The Jaguar and the Castle
300 Jags on the grounds of Warwick Castle
For the British, it is not just a car. Ninety-five years since Jaguar was founded, it is a lasting symbol of the Commonwealth, which reminds the historical influence of Britain. It is thus no coincidence that for the last six years, one of the most interesting events is successfully taking place at the historic Warwick Castle. The man, who conceived the idea originally and has been organizing the event since, is Graham Greenwood. He is also the Event Manager for XJS Club and Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club (Coventry).
The castle is located in the Midlands, right at the “heart” of England and its cornerstone (a rock) is slowly being eroded over the years by River Avon. The original construction was a “motte-and-bailey” built by William the Conqueror in 1068, two years after the last invasion in the country’s history. Today, it is a renowned stone castle of the 12th century and one of the most important monuments in the region.
On the 10th of September, Warwick Castle hosted “Jaguars at the Castle”, with more than 300 cars, from all eras, parked on its grounds. If there is one thing the British are known for, this is being punctual, regardless of weather conditions. So, despite the fact that the sky’s standard stone-grey colour was blending in with the crenellations, the cars were gradually taking their position. The entire Jaguar history was soon parked on the 22,000 square meters available.
New owners, but also some very seasoned ones, are taking great pride in their ownership. They exhibit the Jaguars to anyone with a special interest, exchange ideas, knowledge, and ultimately enjoy the camaraderie developed. Apart from this specific event, certain members are connected from past static displays, as well as travelling with the club, in the UK and abroad. This year’s happening is yet another opportunity to talk about the past, plan for the future and get unaware new members involved.
Despite having the grounds full of Jaguars, being in this location, the mind can’t escape thoughts of different times and necessities. Needs for survival and domination, competition and exhibition. Perhaps, not a lot has changed since then after all…
One of the most spectacular demonstrations planned for the day was the flight of an RAF Lancaster bomber, however it was cancelled due to high winds. Undaunted, the British carried on with launching the trebuchet. This way they pay homage to their ancestors, but also come to contact with the technology in use at the castle’s pinnacle. It is a great opportunity for visitors to consider the “struggle” involved in devising, designing, constructing, but also effectively operating mechanical means throughout history.
During the Middle Ages, Falconry was a favourite past-time of the noblemen and a status symbol. Flights were organized for the event, in commemoration of the times, during which the foundations of the later empire were laid. Falconers, dressed in the leather attire of that era, would launch their birds of prey from their arms. After impressive manoeuvres around the castle, the birds landed again on their master’s gauntlet.
An image that has attracted a lot of attention is that of a peacock, prance around Jaguars. The specific bird is common on the grounds of castles, monasteries and in medieval books and depictions, due to its religious symbolism. Despite being a pretty animal (especially the male one with its long, colourful tail), the aesthetics of its legs are quite the opposite. Thus, it symbolizes the Christian, who should disregard all his/her virtues and focus on the flaws. According to an ancient legend, the peacock’s flesh cannot decay, so an additional symbolism is that of resurrection and immortality.
All of a sudden, the wandering of the peacock amongst the Jaguars makes sense after all. The Jaguar has always been dazzling and has stirred more passion than most cars. But it had flaws. The great number of brand new, dynamic Jaguars at the event, is testament that these flaws are now being corrected with “religious” attention to detail and after its resurrection, the “emblematic feline” continues its path to immortality.
Once the “Jaguars at the Castle” came to an end, the “big cats” departed, one by one, for all four corners of the country. The last photos are those of smiling faces; of people connected to the Jaguar legend through ownership, participation to various events, but mostly the shared experience of everyday driving satisfaction. Having honoured their great history and tradition, the appointment is renewed and so is Jaguar’s appointment with history.
From our side, we would like to thank all participants for being there. In particular Mr. John Bowen, who was the first point of contact, brought the event to our attention and generously supplied all the material. But our gratitude is also extended to the organizer, Mr. Graham Greenwood and the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, who support initiatives and organize events of global resonance, fueled by the unrequited passion for Jaguar.
The above article is the English version of an article written by Dimitris Meazie for a Greek media organization. All photos and videos have been generously provided by Mr. John Bowen.