[Sunday - 10/30/94] Warwick Castle ranks amongst the most popular of all Britain's many historic attractions due to its size, picturesque location and turbulent history.
The castle was created as a fortification in AD 914, to protect the small hilltop settlement from Danish invaders who posed a threat to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and was later enlarged by William the Conqueror who turned it into a motte and bailey fort in 1068.
Fortifications were added by King Richard III up until his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The castle has witnessed some key events in English history. These include the capture of Piers Gaveston, favourite of King Edward, before his murder by jealous barons in 1312, and, in 1469, the imprisonment of King Edward IV, who had gained victory in the Battle of the Roses, allowing Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick ('Warwick the Kingmaker').
Royal guests welcomed to the castle have included Queen Elizabeth I, King Charles I, King George III and Queen Elizabeth II nd, of course, US!
The castle was expanded by the Beauchamp family, who were Earls of Warwick from 1268 and later, in the 17th century, by Sir Fulke Grenville, poet and courtier to Queen Elizabeth I, who added the chapel with its beautiful stained-glass windows. Grenville was stabbed to death in the 14th-century ghost tower by a bitter manservant in 1628. The opulent State Rooms were added by Grenville's descendants in the 17th and 18th centuries, as were the gardens, laid out by the famous English landscape gardener, Capability Brown.
Today, visitors can explore the varied history of the castle's dungeons, fortifications and living quarters, as well as the Rose Garden and the formal gardens. The Private Apartments contain a display of waxwork figures, showing how the rooms would have looked at the weekend parties hosted by the Countess of Warwick for some of the most prominent figures of Victorian society in the late 19th century.
Across the River Avon is the Island, where jesters, archers and craftsmen show off their skills in the summer months alongside re-enactments of battles and tournaments. We were treated to a knight in full armor mounted on horseback. Later, still another "knight" gave a wonderful talk about armor while he was, in fact, armoring up.
Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008|
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