The name Warwick is derived from two Saxon words, Wering, which meant Weir and Wic, which meant houses or settlement. So it was Wering Wic, the settlement by the weir.
The town was founded on the banks of the River Avon in 914AD by Ethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred the Great. It was built as a defence against Danish invaders, on a site overlooking earlier riverside settlements. The small hill it was originally on controlled not only the river valley but also the river crossing on the road to London and Stratford and was surrounded partly by a wall and partly by a ditch.
The Medieval core of the town was prevented from expansion by the open spaces that surrounded it: The common, Racecourse, the grounds of the Priory, St Nicholas Meadow, the River Avon and later, Warwick Castle. Within a relatively small area there are many buildings of historic interest, of which the castle is the most important.
This is one of the most dramatic and complete medieval castles in the country and has been continuously inhabited since the Middle ages and was home to the Earls of Warwick until only very recently. It was originally made of wood in the 12th century before being rebuilt with stone. Ronnie’s Bar is the closest bar to the castle and we welcome guests who need a good drink after a long day enjoying themselves in our great castle’s grounds.
Many of the streets of the town were destroyed by the Great Fire of 1694. The buildings which were burnt were replaced by what you see today in the handsome style of the late 17th and early 18th centuries including Ronnie’s Bar. St Mary’s church, which dates back to the 12th century, dominates the surrounding countryside and had a new nave and tower built at the same time shortly after the fire. Several important medieval buildings survived and can be seen today, most notably the town’s Guildhall, now known as the Lord Leycester Hospital, as well as a group of timber framed buildings around Oken’s House.
The wonderful building that is Ronnie’s Bar has a long and interesting history. It has housed a solicitors office (as can be seen from the original sign on the wall at the base of the staircase) and prior to this was connected through to the registry office and town hall. More recently, the next door property, which used to be a tea room for many years, was incorporated within the main building and became a restaurant until recently, when the Ronnie’s team transformed the entire building into the fabulous setting it now is. We pride ourselves on serving the best drinks in the nicest setting with a great atmosphere to boot and hope you all have a great experience within our little bit of history!
Who is Ronnie?
A question that is constantly asked. As you can see, we have a tribute to most famous Ronnie’s with their images and autographs adorning our walls, but the “real” Ronnie was a very famous sculptor called Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower who was born in 1845 and died in 1916. I think you will agree that his name was a bit of a mouthful, so we decided to give him a little nickname!
As a sculptor, his most famous work is a Shakespeare monument (1888) now situated in our neighboring town of Stratford-upon-Avon;
Rumour has it “Ronnie” was a fairly regular visitor to our buildings (and still is…..he is known to roam around upstairs keeping a careful eye on the proceedings, no doubt with a smile on his face). He was quite a character from all accounts and was described as being “gifted with an extreme simplicity, a deep affection, a ceaseless energy, a keen discrimination and an unusually affectionate nature … His perfection as a host, his generosity, his unselfishness, his great desire that all about him should be happy and that no one in his service should bear undue strain … rendered him very dear.” Clearly, we at Ronnie’s Bar would like to think that we repay his character within our own.