Last week I visited Warwick Castle, a beautiful fortress on the banks of the River Avon.
It was a beautiful day, both weather-wise and as it was spent in the company of my parents and my nephew. Many of you may know my mum, Millie Thom, as she also blogs and we take part in some of the same flash fiction challenges. She writes historical fiction (Shadow of the Raven and Pit of Vipers) and often posts about history, as with last week’s Medieval Siege Warfare. I’ll leave the full post about the history of the site to her (I believe she’s added it to her rapidly lengthening list) and just share a few facts about the place and some photos from the day.
I hope you all enjoy them.
In 1068 William the Conqueror, the new Norman King of England, had a motte-and-bailey castle built on the site of an old Anglo Saxon burh. This was to ensure control of the midlands during the Norman conquest of England. It was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century.
Much of the architecture that can now be seen was added during the the 14th century re-fortification of the castle. It was at this time that the gatehouse, barbican, several towers and the riverside facade were all added.
You can climb all the towers and walk along the walls, getting some great views over both the castle itself and the surrounding town and countryside. Before climbing Guy’s Tower you’re warned that there are 540 steps ahead of you as the route takes you along ramparts and into other towers along the way!
Numerous fascinating figures have had connections to the castle over the centuries but one of the most interesting of these was the 16th Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville (1428-71). This man was given the epithet ‘Kingmaker’ as he had an instrumental hand in the deposition of two different kings during the War of the Roses.
Nowadays the castle has become what is known as an ‘interactive historical experience’, with both waxwork figures and a host of actors and actresses to demonstrate what life would have been like in the past. Some areas are set up to represent the medieval period, others for the late 19th century. There are living history tents, and even a joust! Some areas are set up to give visitors the smells and sounds of the period as well as the sights.
They have a two different siege machines on display, a ballista and a trebuchet. The trebuchet is the largest working siege machine in the world and demonstrations of it’s use are given – unfortunately we didn’t manage to see that.
There were so many things to see and photograph around the castle that I’ve included barely a fraction of them here. There were some areas, such as The Dungeons where photographs weren’t allowed to be taken and other areas that were just so busy it was impossible to stop to take them. I hope you’ve all had a nice taster of the day, however. Whilst it wasn’t a cheap day out, and at times it felt more like a theme park than a castle, it was very enjoyable. I would happily recommend the place to anyone interested in history.