Date of Publication: 30 August 2017
Continuing our showcase of what makes your time with us more than just a summer course, we revisit our trip to the history-steeped Warwick Castle. Read on for gallant knights, fearsome siege engineering and more.
On Saturday 15th of July, our Course 3 13-15 year old students embarked on a trip back in time to Warwick Castle. Warwick Castle is a medieval castle, orignally designed by William the Conqueror in 1068 and developed from the original structure since then. Situated on the bend of the river Avon in Warwickshire, England, the original castle built by William the conqueror was a traditional wooden mote and valley style castle. In the 12th century, this was rebuilt in stone; more closely resembling the castle today. The students were given the opportunity to go off in groups around the castle to explore the many different rooms and towers open to the general public.
We started off by exploring the Horrible Histories maze which educated us on what life was like in England during notable periods in British history; from the Terrible Tudors to the Frightful First World War. For those who successfully navigated their way around the maze, they were awarded a “War of the Roses” Badge. After the excitement of the maze, we stepped through the impressive iron gates of the castle’s main entrance onto the front lawn. Our first stop was the Great Hall, whose grandeur left us all standing in awe. With stain glass windows, coats of arms, numerous swords and many knights in shining armour, there was plenty to take in and enjoy.
After a break for a modern take on a hog roast lunch, we descended down to the Dungeons. Students were able to learn about what life was like inside the castle during the plague as well as be introduced to medieval torture techniques. Live actors and spooky sound affect made for a frightening experience for both staff and students alike!
Once everyone’s heart rates had returned to normal, we sat and watched the world’s largest working trebuchet in action. This impressive feat of engineering is 18 meters tall and weighs in at a staggering 22 tonnes! The trebuchet set up takes 8 men half an hour to load and release, with 4 men running in 4 metres high wheels to lift the 6 tonne counter weight into the air. It was designed to fire projectiles as far as 300 metres. This was the weapon of choice used during the War of the Roses. What our students found most interesting was the fact that it was often women who were in charge of operating the trebuchets and ensuring that they were fired exactly when needed.
A personal highlight of the day was being able to watch the birds of prey in action! A spectacular aerial display by the resident variety of birds of prey was put on despite the typical English summer rain. Red Kites, Bald Eagles, Eagle Owls and Giant Falcons were among the stars of the show. Eric the Eagle was up there with the Giant Falcon as one of the most awe inspiring, graceful and terrifying bird in the show! The sheer visible power behind their skilled flight and crowed dives left the children mesmerised.
Following a long day of exploring the rich English history at Warwick Castle, we headed back to Oxford for some well deserved banquets and plenty of sleep.