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Facts

WARWICKSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Warwickshire is the 31st largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Warwickshire has the 40th highest population in England.
Warwickshire is in 33rd place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. The first Kenilworth Castle was built in the early 12th century. A hundred or so years later King John added an outer stone wall and a dam to hold back a great lake, making one of the best fortresses in England. In 1266 Simon de Montfort (read about him here ) held the castle against a siege set up by the forces of Henry III. The siege lasted for six months.

    In 1563 Elizabeth I gave the castle to her very good friend and favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He oversaw the transformation of the castle into a superb palce fit for his Queen. To demonstrate this fact Elizabeth was entertained at Kenilworth Castle for 19 days of fun and festivities in 1575.

    Although the castle is now a ruin, the gardens built by Dudley have been recreated and can be visited.

    The castle's fortifications were dismantled in 1650 but the ruins became famous when Sir Walter Scott wrote his novel, Kenilworth, in 1821.

  3. Warwickshire Eats
  4. This one is a bit strange because, despite a fair amount of research, the only food special to the county I could find was something called Warwickshire Stew. Now to my untrained palette, a stew is popular all over the place. Furthermore I am not an expert into any special ingredients for a stew.

    Therefore, I have just reprinted one of the two recipes I found for Warwickshire Stew and you, gentle reader, can see if it is radically different in any way.

    List of Ingredients
    675g (24oz) Stewing Steak
    6 Potatoes
    4 Carrots
    2 medium onions
    350g (12oz) Tomatoes
    150ml (quarter pint) stock or red wine
    110g (4oz) Mushrooms
    2 tbsp Plain Flour
    2 Cloves Garlic
    1 tbsp Oil or dripping
    1 tbsp parsley
    Salt & Black Pepper

    Instructions
    Pre-heat the oven to 140C; 275F: Gas 1. Cut the beef into cubes, lightly dust with seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan to seal and lightly colour. Remove the meat and place in a casserole. Add the stock or wine to the pan and heat gently, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cut the potato and carrot into chunks, quarter the onion and mushrooms, crush the garlic. Add all of the ingredients to the casserole. Cover and cook for five to six hours.

  5. Warwickshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Warwickshire in the last 100 years:-
    Ken Loach (Film Maker), Tim Pigott-Smith (Actor), Nick Skelton (Show Jumper and Olympic Gold Medlaist), James Morrison (Singer, Songwriter), Colin Brignall (Typeface Designer), Antony Worrall Thompson (Restauranteur and TV chef) and (not quite within the 100 years) William Shakespeare (Playwright).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. The Battle of Edgehill was the first battle of the English Civil War and took place on 23rd October 1642. About 30,000 soldiers fought for over three hours and the battle was considered a draw. Both sides withdrew leaving their dead and dying on the battlefield. This is all fact.

    However just before Christmas 1642 some shepherds were walking across the battlefield and they claimed they heard voices, sounds of horses, clashes of armour and the screams of the dying and that they had seen a re-enactment of the battle in the night sky. They told a local priest who, it is said, saw it too.

    News of this reached the King who sent a Royal Commission to investigate and they claimed they saw it too and could even identify some of the ghostly soldiers they saw taking part. In the hope it would stop these sightings, the villagers decided to give a Christian burial to all the bodies which still lay on the battlefield, three months after the battle.

    However, even today, sounds and ghostly figures have been seen at the site. Screams, canon fire, horses hooves and battle cries are still heard at night, particularly around the anniversary of the battle. It is also a fact that because of the investigation by a Royal Commission this ghostly story is the only one recognised by the Public Record Office.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. Rugby School was founded in the town of Rugby in 1567 as a Free Grammar School for boys of Rugby. Obviously, Rugby is in Warwickshire. The school moved to its present site in 1750.

    In 1823 a boy called William Webb Ellis, a local lad at the school, was playing football at the school and, so the story goes, he picked the ball up and ran with it, thereby starting the game we know today as Rugby. In the early days, just as with football, the rules were vague and the number of players even more vague. In 1839 there was a game, watched by the then Queen Adelaide, where the school, numbering 75, took on the rest, numbering 225. Imagine 225 All Blacks running at you. No, don't.

    As with many stories, this one is said to have no real evidence but the Rugby World Cup trophy is called the William Webb Ellis trophy and in 1997 a bronze statue of a young boy running with a rugby ball was unveiled in the town. Since that 1823 event, rugby has developed. In 1895 the game split in two when 22 northern clubs split from the Rugby Union to form their own, professional, league. Hence we now have Rugby Union and Rugby League.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. Warwickshire is on my list of a county I have driven through rather than ever stayed in. I knew of it from the fact that it is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, a man who wrote the plays I had to learn and read at school and then answer questions on for exams. As such they were not a favourite of mine.

    However pictures that I saw of Stratford-upon-Avon did appeal to me with their typical Tudor buildings, mainly with black and white exteriors. Several years ago, maybe many years ago, I was watching a TV programme starring one of the funniest people I have seen, namely Barry Humphries. Look him up. To be honest he's a bit old now so I think it was definitely a long time ago.

    He was talking about the buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon, calling them half-timbered houses. Suddenly, while images of these houses were on screen, a car drove by which, as you can see from the picture, was described by Mr Humphries, as a half-timbered car. It amused me muchly.



  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The Rook is a member of the crow family. They are very friendly birds and you are unlikely to see one on its own. They feed, fly and nest together. There are over one million pairs in the country. They eat almost anything from insects and worms to grain and nuts. They also sometimes eat small mammals and the eggs of other birds.

    They are black in colour with a greyish white face and a peaked head. They are about 45cm in length, have a wingspan between 80 and 100cm depending on age and weigh 280 to 340 grams. They can be found in many areas like woodland, farmland, grassland and in towns and villages. However they usually keep away from the middle of big towns and cities.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Warwickshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020