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By IH Tuesday 19 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 10:32
THE DOORS have been unlocked on even more history at Warwick Castle.
Four new previously unseen rooms - Barbican Battlements and Captain’s Room; a bear pit in Bear Tower built during the reign of monarch of the moment Richard III; Watergate Room; and The Guards’ Room in Guy’s Tower - were opened to visitors by Tony Robinson as part of a the project Warwick castle Unlocked.
The Time Team and Blackadder star said: "I'm quite giddy to be the first person to see inside these rooms. I've spent many years searching for exactly this - clues and evidence to unlock secrets from the past.
And Tim Harrison-Jones, General Manager at Warwick Castle, was equally excited about the new attractions for visitors.
He said: “We’re blessed with over one thousand years of history at Warwick Castle and we’re delighted to tell the ancient site’s story as best we can.
"Each of the four newly-opened rooms will be permanently open to visitors at no additional cost and can be viewed in any order to add even more depth to our story. This is an exciting opportunity to be among the first people to see these rooms for centuries and makes a great value family half-term day out.”
There are plans to open further rooms in the future.
Visit www.warwick-castle.com for further information about Warwick Castle.
The new rooms have their own distinct histories:
Barbican Battlements (14th century) - Visitors will see and smell this ancient room readied for medieval battle. Built in the reign of Edward III to protect the entrance to the Castle, the Barbican Battlements over the Portcullis include deadly murder holes through which boiling tar and human waste were poured on attacking forces.
Bear Tower (15th century) - The county of Warwickshire and the heraldic crest of the Earls of Warwick are represented by a Bear and Ragged Staff, symbols whose history can be traced back to Warwick Castle including the keeping of a bear on site in the 15th century. It was housed in a recently unearthed bear pit, and would have been used for the barbaric sport of bear-baiting.
Watergate Tower (16th century) - Reputedly haunted by the ghost of Sir Fulke Greville - playwright, poet, Member of Parliament, and victim of a gruesome murder - the Watergate Tower tells the tale of a notable life brought short by a disloyal, dagger-wielding servant. Fulke’s restless spirit is said to roam the tower.
Guards’ Room (17th century) - In 1642, during the Civil War, Warwick Castle - a stronghold for Parliamentary forces under its owner, Robert Greville - was besieged by Royalists stationed at St Mary’s Church in Warwick. The Guards’ Room at the top of Guy’s Tower was remodelled to fire cannons rather than arrows. Visitors can experience the musty, smoky living conditions endured by the guards as they awaited attack and bore the ultimately futile siege, and also see historic graffiti.
Warwick Castle Unlocked - Tony Robinson unlocks the haunted Watergate Tower. (s)
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