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On Thursday I had a  walk around Warwick.

In the background you can see the castle. The building which is now a tearoom was once the home of a man called Thomas Oken – it was built in the late 1400s. Oken was a silk mercer, Master of the Guild and a town benefactor. This building survived the Great Fire of 1694 but much of Warwick was destroyed.

Another group of buildings to survive the fire was the Lord Leycester Hospital, founded by Robert, Earl of Leicester in 1571. It was never a medical establishment – the word ‘hospital’ in this sense refers to a place for housing the needy or infirm. It is still used as a home for retired soldiers and many of the buildings date from medieval times. To the left of the picture you can see the West Gate to the town. Above it is the Westgate Chapel of St James. The Brothers of the Hospital still attend prayers there twice a day, the chapel has no electricity or heating.

The morning of my tour was rainy and I was the only visitor to the Hospital.

Here’s some information – you can click on the picture to read it.

I don’t think there’s a perfectly horizontal or vertical line in the whole place.

Note that the building is brown and cream in colour – it was the Victorians who painted these buildings black and white.

Here is the medieval Great Hall. King James I dined here – the town was in debt for ten years following this banquet.

The Guild Hall.

The courtyard.

It was a far cry from the crowds at Warwick Castle.

The buildings have accommodation for eight Brothers and a Master. One of the Brothers showed me around and he was very informative and clearly very proud.

In the centre of town Warwick is the Market Hall built in 1670 which now houses a museum.

Here is the town’s East Gate.

Here is St Mary’s Church.

Inside is the effigy of Richard de Beauchamp, the 13th Earl of Warwick.

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and  favourite of Queen Elizabeth I was also there but somehow I didn’t get a photo of his tomb! Sorry folks. You can read about him here.

Here is Thomas Beauchamp the 11th earl of Warwick and his wife Katherine Mortimer. Thomas died in 1369 and was the third Knight and one of the founding members of the Order of the Garter.

I love how their heads are resting on pillows held by angels.

Warwick has a rare pillar or post box. Cast in iron in the mid 1800s it is shaped as a Doric column. Designs for pillar boxes had not yet been standardised and you can see this one has a vertical post slot. The design was abandoned because the vertical slot let rain in and damaged the mail. This one seems to have been modified though, having the addition of a spring loaded flap to avoid that problem.

Here is Landor House, birthplace of the poet Walter Savage Landor.

This is St John’s House, built in 1626, it was originally the home of the Stoughton family but is now  a museum.

Warwick is a lovely town and I would recommend a visit. I obviously toured farther afield for Blenheim and Althorp, but Warwick is very close to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds.