High Sheriff Warwickshire
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Interesting Facts about Warwickshire

History of Warwickshire


Coat of Arms of Warwickshire

Much of northwestern Warwickshire was covered by the ancient Forest of Arden (Shakespeare, "As You Like It") which was still the case at the time of the Domesday Book but much of which was later cut down to provide fuel for industrialisation, the Royal Navy and charcoal for the steel foundries.

Middle Ages 

The Norman conquest in 1066 brought with it the most active and notable period of military architecture resulting in the building of much of Warwick Castle and others at Kenilworth Maxstoke and Tamworth.

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a Warwickshire conspiracy. The conspirators' principal aim was to kill King James, however another important objective was the kidnapping of the King's daughter, third in the line of succession, Princess Elizabeth. Housed at Coombe Abbey near Coventry, the Princess lived only ten miles north of Warwick, convenient for the plotters, most of whom lived in the Midlands. Once the King and his Parliament were dead, the plotters intended to install Elizabeth on the English throne as a titular Queen. Robert Catesby, the prime mover in the conspiratory, was a Warwickshire man, born probably at Bushwood, near Lapworth. 

During the English Civil War in the 17th century the county was generally on the Parliamentarian side, Lord Brooke of Warwick Castle being one of the fiecest enemies of the king.The Battle of Edgehill (1642) was fought in Warwickshire, near the Oxfordshire border.Prince Rupert, who was in charge of the Royalist forces, marched his soldiers through Henley in Arden in 1643 on his way to Birmingham and pillaged the neighbourhood. Charles II was assisted in his escape following his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 by Jane Lane who, disguising the king as her man-servant accompanied him across the county, passing through Wooton Wawen, Stratford-upon-Avon and Long Marston. The footpath the Monarch's Way commemorates the events and approximates the route of his escape where the modern landscape permits.

Modern period

Warwickshire became a centre of the national canal system, with major arterial routes such as the Oxford Canal the Coventry Canal and later, what is now the Grand Union Canal being constructed through the county.

One of the first intercity railway lines: the London and Birmingham Railway ran through Warwickshire. And during the 19th century, the county developed a dense railway network.