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Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England, situated on a bend of the River Avon. The original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th-century military architecture. It was used as a stronghold until the early 17th century, when it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I in 1604. Greville converted it to a country house and it was owned by the Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group.

In 2007, the Tussauds Group was purchased by The Blackstone Group which merged it with Merlin Entertainments; Warwick Castle was then sold to Nick Leslau's investment firm Prestbury Group under a sale and leaseback agreement. Merlin continues to operate the site under a renewable 35-year lease.

Owners of the Castle

Over its 950 years of history Warwick Castle has been owned by 36 different individuals, plus four periods as crown property under seven different monarchs. It was the family seat of three separate creations of the Earls of Warwick, and has been a family home for members of the Beaumont, Beauchamp, Neville, Plantagenet, Dudley and Greville families. The first creation of the Earldom specifically included the right of inheritance through the female line, so the castle three times had a woman (or girl) as the owner. Eleven of the owners were under 20 when they inherited, including a girl aged two and a boy aged three. At least three owners died in battle, two were executed and one murdered. Every century except the 21st has seen major building work or adaptations at the castle.

Dudley Owners


1547 - 1553 John Dudley I
(1504 - 1553)
John Dudley (Knole, Kent).jpg Created Earl of Warwick, Duke of Northumberland  The Earldom and subsequent grant of the castle were part of Dudley's rapid rise to power during wars with France and Scotland. Embroiled, with his son Guildford, in Lady Jane Grey's claim to the throne. Executed by Mary I.
1553 - 1554 John Dudley II
(c.1527 - 1554)
  2nd Earl of Warwick The younger John Dudley used the title of Earl of Warwick as a courtesy title when his father was made a Duke, and inherited the earldom in his own right when the elder Dudley died. Condemned for treason alongside his father, he was reprieved, but died soon after his release
1554 - 1562 Crown Property   1554 - 1558, Mary I;
1558 - 1561, Elizabeth I
1562 - 1590 Ambrose Dudley
(c.1530 - 1590)
Ambrose Dudley Earl of Warwick.jpg Created Earl of Warwick in 1561 Younger son of the Duke of Northumberland. Restored to favour (Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1572) but died without an heir, so the castle again reverted to the Crown.


The castle, as well as lands associated with the earldom, was in Crown care from 1478 until 1547, when they were granted to John Dudley with the second creation of the title the Earl of Warwick. When making his appeal for ownership of the castle Dudley said of the castle's condition: "... the castle of its self is not able to lodge a good baron with his train, for all the one side of the said castle with also the dungeon tower is clearly ruinated and down to the ground".

Warwick Castle had fallen into decay due to its age and neglect, and despite his remarks Dudley did not initiate any repairs to the castle. Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1566 during a tour of the country, and again in 1572 for four nights. A timber building was erected in the castle for her to stay in, and Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, left the castle to the Queen during her visits. When Ambrose Dudley died in 1590 the title of Earl of Warwick became extinct for the second time. A survey from 1590 recorded that the castle was still in a state of disrepair, noting that lead had been stolen from the roofs of some of the castle's buildings, including the chapel.


Steven and Sharan's 2016 visit to the Castle.

See more photos of the 2016 visit 




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