Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is a Medieval castle that was developed from a wooden fort that was built by William the Conqueror during 1068 in order to maintain control of the Midlands as he advanced Northwards. Due to Warwick being an already existing settlement, four houses had to be torn down in order to make way for the motte-and-bailey castle. A motte-and-bailey castle consists of a mound and an enclosed courtyard (bailey). On the mound, there normally stands a tower. 

Henry de Beaumont was appointed as constable of the castle by William the Conqueror. Henry de Beaumont was then made the first Earl of Warwick in 1088, founding the Church of All Saints within Warwick Castle by 1119. However, in 1127-8, the Bishop of Worcester decided that the castle was an inappropriate location for a church.

In 1153, Roger de Beaumont’s (2nd Earl of Warwick), wife was tricked into believing that her husband was dead and surrendered control of the castle to Henry of Anjou (later Henry II of England). A 12th century text then claims that on hearing the news that his wife handed over the castle, Roger de Beaumont died. King Henry II later returned the castle to the Earls of Warwick on hearing that they were supporters of Empress Matilda, King Henry II’s mother, during The Anarchy. 

The castle is over 1,100 years old and is well worth a visit with history spanning over a thousand years. The castle was home to The Kingmaker. Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick earned his nickname after his part played in the disposition of two British Kings. One of which was Edward IV, whom Neville imprisoned in Warwick Castle in 1469 in a rebellion power play in which he then attempted to rule the country. He failed and protests forced him to release Edward IV. Neville was then killed in a battle against King Edward IV in 1471. 

Warwick Castle also played a part in the Gunpowder Plot. On the 6th November 1605, Fawkes’ comrades fled from London to Warwick Castle, breaking into the castle while it was undergoing repairs. They stole many things, including horses that they used to flee to Holbeche House where they were later caught. 

As well as historical stories, Warwick castle is known to be one of the most haunted places in England. It has frequent ghostly sightings, including a recurring sighting of a black dog that is said to have been cursed on the castle by Moll Bloxham, who was publicly punished for stealing. After Bloxham’s disappearance a black dog with red eyes is said to have terrorised the grounds and still haunts the castle to this day. The ghost of Sir Fulke Greville is said to haunt the South Tower and his own portrait. Moans are said to be heard from the South Tower and a figure is said to emerge from his portrait. Sir Fulke Greville was brutally stabbed by his servant, Ralph Heywood, who then killed himself.

Warwick Castle housed a rarity of animals during Countess of Warwick’s stay in the 1890’s. The animals included many exotic animals, and an emu that was known to chase the Bishop through the grounds. 

Castle Dungeon

The castle dungeons within Warwick Castle offers a journey through Warwick Castle’s darkest history over the past 300 years. 

The Great Hall

The Great Hall is the largest room in the castle and it was first constructed in the 14th century. It was reconstructed due to a fire and the current hall represents a recreation of what a great hall of the time may have looked like. It also has an armour and weapon collection displayed on the walls. There is also the Kenilworth Buffet, crafted from a single oak tree that was cut down on the grounds in 1842.

The State Dining Room

The State Dining Room was built in the 18th century and has had many impressive guests over the years, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, King Edward VII, and Queen Elizabeth II, to name a few. 

The Queen Anne Bedroom

Formerly known as the State Bedroom, it was renamed after Queen Anne’s furniture was given to Francis Greville by King George III. The bed was from Queen Anne’s Bedchamber at Kensington Palace and was almost certainly her deathbed. 

Travel:

The castle is less than two miles from junction 15 of the M40. There is parking at the Stratford Road and overflow car parks are situated next to the admissions area. 

Birmingham International Airport is the closest airport (approximately forty minutes drive from the castle).

Warwick Railway Station is around one mile away from the castle and has a direct service to London Marylebone (one hour and forty five minutes journey), Birmingham Snow Hill is also relatively close. 

Coach tours are also available from London through Evan Evans and Golden Tours.

Where to stay:

Warwick Castle provides an overnight stay option that includes a two day pass in the price. You will be housed in a lodge, suite, or a tent from 4pm and you will be given free car parking and WiFi access for the duration of your stay. 

The lodges and suites come with TV, hairdryers, and other facilities, guests who are staying in a Knight’s Lodge or Tower Suite also have access to a mini fridge. 

The Knight’s Village is home to thirty one tents, and six ‘King’s Tents’ that offer a glamping experience for the family. Within the Knight’s Village there are also twenty four woodland lodges and four larger ‘Knight’s Lodges’. 

Caesar’s Tower is home to elegant, 14th century styled suites within the tallest tower in the castle.

Prices:

  • Adult (12+) – £21
  • Child (3-11) – £18
  • Under 3 – Free

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Oxford Castle

Amy Green

Hi, my name is Amy and I am a UK based teacher and blogger. I spent most of my childhood summers exploring castles of England and Wales, and most of my adulthood teaching humanities in Secondary schools. I love visiting and learning about Norman and Medieval Castles.

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