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Warwick Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Mota de Warewich

In the civil parish of Warwick.
In the historic county of Warwickshire.
Modern Authority of Warwickshire.
1974 county of Warwickshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP283646
Latitude 52.27948° Longitude -1.58544°

Warwick Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Artillery Fort.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


A Medieval motte and bailey castle built in 1068 extended and rebuilt during the 13th and 14th century with 15th century additions. Alterations to the Bear and Clarence towers in the reign of Richard III to carry artillery. King James I granted the ruinous castle to Sir Fulke Greville in 1604 who converted it into a country house. It was rebuilt in 1863-66 and 1872. Boundary wall of late 18th century date. The castle was sold to Madame Tussaud's in 1978. (PastScape)

A castle at Warwick was begun by William I in 1068 as part of a plan to safeguard the Midlands. This castle was of the motte and bailey type and stands on a sandstone bluff overlooking a bend in the Avon where the river has cut away the rock to form a cliff. Except on this side the walls which surround the bailey are protected by a moat. The area enclosed by the walls is about 128m from NE to SW and about 82m wide. The motte, on which a keep formerly stood, forms the SW end of the enclosure, but the most formidable defences, built in the 14th century, are at the NE end. Here a central gatehouse tower with a barbican outside is connected by high curtain walls to two great angle towers. To the N are remains of 15th century fortifications. The SE side of the former bailey is occupied by the domestic buildings, which are 14th century and later in date. The castle would originally have had a wooden palisade on the bailey and motte. Timber was replaced by stone, presumably from the 12th century onwards. The modern walls on the motte incorporate probable 13th century masonry. The domestic buildings were placed on the securest side of the bailey and included a church (PRN 1951). Various alterations and additions were carried out from the 14th century until modern times. (Warwickshire HER)

Early site, probably dating from pre-Norman times. Much mediaeval work remains. Good C18 and later additions. In 1871 a fire gutted the Great Hall and East Wing, these being restored by Anthony Salvin. This castle, (containing a fine collection of antiques and works of art) is considered of very great national interest. Main block with C14 walls and vaulted undercroft. Caesan's tower and Guy's tower, the Gatehouse and its Barbican also C14. The curtain walls may date from this period. Bear and Clarence towers C15, left incomplete 1485 and later given battlements; probably intended as a stronghold within the castle similar to that at Raglan. Late C17 internal features include exceptional plasterwork and wood carvings to the Cedar Room by Roger and William Hurlbut, completed 1678. Altered 1753-5 by Lancelot Brown, who rebuilt the porch and stairway to the Great Hall. Porch extended forward and additional rooms built beside it, 1763-9, by Timothy Lightoler. Watergate tower restored by A Salvin 1861-3. (Listed Building Report)

The famous 'oubilette' is actually a cess pit for some internal garderodes.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
      Purton, P.F., 2010, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 80, 297
      Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 276
      Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 438-445
      Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 261-3 (plan)
      Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 84-89
      Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 10, 22, 23
      Salter, Mike, 1992, Castles and Moated Mansions of Warwickshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 44-51
      McNeill, Tom, 1992, English Heritage book of castles p. 102, 128
      Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 225-6
      Furtado, Peter et al (eds), 1988, Ordnance Survey guide to castles in Britain (London) p. 144
      Drage, C., 1987, 'Urban castles' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 117-32 online copy
      Morris, R.K., 1986, The architecture of the earls of Warwick in the fourteenth century' in W M Ormrod (ed), England in the fourteenth century: proceedings of the 1985 Harlaxton Symposium (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 161–74
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 484
      Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 316
      Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) (London) p. 301-2
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker)
      Stephens, W.B. (ed), 1968 VCH Warwickshire Vol. 8 p. 452-67 online transcription
      Pevsner, Nikolaus and Wedgwood, Alexandra, 1966, Buildings of England: Warwickshire p. 452-6
      Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London) p. xiv
      O'Neil, B.H.St.J., 1960, Castles and Cannon: A Study of Early Artillery Fortifications in England (Oxford: Claredon Press) p. 32, plate 8
      Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 54-5, 204-6, 247-9
      Toy, Sidney, 1939, Castles: A short History of Fortifications from 1600 BC to AD 1600 (London) p. 177-9, 197-9
      Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 80-4
      Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 230-2 online copy
      Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
      Andrews, 1908, in Dryden, Memories of Old Warwickshire (London) p. 235-7
      Willoughby Gardner, 1904, 'Ancient Defensive Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.A. and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Warwickshire Vol. 1 p. 402-4 (plan) online copy
      Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 361-7 online copy
      Ribton-Turner, C.J., 1893, Shakespeares Land (Lemington and London) p. 23-5 online copy
      Timmins, S., 1889, Popular County Histories: A history of Warwickshire (London: Elliot Stock) p. 5, 73, 80, 231 online copy
      Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 20, 80 online copy
      Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 2 (London) p. 362-7 online copy
      Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 p. 5-7, 92, 242-5
      Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1853, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 2 p. 244-6 online copy
      Pugin, A., 1850, Pugin's Examples of Gothic Architecture (London: Henry and Bohn) Vol. 2
      Britton, John, 1835, The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain (London) Vol. 4 p. 149-54
      Field, W., 1815, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick (Warwick)
      Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 305-6
      Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 6 p. 16-20 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Parkyn, Andrew and McNeill, Tom, 2012, 'Regional Power and the Profits of War: the East Range of Warwick Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 169 p. 480-518
      Bradley, J and Gaimster, M. (eds), 2004, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2003' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 48 p. 293-4 online copy
      2003-4, 'Warwick Castle' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 17 p. 26-30
      Palmer, N., 2001, 'Warwick Castle' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 45 p. 331 online copy
      Palmer, N., 1999, 'Warwick Castle' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 43 p. 282 online copy
      Palmer, N., 1998, 'Warwick Castle' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 42 p. 154 online copy
      Booth, G. and Palmer, N., 1997, 'Warwick Castle' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 41 p. 293-94 online copy
      Booth, G. and Palmer, N., 1996, 'Warwick Castle' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 40 p. 289 online copy
      Palmer, N.J., 1994, West Midlands Archaeology Vol. 37 p. 101
      Palmer, N.J., 1993, West Midlands Archaeology Vol. 36 p. 102-3
      Harfield, C.G., 1991, 'A Hand-list of Castles Recorded in the Domesday Book' English Historical Review Vol. 106 p. 371-392 view online copy (subscription required)
      Jones, M., 1987, 'Warwick, Warwick Castle' West Midlands Archaeology 30 p. 54
      Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 306, 316
      Emery, A., 1985, 'Ralph, Lord Cromwell's manor at Wingfield (1439-c1450): its construction, design and influence' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 142 p. 325
      Binney, M., 1982, 'Warwick Castle revisited' Country Life 172 p. 1746–9, 1882–5, 1952–5, 2023–6
      Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 216-7
      King, D.J.Cathcart, 1972, 'The Field Archaeology of mottes; Eine kurze übersicht' Château Gaillard Vol. 5 p. 101-112
      Renn, D.F., 1964, 'The first Norman Castles in England 1051-1071' Château Gaillard Vol. 1 p. 125-132
      Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
      Chatwin, P.B., 1947-8, 'Castles in Warwickshire' Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society Vol. 67 p. 1-4
      1926, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 83 p. 305 online copy
      F., 1914, Country Life Vol. 35 p. 792-800, 842-51
      Armitage, E., 1904, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 437-9 online copy
      Hope, W.H.St J., 1903, 'English Fortresses and Castles of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 60 p. 85, 87 online copy
      Leyland, 1897, Country Life Vol. 1 p. 112-14, 126-8 (slight)
      Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 213 online copy
      Burgess, J.T., 1873, 'Ancient British Remains and Earthworks in the Forest of Arden' Journal of the British Archaeological Association p. 42, 44 online copy
      Jackson, 1847, The Builder Vol. 5 p. 399-400 (slight) online copy
  • Guidebooks
    • Barker, P. et al, 1987, Warwick Castle (Warwick: Warwick Castle Ltd)
      Anon, 1957, Warwick Castle (Warwick Estate Office)
      Field, W., 1970 (orginal edn 1815), An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick (E P Publishing)
      Ribton-Turner, C.J. (rev. E. Hicks 24 edn; org edn pub 1889), 1934, Warwick Castle and Town (London: Courier Press)
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
      le Prevost, A. (ed), 1840, Orderici Vitalis, Historiae Ecclesiaticae Vol. 2 p. 184, 185 online copy
      1896, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twentieth year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1173-1174 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 21) p. 139 online copy
      Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 456
      E178/2351 (Survey of 32 Elizabeth) The National Archives reference
      LR2/255, ff. 83-111 (Survey of 32 Elizabeth) The National Archives reference
  • Antiquarian (Histories and accounts from late medieval and early modern writers)
    • Dugdale, Wm, 1789 (orig pub 1656), The antiquities of Warwick, and Warwick Castle: extracted from Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire online copy
      Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 302- online copy
      Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
      Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 461-2, 477
      Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 40-1 online copy ; Vol. 5 p. 153-4 online copy
      Celia Fiennes, 1888, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press) Vision of Britain online transcription
  • Other sources: Theses; 'grey' literature; in-house reports; unpublished works; etc.
    • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 52 online copy
      English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 51 online copy
      English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 63 online copy
      Fradley, Michael, 2011, The Old in the New: Urban Castle Imposition in Anglo-Norman England, AD1050-1150 (University of Exeter PhD Thesis) available via EThOS
      Booth, G. and Palmer, N., 1995, Warwick Castle Gatehouse and Barbican: An Archaeological and Historical Survey (ms in Warwick County Record Office)
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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