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Warwick ( with a silent w in the middle)) is the county town of Warwickshiremarker, Englandmarker. The town lies upon the River Avon, 18 km (11 miles) south of Coventrymarker and 4 km (2.5 miles) west of Leamington Spamarker (although the towns are conjoined), with a population of 25,434 (2001 census).


Warwick hosts annual festivals ranging from the Spoken Word to Classical and Contemporary Music to a Folk Festival and a Victorian Evening, held in late November or early December. St. Mary's Church hosts a series of Early Music concerts, and the Bridge House Theatre hosts the Music-in-Round concerts. Warwick Chamber of Trade helps to promote the town for visitors, residents and businesses. The town is also famous for Warwick Castlemarker, the construction of which began in 1068. The town centre is also known for its historic architecture and contains a mixture of Tudor and 17th-century buildings. In recent years several high-profile national and international companies have set-up large office complexes in and around Warwick, notably National Grid plc and IBM.

Warwick is also known for Warwick Racecoursemarker, near the west gate of the medieval town which hosts several televised horse racing meetings a year. Within the racecourse is a small golfcourse. Warwick Hospitalmarker, Royal Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Hospitalmarker and St Michael's Hospitalmarker (a psychiatric that superseded Central Hospital, Hattonmarker) are situated within the town.

Warwick is twinned with Saumurmarker in France and Verden, Germanymarker. Warwick was twinned with Saumur in 1976. Verden, already the twin town of Saumur, became Warwick's German partner in 1989. Havelbergmarker, in the former East Germany was adopted by Verden on re-unification, and was welcomed as a friendship town by Warwick and Saumur. As part of Warwick District, the town participates in One World Link (OWL), a friendship link with Bo in Sierra Leone.


Mill Street in Warwick


According to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Warwick was founded on the banks of the River Avon in the year 914 AD when Anglo Saxon Ethelfleda Lady of the Merciansmarker, sister of king Edward the Elder of Wessex built a burh or fortified dwelling to overwhelm the Danishmarker (Vikings) who had settled in what had been the old Merian kingdom. She was the widow of Alderman Aethelred her father, king Alfred's ally. This burh was the early origins of Warwick Castlemarker.. The name 'Warwick' means "dwellings by the weir".

In 1050 the Danes invaded Mercia and burned down much of Warwick including the nunnery (which stood on the site of the present day St Nicholas Church).Its fortifications led Warwick to become the administrative centre of the new shire in the united English kingdom, and the shire administered from Warwick became known as Warwickshiremarker.


In medieval times, Warwick remained under the control of various Earls of Warwick, mostly of the Beauchamp family, and became a walled town. Today the only remains of the town walls are the east and west gatehouses. The eastern gatehouse now serves as part of the King's High School, a sister institution to Warwick Schoolmarker. Warwick was not incorporated as a Borough until 1545.

The Eastgate, Warwick

During the English Civil War the town and castle were garrisoned for Parliament. The garrison, under a Sir Edward Peyto, withstanding a two week siege by the Royalists. Later musters from 1644 to 1646 record a garrison of up to 350 men under the command of Colonel William Purefoy and Major John Bridges. The middle of the 17th century also saw the founding of Castle Hill Baptist Church, one of the oldest Baptist churches in the world.


In 1694 a great firemarker destroyed much of the medieval town and as a result most of the buildings in the town centre are of 17th and 18th century origin, although a number of older medieval timber framed buildings survive, especially around the edges of the town centre.

The fire burnt down much of the medieval church of St Marymarker; both the chancel and the Beauchamp Chapel, however, survived, the latter having been built between 1443 and 1464 according to the wishes of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (who had died in Rouenmarker in 1439). A full size reclining copper gilt effigy of the Earl lies upon his Purbeck marble tomb - a fine piece of medieval metalwork cast in 1459


Population growth has led to Warwick becoming joined to its larger neighbouring town Leamington Spamarker with which it forms a small conurbation. Both towns are now administered as part of the Warwick Districtmarker, which has its headquarters in Leamington, although each retains a separate town council. Warwickshire County Council remains based in Warwick itself.

James Plaskitt, of the Labour Party, is Member of Parliament for the Warwick and Leamington constituencymarker.



Suburbs of Warwick include Bridge End, Emscote, Forbes, Myton (connecting Warwick with Leamington Spa), Packmores, The Cape, Warwick Gates, Woodloes Park and the newly established Chase Meadows.

Warwick Gates

Warwick Gates is a newly developed housing estate and business park in Heathcote, south-west Warwick. Although separated from Warwick town centre by open fields, Warwick Gates falls within the Warwick South and Bishops Tachbrookmarker parish. It is adjacent to Whitnashmarker, a small town near Leamington Spamarker, and nearby the village of Bishops Tachbrookmarker. The Tachbrook Park and Heathcote industrial estates are located nearby. The Royal Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Hospitalmarker is adjacent to Warwick Gates.



Warwick is near the M40 motorway and the A46 trunk road.

The town also has good rail links, with direct rail services to Leamington Spamarker, Londonmarker, Birminghammarker and Stratford-upon-Avonmarker provided by Chiltern Railways from Warwick railway stationmarker in the town and also from Warwick Parkwaymarker, an out-of-town station opened in 2000 a few miles from the town. In addition, a few peak-hour trains to and from Birmingham are operated by London Midland.

Regular bus services to Leamington Spamarker, Stratford-upon-Avonmarker and Coventrymarker are operated by Stagecoach in Warwickshire from the bus station in the town centre.

There is also a National Express coach stop in the town with limited services. The nearby Warwick Parkwaymarker railway station also has a coach stop with more frequent services.

The Grand Union Canalmarker and the River Avon also pass through the town. The restored Saltisford Canal Arm, is close to the town centre, and is a short branch of the Grand Union Canal. The arm is the remains of the original terminus of the Warwick and Birmingham Canalmarker and dates back to 1799. The Saltisford Canal Trust have restored most of the surviving canal, which is now the mooring for colourful narrowboats and a waterside park open to the public. Over 800 visiting narrowboats come by water to Warwick each year and moor on the arm.


There are a number of secondary schools located within Warwick, including Warwick Schoolmarker, an independent school for boys, The King's High School For Girlsmarker, an independent school for girls, Myton Schoolmarker and Aylesford Schoolmarker, both of which are state run co-educational schools.

Warwick School

Warwick Schoolmarker is an independent school for boys which claims to be the oldest boys' school in England. The actual date of its founding is unknown, although 914 has been quoted in some cases. For some years the school honoured the fact that King Edward the Confessor (c.1004–1066) chartered it, although there is no direct evidence for this, and King Henry VIII re-founded the school in 1545. Whatever the truth of the matter, there is no doubt that there has been a grammar school in the town of Warwick since before the Norman Conquest, and its successor, the present independent school, has been on its current site south of the River Avon since 1879.

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick

The University of Warwickmarker, one of the leading universities in the UKmarker, is somewhat confusingly named after the county of Warwickshiremarker, rather than the town, and is in fact situated several miles north of Warwick on the southern outskirts of Coventrymarker, near Kenilworthmarker. Adding to the location confusion is the fact that Coventry is no longer in the county of Warwickshiremarker, but instead is in the West Midlands, leading to the current situation where the university straddles both counties.


Due to its proximity to north-south and east-west motorway routes, many companies have their head office in the town. Since November 2004, National Grid plc has had its National Gas Control Centre (NGCC) for the National Transmission System on the Warwick Technology Park south of the town between the A425 road and A452 road. ConocoPhillips and their petrol station group, JET, have their UK base also on the Technology Park. IBM and Volvo Group UK have bases on the Wedgnock Industrial Estate in the north of the town, near to the A46 trunk road.

Public services

Warwick Hospitalmarker, Royal Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Hospitalmarker and St Michael's Hospitalmarker (a psychiatric that superseded Central Hospital, Hattonmarker) are situated within the town.

Town twinning


J. R. R. Tolkien seems to have been very influenced by Warwick (where he was married in the Catholic Church of Saint Mary Immaculate) and by its Mercian connections: Lynn Forest-Hill, in an article in the Times Literary Supplement (TLS 8 July 2005 pp 12–13) argues cogently that two important settlements in Tolkien's work were modelled on Warwick — Edoras closely on the early town, and Minas Tirith more remotely on the Norman; and that aspects of the plot of The Lord of the Rings are paralleled in the romance known as Guy of Warwick.

Warwick and its historic buildings have featured in a number of television series, including the BBC's drama series Dangerfield, the period dramas Pride and Prejudice and Tom Jones and Granada Television's Moll Flanders. Parts of the town subbed for Elizabethan and Jacobean era London in the third-series episode two (The Shakespeare Code) of Doctor Who which ran 7 April 2007.

Warwick has many long established sports clubs including Warwick Hockey Club which was founded in 1920 and Racing Club Warwick F.C.marker founded a year earlier.

Notable people


  1. ONS Neighborhood statistics
  2. Allen, Geoff, (2000) Warwickshire Towns & Villages, ISBN 1 85058 642 X
  3. Slater, Terry (1981) A History of Warwickshire, ISBN 0-85033-416-0

External links

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