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Warwickshire History
Anglo-saxon Warwickshire | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Anglo-Saxon brooch

After the departure of the Romans in the 4th century, the native Celts lived peaceably in the area up until the 7th century when a Saxon tribe called the Hwicce took possession of the land. No sooner had the area become part of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia, that King Alfred the Great, after battles with the Danes, agreed the Peace of Wedmore and ceded all territory to the North and East of Watling St to the Viking invaders. This area became known as the Danelaw and saw periodic fighting between Danes and Saxons well into the 11th century.


Faced also with the nearby southern boundary to Wessex, the region was further fortified with the beginnings of Warwick Castle and Tamworth castle by Ethelfleda "Lady of the Mercians", daughter of King Alfred.

Warwick Castle and the River Avon

The protection of the castle let Warwick grow into a prosperous market town and a powerful centre within the Mercian kingdom. In the early 11th century, new internal boundaries within the Mercian kingdom were drawn and Warwickshire came into being as the lands administered from Warwick. The first recorded use of the name Warwickshire was in the year 1001, named after Warwick meaning "dwellings by the weir".
Coventry is also believed to have developed around this time from a founding of a Benedictine Abbey by Leofric Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva. A settlement soon sprang up from the market established at the abbey gates.

The legend of Guy of Warwick and Guy’s Cliff also stems from this era. This Saxon noble, the legendary killer of the Dun Cow, returned from his many travels and unbeknown to his wife, retired to live out the rest of his days in a cave by the river Avon as a hermit. His wife, the lady Felice of Warwick, remained ignorant of his unannounced presence until just before Guy died. On his death-bed he finally revealed his true identity to the poor lady who, overcome by grief threw herself from the cliff where her husband had lived for so many years. It is said that her ghost, distraught with grief, still haunts the site.

The Middle ages followed this period
Statue of Lady Godiva with the spires of the Holy Trinity church and the ruined Coventry Cathedral