The Mighty Trebuchet Talk
Medieval Seige Machine
This is the largest 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.
Over the last 14 years our mighty Trebuchet has thrown over 6,500 rocks but has now encountered some unexpected mechanical faults. So we can try to throw another 6,500 rocks, we have started the difficult job of searching for a new throwing arm – not an easy task. We hope to be launching the machine again soon.
As castle defences improved over the centuries, tactics and weaponry required to attack a castle also needed to develop. Siege machines were developed from the 13th century, of which the Trebuchet was one of the largest and most formidable. It was essentially a huge catapult. Trebuchets were used to launch large projectiles in an attempt to breach the castle walls. Large rocks or stones were the most common ammunition but there are records of other more unusual materials being used including incendiary projectiles to cause fire, dead animal carcasses or sewage to spread disease, and the heads or limbs of prisoners to strike fear into the enemy. During peak siege warfare a skilled crew would attempt to launch a projectile every six minutes.
Building the Trebuchet
The Trebuchet at Warwick Castle was built in 2005 and is based on designs from the 13th and 14th centuries. It was constructed with the support of Dr Peter Vemming from The Mediaeval Centre in Nykobing, Denmark, and the Wiltshire Oak company.