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Wars of the Roses Part 1 – Warwick Castle

It’s been a busy June, with my weekends being taken up with one event after another. I’m not complaining, far from it, I know how fortunate that I am in being able to get the these events, so in an attempt to document my recent exploits, I’ve written this weeks blog in two seperate posts.  The first event that I attended was a visit to Warwick castle. This was a birthday treat from my wife, who had spotted the event and booked the tickets back in February. Warwick castle is certainly an imposing venue and looks just as you would expect a castle to look, if you know what I mean! There’s plenty to inspire a wargamer here.

Approach to Warwick Castle

Approach to Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle gate house

Warwick Castle gate house

The rear of the Castle

The rear of the Castle

As you can see, it is an imposing structure and a trip to visit the castle is a great day out. The tour around the battlements  is at times a challenge for someone as unfit as I am these days but well worth the effort. The views of the surrounding countryside are amazing.

How many stairs did I just climb?

How many stairs did I just climb?

Lovely view of the countryside

Lovely view of the countryside

The main exhibition in the Castle is a recreation of a Royal weekend visit to the stately home at the turn of the century. It’s very well done, with a light touch as regards to the history but plenty to see and keep you involved. Of particular interest to me were the Armoury exhibits.

Armour on display in the Great Hall

Armour on display in the Great Hall

More Armour.

More Armour.

As a bonus though, the castle owners were running a ‘War of the Roses’ event, which although a bit fast and loose with the history, was superbly done and very entertaining.  The castle is now run by the same group that run Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds’ and so is a little prone to over commercialization. That aside, there’s plenty to keep you busy without having to fork out for extras and the venue has created a number of set piece events to entertain the guests. For example, outside is the mighty trebuchet which is demonstrated every couple of hours with a ‘live’ firing. It’s all done in good humour and full audience participation – the video gives you some idea of the action.

Once the trebuchet had been fired, we were able to inspect it – here are some closer shots.

Preparing to fire!

Preparing to fire!

Look closely and you can see the crew running in the side wheels ‘hamster style’ to hoist down the firing arm.

Good job team!

Good job team!

The winding gear

The winding gear – look at the size of the shot!

load ammo here!

load ammo here!

The highlight of the live events was the re-enactment of the War of the Roses. Essentially this was a jousting match with a bit of acting and audience participation but great fun to watch. Once again, here is the event in pictures.

Eric Dier look alike provides the warm up for the Yorkists!

Eric Dier look alike provides the warm up for the Yorkists!

Henry Tudor takes charge!

Henry Tudor takes charge!

Margaret of Anjou take to the field

Margaret of Anjou takes to the field

Hurrah for Edward of York!

Hurrah for Edward of York!

Things are not going to well for Richard.

Things are not going to well for Richard.

Richard unhorsed!

Richard unhorsed!

If the costumes lacked some historical authenticity, it was easily overlooked as the spectacle of live knights in combat is pretty amazing to watch. It certainly fired up my imagination and interest in this period. We spent a full day at the castle from opening amost up until closing time and still did not see everything. Finally, although unrelated to wargaming, it is worth reporting that the grounds of the castle were immaculate. There is a rather lovely tea house tucked away in the Orangery overlooking the gardens and it was here that we rested with a coffee and cake and were also entertained by the peacocks.

Beautiful plumage!

Beautiful plumage!

Peacock close up

Peacock close up

Closer!

Closer!

If you would like to visit Warwick Castle or find out more, here is the link to their site.

WARWICK CASTLE

 

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