Legend has it that the first fortification of significance on the grounds of Warwick Castle was erected by Ethelfleda, the daughter of Alfred the Great, in the year 914.The remains of this ancient fortification can still be seen on Ethelfleda's Mound, a mound of earth at the southern end of the castle's courtyard. As intriguing as this legend is, the majority of the remains date from the period of Norman rule.
After the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century, William the Conqueror appointed Henry de Newburgh as Earl of Warwick. During this time of change, a Norman motte-and-bailey fort was erected. After passing through the hands of 20 more earls (and three more creations of the title), Warwick Castle became a member of the Treasure Houses of England, a heritage consortium founded in the early 1970s by ten of the foremost stately homes in England still in private ownership with the aim of marketing and promoting themselves as tourist venues. In 1978, Warwick Castle was sold to Tussauds, a large visitor attraction business. Tussauds performed extensive restorations to the castle and grounds in addition to opening its gates to the public.
Currently, Warwick Castle houses the only working scale model trebuchet in the world. It stands 19 m tall and uses a 6-tonne counterweight to fire 15 kg stone balls distances exceeding several hundred feet.