Our younger daughter, her husband, and their two daughters – The Roses – have annual passes for Warwick Castle and very kindly took us with them for a visit yesterday.
We used to live just outside Warwick and two buildings dominate the skyline, the castle
and St Mary’s church.
Although both parties had travelled from opposite directions both cars arrived in the car park simultaneously, no mean feat. A short walk takes you up to the entrance where you pass through a garden which yesterday spotted no less than seven peacocks and a single peahen.
As a small boy away at boarding school I had to put up with amorous peacocks keeping me awake at night with their screeching so I’ve always considered that to get the best of them they should be roasted.
Moving on we were about to cross to the main entrance of the castle but Lily (left) and Poppy (right) were destined and had their appropriate come-uppance.
Inside the castle keep, where I recall Christmas carols many years ago, there are various attractions but we headed straight through for a particularly special event.
At Warwick Castle they have built a Trebuchet, this is a mediaeval engine of war designed to hurl blazing missiles into your enemy’s camp or castle; on a previous visit The Roses had seen this wondrous machine in action when it had hurled its fiery cargo straight into the castle boathouse which promptly caught fire and burned to the ground. Now that’s what I call spectacular and expected nothing less for us yesterday. A great crowd assembled on the bank of the River Avon only to have our hopes dashed, the wretched thing had sheared a bolt and was unusable; I can’t help thinking that a mediaeval Duke of Warwick would have had a burly blacksmith on hand to fettle a new one straight away but this is the twenty first century and I imagine someone had to be despatched to B & Q for a replacement. Anyway no show for us, Grrrr. Here’s a picture of the Trebuchet with modern men in suits scratching their heads wondering what to do.
Warwick Castle was originally established in 1088 not long after the Norman Conquest and built up from a simple motte and bailey to a “proper” castle. Various Earls and Dukes of Warwick were famous (notorious?) throughout history as one of the most senior positions and in particular their shenanigans in the Middle Ages with such events as burning Joan of Arc, and the Wars of the Roses. For more on this look in Wikipedia or, better still, read the history plays of well known local lad Will. Shakespeare who lived about eight miles down the road in Stratford upon Avon, he would have had all the local knowledge.
Altogether a really good day out was had by all and the sun even came out in the afternoon. There’s plenty to do and see with things to try like archery and see like the birds of prey being flown
There are also demonstrations of jousting on certain weekends and, apparently, they have a fire hurling trebuchet that has been known to work, just not when I’m there. I must also say a word about the staff; some in costume like a stout king and his lady, knights and peasants, others just in conventional staff uniform but all of them, without exception, were charming, polite and helpful and happy to engage with a seven year old and five year old.
All in all an excellent day out. Thank you The Roses.
4 June 2016