What is the Round Table?
"The Rounde Table at Wynchestere beganne, and ther it ende, and ther it hangeth yet"
John Hardyng, Chronicle of England (1463)
According to legend, the Round Table which hangs in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle is the table around which King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met, and it has been famous for centuries for its associations with the legendary 'Once and Future King'. Although we now know that it originated many centuries later, the table’s mystique still remains.
It was probably created in about 1290, for a tournament near Winchester to celebrate the betrothal of one of Edward I’s daughters. When the table was taken down from the wall and investigated by a team of scientists in 1976, tree ring evidence and carbon dating placed it in the 13th or early 14th century which supports that idea.
Originally it was a standing table with 12 outer legs and a central support. It measures 5.5 metres in diameter, weighs 1200kg and was constructed from English oak. It has hung on the west wall of the Great Hall, Winchester since 1873, when it was moved from the east wall where it had hung since at least 1540, and possibly since 1348.
In the early years of King Henry VIII’s reign the table was painted with the Tudor Rose at its centre and is thought to portray Henry as King Arthur on his throne, surrounded by 24 places for his Knights of the Round Table.