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Warwick

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Warwick (disambiguation).Template:GBmap

Warwick (pronounced 'warrick' ) is the historic county town of Warwickshire in England and has a population of 25,434 (2001 census). The town lies upon the River Avon.

The town is most famous for Warwick Castle which attracts huge numbers of tourists from around the world. The town centre is also known for its historic architecture, and contains a mixture of Tudor and 17th-century buildings.

Warwick School is a public school which claims to be the third-oldest surviving school in England. The actual date of its founding is unknown; although 914 has been quoted in some cases, the school celebrated its millennium in the 1990s and it has also honoured King Edward the Confessor (c.1004-1066) as its founder. The school moved to its current site in 1879.

The University of Warwick is named after the town, although it is in fact some miles away and nearer to Coventry.

Contents

History

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Lord Leycester Hospital by the west gate, Warwick

According to tradition, Warwick was founded on the banks of the River Avon in the year 914 AD, when Ethelfleda, sister of Mercian king Edward the Elder built defences to protect against Danish (Viking) invaders, these defences were to be the foundation of Warwick Castle. The name 'Warwick' means "dwellings by the wier".

In 1016 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).

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Mill Street in Warwick

Due to its fortifications Warwick became an important administrative centre within the Mercian kingdom, in the early 11th century Anglo-Saxon England was divided into administrative areas known as shires, the 'shire' administered from Warwick became known as Warwickshire.

In Medieval times, Warwick remained under the control of various Earls of Warwick, and due to its strategic importance became a walled town. Today the only remains of the town walls are the east and west gatehouses. The east gatehouse now serves as part of the Kings High school, a sister institution to Warwick School. Warwick was not incorporated as a town until 1546.

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The east gatehouse

In 1694 a great fire destroyed much of the 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 buildings survive, especially around the edges of the town centre.

The fire burnt down most of the medieval church of St Mary but the Beauchamp Chapel survived. It was built between 1443 and 1464 according to the wishes of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick who died in Rouen in 1439. It is an elaborate and fascinating small building and should not be missed by any visitor to Warwick. A full size reclining copper gilt effigy of the Earl lies upon his Purbeck marble tomb - a fine piece of medieval metalwork cast in 1449.

Transport

Warwick is near the M40 motorway and the A46 trunk road. The town also has good rail links, with direct train services to both London and Birmingham provided by Chiltern Railways from the original station in the town and also from Warwick Parkway, a new out-of-town station opened in 2000. Other rail operators serving Warwick are Central Trains (to Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon) and First Great Western Link (to London and Stratford). The Grand Union Canal and the River Avon also pass through the town.

Administration

Population growth has led to Warwick becoming joined to its larger neighbouring town Leamington Spa with which it forms a small conurbation. Both towns are now part of the Warwick District, which has its headquarters in Leamington, although each retains a separate town council.

External links

eo:Warwick

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