This tenacious building in Windsor, England has been hanging in there for over 400 years.
The original house was built in 1592 at the edge of the town’s market square – and was aptly named Market Cross House.
According to the Crooked House’s official website, the building was torn down in 1687 to make way for the neighboring Guildhall. A land dispute erupted over the lot/remains of the house. The town council was eventually ordered by the court to rebuild the dwelling in its original spot.
The house was re-built with such haste that unseasoned green oak wood was used. As a result, the structure soon noticeably buckled and shifted. The Market Cross house from then on became known as the Crooked House of Windsor.
It doesn’t appear that the house was ever used as a private residence; rather, there is record of it being used as a butcher’s shop, jeweler, brewery, a gift shop and an antique shop. However, the building has been utilized as a tea room/restaurant for over 30 years now.
The extreme settling and slanting of the structure is said to cause nausea and vertigo in many guests.
Below is a 1980’s photograph of the Crooked House:
It is remarkable that the frame has been able to maintain that severe angle for so many decades – centuries in fact.
But the intrigue doesn’t end with the slanted floors & walls. Multiple reports state that the basement housed a secret passage to Windsor Castle – the Royal Family’s official residence. The clandestine tunnel was allegedly used for rendezvous between naughty King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwyn.
The passage’s “official” purpose was to be a supply hauling tunnel for the Castle’s kitchen – moving fresh produce from the market. This was back before automobiles, refrigeration and electricity.
In fact, the most remarkable thing about this stubborn house is that it still exists today as the city has been built up and transformed around it.
Moral of the story: season your wood before building, otherwise, your house might last for 400 years.