Modern Warwick is crammed with boutique shops, endless tearooms and markets, interspersed with pubs, bars and restaurants – like the Fourpenny Pub! We’re a quaint pub and modern hotel set in the midst of popular tourist attractions, all of which attest to the long history of Warwick.
Aside from the excellent drinks, mouthwatering food and ample accommodation, this quintessential tourist town has seen enough to fill a historian with joy, even without the 1000-year-old castle dominating the town’s skyline. Neither is it the sort of economic or civic history that sends ordinary people to sleep; the history of Warwick includes raging fires, intense politics and scandalous figures!
There’s evidence of activity in the Warwick area dating back to the Neolithic age, followed by Roman buildings and permanent Saxon habitation. From early European farmers to Roman conquerors, a succession of vastly different people groups have settled amidst the beauty and convenience of Warwick!
You could say that the town was properly ‘born’ in 914, when Æthelflæd, daughter of Alfred the Great (yes the Alfred the Great, subject of legend and folktale), founded a fortified dwelling as a defence against the invading Vikings. This warrior queen started the official history of Warwick, followed William the Conqueror, who established it as a shire and built the castle, where later the powerful Kingmaker would reside, an Earl who shaped monarchies and successions with court influence and military expertise.
The Medieval History Of Warwick
The old East and West Gates rise above the town, guarding each end of Jury Street and the timber-framed building of the Lord Leycester Hospital. This striking building housed ex-servicemen, but a more interesting subject is its founder, Lord Leycester, otherwise known as Robert Dudley. Even today, Robert Dudley is a figure of scandal, rumoured to be the secret lover of Elizabeth I. He was even speculated to have had his wife killed in cold blood, to pave the way for him to the Queen. Lord Leycester’s connection with the town adds an element of danger and recklessness to the history of Warwick, in contrast to nearby Stratford, which was busy raising the most famous poet and playwright ever to walk the earth.
The Transformation Of The Town
Then came the Great Fire of Warwick, a dramatic event in the history of Warwick. In 1694, a strong wind spread a fire through the town, jumping from one thatched roof to another and burning down a large section of the ancient St Mary’s church. The flames devastated the town, leaving gaps where new buildings would spring up and accounting for the somewhat unpredictable architecture lining the streets.
Nowadays, you can see a mish-mash of Tudor and Regency buildings making up the town centre, interspersed with medieval towers and gates. The town is still just as attractive to new groups of people as it was thousands of years ago and throughout the history of Warwick, except now it is supplemented with tourist attractions, pleasure boats on the river and some excellent food and drink!
Eating And Sleeping In Modern-Day Warwick
You’re going to need to take some breaks when touring all our sites of historical interest! Why not drop in on The Fourpenny Pub and sample our delicious dinners, from curries to burgers to good old-fashioned pub grub. We also have an array of comfortable, up-to-date hotel rooms for couples and families, ideal for those visiting Warwick and all it has to offer!
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