Monday, 21 May 2012
King Arthur's round table
Winchester Castle dates back to 1066 and the reign of William the Conqueror, but by 1216 and the end of King John's reign the castle and its royal palace needed a lot of repair. Between 1222 and 1235 the hall was replaced with the building that is there today.
Henry III (1216-1272) and Edward I (1272-1307) both made alterations and improvements to the castle. Edward and Margaret of France, almost died in a fire that destroyed the royal apartments in 1302.
At the end of the 14th century the roof and exterior of the hall was rebuilt. The Royalists held the castle during the English Civil War until the Parliamentary Forces captured it in 1646. Oliver Cromwell ordered the castle to be demolished, but the Great Hall was kept to use for assemblies.
In the 1870s the hall was restored and was last used as an official court between 1938 and 1974.
The round table hangs on the wall at one end of the hall, now known to have been made in the late 13th century and painted as it stands now for King Henry VIII. It measures 5.5 metres in diameter, weighs 1200kg and is made from English Oak.
There is also Queen Eleanor's garden just outside the hall too.
It is free to visit (although donations can be given) and it is often the venue of re-enactments and medieval displays.