NOEL the bowman, right, fixes you with his eye and transfixes you with his booming (if somewhat thespian) voice as he veers off into another historic fact at Warwick Castle.

“I’ll stop trying to be so BBC4 and be a bit more ITV3+1,” he says, somewhat self-deprecatingly, as though he’s in danger of boring his audience.

He then carries on as before, touching on the question of whether waving two fingers is related to English archers at Agincourt or not – and none of this crowd of about 20 move a muscle.

The cynic might suggest it is because an arrow is strung in his bow and they wouldn’t dare. The truth is, BBC4 or not, Noel’s stories and his method of delivery, with a vague Eddie Izzard manner holds the attention of young boys, wives and old men.

He then gets the crowd to drum roll by slapping their knees and give “cries of death and anguish” as said arrow then thuds into the target many yards away.

“I’ll let you go now...” he says as he turns back, “but of course...” and he begins another yarn.

He’s the epitome of the attraction Warwick Castle has become. I had previously visited the castle in 1996. I only know this as I have a badge on an old backpack because the castle now is a vastly different world from what it was 16 years ago.

I remember it vaguely as one of those places where you troop miserably around the squeaky varnished floorboards of stately homes while some disapproving old lady with the warmth of a medieval castle looks down her nose at you.

Now you have people like Noel in his 15th century britches at Warwick, bringing the place to life.

The man knows his subject inside and out and it is infectious. And that is not just because he is clearly a man of taste as he booms across the crowd at me on a cold February Sunday: “I covet that coat.”

One of the key attractions at Warwick is a show based on BBC’s Merlin.

The kids appreciated it but it was rather overshone by the live displays.

There is a working trebuchet, a birds of prey show and knights fighting.

You even struggle up the mound and there’s a knight in full armour loitering.

It’s a good full day and is, relatively speaking, only just up the road from Oxfordshire.

It’s a great historic castle but its strength is now not the imposing walls or towers. It’s people like Noel who bring it to life.