About Warwick Castle
Built by a king, the seat of a kingmaker and vital stronghold in the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War, Warwick Castle has played an important role in British history.
Before Warwick Castle’s existence, the site on which it sits was the location of a Saxon fort built by Alfred the Great’s daughter, Ethelfleda in 914AD. Its aim was as a defence from Danish invaders.
Construction and Change
It was in 1068 that the initial visage of Warwick Castle began to take shape, when its construction was ordered by King William I, better known as William the Conqueror. At this point, it was a wooden motte and bailey construct, eventually to be turned into a stone castle in the 13th century.
In fact, Warwick Castle would undergo centuries of change, some due to altering styles, but others for military reasons or due to necessity such as after a fire in 1871. For example, while its two vast eastern towers date to the 14th and 15th century renovations and the Great Hall to the 14th century much of the interior, such as the State Dining Room, was redone or created in the 18th century.
A major part of what makes Warwick Castle truly exceptional is its story and those of the people and dynasties for which it formed a backdrop. For example, it was owned by the Earl of Warwick Richard Neville, a central character in the Wars of the Roses who history has named the Kingmaker.
It was also at Warwick Castle that Edward IV was held prisoner in 1469 and it was later held by future King Richard III, the Duke of Gloucester in the 1480s. In 1642, Warwick Castle also played its part in the English Civil War, withstanding a Royalist siege.
Warwick Castle Today
The seat of the Earls of Warwick until 1978, Warwick Castle then opened to the public and today offers a range of things to see and do. Visitors can tour the site and its grounds, learning about its history and enjoying its architecture. There are also often children’s activities. A full visit can last around 4-5 hours.