Warrior Queen moves camp to Leamington

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An exhibition charting the early history of Warwick has now taken centre stage in Leamington.

Dark Age Warwick and the Warrior Queen is on show at the Leamington Art Gallery and Museum in the Royal Pump Room until January 11.

It first went on show at St Mary’s church in Warwick in the summer and proved popular with visitors.

Dark Age Warwick and the Warrior Queen was created as part of the programme of events celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of foundation of Warwick.

The exhibition presents the story behind the founding of a fortress at Warwick in 914 by Aethelflaed, ruler of Anglo-Sax-on Mercia, and has free entry.

It was one of several strongholds constructed to secure her kingdom in the West Midlands before she set about the re-conquest of the East Midlands from the Danish Vikings.

The success of this campaign won her a reputation as a great ‘Warrior Queen’ and ensured that Warwick played a significant part in the formation of England as a state.

Amy Alsop, of the art gallery and museum, said: “The exhibition raises the question of whether this was truly the origins of today’s town, though.

“What is the evidence for earlier Dark Age settlement - perhaps even an early Christian minster? And what about the claim that Warwick was founded before the Romans and became home to warrior heroes like the giant-slaying Sir Guy of Warwick?”

Warwick’s myths and history are explored in an associated book by J R Watkin, also called Dark Age Warwick and the Warrior Queen. It costs £5 and is available in the Royal Pump Room and local bookshops.

Early Warwick can also be explored in a walking trail, Warwick in the Dark Ages: A Walk Through Myth and History. This is available at the Royal Pump Room and can be downloaded. Go to www.warwickdc.gov.uk