The Armoury was originally added to Warwick Castle in 1669 as a brewery it was later used as a library before finally being converted into the Armoury as we see it today.
Centre stage at the Armoury is the Knight. Kitted out in 1570s Italian jousting armour, astride his ebony steed, he oversees a collection of weapons, armour and paraphernalia of war dating back to the first century AD.
Among the oldest displays is a 5ft 5¼ inch long-sword. Legend has it that Guy Of Warwick was despatched by King Athelstan to kill a giant monster which had been plaguing villagers in 962AD. The monster turned out to be a large cow, but this giant two-handed sword that Guy is reputed to have used to dispatch the ‘monster’ is one of the many prized displays in the armoury.
The English Civil War features highly in the armoury display, as you would expect given key part that the Earl of Warwick and the castle played in proceedings. Visitors can wonder at the weight and inflexibility of a typical foot soldier’s armour and admire a metal hat similar to those worn by Charles 1st; although it should be noted the King’s protective headgear was covered with velvet and dressed with a feather! Worthy of special mention is a horseman’s helmet; this particular helmet worn by one Oliver Cromwell.
Crossbows, longbows, claymores and hunting swords; the armoury at Warwick provides a fascinating and comprehensive insight into medieval warfare. But it doesn’t end there, there are also flintlocks and pistols a plenty dating from the 1600s onwards. Among the most intriguing items is a collection of hunting swords complete with built in flintlock pistols. All are to be admired not just for their killing prowess but for the intricacy of their design and in many cases their beauty.