A virtual walk on Heygo with guide Ian in the lovely city of Warwick brought back memories of visiting the wonderful castle and the attractive town centre, which is part Tudor and part Georgian due to extensive rebuilding following the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694.
The town seems to date from the 5th century, but in 914 Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians and daughter of King Alfred the Great built a Burgh (a fortified town on the site) as a defense against the Vikings.
In the 10th century, it became a shire town and had its own mint from 924 until the 12th century. It was raided and burnt by Danish invaders in 1016. The Norman period saw the building of the castle and it continued as an administrative and military centre. In the middle ages, the Earls of Warwick were among the most powerful nobles in the country, most notably the 16th Earl, Richard Neville, who earned the title ‘Warwick the Kingmaker ‘. During the civil war, the Parliamentarian garrison was besieged by a Royalist army for two weeks before, being unable to capture the castle, the Royalists withdrew, as a relief army approached the town. Much of the town was destroyed in the fire of 1694, which destroyed around 700 buildings. Warwick continues today as the county town of Warwickshire.
The original fortification was a wooden fort, built during the reign of William the Conqueror. It was replaced in the 12th century by a stone castle, which was further modified in the 14th century. It withstood a two-week siege during the civil war and in the 17th century was converted into a country house that we see today. In 1978 the Earl of Warwick sold the castle to Madame Tussauds to be opened as a visitor attraction.