There has been some form of fortification in Warwick for over 1100 years to control and protect the river crossing, and over the Centuries this has grown to the massive Castle seen today.
Significant dates in the construction of the Castle include:
- 914: Queen Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, ordered the building of an earthen rampart to protect the small hill top settlement of Warwick against the invading Danes.
- 1068: 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.
- 1260: The Castle is rebuilt in stone.
- 1350: Caesar’s Tower & Dungeon constructed
- 1395: Guy’s Tower Completed, reaching a height of 39m.
- 1450: Gatehouse and barbican are completed
- 1540: Further 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.
- 1604: James I presents the now dilapidated castle to Sir Fulke Greville, who begins renovations.
- 1750: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is commisioned to landscape the gardens.
- 1763: State dining room completed by leading English craftsmen.
- 1786: The Conservatory is built by local mason, William Eborall.
- 1871: Fire sweeps through the Private Apartments, damaging the Great Hall before being controlled.
- 1890: The island becomes a menagerie to keep Japanese deer, a flock of Chinese geese, an emu, assorted raccoons, 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.
In November 1978 Warwick Castle is sold to The Tussaud’s Group to start its new life as a major attraction, open to the public.