So happy that I got to go and visit Warwick Castle again.Image Last time I went was when I was 6 years old and the only thing I can remember from that trip is awe at the massive fortifications and extreme irritation with adults for not letting me into the dungeons 😥 . I understand now why I wasn’t let into there since even many (many many) years later I was probably (definitely) the most freaked out person in the entire tour group!

The history of this magnificent almost fairy tale style castle goes back 11 centuries to AD 914, when it was built as a ‘burh’ on the orders of Ethelfelda-daughter of King Alfred the Great (yaay a powerful girl :D). In the 11th century, the wood was replaced by stone and in the 13th century, the towers which are seen today were built, which means that the castle as seen today dates to that period.

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Over the past 1000 years, these walls have seen many things which are worthy of any suspense novel. Some of which are:

1)      In 1312, it was the site where Piers Gaveston (widely thought to be King Edward (Longshank’s) lover was tried for treason and sentenced to death.

2)      In 1431, the trial of Joan of Arc was supervised by the then Earl of Warwick, Richard de Beauchamp-Governor of BouvreilCastle, where she was imprisoned.

3)      However the most interesting of its occupant’s by far ( to me) is Anne Neville and it is sad that apart from an obscure tapestry with little information in a dark corner, there was nothing in the castle to commemorate her despite an entire section being devoted to her father aka ‘The Kingmaker .’ I realize that princesses were many a times nothing more than royal paper dolls yet the story of Anne Neville seems to be that of a girl who was certainly not bowed down by circumstances-going from a rich heiress with high prospects to the wife of a traitor, to a princess who might possibly be shut up in a nunnery by her own (only) sister, to the wife of Richard of Gloucester all by the age of 16!!, Although after seeing Warwick I can understand why Isabella Neville wanted Anne out of the way!!

Coming back to the 21st century I have to say that the way the castle has been kept preserved deserves praise but I wish it had not been handed over to the Merlin Entertainments as they have added a rather amusement park/carnival atmosphere which does not go well with the aura (insert word of choice here) of history of the castle. The addition of the MerlinTowers is atrocious. What are Merlin and Arthur doing at Warwick!! Surely Warwick does not need the false addition of anyone to enhance its grandeur and it devalues the legend of Merlin, if his name gets associated with every place with ancient towers.

However, the dungeon act was very good I thought and highly disturbing to say the least. Enactment of the use of torture instruments in the actual vaults where the prisoners were kept, accompanied by the ‘plague’ infected actors tendency to appear out of nowhere in the dark, and claim he was enjoying the fear in ones eyes were oddly effective and certainly had its effect ( on me).

All in all, a must-see for history buffs and everyone else but beware- there are 600 odd tiny spiral steps to climb up and down if you want to enjoy the view from the towers!

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