street, and was erected in 1686; it is a plain structure, supported by columns and arches of Portland stone, enriched with wreaths of flowers. Statues of Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark are placed in niches at the two ends of the building, with Latin inscriptions beneath them. The power of trying all offences, except capital felonies, is vested in the recorder: and quarter sessions are held in the hall in January, April, July, and October. The interior is well adapted for transacting public business ; at the south end is a raised bench for the magistrates, the royal arms surmounting the mayor's seat. The hall is ornamented with the following portraits, most of which are wholelengths :-George IV., George III., and Queen Charlotte,* James I., Charles I., Charles II., James II., William III., Mary II., Queen Anne, Prince George of Denmark, Prince Rupert, Theodore Randue, Esq., Archbishop Laud, Charles, Earl of Nottingham, high steward of the borough in the reign of James I., and J. Eglestone, Esq.t In
* These three paintings were presented to the Corporation by George IV.; his own portrait is by Sir Thomas Lawrence, the two others are copies from the originals, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, at St. James's Palace..
+ The Town-hall may be viewed on application to G. Wiggins, Blakeney's court, High-street.