Tuesday 3 September 2019

Castles (11) : Kenilworth

Kenilworth castle in Warwickshire dates from the reign of Henry I. The castle was built by Geoffrey de Clinton, the Lord Chamberlain of the King in the early 1120s. The original castle probably consisted of a standard Norman motte and bailey castle with a mount surrounded by a wall and a strongpoint on top of the mound. The castle was continually rebuilt and improved over the next five centuries.

Major work took place in the early thirteenth century when the wooden bailey wall was replaced by stone and two nearby brooks were dammed to create the castle's water defences. The following century saw the castle gain a great hall and other towers. The castle was owned by John of Gaunt in the later fourteenth century and was one of his most important castles. He made a number of major improvements to the castle.

Kenilworth castle was partially destroyed during the Civil War so it could not be used as a military stronghold. The castle remained a ruin in the following centuries though even by the eighteenth century it was already a tourist attraction. The castle is now owned by English Heritage.