Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 8th Warwick Castle including the Dungeons

On November 8th, we drove to Warwick Castle from our hotel outside of Stratford. This Castle has been around since the time of William the Conqueror. It is a beautifully complete castle with all the walls and towers you would expect. The entrance is through an arched tunnel with a portcullis drawn up at the end, but ready to drop down and prevent intruders from entering the castle. Inside the walls were a number of temporary medieval tents which were used for shops and for demonstrations of medieval arts.
Inside the castle the first think we saw was the Great Hall. Presently it is used to show the armour used in the castle over the centuries. There was a fire blazing in the huge fireplace. It made it a very inviting place on a cold wet day. Along with the arms and armour there were beautiful stained glass windows and gorgeous carved buffets and intricate light fixtures. One of the strange items is a large cast iron pot that we were told was a Porridge Pot, but in the 30's Daisy (Duchess of Warwick) used the pot as a punch bowl.
Portions of the castle are setup with wax figures. One set is Henry VIII and all his wives and another set of tableaus was of the Castle in the 30's and included such illustrious persons as Winston Churchill. Another section dealt with an earlier Duke of Warwick who was involved with the War of the Roses (on the wrong side). My accomplishment for the day was to climb all the towers. This was approximately 530 steps. The good part was that the steps were not all together but were broken up in stages. You climbed one flight then explored that level and climbed to the next level etc. I rested between flights and managed all the steps. I got some great pictures of the surrounding area as well.
The restaurant in the lower part of the castle was decorated with tapestries and the ceiling had hangings across it to simulate the inside of a tent.
In the afternoon we lined up to explore the dungeons. No pictures allowed. This was so much fun. It started out with a picture being taken then we were hustled down into the dungeon. Witches, warlock, torturer, judge, plague nurse, executioner all had parts to play. The lights went out, lightning, thunder, screams, when blood was expected we got wet (water I hope). The best part was when the screams and voices in the dungeon got loud and all of a sudden the lights went out and the benches we were sitting on started to wiggle as if someone was grabbing the bottom of the bench or something was running along the bottom. I know I jumped and screamed. When we thought we were leaving we ended up in a hall of mirrors and had a hard time telling in the dark if it was us or someone else.

After the show we headed off the castle grounds. Before we left we had our pictures taken in the stocks as the thief and the drunkard. We took a stroll around the village and stopped for ice cream. We ate it inside the store as it was too cold to eat it outside. It was still delicious.

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