While many crooked houses are deliberately built crooked for visitor attraction, the one that stands at market square in Windsor, in England, is a result of oversight. The Crooked House of Windsor was built in 1592 at the edge of the town’s market square and was originally named Market Cross House. In 1687, the town council ordered the house to be demolished in order to make way for the neighboring Guildhall. A land dispute erupted over the lot and the council was eventually ordered by the court to rebuild the dwelling in its original spot. The house was re-built with haste, and possibly without care, using unseasoned green oak wood. When the wood dried, the house buckled but it stood its ground. Since then Market Cross House became known as the Crooked House of Windsor.
The house was originally a butcher’s shop, but over the centuries the building has housed many types of businesses, including a jeweler, a brewery, an antique shop, and a gift shop in the past. Currently, it functions as a tea room and restaurant that serves patrons with - apart from tea and coffee - handmade artisan cakes, scrumptious breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
The Crooked House has a now-blocked secret passageway that leads to Windsor Castle and is said to have been used for illicit trysts between King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwyn. The passageway was also used for delivering produce from the market directly to the kitchens of Windsor Castle.
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