Warwickshire CCC was officially founded on 8 April 1882 at a meeting in The Regent Hotel, Leamington Spa. The club developed so well that by the time of the first official County Championship in 1890 it was playing some of the top first-class counties such as Surrey and Yorkshire. Warwickshire became first-class themselves in 1894 and surprised the cricket world with wins over Surrey at The Oval and Nottinghamshire. They competed in the County Championship from 1895 but despite being strong in batting, their bowling was, until the arrival of Sam Hargreave and Frank Field in 1899, very weak. From 1900 to 1906 they were strong enough to be in the upper-middle reaches of the table, but the decline of their bowling from 1907 returned them to the lower reaches of the table late in that decade.
Frank Foster, who first played as an amateur left arm pace bowler in 1908 but improved greatly in 1910 as a result of slowing his pace to gain accuracy, still stands as Warwickshire's greatest all-rounder. In 1911 he headed both batting and bowling averages and, along with a fully fit Frank Field, enabled Warwickshire to take the Championship from the "Big Six" for the only time between 1890 and 1935. Foster and Field took between then 238 wickets, but in Wisden nobody doubted that Warwickshire's win was largely caused by an abnormally dry summer, and the following three years saw them return to mid-table although Foster in 1914 displayed all-round form equal to that of 1911.
In 1919, with Foster having had an accident that ended his short career, Warwickshire fell to last in the table. They did not improve a great deal until the 1930s when Bob Wyatt's captaincy and the bowling of Mayer, Paine and Hollies moved them to fourth in 1934, but as Paine rapidly declined, they fell away. When Wyatt left for Worcestershire after World War II, they declined even further despite Hollies' wonderful bowling in 1946 – with no support at all, he took 175 wickets for only 15 each. The acquisition of New Zealand speedster Tom Pritchard gave Hollies the necessary support and by 1948 they had one of the strongest attacks in county cricket. It was this bowling power, along with effective if not wonderful batting, that gave them the Championship in 1951. However, as with 1911, they fell off rapidly as their batting became unreliable over the rest of the decade. After Hollies' retirement in 1957, there were some very poor seasons (though they came fourth in 1959 due to Mike Smith's superb batting) until Tom Cartwright emerged as a top-class seam bowler in 1962. The county came second in 1964, but did not establish itself at the top until the late 1960s. In 1971 Lance Gibbs' magnificent bowling enabled them to come second, whilst brilliant batting gave them a clear Championship win in 1972.
Yet again, though, a Championship win was followed by a decline and the next twenty years saw the county almost always in the lower half of the table. In 1981 and 1982, with Bob Willis doing nothing for them whilst producing match-winning form for England, they averaged over 45 runs for each wicket they took – still a record. Only under the coaching of Bob Woolmer and captaincy of Dermot Reeve (with their allowed foreign player being one of Brian Lara, Shaun Pollock or Allan Donald) did the team become consistently successful. Although they had won the NatWest Trophy in 1989, it was their astonishing victory in the same competition in 1993, overhauling a record score posted by Sussex in the final, which launched their most dominant period in English cricket. In 1994 they secured a historic treble, winning the County Championship, Axa Equity & Law League (now National Cricket League) and Benson & Hedges Cup. In that season Lara set the world record for a first-class cricket score of 501 whilst playing for Warwickshire against Durham County Cricket Club; the team total of 810–4 declared in that match is also a club record. In 1995 they won the County Championship again, and also won the C&G Trophy. This was to be the last trophy of Dermot Reeve's captaincy with him stepping down during the 1996 season, Bob Woolmer also having moved on to coach South Africa. 1997 saw them lifting the AXA league trophy once again, but this proved to be a false dawn. Performances for the next few years were poor, including relegation to the second division of the County Championship and National Cricket leagues.
However they have since been promoted in both competitions (though relegated again in the National Cricket League), won the Benson & Hedges Cup in 2002 and strong performances with the bat saw the county reclaim the County Championship in 2004. Warwickshire were once again promoted in the national cricket league, and played in the top division of both competitions in 2006.
Until the year 2005, the club captain was Nick Knight, the coach was John Inverarity, and the Chief Executive was Dennis Amiss, though all three stepped down at the end of the season. Heath Streak was appointed as captain for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but resigned after one game of the 2007 season on 25 April 2007, and Darren Maddy replaced Streak as captain.
The 2007 Championship season was a big disaster for Warwickshire, who were relegated to Division Two, after not winning a single game since they topped the table in early May. They also got relegated from Pro40 league, a matter made worse when local rivals Worcestershire CCC clinched the title.
Since the end of the disastrous 2007 season Warwickshire made several changes to the team and management staff. Controversial coach Mark Greatbatch was sacked and Ashley Giles replaced him as Director of Cricket. Former Warwickshire Bear and South Africa international Allan Donald joined the Bears' coaching staff. Fans favourite Dougie Brown also took up an Academy Coaching role. After a successful campaign in Division 2, the Bears were promoted back to the top flight after only a season's absence in September 2008.
Maddy stepped down from the captaincy in November 2008. Ian Westwood was announced as his replacement. In 2009 Indian seamer Sreesanth replaced Jeetan Patel, who was busy with national duties for New Zealand, to become the first Indian to join the club. Westwood in turn stepped down as captain at the end of the 2010 season. Jim Troughton took over as captain shortly after, before struggling with injury during the 2014 season. Varun Chopra stood in before Troughton retired from first class cricket in 2015, promoting Chopra to permanent captain.
Early in 2015, Varun Chopra resigned the captaincy in order to focus on batting, with Ian Bell taking over as captain.