Warwick Castle - The splendour and horror and the ghosts
A Brief history
Situated in the town of Warwick, County town of Warwickshire, on a bend overlooking the river Avon is Warwick Castle. It was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle in 1068 by William the Conqueror in order to keep his control over the Midlands.
The castle, 8 miles from Stratford-on-Avon, is one of the oldest in Britain that is still in use. The towers and walls are virtually unaltered since they were built in the 14th century.
The castle possesses all the characteristics of a medieval fortress of great strength and grandeur, and may be selected as
one of the best examples in England of the castle of ancient days which played no inconsiderable part in the civil strife and in
the political revolutions of the country's annals.
The five State rooms include: The Red Drawing Room, The Cedar Drawing Room, The Green Drawing Room,
The Queen Anne Bedroom, and The Blue Boudoir
An Anglo-Saxon burh was established on the site in 914; with fortifications instigated by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great. The burh she established was one of ten which defended Mercia against the marauding Danes. Its position allowed it to dominate the Fosse Way, as well as the river valley and the crossing over the River Avon. Though the motte to the south-west of the present castle is now called "Ethelfleda's Mound", it is in fact part of the later Norman fortifications, and not of Anglo-Saxon origin.
After the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror established a motte-and-bailey castle at Warwick in 1068 to maintain control of the Midlands as he advanced northwards. Building a castle in a pre-existing settlement could require demolishing properties on the intended site. In the case of Warwick, the least recorded of the 11 urban castles in the 1086
survey, four houses were torn down to make way for the castle.A motte-and-bailey castle consists of a mound on which
usually stands a keep or tower and a bailey, which is an enclosed courtyard. William appointed Henry de Beaumont, the son
of a powerful Norman family, as constable of the castle. The castle passed into the hands of succession of kings and nobles.
The title, Earl of Warwick has been created four times in the history of the castle. In 1088, 1447, 1618 and 1759.
Source. Wikipedia. Warwick Castle.
Henry de Beaumont (De Newburgh) was given the position of constable of Warwick Castle and in 1088 was made Earl of
Roger de Beaumont (De Newburgh) became the second Earl of Warwick and, in 1153, his wife was tricked into believing that
he was dead and therefore gave up the castle to King Henry II (at the time known as Henry of Anjou). In a later turn of events
Henry gave Warwick Castle back to the Earls of Warwick to show his gratitude for their support of his mother, Empress Matilda. Sometime later in the 12th century, during the reign of Henry II, the castle was demolished and rebuilt in stone, forming the basis
of the castle that stands in Warwick today.
In 1242 Thomas de Beaumont, 6th Earl of Warwick, died and the castle and title was given to his sister, Lady Margery. The
castle remained in the Beaumont family for several generations and underwent a number of changes, including the addition
of towers, the re-design of some residential buildings and fortification of the facade overlooking the town.
Titleholders: Earls of Warwick. First Creation. 1088.
Henry de Beaumont (De Newburgh). 1st Earl of Warwick. 10881119. He married Margaret, daughter of Geoffrey II of Perche
and Beatrix of Montdidier.
Roger de Beaumont (De Newburgh). 2nd Earl of Warwick. 11191153. He married Gundred de Warenne, daughter of William
de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey and Elizabeth de Vermandois.
William de Beaumont (De Newburgh) . 3rd Earl of Warwick. 11531184. He was succeeded by his brother, Waleran de
Waleran de Beaumont (De Newburgh). 4th Earl of Warwick. 11841203. He married Margery, daughter of Henry d'Oily and
Maud de Bohu.
Henry de Beaumont (De Newburgh). 5th Earl of Warwick. 12031229. He married Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of Henry D'Oyly, Baron Hocknorton and Lord of the Manor of Lidney. His second wife was Philippa, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Basset, Lord of Headington.
Thomas de Beaumont (De Newburgh). 6th Earl of Warwick. 12291242. He married Ela Longespee, daughter of William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury.
Margaret de Newburgh. 7th Countess of Warwick. 1242. Sister and heiress of Thomas de Beaumont. She married first John Marshal, and secondly John du Plessis.
John Du Plessis. 7th Earl of Warwick. 12421263
William Mauduit. 8th Earl of Warwick. 12631268. He was the son of Alice de Beaumont (daughter of the 4th Earl) and William
de Maudit, and so was the grandson of Waleran de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Warwick. When he died, his estates passed to his daughter, Isabel de Maudit who had married William de Beauchamp. She died shortly after Warwick's death and the title pas-
sed to their son William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick. He became the first Beauchamp earl of Warwick.
The castle and title later passed to the powerful Beauchamps.
William de Beauchamp. 9th Earl of Warwick. 12681298
Guy de Beauchamp. 10th Earl of Warwick. 12981315
Thomas de Beauchamp. 11th Earl of Warwick. 13291369
Thomas De Beauchamp. 12th Earl of Warwick. 13691401
Richard de Beauchamp. 13th Earl of Warwick. 14011439
Henry de Beauchamp. 14th Earl and 1st Duke of Warwick. 14391446. After his death, his earldom was inherited by his daugh-
ter, Anne. She became the suo jure 15th Countess of Warwick at age two but died three years later. Her title as Countess of Warwick was inherited by her paternal aunt, Lady Anne (Lady Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick). She was the
daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, and his second wife Isabel le Despenser,
Anne de Beauchamp. 15th Countess of Warwick. 14461449. She married Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.
In 1449 the castle passed to the Neville family as a result of the death of Anne de Beauchamp, 15th Countess of Warwick.
Through his wife's inheritance of the title, Richard Neville became the next Earl of Warwick and in 1469 rebelled against King Edward IV, imprisoning him at the castle. After a brief attempt at ruling in the kings name, Neville was forced to release him
and was killed in the battle of Barnet in 1471. George Plantagenet, Neville's son-in-law inherited the castle next but was exe-
cuted in 1478.
The castle then became property of the crown since George's son, Edward, was just 2 years old when George died. Never-
theless, Edward later made a claim to the throne and as a result was imprisoned by Edward IV. He was held in the tower of
london eventually executed by King Henry VII in 1499 for High Treason. This spelled the end of the line for the title of Earl of Warwick of its first creation.
Anne and Richard Neville ('Warwick the Kingmaker'). 16th Earl and Countess of Warwick. 14491471. Her daughter Lady
Isabel married George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence.
The castle and title now passed to the house of Plantagenet.
George Plantagenet. Duke of Clarence and Earl of Warwick. 14721478. He was the brother of kings Edward IV and Richard III.
At the age of 28 George was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was tried for treason against his brother
Edward IV. He was executed at the Tower of London in 1478.
Edward Plantagenet. Earl of Warwick. 14781499. He was a potential claimant to the English throne during the reigns of both Richard III (14831485) and his successor, Henry VII (14851509). After King Richard's death in 1485, Warwick, only ten years
old, was kept as prisoner in the Tower of London by Henry VII. In 1499, he appeared at Westminster for a trial before his peers, presided over by John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. He pleaded guilty. A week later, Warwick was beheaded for treason on Tower Hill.
He had no successor.
Crown Property. 14991509, Henry VII, 150947, Henry VIII. 14991547
Warwick Castle was repaired and renovated while in the care of the Crown, but fell into disrepair due to its age. In 1547, Warwick was granted to John Dudley, with the second creation of the Earl of Warwick title. Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle twice
during her progresses. When Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, died in 1590 the Warwick title once again became extinct.
Titleholders: Earls of Warwick. Second Creation. 1547.
John Dudley I. created Earl of Warwick, Duke of Northumberland. 15471553
John Dudley II. 2nd Earl of Warwick. 15531554
Crown Property. 15541562
Ambrose Dudley. created Earl of Warwick in 1561. 15621590
Crown Property. 15901603, Elizabeth I; 160304, James I. 15901604
Then there was Robert Dudley, brother of John and Ambrose Dudley. When Queen Elizabeth came to the throne
of England she gave the grant of Kenilworth Castle to her favourite courtier, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
He married Amy Robsart. In 1560 she was found dead. Was she murdered? Was Dudley responsible for the
The Greville era.In 1604 Warwick Castle was converted into a country house by Sir Fulke Greville who was given the house by
King James I. In 1618 the title Earl of Warwick was created for the third time. Fulke Greville was created Baron Brooke in 1621. 16041628. Sir Fulke Greville was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the most intimate friend of Sir Philip Sidney, raised to the peerage by James I, as Lord Brook. He also obtained from King James the grant of Warwick Castle which had been confiscated
to the crown on the downfall of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Lord Brook was murdered when already dying by Ralph
Heywood, a servant who was angered at finding that he had not been remembered in the master's will. Fulke died on 1st Sep-tember 1628.
The Brooks barony and the Warwick castle with all the other estates passed to Robert Greville.
Renovation began on the castle by the Greville family, and in 1642 the castle's defences were fortified in preparation for the
English Civil War. Warwick Castle came under siege by Royalist forces which eventually ended on August 23 when they retrea-
ted to Worcester. After the Battle of Edgehill, prisoners were held at Warwick. Further improvements were made during the 18th century and in 1759, Francis Greville, 8th Baron Brooke, was created Earl of Warwick, the fourth creation of the title. In 1871
the castle caught fire. The loss was irreparable. Many of the costly treasures and priceless works of art had been destroyed.
The Great Hall was no more. Queen Anne's bedroom and other apartments, with their ancient and modern treasures had
become things of the past. Fulke Greville. Created Baron Brooke in 1621. 16041628.
Sir Fulke Greville (owned the castle as Baron Brooke while the Earldom was held by the Rich family. The Greville's were
granted the Earldom in 1759. The earldom and Warwick Castle were thereby re-united for the first time in over a century.)
Earls of Warwick. Third Creation. 1618. The
Earldom held by the Rich family.
1618-1619 Robert Rich I
1619-1658 Robert Rich II
1621-1628 Sir Fulke Greville
1658-1659 Robert Rich III
1659-1673 Charles Rich
1673-1675 Robert Rich IV
1675-1701 Edward Rich I
1701-1721 Edward Henry Rich
1721-1759 Edward Rich II
Owned the Castle.
Robert Greville. 2nd Baron Brooke. 16281643
Francis Greville. 3rd Baron Brooke. 16431658
Robert Greville. 4th Baron Brooke. 16581677
Fulke Greville. 5th Baron Brooke. 16771710
Fulke Greville. 6th Baron Brooke. 17101711
William Greville. 7th Baron Brooke. 17111727
Earls of Warwick. Fourth Creation. 1759. The earldom and Warwick Castle re-united.
Francis Greville. 8th Baron Brooke created Earl Brooke and in 1759, 1st Earl of Warwick in a new creation. 17271773
George Greville. 2nd Earl of Warwick. 17731816
Henry Richard Greville. 3rd Earl of Warwick. 18161853
George Guy Greville. 4th Earl of Warwick. 18531893. He was married to Lady Anne, daughter of Francis Wemyss-Charteris,
9th Earl of Wemyss.
Francis Richard Greville. 5th Earl of Warwick. 18931924. He was married to Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, Countess of Warwick. She earned her the nickname, "The Babbling Brooke." Her daughter Lady Marjorie Blanche Eva Greville married
Charles William Reginald Duncombe, 2nd Earl of Feversham (8 May 1879 15 September 1916), known as Viscount Helmsley.
He was killed in action on 15 September 1916 at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
Leopold Guy Greville. 6th Earl of Warwick. 19241928
Charles Guy Greville. 7th Earl of Warwick. 19281967
David Robin Francis Guy Greville, 8th Earl of Warwick. 1967-1978
The Greville family remained the owners of Warwick Castle until 1978, when it was purchased by the Tussaud's Group.
Madame Tussaud's, the famous waxworks company bought the castle for 1.5m Pounds from Lord Brooke in 1978. He, David
Robin Francis Guy Greville, the Eighth Earl of Warwickhas been criticized for years for selling its art treasures and later on for selling the castle itself.
Tussauds invested heavily in the castle, restoring the building and its grounds ready to be opened to the public. That same
year, it became a member of the Treasure Houses of England, a consortium consisting of ten privately owned stately homes
with the aim of marketing themselves as tourist attractions. In 2001 the castle was named one of Britain's top 10 historic houses and monuments by the British Tourist Authority. Today Warwick Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument reflecting its signifi-cance as a historic building. It is also a Grade I listed building.
Tussauds Group. 19782007
Merlin Entertainments Group. 2007 present
Left to right. Lady Warwick, mother of Lady Marjorie Greville (image2) and Viscount Helmsley who wedded Marjorie. 1914.
Lady Warwick has leased the castle for some years to American friends, Henry and Frances Marsh.
In 2005, the castle became the home of the record breaking Trebuchet. At 18 metres tall and weighing 22 tonnes, it is one of the world's largest working siege engines. On August 21st 2006, the Trebuchet entered the record books as the most powerful cata-pult in the world, breaking the previous Dutch record by sending a 13kg projectile 249 metres at up to 260 km/h.
The exterior of Warwick Castle's main accomodation block from across the River Avon. Photo. Haydn Curtis.
The Splendour and horror
It houses the finest private collection of arms and armour in Britain. The castle is a setting of a paradox, offering an insight into some of the grimmest as well as some of the most impressive aspects of Englands past. On the one hand, generations lived
royally at the castle. On the other, in its torture chambers and dangeon, other, poorer people died or languised. Two seperate
rooms in the castle - the torture chamber and the gungeon - provide vivid and stark illustrations of the ways in which those
accused of crimes in England's early days were punished. Iron bars remain to seal off the prisoners and stocks implanted in
walls were used to hold prisoners upside down. For a serious offence, a man might be hung in chains near the place of the
crime until his body rotted away entirely.
The official description of one tiny area - the obliette - that was used for solitary confinement says it was drained by only the
open gulley in the floor, ventilated by one small shaft and hardly lit at all. Prisoners intended for the harshest treatment were
placed in this small and damp pit below an ironwork grill. Prisoners left here were often forgotten and left to die.
In the torture chamber, the instruments on display are reconstructions based on contemporary engravings. The instruments
give some idea of the systematic and cruel ways in which confessions were forced to those who punished. Among the instru-
ments are iron foot screws and iron body belts. The latter were used to restrain prisoners undergoing torture.
With the roman rack, a common form of torture, the victim was bound by the wrists and anckles and then unmercifully stretched across the top of this cruel machine, which caused bruising and dislocation.
But beyond its symbols of pain, Warwick castle also provides a sampling of the richness of the life of England's high aristocracy. Over the years, the families that have held the earldom include the Beauchamps, Nevilles, Plantagenets, Dudleys, Riches and Grevilles.
Among the regal features of the castle are the State rooms and Great Hall - the richly furnished main rooms of the castle - and
an area known as the private apartments. The apartment area now features a re-creation in the 12 rooms, using wax figures of
an 1898 house party.
The Gatehouse and Barbican illustrate the time and lives of the 14th and 15th century Beauchamps of Warwick; the Armoury contains and exhibition of rare military hardeware, including pistols, swords and muskets; and the Watergate Tower, also known
as the Ghost Tower, includes a recording that recounts the history of the tower.
Guy's Tower, the Rampart Walk and Clarence Tower provide panoramic views of the castle, Warwick and the surrounding country- side. Atop the tower, the ancient notched battlements remain. The once were used by soldiers to hide behind as they fought an enemy.
The castle grounds, as seen from the towers, include the neatly shaped Victorian Rose Garden; the 18th century style conser- vatory fronted by the quiet, formal Peacock Gardens; the River Island, from which there is a giant view of the massive river front
of the garden; and a tranquil woodland area along the river, the Foxes Study and Cedar Walk.
Ghosts - Who are the ghosts of warwick Castle?
"Guy" a prehistoric figure, is the oldest of the alleged spook inhabitants of the citadel.
The three ghosts are an ancestor, a soldier killed in the battle of Edgehill during the civil war and a serving girl who was murder-
ed by her boyfriend.
According to tradition the great Earl of Warwick, who was known as the "king maker," is still uneasy in his mind because of the
part he took in the dethronement of his former friend, Edward IV, whom he made king. So at night, when all the castle is asleep
the ghost of Richard Neville stalks through the great armour, takes down its buckler and its sword and with martial tread and
changing armour, walks up and down till dawn.
The ghost of Sir Fulke Greville, who was murdered by a discontented manservant, is said to haunt the tower in which he lodged.
In 2009 When contractors started clearing out a site for the new dungeon, which would include a "torture chamber," they spotted some strange activities which left them terrified. Site manager Paul Woodfield was left petrified when he spotted a strange figure
in the hallways at the site. He was so scared he immediately upped tools and ran away in fear. He saw a tall, slim man wearing some kind of tunic and trousers walking out toward the doorway. Two mediums also reported seeing a woman hovering around
one of the doorways in the area of the castle where the new dungeon attraction would be situated. They believed the woman
could have been the ghost of Frances Daisy Greville, the Countess of Warwick and mistress to King Edward VII who died in
Warwick Castle - A Brief History by Rufus Davis. You can find more articles like this and lots more local news and useful information at [http://www.activwarwick.com] - online guide to the town of Warwick.
Wikipedia. Warwick Castle. List of owners of Warwick Castle.
Historic American Newspapers.
Emma McKinney. Birminghammail. March 16, 2009.