AN AMBITIOUS £500,000 project to build a new trebuchet at Warwick Castle is under way.
The new replica 22-tonne siege warfare machine will be built a month after the castle’s original trebuchet was put up for sale.
The trebuchet – nicknamed Ursa, latin for bear, after Warwickshire’s famous bear and ragged staff emblem – went up on Facebook Marketplace last month with a £100,000 price tag but did not sell. It was the world’s largest example of this particular type of war machinery and replicates the 13th and 14th century original designs.
For more than a decade it wowed visitors to Warwick Castle, who would watch specially trained trebuchet masters launch projectiles into the air, however in recent years it has been out of action.
The ironwork from the original trebuchet will be used to build the new one, while the wood from the original will be made into benches for the castle grounds.
To ensure the replacement trebuchet remains historically authentic, Warwick Castle has appointed Carpenter Oak to undertake the rebuild. Carpenter Oak not only built the current castle trebuchet but is also experienced in recreating historical siege weapons, including a Roman Ballista and Leonardo Di Vinci’s crossbow.
Work on the replacement includes sourcing specialist wood from France, and will see the carving of the wooden structure’s parts at Carpenter Oak’s specialist workshop, before being moved to the Castle’s River Island where on-site construction is expected to take ten weeks.
It is hoped the new trebuchet will be launched to the public in a brand-new live show at the castle in spring 2023.
Liam Bartlett, Operations Director at Warwick Castle, said: “For many years the trebuchet has been one of our most popular attractions and families would flock to see this exciting piece of authentic history in action.
“However, years of launching heavy projectiles hundreds of metres took its toll and the wear and tear got to the point where it was no longer safe to operate.
“We are delighted to be able to make this substantial investment to replace it and once again showcase this masterful piece of machinery. I can’t wait to see it unleashed again with a brand new show and I know our many visitors will feel the same.”
The new trebuchet, which will be made to the same specifications as the old one, will be 18 metres tall, made from over 300 pieces of oak and weigh 22 tonnes.