Town Mouse

An in­tim­i­dat­ing au­di­ence

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IT’S hard to imag­ine a more splen­did set­ting in which to give a lec­ture than St Ge­orge’s Chapel at Wind­sor. The gloam­ing of an au­tumn evening made it seem, if pos­si­ble, even grander than usual. Yet St Ge­orge’s isn’t sim­ply as­tound­ing as a work of ar­chi­tec­ture and gath­ered to­gether for the oc­ca­sion was some of the com­mu­nity that makes it a liv­ing in­sti­tu­tion.

This com­mu­nity, in turn, boasts an ex­tra­or­di­nary depth of his­tory. The first doc­u­mented Con­sta­ble of Wind­sor was ap­pointed more than 900 years ago and the first Dean and can­nons nearly 700 years ago. Per­haps even more as­ton­ish­ing is the com­mu­nity of the dead gath­ered in the build­ing it­self. It in­cludes two fig­ures I was ac­tu­ally meant to be talk­ing about, Ed­ward IV and Wil­liam, Lord Hast­ings (ex­e­cuted in 1483). It’s not as though they were likely to stand up and heckle, but it did seem a lit­tle in­tim­i­dat­ing to evoke them as per­son­al­i­ties in the pres­ence of their tombs, par­tic­u­larly as I was speak­ing with all the dis­ad­van­tages of a his­to­rian five cen­turies on. I con­soled my­self with the thought that they’re prob­a­bly be­yond anger now and in­deed,if they were in­ter­ested in my ef­forts at all, I’m sure they were laugh­ing. JG

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