Our history reaches back almost 11 centuries. As custodians of the Castle we take our responsibility seriously - and have spent over £6,000,000 in the last 10 years alone on restoration.
When you visit you are helping us keep the Castle alive, as well as supporting our continuing restoration programme.
The First 1,100 Years
Attacked in 1264, besieged in 1642 and damage by fire in 1871, the Castle has nevertheless survived the ever-changing fortunes of history. Warwick Castle remained under the stewardship of the Earls of Warwick and later the Greville Family as a private home until 1978. The property was then taken over by The Tussauds Group, which later became Merlin Entertainments Group in 2007 and remains under their guardianship today.
The records of a walled-building in Warwick can be traced back to the Saxon fortification which Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, used to defend against the invading Danes. The first castle to appear on the site was a wooden motte and bailey constructed in 1068 at the command of William the Conqueror. Throughout the middle ages, under successive Earls of Warwick, the Castle was gradually rebuilt in stone.
Earthen Rampart Constructed
With Danish invaders threatening, Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, orders the building of a 'burh' or an earthen rampart to protect the small hill top settlement of Warwick.
William the Conquerer builds motte & bailey fort
William the Conqueror establishes a motte and bailey fort, consisting of a large earth mound with a timber stockade around both the top and base.
Henry de Beaumont appointed 1st Earl of Warwick
William appointed one of his followers, Henry de Beaumont (c. 1088-1119), as Castellan or Constable. Five generations follow.
Title passes to John Du Plessis
Thomas, the last de Beaumont Earl of Warwick, dies without an heir and the castle and estates passes to his sister Margaret, and her husband John Du Plessis.
Stone replaces wood
Stone replaces wood in the Castle Construction.
William Maudit succeeds as Earl of Warwick
Margaret's marriage to John du Plessis is childless and the title changes hands once more, this time to her cousin William Mauduit. Unwisely Maudit sides with the King in the Barons War.
Castle successfully attacked by Simon de Montfort
Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and leader of the rebellious barons, attacks the Castle. Mauduit and his wife are held to ransom.
The de Beauchamps succeed as Earls of Warwick
On his death Mauduit is succeeded by his nephew William de Beauchamp. So begins the dynasty that will last 148 years and bring Warwick Castle to the height of its fortunes.
Piers Gaveston tried for treason, sentenced to death
At a time of heightened political tension Guy de Beauchamp seizes Piers Gaveston, the king's lover, and brings him to Warwick Castle. He is tried for treason and sentenced to death.
Caesar's Tower & Dungeon constructed
Caesar's Tower and Dungeon constructed during first half of 14th Century.
Guy's Tower Completed
Guy's Tower is completed, reaching a height of 39m.
Thomas de Beauchamp confesses to treachery
Thomas de Beauchamp (1370-97, 1399-1401) confesses to treachery and is exiled to the Isle of Man by Richard II. Only when Richard is usurped by Henry IV in 1399 does Thomas reclaim his inheritance.
Earl of Warwick supervises trial of Joan of Arc
Richard de Beauchamp supervises Joan of Arc's trial for supposed heresy, and her subsequent execution by burning in the market place at Rouen in northern France.
Henry de Beauchamp becomes Duke of Warwick
Henry de Beauchamp (1439-46), had grown up as a companion to the boy King Henry VI. In 1445, the king made his childhood friend the first Duke of Warwick. But he was also the last, the title dying with him in the very next year.
Richard Neville becomes Earl of Warwick
Henry's only sister marries Richard Neville. During the Wars of the Roses, Neville helps to depose both Henry VI and Edward IV, winning himself the title Kingmaker.
Gatehouse and barbican are completed
Richard Neville, Kingmaker, dies at Battle of Barnet
Neville is defeated and dies at the battle of Barnet, the castle and the estates are awarded by Edward IV to his own brother, George, Duke of Clarence.
Clarence imprisoned and killed
The Duke of Clarence is suspected of intriguing against Edward, he is imprisoned and killed. The title of Earl of Warwick is retained by Clarence's son, Edward (1478-99). However, as the last Plantagenet (and therefore a possible rival to the Tudor king, Henry VII), he is kept in the Tower of London.
Another Earl of Warwick executed for treason
Edward is executed for allegedly conspiring with the second of the two pretenders to the throne, Perkin Warbeck.
Further development at the Castle
Improvements include a new roof for the kitchens, reinforcement of the south front, the building of Spy Tower and an extension to the State Rooms for a royal visit.
Queen visits the Castle
Queen Elizabeth I visits the Castle.
James I grants Castle to Fulke Greville
James I presents the now dilapidated castle to Sir Fulke Greville. (The title Earl of Warwick, however, was conferred upon Lord Rich in 1618 and it remained in his family until 1759).
Greville murdered by manservant
Greville, is murdered by a discontented manservant. His ghost is said to haunt the tower in which he lodged.
Castle withstands siege
Royalist soldiers, taken during the Civil War, were imprisoned in the Dungeon, one of them scratching a note onto the dungeon wall…
King visits Castle
King William III visits Warwick Castle.
Capability Brown landscapes Warwick Castle
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown is commisioned to landscape the gardens.
Castle and Earldom reunited
Francis Greville successfully petitions for the title Earl of Warwick, so reuniting the earldom and the castle once more.
State dining room completed
State dining room completed by leading English craftsmen.
Conservatory is built by local mason, William Eborall.
Queen lunches at the Castle
Queen Victoria lunches at the Castle.
Fire damages the Castle
Fire sweeps through the Private Apartments, damaging the Great Hall before being controlled.
Countess of Warwick keeps Menagerie
The island is used to keep Japanese deer, a flock of Chinese geese, an emu, assorted racoons, an ant bear and a baby elephant. The Mill is converted to an electricity generating plant, providing electric lighting for the castle and power for an electric launch and car.
The 7th Earl goes to Hollywood
The 7th Greville Earl, Charles Guy, (1928-84), using the stage name of Michael Brooke, tries his hand at breaking into Hollywood films. His career peaked with a supporting role in Dawn Patrol (1938) starring Errol Flynn and David Niven.
Tussaud's Group buys Warwick Castle
In November 1978, Warwick Castle is sold to The Tussaud's Group.
Royal Weekend Party opens
The Royal Weekend Party attraction is opened within the Castle. The expertise of the Tussaud's Studios is used, introducing wax portraits into the Castle for the first time.
The Victorian Rose Garden restored
The Victorian Rose Garden is opened by HRH The Princess of Wales in 1986 having been restored back to its original design.
The largest investment, the multi-million pound Kingmaker attraction, in the mediaeval undercroft, opens.
The Queen and Prince Phillip visit the Castle
HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh are given a tour of Kingmaker during their visit to the castle in November 1996. On this visit Her Majesty also unveils a commemorative sword.
Death or Glory, the Armoury attraction, opens
To mark the millennium, The Armoury is refurbished and the 'Death or Glory' attraction opens in February 2000, telling the stories of battles over the centuries, as well as hosting events including Jousting Knights and Christmas Festivals.
New special events include Jousting Nights and The Christmas Festival.
The Castle Mill & Engine House opened following extensive renovation.
Warwick Ghosts - Alive!
Nearly 400 years after his brutal murder, Sir Fulke Greville is back… Warwick Castle's famously haunted Ghost Tower gets a terrifying fear infusion with Warwick Ghosts - Alive, a spooky live action experience that quite literally brings the story of one of the Castle's most famous ghosts to life, nearly 400 years after his murder. Using a mix of live actors and atmospheric sound, visual and light effects the story of Sir Fulke Greville's tragic murder is recreated.
The World’s largest trebuchet arrived at Warwick Castle, measuring 18 metres high and weighing in at 22 tonnes.
Dream of Battle opens
The Castle Dungeons open
The Castle Dungeon opens and is a truly horrific experience detailing the darkest, scariest and bloodiest times throughout the Castle’s history.
The Princess Tower opens in its new location.
Merlin: The Dragon Tower
The Arthurian legend is brought to live with the opening of Merlin: The Dragon Tower.
Warwick Castle Unlocked
Four never-before-seen rooms are opened for the first time. The ancient rooms shed light on the defining chapters in Warwick Castle’s past to reveal tales of battle, siege, murder, power struggles and hauntings.
Warwick Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade 1 listed building, therefore requires constant investment and upkeep for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. Maintaining a national monument involves extensive costs and the Castle receives no grants or financial support from the government or any public body. Funds for this work are raised solely from guests’ admission revenue.
Since taking stewardship of Warwick Castle we have spent over £6,000,000 in the last 10 years alone on Restoration projects.
Please note: From Monday 2nd December to Friday 13th December The Barbican, including the Unlocked room and Caesar's Tower will close due to essential restoration. Clarence Tower and Guy's Tower will remain open throughout this period.
Warwick Castle Restoration Work
|Unknown||Spy Tower Masonry Repairs|
|September 1981||Car & Coach parks|
|October 1981||Boundary Walls|
|April 1982||Royal Weekend Party|
|October 1982||River Island Bridge|
|July 1983||South Front Phase I|
|March 1986||Bennett & Fearn buildings|
|December 1987||Blue Boudoir|
|September 1989||3, Stratford Road|
|December 1989||Wallwalk (between Bear Tower & Clarence Tower)|
|December 1990||Caesar’s Tower Maisonary Repairs|
|December 1990||Boundary Walls|
|May 1991||Caesar’s Tower & East Front wallwalk|
|May 1991||Victoria Rose Garden|
|June 1992||Castle Lane near Car Park|
|September 1992||Conservatory Pavilion|
|September 1992||Riverside Pavilion|
|November 1992||The Mill Phase I|
|November 1992||The Mill|
|May 1993||Fire precautions|
|July 1993||Estate management building|
|November 1993||South Front Phase II|
|December 1993||Kingmaker Exhibition|
|February 1994||Grounds & gardens buildings|
|March 1994||Kenilworth bedroom roof|
|March 1994||Spiral stairs, Handrails & Emergency lighting|
|December 1994||Chapel Roof|
|April 1995||Bridge Repairs|
|April 1995||Boundary Walls|
|April 1995||Boundary Walls|
|May 1995||Undercroft Passage Ceiling|
|September 1995||Ethelfleda’s Mound Path Improvements|
|September 1995||Watergate Tower Roof|
|January 1996||Retaining wall|
|June 1996||Nursery Roof|
|June 1996||Nursery Floor|
|October 1997||Guy’s tower roof & wallwalk|
|October 1997||Boundary Walls|
|December 1997||Spiral Staircase & Emergency Lighting|
|December 1997||Spiral Staircase|
|September 1998||NW Domestic Roof|
|April 2000||Stables restaurant|
|April 2000||Audio Pavilion|
|July 2000||Great Hall Roof|
|February 2002||Riverside Pavilion|
|March 2002||Mill & Engine House reinstatement|
|March 2002||Creation of Caesar’s Tower Path|
|March 2002||The Mill|
|June 2004||Medieval Doorway|
|2008-2012||South Front River Embankment Wall Repairs|
|2013||Warwick Castle Unlocked opens 4 new never seen before rooms|
The Mill House
At a cost of over £2million, the Mill and Engine House project has returned the historic building and machines to their former glory. Recreating the electrical powerplant of the Castle’s Victorian age was a challenge. For example, only one firm in the country possessed the necessary expertise and equipment to produce the hand-rolled, wrought iron blades required for the restoration of the waterwheel. These restorations would not have been possible without the expertise and passion of the professionals involved, but most importantly the revenue generated from visitor admissions to conserve this unique example of Victorian innovation.
The colourful decoration of the ceiling only reappeared in 1995 during a restoration programme to correct damp in the chapel walls. Careful removal of layers of whitewash revealed the series of painted heraldic shields of the Greville family that, according to visitors’ journals, were probably installed in the 1740s.
Retaining portions of the 14th Century Mediaeval Castle
As part of an ongoing restoration programme, visitors can now walk through many of the Mediaeval rooms and see our precious artefacts and treasures closer than ever before!
Earls of Warwick
Henry De Newburgh
Roger De Newburgh
William De Newburgh
Waleran De Newburgh
Henry De Newburgh
Thomas De Newburgh
John Du Plessis
William De Beauchamp
Guy De Beauchamp
Thomas De Beauchamp
Thomas De Beauchamp
Henry Beauchamp (also first and only Duke, 1445-1446)
Richard Neville (The Kingmaker)
George Plantagent (Duke of Clarence)
Crown Property (1499-1509, Henry VII, 1509-47, Henry VIII)
John Dudley I
John Dudley II
Crown Property (1590-1603, Elizabeth I, 1603-04, James I)
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)
Robert Rich I
Robert Rich II
Sir Fulke Greville
Robert Rich III
Robert Rich IV
Edward Rich I
Edward Henry Rich
Edward Rich II
Henry Richard Greville
George Guy Greville
Francis Richard Greville
Leopold Guy Greville
Charles Guy Greville