Saturday, 6 September 2014

Warwick's Little Secret...

Here I go again, another month meant another new adventure! Warwick had some unanswered questions so without further ado I got my act together, taking a train this time to that Warwickshire town. Warwick might be famous for its 1100 year old castle but I wanted to leave those castle walls to question that notion. Warwick, I think you need to step into the beat! Yes! 

Serving medieval realness Warwick Castle stood before me, I have to admit that the castle was looking in very good condition for 1100 years old! I had been twice before my recent trip, therefore I didn't have a problem getting around the inner circle of Warwick's castle. Have you been to Warwick Castle? I worked at Walt Disney World in Florida, I can sniff out the competition within a second! No shade was thrown! No! Rewinding the clock to 914, the original castle was more of a mound. Crafted by Ethelfelda, that Anglo-Saxon princess used her fortress to protect Warwick during the early years. I learnt from the performers that Warwick Castle stands today in such good condition because of the lack of battles that were fought. History aside it was an international affair that September morning at Warwick Castle, to hazard a guess I heard four extra languages spoken excluding English! Princess Ethelfelda, Slay!

Warwick Castle is another one of those typical voids that satisfy the American tourists to name a few, they are always gagged on the medieval realness that Warwick's most famous castle slayed to them! Flashback to my time when the world and their mothers went crazy coo over Buckingham Palace, I suppose we the British have a valiant history to be proud of?! That wasn't a question! Substituting the modern love I took a sneak peak inside the main castle buildings to admire the former opulent living quarters of the previous tenants, when can I move in Merlin? You might be thinking who's Merlin? Warwick Castle is owned by the Merlin Entertainment group, it's one of the many properties owned by the entertainment middleweight. I didn't waste my time dawdling around without a purpose so I got my snaps, saw what I needed and even contemplated climbing the almost four hundred steps around the castle tower. I did that when I was a boy! Give the castle a chance! Give it every chance! Sure!

Unfortunately, we can't all be royal forever! Leaving Warwick's castle behind me to see some of the town had to be next. Warwick may only be a small town, facing facts I wanted to see as much as I possibly could! Yes! Stepping back to the year 1571 to understand the Earl of Leicester's plan! The Lord Leycester Hospital stands close to the town centre but oozes 11th century architecture. The hospital element has never existed, making sense of its ancient sense meaning 'a charitable instigation' to help the needy, infirm or aged. Don't be fooled, this Warwick point of interest caught my attention, I wanted something authentic away from the castle. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the hospital was under royal charter, commandeering the space for old and disabled soldiers who fought under her service. Modern day brethren and their wives still make a worthy level of contribution to ensure this historical gem. Plan B?

Connected to the Lord Leycester Hospital is the Chapel of St. James the Great, that was built over the ancient West gate that leads back into Warwick around 1123 by Roger de Newburgh. Capturing a snap of the hospital took some doing but I just got on with it! Yes! Warwick Castle takes the shine from the Lord Leycester Hospital inevitably, let's keep it to the point I like to support the underdog. Upon my visit to the hospital I learnt the tour would be self-navigated, I don't like being part of a tour because I feel like a sheep being herded by the keeper, no thank you! The chapel was quiet, giving the perfect location for reflection or prayer if that's your thing? I bagged a student price for entrance, every little helps even though I'm no longer enrolled at an educational institution. I noticed within the quaint courtyard the architecture served some more medieval realness, I was living for that sight! It is a force of habit? I was in a cost conscious mood as I bypassing the Brethren's Kitchen!

I had been attracted to Warwick, it's a small historic town that has a fiery story to tell! September 5th of 1694 brought the Great Fire of Warwick, this Warwickshire town suffered the burn of the fire but with the strength of the townspeople it rebuilt itself back up stronger! To the left is High Street, one of the main streets in Warwick that was hit with the flames of 1694. Starting from a small flint of light from a burning branch that would be used for fire wood the wind must of been hearty to start that fire?! No I'm not a walking historian! To gain the knowledge of Warwick's catastrophe I trusted the views of the Market Hall Museum in the heart of Warwick's town centre. Are you a sucker for a slice of historical shade? I am! Mapping the region of the four boroughs took a quick second to be familiar with the Sheldon Tapestry work. Who knew that Coventry was once a walled city with the spelling, Coventrie? Yes!  

I appreciated what the castle showed me and with further research I like the sound of Princess Ethelfelda because we all start from somewhere. Blazing through the town like a torrent of flames the Great Fire of Warwick 1694 only took its toll on Warwick for a short time. If you're from a foreign land I urge you to visit Warwick town and its castle because it exudes that vibe you dream about a small town in the heart of England. The Lord Leycester Hospital challenged the conventional meaning of a hospital, of course life is a lesson! Take the time to take heed from the Market Hall Museum to understand Warwick's strong women that fought the Viking invasion during the Anglo-Saxon reign. Warwick lies thirty minutes away from Birmingham Snow Hill, so get those tickets booked! Leamington Spa looks good, I'm on a Warwickshire hype at the moment so watch out for a round up blog soon! Be the Queen of the castle or conquer a whole dominion? There are no more secrets left! 

Watch Out Warwick!

Joseph Harrison 

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