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Windsor Forest & Windsor Great Park
A Place of Jousts & Deer

Medieval Knight jousting in Windsor Great Park -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • Windsor Forest once stretched over most of Berkshire. The 'Stag & Hounds' pub at Binfield, near Bracknell, marks its centre.

  • The Kings of England liked to hunt deer there. In Medieval times, Henry III put a big fence around part of the Forest. This is called 'Windsor Great Park'. It is just south of Windsor. Hunting was easier there. Deer could not get out and poachers couldn't get in.

  • There were lots of criminals and outlaws hiding in Windsor Forest, a bit like Robin Hood. The most famous was Fulk FitzWarin, a nobleman who had fallen out with King John and had his lands taken away. He eventually tricked the King into returning them.

  • King Edward I built a big manor house in the park for his children to live in. It was more comfy than a draughty castle! 

  • He liked to hold tournaments in the Park. All the lords and knights would come and joust in a big competition. It was good practice for war.

  • King Richard II kept ostriches at the Royal manor in the park! His favourite huntsman was 'Herne the Hunter'. His ghost still haunts the Forest. Spooky!

  • In Tudor times, the King or Queen was sometimes too lazy to go hunting themselves. They would watch their friends from a big grandstand called a 'standing'.

  • During the Civil War between King Charles I and Parliament, Oliver Cromwell trained his 'New Model Army' in the Park.

  • Cromwell sold some of the park and a big mansion was built there. King Charles II got it back. He gave the house to his 'Ranger'. His job is to look after the Park. This is now called Cumberland Lodge.

  • Queen Anne built lots of 'Rides' across the Park and the Forest. She was too fat to ride a horse. She needed the rides to follow the hunt in her carriage. George III later built more. The most famous one is the 'Nine Mile Ride'.

  • In Georgian times, the Duke of Cumberland made lots of gardens in the Park and a big lake called 'Virginia Water'.

  • The Cranbourne Tower stands in the Park. This is all that is left of Cranbourne Lodge. The diarist, Samuel Pepys, used to visit his boss there. Later, King George IV locked up his daughter in the tower. She had refused to marry the man he had chosen for her.

  • King George also built the 'Royal Lodge' and had lots of wild parties there. He kept his private zoo at the Sandpit Gate, including his pet giraffe.

  • Today the Park is kept open for the public to enjoy.


    Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.