Eton College is one of the oldest schools in England, as well as one of the oldest schools in Europe. It was established in 1440 to give exceptional boys the religious and academic education they needed. A visit to the school is well worth it to see a slice of English history, impressive architecture and plenty of cultural artefacts and decoration. There are plenty of nearby hotels in Windsor to make the base for your day out. All the visits are strictly guided, since there are still people working and learning at the school today, but you can expect to see the following:
The Chapel was at the heart of this institution when it was set up. Henry VIII arranged it so that there were 14 services each day, along with daily prayers for His royal parents, and then for Henry VIII himself after his death. In the Middle Ages it was believed that prayers helped souls to progress more quickly from purgatory to heaven. These days there still is a service for mass each Sunday.
The Chapel and other areas of the school hold priceless examples of art throughout the centuries. A bomb in the Second World War shattered all of the stained glass windows in the Chapel, so the art that exists there now was created in the early fifties. However, the wall paintings inside date from 1479 and more closely reflect the true age of the school. These were created in the style of the Flemish masters.
A View into Days Gone By
The tour will shed a little light onto the way that pupils were taught and lived their lives. It was a strict and regimented life at Eton, as they rose as early at 5:00 am and dressed whilst chanting prayers. During the day of further prayers and lessons taught exclusively in Latin