Warwick Castle


The Trebuchet at Warwick Castle

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Trebuchet Fireball Spectacular

This is the largest working siege machine IN THE WORLD! The colossal catapult is an authentic recreation of one of the biggest and most deadly military machines of all time.

The Trebuchet

The trebuchet was the largest and most formidable of the siege machines and was, in essence, a huge catapult.

The trebuchet was used to hurl huge projectiles to breach the castle walls. Large rocks and stones were the main ammunition but there is evidence of more unusual material. Manure and dead animals were also hurled by the machines into the besieged castle to spread disease!

Pigs were often picked as the animal of choice as they were thought to be more aerodynamic! In this case, pigs most definitely could fly!

Did you know: Since being built in 2005, our Trebuchet has been shot at least 6,500 times!

Building the Trebuchet

The design for the Castle’s machine came from Dr Peter Vemming from The Mediaeval Centre in Nykobing, Denmark. Dr Vemming completed his first construction of the mediaeval trebuchet in 1989, following extensive research and preparation. Notes and drawings from the 13th century were used as the starting point for the reconstruction and were often referred to during the long process of developing the working replica of this powerful and accurate machine.

Timelapse video of the trebuchet build.

Under Dr Vemming’s guidance the Warwick Castle trebuchet was constructed at a carpentry firm in Wiltshire. The trebuchet is made primarily of oak but with the long throwing arm made of the more flexible ash. The necessary metal work has been made at the Mediaeval Centre in Denmark using traditional techniques.

The machine has been built as a kit of over 300 parts held together with metal fixings.

The Ballista


The Ballista can be found near the Bear and Clarence bridge near the North-East side of the castle. The ballista was a giant stationary crossbow that fired long heavy bolts or arrows and was one of the most effective Mediaeval weapons. These were used to demolish the castle parapet and kill the defenders. It was also a weapon of defence that could be positioned on the walls and towers to fire on the attackers and their siege machines.

Did you know: The word ‘ballista’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Ballistes’ meaning ‘to throw’.

What Next?

Continue exploring our Castle Map, or see What's On at Warwick Castle.

Archery practice at Warwick Castle

Archery practice at Warwick Castle

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