Edward the Third's Tower, indifferently called the Earl Marshal's Tower and the Devil Tower, and used as a place of confinement for state prisoners, was now allotted to the maids of honour. It was intended by Charles to erect a monument in honour of his martyred father on the site of the tomb-house, which he proposed to remove, and 70,000 pounds were voted by Parliament for this purpose. The design, however, was abandoned under the plea that the body could not be found, though it was perfectly well known where it lay. The real motive, probably, was that Charles had already spent the money.
In 1680 an equestrian statue of Charles the Second, executed by Strada, at the expense of Tobias Rustat, formerly housekeeper at Hampton Court, was placed in the centre of the upper ward. It now stands at the lower end of the same court. The sculptures on the pedestal were designed by Grinling Gibbons; and Horace Walpole pleasantly declared that the statue had no other merit than to attract attention to them.
In old times a road, forming a narrow irregular avenue, ran through the woods from the foot of the castle to Snow Hill but this road having been neglected during a long series of years, the branches of the trees and underwood had so much encroached upon it as to render it wholly impassable. A grand avenue, two hundred and forty feet wide, was planned by Charles in its place, and the magnificent approach called the Long Walk laid out and planted.
The only material incident connected with the castle during the reign of James the Second has been already related.
Windsor was not so much favoured as Hampton Court by William the Third, though he contemplated alterations within it during the latter part of his life which it may be matter of rejoicing were never accomplished.
Queen Anne's operations were chiefly directed towards the parks, in improving which nearly 40,000 pounds were expended. In 1707 the extensive avenue running almost parallel with the Long Walk, and called the " Queen's Walk," was planted by her; and three years afterwards a carriage road was formed through the Long Walk. A garden was also planned on the north side of the castle. In this reign Sir James Thornhill commenced painting Charles the Second's staircase with designs from Ovid's Metamorphoses, but did not complete his task till after the accession of George the First. This staircase was removed in 1800, to make way for the present Gothic entrance erected by the elder Wyatt.
The first two monarchs of the house of Hanover rarely used Windsor as a residence, preferring Hampton Court and Kensington; and even George the Third did not actually live in the castle, but in the Queen's Lodge -- a large detached building, with no pretension to architectural beauty, which he himself erected opposite the south terrace, at a cost of nearly 44,000 pounds. With most praiseworthy zeal, and almost entirely at his own expense, this monarch undertook the restoration of Saint George's Chapel. The work was commenced in 1787, occupied three years, and was executed by Mr. Emlyn, a local architect. The whole building was repaved, a new altar-screen and organ added, and the carving restored.
In 1796 Mr. James Wyatt was appointed surveyor-general of the royal buildings, and effected many internal arrangements. Externally he restored Wren's round-headed windows to their original form, and at the same time gothicized a large portion of the north and south sides of the upper ward.
Before proceeding further, a word must be said about the parks. The home park, which lies on the east and north sides of the castle, is about four miles in circumference, and was enlarged and enclosed with a brick wall by William the Third. On the east, and nearly on the site of the present sunk garden, a bowling-green was laid out by Charles the Second. Below, on the north, were Queen Anne's gardens, since whose time the declivity of the hill has been planted with forest trees. At the east angle of the north terrace are the beautiful slopes, with a path skirting the north side of the home park and leading through charming plantations in the direction of the royal farm and dairy, the ranger's lodge, and the kennel for the queen's harriers. This park contains many noble trees; and the grove of elms in the south-east, near the spot where the scathed oak assigned to Herne stands, is traditionally asserted to have been a favourite walk of Queen Elizabeth. It still retains her name.
The great park is approached by the magnificent avenue called the Long Walk, laid out, as has been stated, by Charles the Second, and extending to the foot of Snow Hill, the summit of which is crowned by the colossal equestrian statue of George the Third, by Westmacott. Not far from this point stands Cumberland Lodge, which derives its name from William, Duke of Cumberland, to whom it was granted in 1744. According to Norden's survey, in 1607, this park contained 3050 acres; but when surveyed by George the Third it was found to consist of 3800 acres, of which 200 were covered with water. At that time the park was over grown with fern and rushes, and abounded in bogs and swamps, which in many places were dangerous and almost impassable. It contained about three thousand head of deer in bad condition. The park has since been thoroughly drained, smoothed, and new planted in parts; and two farms have been introduced upon it, under the direction of Mr. Kent, at which the Flemish and Norfolk modes of husbandry have been successfully practised.
Boasting every variety of forest scenery, and commanding from its knolls and acclivities magnificent views of the castle, the great park is traversed, in all directions, by green drives threading its. long vistas, or crossing its open glades, laid out by George the Fourth. Amid the groves at the back of Spring Hill, in a charmingly sequestered situation, stands a small private chapel, built in the Gothic style, and which was used as a place of devotion by George the Fourth during the progress of the improvements at the castle, and is sometimes attended by the present queen.