Created on May 5, 2023
11. Thank you
6. John of Gaunt
Simon de Montfort's fortress
Royal fortress owned by the crown
1174 - 1244
John of Gaunt
Geoffrey de Clinton constructs Kenilworth
Timeline of kenilworth
1120s - Today (2023)
- During the Anarchy, Kenilworth was used for defence
- During the revolt of 1173-74, Henry II faced an uprising
- Thus Kenilworth was manned by Henry's forces
- In 1775 it was deemed of strategic importance and was taken into royal control
- Kenilworth castle was built in the 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton
- This was because King Henry I was questioning the loyalty of the Earl of Warrick and wanted to keep him in check
- This is why Kenilworth is very close to Warrick Castle
- The castle was originally a motte topped with timber buildings, however Clinton got permission to build a stone keep.
Kenilworth castle's layout
Construction of Kenilworth (1120s)
Click pluses for more info!
- The majority of Kenilworth's defences were built by Henry II between 1154 to 1189
- This was to defend himself against other nobles
- John I also built defences for Kenilworth
- He spent around £1,100 on the castle to defend himself during a dispute with his lords (which led to the Magna Carta)
Royal fortress 1174-1244
- This was when most of the castle was built. As it was owned by the crown, there are good records about the castle's development in official documentations.
This was the longest siege in English medieval history!
Simon de montfort's fortress (1244-1266)
- Henry III gave Kenilworth to Simon in 1244. However Simon rebelled against him....
- De Montfort rebelled against the King in 1265
- The castle was held by an army of 1200 rebels who refused King Henry's terms of surrender
- In June 1266, Henry arrived with a strong army to besiege the castle
- Six months later, De Montfort's men surrendered with only 2 days worth of food left.
- Simon further strengthened the castle by building the Brays - a large defended enclosure protecting the dam
- After De Montfort's surrender, Henry III gave the castle to his son Edmund.
- This when Kenilworth became more palatial and comfortable.
Medieval palace 1267-1553
- England was more peaceful at this time and gunpowder meant that the castles were not as useful for wars.
- The castle was becoming more palatial as servants and officials were treated well
- The new revelations were not for defence purposes.
John of Gaunt 1361-1399
- A new great hall - the hall's windows were very impressive as they were similar to ones in a cathedral
- Tapestries were hung above the fireplaces
Dudley was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I - she granted him the title Earl of Leicester
The queen visited him there in 1566, 1568, 1572 and 1575
He tried his best to impress Elizabeth into marrying him, but to no avail
Robert Dudley' Tudor palace 1553- 1642
He made Kenilworth into a grand Elizabethan palace - costing him around £1000 a day
Hawkesworth demolished lots of the castle for building materials, leading the castle quickly becoming roofless. It's fittings and fixtures were reused in houses around the area
the commander that oversaw the destruction (Colonel Joseph Hawkesworth) was given the castle and he converted it into a residence. It eventually became a farm until the 1800s
After the English Civil War, the castle was occupied by the parliamentarians and remained intact until 1649 - when it was purposefully destroyed to stop it from being used as defence.
The site was then cared for as a tourist attraction
By 1821, when Sir Walter Scott wrote his historical novel "Kenilworth", the castle was a ruin shrouded in ivy
In 1958, it was given to the Kenilworth town council and in 1984, English Heritage became responsible for its care.
In 1937, Sir John Davenport Siddley bought the site and gave it to the nation
Kenilworth is a great example of how some castles evolve from relatively humble origins to powerful forts. The pictures you see of Kenilworth today developed from a simple Norman motte and the stones were erected between 1100 - 1135 by Geoffrey de Clinton
Kenilworth was one of the great castle palaces in medieval England. For much of it's history, Kenilworth was at the centre of England's affairs. It was powerful and in a strategic position in the midlands that it had been many thing, including a military stronghold, royal palace and an inspiration for writers and artists alike.
Thanks for travelling through history with me