Kenilworth Castle

The site of Kenilworth castle was under the control of Geoffrey Clinton (d.1131/33) before 1122 when the fortress was mentioned in Geoffrey's foundation charter of Kenilworth priory.  This is traditionally dated to 1122 and must have been made around then.  This leaves the question as to when the castle was founded and what can be said of Geoffrey Clinton and his family?  Firstly, Geoffrey is relatively well known amongst medievalists, but that said he doesn't seem to have been studied for himself, but has merely been used as a dim light to help illuminate the political edifice of Henry I (1100-35).

Initially, it is worth repeating that Geoffrey was one of those said by one contemporary to be of ignoble blood (de ignobili stirpe), who had been ‘raised from the dust' (de pulvere) by King Henry I (1100-35).  Another early chronicler claimed that Geoffrey proffered £2,000 to Henry I if he would make Geoffrey's nephew, Roger Clinton (d.1148), a bishop.  Regardless of the alleged bribe, Roger was duly consecrated bishop of Coventry on 22 December 1129.  Certainly no such payment appears on the pipe roll of that year which, alone from Henry's reign, has happened to survive.  Once again this shows the dangers of accepting the petty jealousies and downright propaganda that appear in various works, both modern and ancient (as well as their successors on TV), at face value.  Despite this, and the possibility that the money was never placed ‘on the books', it is still possible to discover a lot more of Geoffrey's antecedents than is generally acknowledged.

King Henry I's own confirmation charter to Geoffrey's foundation of Kenilworth priory of October 1125, stated that he had permitted Geoffrey Clinton, his treasurer and chamberlain, to found the church of St Mary in Kenilworth on land which he had given to Geoffrey in fee and inheritance and that the king confirmed to the church the lands that the monks had acquired or may acquire.  Currently these included the land of Kenilworth given by Geoffrey to Prior Bernard, as well as land in Salford Priors, Idlicote, Tysoe, Newham Regis and Lillington.  These were all vills held by Geoffrey.  To this the king added the church of Wootton Leek with land in Wootton, Lillington, the churches of Kington, Stoneleigh and Bidford, as well as the churches of Brailes and Wellesbourne which had been given by Earl Roger of Warwick (d.1153).  Additional to these were the churches of Kington and Barton Segrave given by others.  Amongst the witnesses to this royal document was Geoffrey himself.

It is useful that a copy of Geoffrey's original grant survives.  This states that Geoffrey had founded the church of Kenilworth (Chenilleuurda) in honour of St Mary and had conceded to the canons there:

all the land in the plain of Kenilworth itself and the wood and all the rest of the aforesaid vill with the exception of the parts which I retain at the castle and to make my park...

In a later charter Geoffrey conceded:

...the full tithe of all things whatsoever and from wherever they came to my castle, whether to the cellar, or to the kitchen, or to the larder, or to the granary, or to the ‘halgard'...

King Henry I (1100-35) confirmed the grant or grants to Kenilworth priory.  These included:

all the land of Kenilworth in the forest and the plain, which the same Geoffrey gave to Prior Bernard for the work of the same church, except only for that land in which his castle is situated, and which he retained in his possession to make his town, and for his fishery, and for his park...

King Henry II (1154-89) also made a confirmation grant to Kenilworth.  Interestingly this was for all the things that his grandfather, King Henry I (1100-35), gave to Kenilworth priory in alms and as his charter confirmed.  There is then a list of lands given some half way through which is the statement:

...and of Glympton from the fee and gift of Geoffrey Clinton, as contained in the charters of the same, with all the appurtenances and liberties which the aforesaid lands and churches he had better and more fully in the time of King Henry my grandfather....  Also the manor of Packington (Pachinton) with all its appurtenances and liberties, by the gift of Geoffrey Clinton and the grant of Henry Arden and Hugh his brother, by the service of half a knight...

There was then listed the land of Bretford given by the nuns Seburae and Noemi and the concession of the same Geoffrey Clinton.  It is quite obvious from this charter that King Henry II (1154-89) was expunging the actions of Geoffrey in founding Kenilworth priory and consequently upgrading the monastery to a royal foundation.  No doubt this was due to King Henry II have reclaimed the royal land of Kenilworth with its castle back into the state it was during the reign of Henry I (1100-35).  This was Henry's main policy on acquiring the English kingdom in 1154.

Geoffrey Clinton Junior (d.1169/75) also made a charter to Kenilworth priory.  In this he conceded all the lands, churches and other things given by his father:

Firstly, namely all the land of Kenilworth itself in the forest and the plain, and all the other belongings of the aforesaid vill, with the exception of the particulars which my same father retained therefrom to make his castle and park...  In addition, a full tithe of everything that has reached Kenilworth castle, whether to the cellar or to the halgard, both from purchases and donations, as well as from their own rents; that is to say, in wheat and hay... and in all other things whatever and however they reached Kenilworth castle, although all these were also tithed elsewhere.  Moreover, in any one week, the canons are to have one day of fishing in the castle vivarium on any one day they choose...

Henry Clinton (d.1216/18), Geoffrey Junior's son, of course mentioned nothing of Kenilworth castle, but obviously did still hold some rights in the vill.  One of his probably twelfth century charters to Kenilworth priory, expanding an earlier grant by his father, Geoffrey (d.1169/75), referred to his land:

on Dedecherleshull and all the moor from the bridge of Redfern (Wridefen) beside the road to Coleshill as far a the assart of Renald Halfcherl of Redfern.

The text of these charters suggest that Geoffrey Clinton (d.1131/33) retained the south and west part of the land of Kenilworth for his castle and park, while the eastern part went to the Augustinian priory whose canons were given permission to fish in the mere and graze their livestock in the park.  The original charters mention the 6 lands held by Geoffrey and granted to the priory.  The most important of these was undoubtedly Kenilworth.  At Domesday in 1086 Kenilworth (Chinewrde) had been unvalued, but consisted of 3 virgates of royal land held by Richard the Forester.  In this land were 10 villagers and 7 smallholders with 3 ploughs.  It's forest was ½ league long by 4 furlongs wide and it all lay in the royal manor of Stoneleigh.  Quite obviously at some point before 1125, King Henry I had granted the land of Kenilworth to his chamberlain, Geoffrey Clinton.  Geoffrey then began the great castle here, rather than in his main family estate.  Geoffrey's origin is shown in one of his grants to Kenilworth priory where he gave the church of Clintona, the place his family takes its name from.  This is now known as Glympton in Oxfordshire and gives the lie to the idea that Geoffrey was raised from the dust.  It would seem likely that his father was the William who held Glympton from Bishop Geoffrey of Coutances in 1086.  William, assuming he is the same man, also held - amongst the other 289 manors held by otherwise unidentified Williams - 2 other places later held by the Clintons, namely, Baddesley Clinton and Wormleighton in Warwickshire.  This is probably the best indication that this William's known descendants took the name Clinton from the present day Glympton.

William would seem to have had at least 2 sons, possibly the elder, Geoffrey (d.1131/33) and also William (d.1136+).  Geoffrey began witnessing documents for King Henry I from at least 1108 and this he continued to do until his death in or a little before 1133.  The bulk of these documents occur after the Welsh campaign of 1121 and taken together they tend to show that Geoffrey was often in the court of Henry I both in England and not so often in Normandy.  It also shows that although his brother, William Clinton, witnessed at least 4 documents for King Henry I, he was by no means as popular as his brother.  Despite this favour shown to Geoffrey, it is probably only in the period 1121-23 that he was made sheriff of Warwickshire as is evidenced by the precept of the king to him made at Woodstock in that period.

The 1130 pipe roll allows some of the Clinton lands to be unravelled.  In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Geoffrey was pardoned Danegeld for £7 9d which William Pont de l'Arche ought to have paid.  Presumably this was the chamberlain, William Pont de l'Arche (d.1152) of Portchester castle.  Why Geoffrey was holding any of his lands is unknown, although it is possible that there was a marriage link here and Geoffrey's wife, Lesceline, was in fact William's daughter.  Elsewhere in Nottinghamshire Geoffrey is pardoned a further Danegeld assessment of 57s 8d and a borough assessment of 28s 10d.  He was also pardoned 8s Danegeld in Wiltshire; 2s 8d in Northumberland; 48s 8d in Hampshire; 10s in Cambridgeshire; 24s 9d in Sussex; 40s 3d, 7s 2d and £4 5s in Leicestershire; £7 12s in Buckinghamshire; £16 15s 3d in Warwickshire; £4 12d in Berkshire; £11 10s in Windsor and 5s in Rutland.  It is noticeable that no Clinton holdings seem to have survived in Wiltshire, Northumberland, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Berkshire, Windsor or Rutland.  Perhaps most of these lands were held at the king's pleasure rather than in fee.  Alternatively all these lands were seized back by Henry II (1154-89) early in his reign.

Perhaps Geoffrey's accounting skills were not too great for in Hampshire it was noted that he owed £9 11s 8d ‘for a deficit in treasure whilst he was with Robert Mauduit in Normandy'.  He also owed 80m (£53 6s 8d) in Northamptonshire for having custody of the son of William Diva and his land, as well as 50m (£33 6s 8d) for Richard Martinvaus having half the land of Norman his uncle.  Geoffrey was also sheriff of Warwickshire at this time.  His accounts show him £32 9s 4d in arrears for the old farm of the county as well as owing 310m (£206 13s 4d) for having the office of treasurer of Winchester, of which he paid 100m (£66 13s 4d) this year.  Other debts he had run up included grants of lands, pledges, farms, as well as for a charter confirming what the earl of Warwick had given to Geoffrey's church of Arden.  Presumably this church was Kenilworth which lies roughly centrally in the old district of Arden.  That district ran roughly from Stratford on Avon in the south to Tamworth in the north.  Geoffrey's brother William was also active in the pipe roll, paying 20m (£13 6s 8d) in Buckinghamshire of a 145m (£96 13s 4d) debt for the land which Ralph Fitz Turstin [possibly otherwise known as Ralph Wigmore] took with his wife in Normandy.

Geoffrey Clinton was dead by August 1133 when King Henry I, soon after July 1131, was at Beckenham when he issued a notification informing Bishop Roger Clinton of Chester (1128-48) and Nicholas Stafford (d.1138) and the men of Staffordshire that a final concord had been made between the prior of Kenilworth and Hugh, the king's watchman concerning the lands which were the inheritance of Hugh's wife.  By this agreement Kenilworth priory was to have Stone (Stanis) church and Brusard's land that went with it, with half the wood and the land of Alan the son in law of Anisanus in Colwalton (Waletone) etc...  Further all these lands were to be held directly from Geoffrey, the son of Geoffrey Clinton, to whose fee they belonged.  Hugh was to have the rest of the [unnamed] inheritance.  Amongst the witnesses to this charter was William Clinton, the brother of the elder Geoffrey.  That William survived his brother is confirmed by a precept of 1130-35 by which King Henry I notified William Clinton that the king's men of Stonleigh were to have their pasture in the hay that the king had given to Geoffrey Clinton as they had done in Geoffrey's time and as it was agreed when the king gave the wood.  That William Clinton was uncle to the younger Geoffrey is confirmed by Geofrey's confirmation of the grant of his uncle, William Clinton, of Cassington (Chersintona, some 6 miles south of Glympton), to Eynsham abbey before 1152.

The Clintons had also acquired estates in Normandy, for in October 1154, Geoffrey Clinton (d.1169/75) recognised that his land of Douvres in Calvados had been mortgaged to Bishop Philip of Bayeux for £30 Tours and that Conion would remain to the treasurer of Bayeux as had been quitclaimed in the year that the duke of Normandy made a peace of 3 years with the kingdom of France.

In 1166, it was recorded that Geoffrey Clinton held 17 fees of Earl William of Warwick (d.1184).  Some of these fees are those that were granted to Kenilworth priory.  One of them was probably Coleshill which Geoffrey sold to his cousin, Osbert, who thereby founded the Clinton of Coleshill line.  Elsewhere Geoffrey had held 5 fees of Earl William of Gloucester (d.1183), but these were now merely marked in the earl's charter as the fee that was Geoffrey Clinton's.  For what reason Geoffrey was deprived of these fees before 1166 is unknown, but possibly he was incapacitated or in disfavour during the writing of the charter.  His son and heir, Henry Clinton (d.1216/18), certainly held at least 1 fee of the earldom of Gloucester as late as 1210.  Regardless of events in 1166, Geoffrey the Chamberlain of Glympton (Glint') was elsewhere recorded as holding a fee of Robert Scrope (d.bef.1190) and 3  of the honour of Wallingford, the old barony of Brain Fitz Count (d.1147/51).  Finally, Geoffrey the chamberlain held 2 fees of Earl William Ferrers (d.1190), one of which was held by Robert Fitz Ralph and the other by Peter Goldington.

Oddly the Clintons do not appear much in the royal records of Henry II.  Osbert Clinton (d.1200) was paying his taxes in Coleshill during 1165.  However, his probable uncle, Hugh Clinton (d.1169/75), was forced in 1166 to make of fine of 20m (£13 6s 8d) in Shropshire for the evil words he had said against the king.  This possibly reflected the general Clinton feeling about their monarch, for the family certainly was not as powerful or influential as it had been under Henry I (1100-35).

The younger Geoffrey Clinton seems to have died in or soon after 1169.  That year is the earliest possible date for one of his charters to Kenilworth priory.  It was not until 1175/6 that his son, Henry Clinton (d.1216/18), gained some of his father's lands back, namely a fee held of the earl Ferrers and ‘his right' in Warwickshire with half a fee in the same county.  For these rights he pledged the 3 sums of £5, 20m (£13 6s 8d) and £5.  These amounts obviously did not include a fine for the castle of Kenilworth and the bulk of Geoffrey Clinton's old barony.  The usual inheritance fee for such a barony with a castle on the scale of Kenilworth would more likely have been £100.  In any case, from 1173 onwards Kenilworth appeared as a royal fortress.  Further, Henry Clinton did not pay his £5 fine for half a fee that he had not yet had.  No doubt at this time, Kenilworth was held by the sheriff of Warwick for Henry II (1154-89).  In addition, Henry Clinton may have been under age after the death of his father.  What is certain is that for some reason, probably after the younger Geoffrey Clinton's death soon after 1169, the king did not return the fortress to Geoffrey's heir.  King Henry certainly had a dislike for Henry's probable cousin, Jordan Clinton (d.1187).  He was fined the large amount, for such a lowly person, of £100 for his misdeeds in the 1173-74 rebellion.

What has been missed in all this, is where is Geoffrey Clinton's carta of 1166?  All tenants in chief are mean to have made one and the great majority of them did.  The answer to this seems to be that Geoffrey was already in disgrace or exile.  His mention in other barons' cartae shows that he was alive at this time, as does his making a charter to Kenilworth priory soon after 1169 at the earliest.  The final piece to this historical jigsaw seems to be the fact that Henry II was treating Kenilworth hay as his own property in 1165.  It therefore becomes obvious that Geoffrey had fallen foul of Henry II in some fashion and had lost Kenilworth castle by that date.  The same year, 1165, the king received 10s from the sheriff of Warwickshire for the chattels of ‘some fugitives from Kenilworth'. 
Kenilworth castle was obviously both functional and in the king's hands during 1173 as he spent £8 6s 8d in munitioning it with 100 loads of grain, 20 loads of beer (brasii) at 33s 4d, 100 bacons at £7 10s, 40 salted cows at £4, 120 cheeses at 40s and 25 loads of salt at 30s.  Also £5 was spent on Kenilworth (Kinildewurda) jail.  This was mostly likely within the castle.  The garrison of the fortress was at this time increased by a horse sergeant and 64 foot sergeants at a cost of 66s for a 20 day stay.  The pipe roll also shows that the motte of Warwick castle was munitioned at the same time.  During the next year up to October 1174, more money was spent on both castles.  Kenilworth gained 10 horse sergeants for 77 days at £11 3s 4d and certain knights at a cost of £33 6s 8d.  There was a further knight with foot sergeants at the castle who received £11, before a further £180 41s 8d was spent on another 20 knights and 140 foot sergeants for 115 days.  Quite possibly another force also briefly resided at the castle as another 27s 6d was accounted for the cost of ‘the knight and sergeants of Kenilworth'.  Finally, there was recorded another payment for £132 19s 2d for ‘the knights and sergeants of Kenilworth'.  Quite clearly Kenilworth was a large fortress to support such a garrison and it played an important role in suppressing the rebellion of Earl Robert of Leicester (d.1190).

The fate of Kenilworth castle before this time seems to be explained by a copy of a later charter.  This shows that King Henry II had simply exchanged Kenilworth castle for lands elsewhere.  Thereby appropriating the fortress for his own use in the 1170s.  In the early years of the reign of King John (1199-1216), Henry Clinton (d.1216/18) made a charter to John quitclaiming all his rights to Kenilworth castle and all its appurtenances just as King Henry II had held seisin of it on the day he died in 1189.  Another survey from 1242/43 states that the abbot of Woburn held 4½ hides in Swanbourne Inferior of the king; lands which had been exchanged with the king for Kenilworth castle.  As late as 1274 Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire, consisting of 13 hides held by Woburn, was reckoned to be partially held of the honour of the Earl Marshall and partially of the honour of Clinton.  Indeed, as early as 1179, Henry Clinton was litigating against Ralph Caisneto over half a fee in Swanbourne (Suinburna).  It is reasonably clear from this that the ‘exchange' had already taken place by 1179.  Similarly, Henry was paying a fine made in Warwickshire to have his lands in 1176 and 1177.  The fact that Henry only appeared in the pipe rolls from 1175 when he was using legal methods to obtain lands would suggest that he had only come of age around the time of the 1173-74 war and that his estates had been held by others during his minority, obviously with disastrous effect for the Clinton barony.

From this it is quite clear that the order of the king's government on 17 March 1218, that the sheriff of Warwickshire was to return to Henry Clinton full seisin of his rightful hereditary lands without delay and that this included ‘the right and inheritance of Henry his father, whose heir he is in Kenilworth, which you took into your hand...', was never implemented.  Certainly the castle remained under royal control and in any case Henry died probably before 1231 when Lavendon castle, which honour his father had been holding since at least 1193 and in 1201 was accounted as one of his fees, appeared to be lordless.  On Henry's demise his remaining lands were divided amongst the heirs of his 3 sisters, what was left of the barony itself going into abeyance.

Quite clearly Kenilworth castle was from before 1173 maintained as a royal fortress and at the king's expense.  In 1181 the sheriff of Warwickshire paid 27s (3 lots of 9s) into the royal coffers for his farm of those dwelling within the enclosure of Kenilworth castle (de firma commorantium in clauso castelli de Kenillewurda).  This farm then became a regular payment into the Exchequer, the next year the 9s being paid ‘from the land which is enclosed in Kenilworth castle'.  By 1200 the amount had risen to 10s per annum and by 1206 it was dropped to 3s for the enclosure (de clauso) of Kenilworth.  In the meantime work had gone on at the fortress.  In September 1184 it was recorded that £26 9s 9d had been spent in repairing the castle walls by the view of Geoffrey Corbecun and Henry Ponte.  Further works were carried out in repairing the tower, castle and houses of Kenilworth for Richard I (1189-99) in 1190 at a cost of £46 7s by the view of Robert and Walter Stanley.  The work continued into 1191 when a further £12 10s was spent on the works and munitioning of the fortress by the view of William Brown and William the Falcolner.  During the emergency after the capture of the king by the Germans in 1193, further works cost 66s 11d at the view of Richard Malherb and [William] Brown.  A garrison of 5 knights was also placed within the fortress for a period of 40 days. 

During the early years of Richard I (1189-99), Bishop Hugh of Coventry, as sheriff of Warwickshire, accounted for £20 for keeping the 4 castles of Kenilworth, Mountsorrel, Newcastle under Lyme and Tamworth.  Hugh Bardolf also received 26s 5d for his custody of Kenilworth and Mountsorrel castles.  Further, Hugh received another 27s 10d and 26s 5d in 1191, while 20 horse sergeants and 100 foot sergeants were stationed within both fortresses at a cost of £32 11s.  Under King John (1199-1216) the castle was largely neglected with the constable, Hugh Bardolf, being replaced by Hugh Chaucumb on 23 October 1203.  Hugh in turn was superceded by Robert Roppell on 13 July 1207.

During this time some work was done at Kenilworth and the king visited on 5 known occasions, 11 August 1204, 17 March 1205, 18 July 1209, 22 November 1212 and 3 April 1215.  In 1201 work on the castle amounted to just £2.  While in 1206, £17 was spent on works on the castle and a further £5 on repairs.  The real refurbishment of the castle only began in 1211 when the king spent £361 7s on castle work at Kenilworth.  The same year he spent £102 19s 3½d on the work of the chamber and garderobe.  Presuming, as is natural, that this chamber and garderobe were within the fortress, this made a grand total of £464 6s 3½d spent on castle work.  The next year by September 1212, £224 17s 8d, had been expended on the fortress by the view of Geoffrey Jordan, clerk and Geoffrey Cropisalt.  As the king himself was at Kenilworth castle on 22 November 1212, it is to be presumed that he had arrived to view what his £689 3s 11½d had bought him for what had become one of his most favoured fortresses.

There are no surviving royal accounts for 1213 or 1216, but King John's visit of 1212 may suggest that work was finished on Kenilworth castle.  Whatever the case, on 30 September 1213, William Cantilupe (d.1239) was ordered to free William Pantulf and Geoffrey Keteleby from custody in Kenilworth castle as they had made a fine for their release.  The next year on 22 April 1214, William Cantilupe (d.1239) was ordered to set free a further 2 prisoners from Kenilworth.  It can therefore be seen that Kenilworth was at this time one of the most secure castles in England and consequently, along with Corfe and Windsor, used as a royal prison.  Everything changed with the barons' revolt of 1215.  On 3 April of that year, the king was found at Kenilworth, before moving on to Woodstock, 35 miles away, the next day.  By May John was brought to terms at Runneymede and on 15 June 1215, he made the constables of Northampton, Kenilworth, Nottingham and Scarborough castles swear to obey the council of 25 barons as security for the execution of Magna Carta.  By this action he apparently alienated control of these fortresses.  It is also evident that these 4 castles had earlier been appropriated by King Henry II (1154-89).  Henry had apparently seized Northampton from the Senlis earls before 1173, Kenilworth from the Clintons around the same time and Nottingham and Scarborough from the Peverels and Earl William of York at the end of the Anarchy (1136-54).

Despite King John's show of good faith by making this offer of the castles, the rebels were not placated.  By the end of August 1215 they had again defied the king and on 5 September were excommunicated.  The result was the king's attack on Rochester castle that autumn.  It is to be presumed that royal control of Kenilworth castle was restored about the same time as that September £402 2s was accounted in the pipe roll for its repair.  Henry Clinton's death around this time could therefore quite possibly be associated with the return of Kenilworth castle to royal control.  Interestingly, one of the instruments of Magna Carta was that the king would immediately restore all the lands, castles, liberties and rights to anyone who had lost them (suorum, de terris, castellis, libertatibus vel jure suo, statim ea ei restituemus).  Quite obviously Kenilworth might be seen as high on such a list, especially when the terms of Henry Clinton (d.1231) coming to the king's peace in 1217 are considered.  These are discussed below.

Rochester castle was besieged by King John on 11 October 1215 and fell 7 weeks later on 30 November.  Presumably Kenilworth had changed hands earlier, or the accounting period for the year ending 29 September 1215 fell far later than normal.  In any case, Kenilworth is next seen under royal control, if it had ever truly been lost.  The baronial attack on Northampton castle - another pledge castle - in May 1215 failed.  Certainly the expenditure of over £400 on repairs recorded in the Michaelmas 1215 accounts at Kenilworth suggests heavy damage to the castle.  Sadly the chroniclers of the age were all fixated on the king's personal siege of Rochester castle and the changing of control of many castles elsewhere were simply not thought worthy of much comment, cf. Bedford castle.  On 13 December 1215, prisoners from the fall of Rochester castle were distributed to various castles, one of which was Kenilworth.  By 19 June 1216, Ralph Normanville was constable of Kenilworth, when he was ordered to be intendant upon William Cantilupe.  The same day the king made provision for his son [Henry] who would join Ralph in Kenilworth castle, his other son, Richard going to Wallingford.  This strongly shows the king's appreciation of the castle's strength and security.  By the time of John's death Henry was in Devizes castle in the more secure South West of England.

What then can be made of these events?  Firstly, although it is often stated that King John spent between £1,000 and £2,000 on ‘the fortification of a castle whose defences were already formidable', it is clear that this is simply not true.  Similarly, there is no evidence that a sum of money claimed to be £1,100 was used for ‘strengthening Kenilworth with curtain walls and towers, and improving it with work on a dam and possibly the domestic accommodation' under King John.  As has been seen above, the only things actually mentioned as being built at Kenilworth are the chamber and garderobe and these are not specifically mentioned as being at the castle and indeed are in a separate account to the castle works.  What we do know is that the considerable sum of £689 3s 11½d had been spent on work at the castle and a chamber and garderobe between 1211 and 1212 [more may have been spent on the castle in 1213 as the accounts for this year are missing], while a further £402 2s had been spent in repairing the castle in 1215.  Now it is possible that the scribe wrongly put repair instead of work in the latter case, but that cannot be simply assumed.  Usually the scribes knew what money was spent on as that was the whole point of keeping accounts.  However, as the account of Philip Marc in the 1214 pipe roll is thought to date from the minority of Henry III, perhaps as late as 1220, it is equally possible that the repairs accounted for at Kenilworth date to a time some years after the traditional ending of the Michaelmas accounting period on 29 September 1215.

The idea that the castle may have been attacked in 1215 is somewhat strengthened by the fact that one of it's towers fell down over Christmas 1218 and had to be rebuilt by Constable William Cantilupe at a cost of £150 2s 3d.  The order for this was sent out on 7 July 1220 and the costs appeared that Michaelmas.  In 1221 an expenditure of £5 was authorised on the castle for its amendment (emendatione).  Similar amounts were regularly allowed for the amendment of other royal castles, particularly Carlisle on the Scottish border.  This trend continued in 1222 and onwards until 1224.  This was obviously an amount to be used yearly, for in 1223 a further £17 6s 8d was used for work at and repair on the fortress, while the normal £5 was recorded beneath as being used for amendments to the hall.  Despite this, the £5 expenditure for 1224 does not seem to have been recorded, though 42s was recorded for carrying 5 tuns of wine from Southampton to Kenilworth.  In 1226 it was accounted that 14s had been spent on amendments to the gaol and castle of Kenilworth.  The next year, 1227, saw no pipe roll for Warwickshire, but in 1228, £10 was spent on amending the houses in Kenilworth castle.  Presumably this included the £5 from both years.  In 1229, the standard £5 was recorded against the amending of houses within the castles, while a further 5½m (£3 13s 4d) was spent on the fishery.  The year 1230 saw the standard £5 accounted for amending the castle houses, while 20m (£13 6s 8d) was also spent in repairing a broken (brecke) turret of the fortress.  Once more £5 was accounted for amending the houses of the castle in 1231, but this was the last occasion on which such a sum was recorded against Kenilworth castle.

In 1232 the keep was repaired using lead, wood and stones at a cost of £32 by the view and testimony of John Baiocis and Geoffrey Bosse, while in 1233, amendments were made to the houses in Kenilworth castle for 15s.  Between these 2 events, the king had stayed at Kenilworth on 24 November 1233.  The year 1234, saw a new oriel built before the entrance to the king's chamber for £6 16s 4d, while repairs to the fishery cost £4 10s 6d and amendments to the king's houses within the castle were accounted for at 46s 7d.  The fishery was repaired again in 1235 and in 1236 £4 was spent on amending the castle houses.  On 18 March 1238, the king ordered the custodian of Kenilworth castle, Hugh le Poer, to deliver it without dely to the archbishop of York for the use of the papal legate at pleasure.  Presumably the legate had had his pleasure by 14 to 16 September 1238, when the king himself stayed at Kenilworth.  Before this, while Simon Montfort (d.1265) was in Rome, his Countess Eleanor (d.1275), the sister of King Henry III, dwelt in Kenilworth castle, apparently from March until 14 October 1238.  It seems likely that Simon and Eleanor remained at the castle on his return, for their son, Henry (d.1265), was born there on 28 November 1238.  Henry was to die beside his father at the battle of Evesham 26 years later.

No doubt due to his September sojourn at Kenilworth, the king ordered repairs to the fortress.  These took the form of reroofing the houses at a cost of £14 15s ½d.  King Henry III appears to have had something in mind for Kenilworth for on 26 February 1241, he ordered the sheriff of Warwick to:

cause the chapel in the king's castle of Kenilworth to be wainscotted, whitened and painted (lambricscari, dealbari et depingi); a striped wooden wall to be made to separate the chancel from the body of the chapel; 2 seats to be made of wood, one for the king on the south side and one for the queen on the north side, suitably painted; a suitable painted seat to be made for the queen in the chapel in the tower of the castle and the porch of the tower, which has fallen, to be rebuilt; a roof to be placed on the great chamber which is unroofed; the gaol with the brattishing in which the king's bells hang to be repaired; all gutters to be repaired where necessary; as much as shall be found necessary of the wall of the castle, which threatens to fall into the fishery, to be pulled down and rebuilt; all costs to be credited by the view and testimony of lawful men.

The king returned to stay at Kenilworth on 11 September 1241.  Apparently what he found was not satisfactory for the same day he ordered the sheriff of Warwick to:

cause the queen's chamber in Kenilworth castle to be wainscotted, whitened and painted and the windows broken and made larger; to have the fireplaces (caminos) of the king's and queen's chambers repaired; a privy chamber by the queen's chamber and the castle wall repaired; the 2 gates of the castle to be likewise repaired; a new wall to be built between the inner and outer wall of the castle, a new porch with a finial (crappa) to be made before the queen's chamber and a window to be made on the north side of the castle chapel as well as a swing bridge, the cost to be credited by view.

This all seems to have been rapidly put in hand if it was not finished, for, allegedly by Michaelmas 1241, the sheriff recorded:

that the chapel of Kenilworth castle was to be plastered and painted, also the wooden wall in the same was to be made as well as 2 (wooden) seats in the same for the king and queen which were decently painted; also the chapel tower in the castle which had been destroyed is to be rebuilt and the great chamber in the same castle is to be reroofed; and the gaol there with its brattishing on which they all depend is to be repaired, also the guttering there; the outer wall to the south above the fishery is to be thrown down and rebuilt where necessary; also the king's chamber is to be plastered and limed, with the windows of the same chamber knocked out and made larger; also the king's and queen's chambers were repaired and a certain private chamber made next to the queen's chamber; also a certain new chamber was made in the bailey towards the fishery; and to support that with pillars of stone and to repair the walls of the castle itself; and for repairing the 2 gates there; also to make the wall between the inner and outer wall of the same castle; also a new porch before the queen's chamber with a certain finial (trappa) made; also a new window in the king's chapel on the north side and a turning bridge were to be made for £113 8s ½d by the view and testament of Hugh le Jounne and Alexander Wudecote.

The supporting of the castle walls ‘with pillars of stone', strongly suggests that some buttressing was applied to the outer curtain walls at this time.  Previously these have been thought to be fourteenth century as they are elaborate structures and have fine plinths.  However some of them are plain and it is quite possible that they are a hundred years older and that the outer ward to the west, traditionally built by Henry III, is in fact the work of King John in 1211-12 and needed buttressing in 1241.

During 1241 the sheriff also accounted for 4 Welsh hostages and 2 custodians living at the castle at 2d per day for 23 weeks and 4 days, costing £8 5s.  The next year it was recorded on 7 April 1242, that the king acknowledged that Gilbert Segrave had received the royal castle of Kenilworth to keep during pleasure on condition that he will surrender it to no one but the king himself during his lifetime and to the queen for the use of their heir after the king's death.  Further, if she could not come personally to the castle, Segrave was only to surrender it to one of the queen's uncles not in the fealty of the king of France.  To this Gilbert had sworn on the holy gospels before the king.  Similar ceremonies were enacted for the constables of Dover, Canterbury, Rochester, Hertford and Colchester castles.  Less than 2 years later on 18 February 1244, the king granted Earl Simon Montfort (d.1265) custody of Kenilworth castle after having Gilbert Segrave surrender the fortress back to him.  Then on 9 January 1248, he appointed his sister, Simon's wife, Countess Eleanor of Leicester (d.1275), to hold Odiham manor during pleasure together with Kenilworth castle.  Despite this, the king was still sending orders to ‘the constable of the king's castle of Kenilworth' to cut back the woods to clear robbers from the district.  Three years later the grant of Kenilworth to the Leicesters was converted to one for both their lives in November 1253.  In 1265 the earldom of Leicester, of which Kenilworth was apparently now seen as a member, was said to be worth £400pa.

During the Mad Parliament of Oxford in the Spring of 1258, Earl Simon Montfort freely returned his castles of Kenilworth and Odiham to the king, in making amends for complaints raised against the king by the barons of wasting his royal inheritance.  Other barons, like William Valance (d.1295), refused to surrender other royal castles left to Henry by his father, King John, and subsequently frittered away by him.  Presumably the king subsequently regranted Kenilworth back to Earl Simon.  The king soon found the opportunity to regret his generosity as just a few years later Simon used this great castle in his war against his king.  During the opening stages of the civil war Simon certainly spent some time at his great castle and moved from there against London in the autumn of 1263.  He later left Kenilworth for France in December 1263, but, after a fall from his horse broke his tibia, he retired on Kenilworth and ran the war from there during the early part of 1264.  That March the baronial army formed at Kenilworth and again prepared to march on London.  The same week that Simon left Kenilworth:

John Giffard (of Brimpsfield, d.1299)... was deputed with others to guard Kenilworth castle, a wonderful structure which the earl of Leicester had strengthened by repair and by various machines which we had not heard of until now and wonderfully equipped it with men.  They captured Warwick castle with its earl, William Maudut, who, because of his recent conversion had been suspected of being for the king and brought him with his wife and family a prisoner, to Kenilworth castle.  They overthrow Warwick castle, lest the royalists should have a refuge there.

After the king's defeat at Lewes on 14 May 1264, Kenilworth also became the prison of the king himself, his son, Lord Edward (d.1307) and his uncle, King Richard of the Romans (d.1272).  The latter 2 were brought there again in December 1264 after a failed rescue attempt had nearly reached them at Wallingford castle.  After Edward escaped his captors, the war progressed with Kenilworth becoming a main centre for the rallying of baronial forces.  On 16 July 1265, the army of Simon Montfort Junior (d.1271) abandoned the siege of Pevensey castle and marched via Winchester, Oxford and Northampton to reach Kenilworth on the evening of 31 July.  From Kenilworth Simon proposed to go to the relief of his father and Henry III in the Welsh Marches.  This baronial force did not set up guards, but unwisely bivouacked outside the castle.  As a result, the Lord Edward, operating from Worcester, fell upon Simon's forces after a night ride, on the morning of 1 August and shattered them, capturing many of the leaders in their beds in the priory.  These were experienced soldiers like Earl Robert Vere of Oxford (d.1296), William Montchesney (d.1287), Baldwin Wake (d.1282), Richard Grey (d.1298), Adam Neufmarche and Walter Coleville (Bytham, d.1277).  At the same time many lesser men were slaughtered.  The young Simon Montfort with only a few men fled into the castle as his army was destroyed.

Due to the defeat of the young Simon, Prince Edward was allowed to sweep down on his father, who was with Earl Simon and destroy the earl and his army at the battle of Evesham on 4 August 1265.  In this action Earl Simon refused to abandon his infantry and flee to the safety of Kenilworth castle, bringing death upon himself and most of his knights.  In the aftermath of the battle, the Lord Edward wrote from Chester on 24 August 1265, explaining that:

since there are some of those in Kenilworth castle whom we can and must rightly regard as our enemies, it is deemed equally expedient to write to them on the part of our aforesaid lord [Henry III], that if they do not want to be regarded as public enemies and be disinherited and lose their lives, as they have deserved, to let them commit and assign the said castle without delay to any of our lords...

Those named as in the garrison under John Muscegros (d.1266) were 10 knights and 14 sergeants, 2 of whom were clerks.  Consequently such a note was to be written to them and carried by a messenger under religious orders (ie. who was therefore supposed to be neutral in worldly matters and a good idea when considering what happened to a later messenger) explaining:

How lately at Evesham by divine clemency the king obtained victory and triumph over his many enemies opposing him in many ways...  And although the king ought to deal with them, generally and severally, judicially rather than mercifully, yet, of his inborn benevolence he has thought fit to counsel them, commanding them, as they would not be reputed public enemies, or be disinherited or lose their lives, as lately their accomplices deservedly did, that they should go out of the said castle and deliver it to the king without delay.

The message is not known to have made any affect upon the garrison.  However, Simon Montfort (d.1271), who was within the fortress around this time, did wish to make his peace.  Accordingly on 6 September, his Kenilworth prisoner, King Richard of the Romans (d.1270), who also happened to be Simon's uncle, was with Simon Junior in Kenilworth priory when Richard swore to do his best, saving his fealty to King Henry III, to be a loyal friend of his sister, Countess Eleanor of Leicester and all her children.  She was at the time in Dover castle with her younger children.  With this Richard was released and Simon himself went to the Winchester parliament that September, where he found the king's terms for his surrender too harsh.  He therefore returned to Kenilworth and prepared for further resistence. 

In early December 1265, the government began planning for a great siege of Kenilworth to begin on 13 December with the feudal host for this forming at Northampton, 30 miles from their target.  Around the same time Simon Montfort left Kenilworth well garrisoned and set about the country raising discontent and new forces to oppose Henry III in the Fenlands.  This attempt proved unsatisfactory for him and around Christmas he surrendered to the king on the terms that he should surrender the earldom of Leicester with Kenilworth and receive a yearly pension of 500m (£333 6s 8d) in return.  However, Simon later fled from the Lord Edward's company in the Tower of London to France around the second week of January 1266.  Despite this, the garrison of Kenilworth kept up its opposition, stating to the king that they had been ordered to hold the fortress and still did for Simon and his mother.  And so:

They immediately raised the standard of Simon the Younger, who was staying in France, proclaiming him lord and heir of that castle.

The garrison occupied the passing months by riding out each day and seizing what they needed from the surrounding districts, despite the opposition of Prince Edmund (d.1296) who endeavoured, sometimes successfully, to oppose their raids.  Certainly on 1 February 1266, the king wrote that the rebels holding out in Kenilworth castle were attacking Worcestershire causing homicides and other grievous offences in throwing down, burning and devastating castles and houses of the king's faithful subjects. 

On 15 March 1266, the king ordered his sheriffs to form their levies at Oxford at Easter (17 April) to attack the castle after one of his messengers to the fortress had been deliberately mutilated.  The king arrived in person at Oxford on 20 April and moved into the castle there, which lay 44 miles from Kenilworth.  A week later sufficient troops had arrived to march against Kenilworth castle and on 27 April the king left with his troops for Northampton, 38 miles away, apparently intending to go from there to Kenilworth - another 30 mile march.  Yet after he left Oxford the city was attacked, presumably by troops from Kenilworth.  Consequently the march to Kenilworth never took place.  Instead the Lord Edward took Lincoln, while his brother, Prince Edmund (d.1296) won the battle of Chesterfield on 15 May 1266.  This was at a time when it was thought that Simon Montfort (d.1271) had formed a new army to invade England.  This army was apparently still loitering on the French coast on 15 September 1266, when the pope ordered King Louis (d.1270) not to give aid to ‘the relict of Simon Montfort or her son, Simon, to attempt by means of his [French] subjects, to recover the property which the said earl had most justly lost'.  Regardless of the actions of the Montforts, after the barons' defeat at the battle of Chesterfield on 15 May, one of their leaders, Henry Hastings (d.1268), fled the field and found sanctuary in Kenilworth castle.  Meanwhile, Simon himself allowed King Louis of France (d.1270) to negotiate on his behalf with an obdurate King Henry III.  In the end Simon left to campaign with Charles of Anjou (d.1285) in Italy.

With these victories a new royal muster was ordered against Kenilworth and on 24 June the king and Lord Edward arrived before the castle with an army which had marched from Warwick which lay less than 5 miles from the fortress.  However, some of the garrison counterattacked the same day and drove a portion of the army all the way back to Warwick.  By this time the Kenilworth garrison seems to have consisted of over 1,200 combatants.  The Dunstable priory chronicle stated that they consisted of 1,700 men bearing arms [presumably mounted knights and serjeants] and 28 women, with an unknown number of infantry, while Rishanger heard of a garrison of over 1,200 men with their wives and maidservants numbering 54.  In reply the royalist attackers split their forces into 4 camps, one under the king, one under the Lord Edward, one under Roger Mortimer of Wigmore (d.1282) and one under Prince Edmund (d.1296).  The attackers then set up 9 siege engines called Blidis.  This word seems to originate from Byzantine Greek and had been used to mean catapult in England since the early thirteenth century and could also describe trebuchets.  It seems likely that these weapons were only catapults as, although they continuously launched stones at the castle breaking down the wooden houses and towers, they were unable to smash down the main castle defences made of stone.  Possibly it was difficult to get the weapons in good attacking sites for some of the defenders held positions outside the castle gates and from there advanced on their enemies many times, killing several of the king's men with arrows, lances and swords, with the result that the king and the Lord Edward and their men, remained permanently at arms through fear of such attacks.  Despite this, the attackers seem to have made no attempt to break into the castle by assault.  Instead they decided to wait for starvation to deal with the fortress.  The Oxford chronicler noted that the attackers:

came from every direction, with many kinds of machinery, attacking the enclosed multitude in every way that could be devised.

While a contemporary recorder of the war found that:

Prince Edmund, the king's son, prepared with great energy a wooden tower, very sumptuous, surprising in height and width, which was fitted to the wall by ingenuity, in which were placed in compartments 200 crossbowmen and more, so that through the shootings of weapons and arrows, the garrison would incur losses.  But the defenders positioned a mangonel which did not stop shooting until it had earned constant hits, the reverberation, penetrating and collapsing it.  There was also another device exceedingly admirable on the part of the king, which was called a bear on account of its great size; this contained several divisions which contained archers and could be raised to fire down on the besieged, against which some stone throwers (petraria) were manfully deployed, which for a long time held back its power of damage...  Barges were also transported from Cheshire by costly labours, in order to attack the castle by water, but without success.... they did not attempt to bring down the walls by miners and mining...  From morning until evening the gate was left open.... but a general attack was never made by the king's army, instead the besieged almost every day went sallying out....  One active soldier of noble blood was severely wounded in such conflict and captured by the besieged and taken into the castle where he succumbed to his fate.  He was honourable placed in a coffin with candles around it and carried outside to his friends, coming from the king's army, who carried him peacefully off to be buried according to his wish...  Always outside 11 catapults (petrariis) were shooting stones into the castle day and night.

From this it is quite clear that the royalist army was never strong enough to actively launch a scaling assault upon the fortress and the siege of Kenilworth castle was more of a battle with the castle being used as a rebel camp which the attackers attempted to nullify with artillery.  About 2 July 1266, Legate Ottobon, attired in his cardinal's red cape, stood outside the fortress and excommunicated the garrison and all those who aided them to the detriment of the peace of the kingdom.  The rhyming chronicler, Robert of Gloucester, recorded the occasion and the garrison's response.

Cope and other clothes they late made of white
And Master Philip Porpeis, that was a cunning man,
A clerk and hardy of his deeds and their surgeon,
They made a white legate in his cope of white
Against the other read, as him in despite
And he stood as a legate upon the castle wall
And excommunicated king and legate and their men all.

In the meantime both sides fired a prodigious amount of crossbow bolts that resulted in much bloodshed on both sides.  In regard to this, on 9 August 1266, the sheriff of London was ordered to send 20,000 quarrels of one foot and 10,000 quarrels of two feet to the king ‘as he is in extreme need thereof for the present siege of the castle'.  Presumably the besieged were having to repair and reuse the bolts fired into the castle.

Then at the end of October, the Dictum of Kenilworth was announced at the Kenilworth parliament.  This was to apply to all the rebels except for Earl Robert Ferrers (d.1280) and the heirs of Earl Simon Montfort - the fate of the latter being in the hands of King Louis of France.  The Dictum otherwise stated that the king would accept back all those rebels who were willing to pay for the crimes they had committed over the last 2 years.  This was to be done by them buying back their lands at various rates from 2 to 7 times the annual value of their estates, depending upon their crimes during the time of war.  Kenilworth garrison, now chronically short of supplies and becoming less able to mount an aggressive defence, said they would abide by this if they were not relieved within 40 days and so sent messengers under royal safe conduct to Simon Montfort (d.1271) informing him of their decision.  Within the castle things were getting worse with their food almost gone.  Consequently, they feared that many of them would fall sick and die if the siege continued much longer.  Further:

the rest of the castle buildings had been so broken by the artillery and owing to the scarcity of wood for burning, they could no longer withstand the unseasonable cold of the winter season.

Accordingly, they sent Richard Amundeville, 2 other knights and 5 others, to Simon Montfort (d.1271) to tell him of their plight and their need to be relieved within 40 days.  Some days after this on 9 November 1266, a safe conduct was given for Robert Overton to leave Kenilworth castle to come to the king and return.  Quite likely this was to do with the potential surrender of the castle.  When the 40 days had passed the garrison surrendered and left the castle with all their belongings as agreed, even though they had supposedly heard nothing back from Simon Montfort (d.1271).  Consequently on 14 December 1266, a safe conduct was issued to last until January for Henry Hastings (d.1268), Richard Amundeville [who had supposedly gone to Simon Montfort], John Clinton [probably John Clinton of Coleshill and Maxstoke (d.1316), the third great grandnephew of Geoffrey Clinton (d.1131/33)], John Easton and others who were ‘part of the munition and detention of Kenilworth castle, to depart to their own parts and wither they will on condition of their good behaviour'.  With the siege finally over the king left Kenilworth for Warwick on 16 December 1266.  The next day, 17 December 1266, King Henry granted to Ralph Blundel and Isabel his wife, ‘in compensation for their losses caused by the occasion of the siege of Kenilworth, of all the king's houses or buildings together with the lodges (logiis) in the close from where the king made the said siege'.  The king had similarly, on 18 September 1266, granted the prior of Kenilworth exemption from purveyances due to the grave losses he had suffered during the siege of Kenilworth and the courtesies he has shown the king during that time.

The great siege of 172 days left some odd legacies.  Kenilworth castle, although the lesser buildings were much deroofed seems to have come through the storm largely intact, although excavations in the 1960s turned up some of the stone balls thrown by the siege engines.  These weighed up to 300 lbs or 20 stone.  The siege was also so long and the number of men needed to enforce it so numerous that King Henry had to even pawn the jewels from the shrine of King Edward the Confessor in Westminster abbey to keep his army together.  Other bills included £75 13s 9d allowed to the sheriff of Warwick in 1269 for the 255 quarters of wheat, 52 oxen and 173 sheep sent to the king's army to help sustain them during the siege.  Finally, the collapse of Montfortian resistence and exile of the Montforts left the king free to grant all the earl's old lands and titles to his younger son, Edmund (d.1296).  In 1268 he was made earl of Lancaster and so Kenilworth became one of the great castles of the future Lancastrian dynasty that would rule England from 1399 until 1461.

Despite the celebrated nature of the siege of Kenilworth, the fall of the castle in 1266 really ended the story of the medieval fortress.  In 1279 it was the scene of the first Round Table tournament in England.  That summer:

Lord Roger Mortimer the second held a round table at Kenilworth, of a kind which no one else had ever held before; at which time King Edward made the sons of the said Roger, that is Roger, William and Geoffrey, knights at London; from which city the said Roger, emblazoned in his armour, moved with 100 knights and as many ladies to Kenilworth and there for three days he held a tournament of a kind never before seen; on the fourth day he led his lion to Warwick, and returned unharmed with his escort; there he held a banquet for everyone with his own equipment, which is difficult to describe in detail.

Already Kenilworth was becoming a pleasure palace rather than a fortress, although it was still to see military use.  Earl Edmund died fighting in Gascony in 1296 and in 1303 his son, Earl Thomas (d.1322), enclosed a vast hunting park south and west of the mere.  He also founded a chapel chantry or collegiate church in 1313.  Some costs involved in the garrisoning of the fortress and the construction of the chapel have survived in the receipt roll of Earl Thomas of that year under Constable Ralph Schepeie of Kenilworth castle.  Amongst his accounts were listed £18 4s for the wages of 6 chief tenants staying within the fortress as the castle garrison for a year, each taking 2d per day.  A salary of £6 was paid to the 2 castle chaplains and 4s 4d was spent on the lighting the castle chapel for the year where services were said for Thomas' parents.  Other expenditure included 3s 8d for parchment to make this expenditure roll and the court rolls, 3s ½d for canvas for money purses etc.  Other expenditure included a Welshman living in the castle for 7 weeks, the wages of 2 fishermen fishing in the great pond at 3s 8d for 12 days, the expenses of Hubert the swan keeper, who had bought 2 barges for the ponds, 3 locks and nails for the earl's chests, 29s 2d for the costs of imprisoning Nicholas Verdun [the brother of Theobald Verdun (d.1316) of Ludlow, Longtown and Stokesay castle] in the castle for 56 days and 5s 8¾d for a groom and stallion coming to Kenilworth to mate the earl's mares.  The total cost of all this came to £42 12s 4¾d.  Work on the chapel was also well underway costing £141 2s 9d for the quarrying, breaking, carrying, measuring and cutting the stone as well as 100 oaks for timbers and refurbishing the masons' tools.

Also in 1313, William the chaplain, who was keeper of the castle stock entered his expenses of £156 15s 1½d.  From this he had spent various sums on clearing and levelling a plot next to the castle mill ‘hard up to the castle wall' and within the castle itself to build a granary as well as clearing away the old, ruinous granary and building the new one which contained 36 boards, 4,000 roofing shingles, 10,700 nails and various amounts of plaster, stone and gutters.  He also spent £5 4s 9½d in building a new mill outside the castle and £6 6s ½d for another within the fortress.  Next he accounted for 32s 10d for paying masons and carpenters to repair the earl's garderobe with 1,500 shingles, 1,000 laths and 3,100 nails and then 14s 7d for carpenters to remove the doors and partitions on Robert Holland's chamber and then repairing it with 1,000 tin nails.  Of more import was the expense of 24s 6½d for having a mason stop up and point the window panes of the great tower and repairing the step at the keep's entrance and the repair of its chimney, for which 500 tiles and 2 sesters of chalk were bought.  Further costs of 48s were incurred for carpenters roofing and repairing the hall, pantry, buttery, kitchen, high chamber, earl's chamber, Ayon's chamber, the constable's chamber, the gate keeper's chamber and castle chapel together with 7,000 nails.  Then 12s had been spent on the wages of a plumber, a cartload of lead and 12lbs of tin used to repair the chamber and other buildings and gutters throughout the year.  Finally, 24s 11d had been spent on roofing and repairing the mill, grange and engine house.

In 1322 Earl Thomas rebelled against his cousin, King Edward II (1307-29).  This led the king to march on Kenilworth castle from Gloucester on 18 February.  Around the same time he ordered the sheriff of Warwick to blockade the castle ‘which is held against the king', using the entire power of the county if needs be on 28 February.  On 6 March 1322, Peter Montfort of Beaudesert was ordered to help the sheriff in this task and on 12 March John Somery [Dudley] and Ralph Basset of Drayton were ordered to seize the castle for the king's use.  The castle probably fell 4 days later on 16 March when the household knight, Ralph Charroun, was given custody of the castle.  The king was certainly in possession of the fortress by 10 April when he was sending his discomforted prisoners there as well as arranging the munitioning of this fortress and many others throughout the realm.  Quite obviously the siege had been nothing like that endured by Leeds castle in the same war.

By 2 August 1322 Constable Ralph Charroun of Kenilworth castle was ordered to deliver to the mason, Richard Thweites, the goods he had sequestrated in the castle which belonged to Richard who had made a chapel in the castle for the earl.  Around the same time, Mary Shepeye, the possible wife of Ralph Schepeie, asked the king for the return of her property which had been taken when ‘the sheriff of Warwickshire came and seized the said castle [Kenilworth]... and took Hugh Quilly and all the goods found in the said castle among which the said Mary had there 2 hats, 3 hangings, 4 quilts, 4 linen cloths and 8 [....]'.  Mary therefore petitioned for their return.  Hugh Quilly certainly died around this time, for simultaneously with Mary's request, Hugh's widow, Joan asked for some of her husband's forfeited land, on which she had a claim, to be returned to her as dower.  Most likely he was one of those executed by the vengeful Edward II that March.  Quilly's lord, Earl Thomas Lancaster, had been executed in Pontefract castle on 22 March 1322.  With this Kenilworth castle reverted to the Crown and King Edward then spent Christmas 1323 at his newly reclaimed fortress.

Meanwhile, Earl Thomas of Lancaster's brother, Henry (d.1345), had to be content with the title of earl of Leicester which Edward granted to him as heir to his brother in 1324.  By 28 February 1326, Leicester had been promoted to earl of Lancaster, but he did not receive Kenilworth castle.  Edward II returned to Kenilworth again in February 1326 and then stayed from 18 March for the entire month of April when he ordered his chamber valets to help the local workmen dig a ditch and enclose it with a palisade in the castle park.  Before his visit on 12 February 1326, he ordered his constable of Kenilworth castle, Eudo Stoke, to select at his own discretion men to garrison the fortress.  The castle was still being used as a royal prison on 20 May 1326.

With the invasion of England in late 1326, Kenilworth castle passed back to Earl Thomas' brother, Earl Henry of Lancaster (d.1345), on 21 February 1327.  Ironically, Earl Henry captured King Edward II near Llantrisant on 11 November 1327 and brought him to Kenilworth castle via Monmouth before 5 December.  Even more ironic was the fact that Edward's chancery kept functioning after his capture and stated that all the instructions that Queen Isabella and her son, Edward III, issued from Woodstock actually came from Kenilworth castle where in reality the king was imprisoned and powerless.

A parliament was called in London and on 7 January 1327, 2 bishops were sent from the assembly to ask Edward II to appear before them as king.  This Edward, after the bishops reached him at Kenilworth, is said to have haughtily refused, ‘cursing them contemptuously, declaring that he would not come among his enemies'.  On the bishops' arrival back at London with the answer that the king would resist the counsel of his subjects it was proposed to depose the king and set up his son in his place, his audience allegedly responding to Bishop Orleton's oratory on ‘A foolish king shall ruin his people' with the chant ‘We will no longer have this man to reign over us'.  The archbishop of Canterbury then read a memorandum which charged Edward II with weakness, incompetence, taking evil counsel, losing his rights and possessions in Scotland, Ireland and France and finally for his having abandoned his realm.  The parliament then consented to the deposition of Edward II and the coronation of his son as Edward III.  Consequently on 15 January, a deputation was dispatched to the unhappy monarch in his prison within Kenilworth castle.  Surprisingly it took the earls of Leicester and Surrey with the bishops of Winchester and Hereford, together with Hugh Courtney of Okehampton (d.1340) and William Roos of Helmsley (d.1343) several days to reach Kenilworth on 20 or 21 January.  Here a fraught meeting with Edward resulted in it being reported that the king accepted their proposal that he should be replaced by his son, Edward III, the fact being announced in London on 24 January 1328.  The ex king then remained at Kenilworth under the supervision of his cousin, the earl of Lancaster (d.1345). 

On 3 April 1327, the ex king was moved to the rather odd and remote location of Berkeley castle.  This removal of Edward from Kenilworth castle was done by force, according to a complaint made by Lancaster in 1328 and after an unsuccessful attempt had been made to free him during March.  Early in 1328, Kenilworth became the earl of Lancaster's base for a potential rebellion against the new King Edward III (1327-77), but relations were rapidly patched up in the Spring.  The rapprochement was sufficient for Edward III to stay at Kenilworth while Lancaster was in France and Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer (d.1330) were staying at the castle - from late 29 October 1329 to 2 January 1330.  The only other time in his reign that the king stayed there was 1-2 May 1348, which suggests that the place did not hold happy memories for him.

Earl Henry of Lancaster's son, another Henry (d.1361), succeeded his father in 1345.  In 1346 he made a contract to reroof Kenilworth's great hall at a cost of 250m (£166 13s 4d).  The dimensions of the hall were given as 89' by 45'.  This is the same as the current hall called John of Gaunt's hall.  For his services in the French wars, Henry was made first duke of Lancaster in 1351.  On his death in 1361, Kenilworth and his estates passed with his only daughter into the hands of King Edward III's son, John of Gaunt (d.1399).  Gaunt massively refurbished the old castle after 1371, continuing the process of converting it into the great Tudor palace it became.  Some of the masons working on this project were also used by Edward III to similarly convert Windsor castle.  Later on 8 July 1391, King Richard II (1377-99) sent a writ of aid to Duke John's constable of Kenilworth castle, John Deyncourt (d.1406), and the mason, Robert Skillington, to set to work 20 stone diggers, carpenters and labourers as well as to provide materials at the duke's expense for the next 2 years.  There can be little doubt that this was done to aid the duke in his building work at the castle.

When Gaunt's son seized the throne as King Henry IV in 1399, Kenilworth became a royal castle once more.  King Henry VI (1422-71) was a frequent resident at his castle and fled here  in 1450 when he abused and then abandoned London to the rebel Jack Cade.  In August 1456, the royal court, taking 40 cartloads of guns and other ordnance from the Tower of London, again moved to Kenilworth castle.  This was possibly as a consequence of the Yorkist Constable Devereux of Wigmore castle suddenly descended on Hereford and then marched on Carmarthen and Aberystwyth, storming both places in the incipient civil war brewing between York and Lancaster.  Safe within Kenilworth the queen summoned an army from the Lancastrian heartlands, although it was not used at this time.  Possibly this refortification involved the outer defences being modified against artillery attack and a gun tower and bulwark being constructed.  Regardless of this, the castle capitulated after the Lancastrian defeat at the battle of Northampton on 10 July 1460 and was munitioned for Edward IV (1461-83).  Ten years later in 1471, the castle was again Lancastrian when it withstood an 8 day siege by Edward IV before capitulating.

Richard III (1483-84) also maintained the castle, having the tower next to the gun tower (le gun towre), the great hall and the king's chamber repaired over a 15 day period.  This seems to have involved their reroofing in lead as well as some reflooring.  Other work included repairs to the keep (King's Tower) and the tower next to the Watergate which had timber used in its repair and cost 22s in wages.  The work to the King's Lodging seems to have involved 8 bays and took 4,500 tiles to complete.  The work lasted at least 10 days and involved lead and soldering.  Finally various locks, hinges, staples, bars of iron gutters and ridge tiles were purchased to finish the refurbishment.  The total cost of this work was £23 14s 6d.  In 1484 a further £20 was paid to John Beaufitz for various repairs made to the castle.

Henry VII (1485–1509), like his earlier namesake, was often residing at Kenilworth and was found there in June 1487 when the so-called Lambert Simnel invaded his kingdom.  Henry also built a tennis court in happier times.  His son, Henry VIII (1509–47) dismantled Henry V's Pleasance from the other side of the lake and re-erected parts of it within the castle.  He also built a timber structure closing the inner ward to the east and at some point in his reign spent £7 3s 11½d on refurbishments to the straw and tiled roofs.  Eventually in 1553 the castle was granted to Duke John Dudley of Northumberland (d.1553).  It was later in 1563 given to his son, Earl Robert Dudley of Leicester (d.1588), the favourite of Elizabeth I (1558-1603).  Dudley made significant structural improvements to the castle and entertained his queen at this palace 3 or 4 times between 1563 and 1575.  The improvements included ‘the filling up of a great proportion of the wide and deep double ditch wherein the water of the pool came' in 1563 and the building of Leicester's Gatehouse in 1571/2.  This gave access via a 600' long bridge he had built to the park north of the mere.  Around the same time he built a 4 storey tower structure, Leicester's Building, especially for the queen's visit in 1572.  He then had it improved for her next visit in 1575.  Leicester's works are rumoured at the time to have cost some £60,000, while his entertainment of the queen was supposedly put on at some £1,000 per day.  James I (1603-24) on taking the throne immediately seized the castle back into royal hands, when it was found to consist of ‘such stately sellars all carried upon pillars and architecture of free stone carved and wrought as the like are not within this kingdom'.

In the Civil War King Charles withdrew his garrison after the battle of Edgehill in the first month of the war (1642-46).  The fortress was then occupied by parliament although in 1643 its commander, Hastings Ingram, was arrested for being a covert royalist.  The castle remained a parliamentarian stronghold until it was ordered demolished in 1649.  This partial demolishing resulted in the destruction of both the north wall of the keep and the outer north curtain wall to make the place indefensible.  However, the living accommodation was left intact.  It was probably at this time that the dam was breached and the mere drained.  A Colonel Joseph Hawkesworth then purchased the castle and estate and divided it up amongst his men.  Around this time a letter was written that stated that Colonel Hawkesworth and his officers were the new tyrannical lords of the manor and that they:

pull down and demolish the castle, cut down the king's woods, destroy his parks and chase and divide the lands into farms amongst themselves.... Hawkesworth seats himself in the gatehouse of the castle and drains the famous pool consisting of several hundred acres of ground.

Hawkesworth was eventually evicted from Leicester's Gatehouse by Charles II in 1660.  During this period, in 1656, William Dugdale (d.1686) reported that the great tower and the castle battlements had been destroyed.

Towards the end of the castle's active life in the early seventeenth century, the castle masonry was valued and reckoned to weigh some 703,574 tons which had a scrap value of £9,196 15s.  This estimate was based upon the walls being 4' thick throughout, although it was recognised that many were much thicker than this.  Other parts of the castle were valued too.  The lead of the water conduit which was ¾ of a mile long was worth £1,494 alone, while the iron bars of the windows should fetch £163 10d and the window glass £107 14s 3d, while Leicester's clock bell mounted in the keep southeast tower was reckoned as being worth £30 alone.  Such values suggest why castles were dismantled and also say a lot about the profitability of the dissolution of the monasteries a century earlier.

Kenilworth castle is a large military site and is even larger if the mere or great pool created for the castle's water defences is included.  The style and depth of the water defences make it a somewhat weaker version of Leeds castle in Kent.  Kenilworth castle seems to have originated on a slight bluff of land overlooking a depression to its west where the Inchford Brook flowed into the Finham Brook.  It would seem that Geoffrey Clinton (d.1131/33) dammed this combined brook where the current dam cum tilting yard stands southeast of the Mortimer's Tower gatehouse.  This would have created the mere which at its fullest extent was about half a mile east to west by over 500' north to south at its maximum.  In the northeast corner of this mere stood the early stone castle.  Despite various claims as to when and by whom the current masonry remains were constructed there is no solid evidence, merely educated guesswork.

The Mere
The mere was recorded in a survey taken for Earl Robert Dudley (d.1588) as covering an area of 111 acres.  On the east side of the tilting yard was the rectangular Lower Pool.  To the north this was fed into by the moat which covered the northern side of the castle outer ward.  East again of the Lower Pool was another lake that ran all the way to the parish church and St Mary's priory some 1,500' east from Lunn's Tower.  The dam which became the Tilt Yard was about 500' long by some 50' wide.  The first dam would seem to have consisted of a wall with pilaster buttresses on the east side of the current dam.  Later a second wall was built to the west side to make the long Tilt Yard and fortify the resultant enclosure.  Whether this expanded the size of the mere to the west is open to question, but as the Lower Pool and moat to the north of the castle already existed, this seems unlikely.  Documentary records show that the height of the northern end of the dam was increased in the mid sixteenth century to level the ground for tilting, making one of only 2 known tilting grounds in Britain, the other one being at Tattershall.  It is doubtful whether this had any effect on the lake, which leads to the conclusion that the mere was the creation of Geoffrey Clinton in the 1120s, who also made the fishery which probably equates to the Lower Pool on the east side of the Mortimer Tower dam.  The Lower Pool, 380' north to south by 320' across, is divided from the east moat by an earthen bank.  Presumably this was constructed as the moat, fed from the mere, was at a higher level than the waterworks east of the main dam.  There appears to be no evidence at all for the modern claim that ‘in about 1210 King John substantially enlarged the lake by damming local streams and this provided the water supply for the moat and a pool to the north and east of the castle'.

It is often alleged that Kenilworth castle initially consisted of an earthen motte and that this survives as a rather pathetic 10' high mound that is supposed to be encased within the base of the great keep.  However, there is neither tangible evidence nor logic to back this assertion.  Indeed, the idea of building a great square tower is that it defeated the need for a motte - viz. Bamburgh, Lancaster, Pevensey, Portchester, Rochester and the Tower of London to name just a few in England.  This theory should therefore be put down to the old wives' tale that all early Norman castles ‘must' have had a motte.  Finally, the implausibility of there having been a motte here is much strengthened by the excavation that took place in 1827.  Early archaeologists dug 2 pits 17' deep and found that under the floor of the tower was a bed of sand, lying on top of gravel.  Looking at the castle location, a more likely position for any motte might be beyond the inner defences to the west, where the ground rises somewhat and unusual earthworks lie against and possibly under the later great hall and enceinte.  Even so, this makes an unlikely motte.

The Brays
It has been suggested that the Brays were added to the southern extent of the dam in the late thirteenth century through the misbelief that Earl Simon Montfort (d.1265) ‘massively refortified' the castle.  As has been shown in the history above, he did no such thing, but ‘strengthened [it] by repair'.  This is hardly building an entire new ward.  The name would appear to come from the French braie, which meant a military outwork defended by palisades.

What there is of the Brays consists of an irregular D shaped ward, now used as a car park.  This is about 700' from southwest to northeast by 320' at its maximum depth.  The north side of this was covered by the fortified dam, while the other 3 sides had an earthen bank, some 20' high, protected by a moat up to 100' wide.  On the low sides this moat was contained by a counterscarp bank and was fed via a series of sluices, some of which have been excavated in the 1960s.  Further waterworks, probably concerned with keeping the mere levels stable, lay further east, but have been encroached on by the town.

Within this enclosure were 5 earthen mounds, the largest being 40' in diameter.  Three of these projected from the enceinte like the sites of flanking towers.  All of the mounds are claimed to have been much levelled.  On the southeastern side of the enclosure stand the remnants of 2 small D shaped towers with a stretch of curtain between them.  This is supposed to be the site of the main King's Gate built by Robert Dudley (d.1588) contemporaneously with the Leicester Gatehouse in the 1570s.  Where the current car park road enters the Brays a well plinthed section of curtain wall has been cut through.  This revetted the bank behind and presumably such defences stretch right the way around the enclosure.  Only proper excavation could sensibly suggest a date for the remains, but presumably it was the work of King John and may be compared with the odd, outer artillery defences built by him at Berkhamsted castle.

The Outer Ward
The outer ward is divided into 3 unequal areas.  Entering via Mortimer's Tower the visitor passed into the main ‘base court', which was a flat stretch of land to the east of the inner ward and taking up nearly a half of the entire outer ward.  Within this are the foundations of the collegiate chapel of Thomas Lancaster (d.1322).  The remaining 2 sections of the outer ward to the west are divided off from the ‘base court' by 2 walls.  One lay south of Leicester's Building and consisted of a short section of curtain running from that building to the outer south curtain.  The base of this appears to be original, large, well laid ashlar blocks, although the upper parts and ‘doorway' are all Elizabethan or later.  The northern section of the wall underlying Leicester's Building is thinner and merely a poor foundation.  Another short wall ran eastwards from John of Gaunt's Strong Tower and divided the King's Gate from the Water Gate in the outer ward.  It also divided the remaining two thirds of the outer ward into a northern and a southern section and consists of a much altered thin wall with a large Elizabethan arch.  Neither of these surviving walls appear to be the wall ordered by Henry III in 1241, although the base of the southern one might just be this old.

The large outer ward, some 480' north to south by 680' across, was surrounded by the waterworks as described above.  Unusually the ward forms pretty much concentrically around the keep, an unusual feature for a twelfth century castle.  The shape of the ward suggests at least 3 main phases of construction, although it all has been much rebuilt, probably in the Elizabethan era.  Indeed, documentary evidence shows that several sections of the curtain were rebuilt as early as the fourteenth century, while some at least of the buttressing dates from the early 1240s.  Much rebuilding can clearly be seen in parts of the southern and western walls which in places are considerably thicker.  There are also changes in masonry and style.  Where it remains, the outer curtain mostly stands to wallwalk height, although the battlements are universally missing.

A building lay alongside the south curtain wall and contained 3 relatively narrow Romanesque windows set in large Romanesque embrasures.  The interior of these show that the internal ground level of the ward here has been raised by at least 6' since the building was in operation.  The curtain around this point is also of a rather poor rubble construction along this section, while a Victorian photograph clearly shows that the embrasures behind the loops were blocked in antiquity.  It is noteworthy that the added buttresses were not thought necessary where this hall lay, again suggesting that the wall west of the hall is of a later date.  This in turn strengthens the idea that the western part of the outer ward was built towards the end of the reign of King John (1199-1216).  Much further along the south curtain more buildings lay along this curtain as well as along the western part of the enceinte.  All of these would appear to be Elizabethan in age.

Mortimer's Tower
The oldest part of the outer enceinte is probably Mortimer's Tower - a standard twelfth century rectangular gatehouse about 60' across by 50' deep.  This contained an inner and outer gate, with the northernmost one additionally defended by a portcullis of which some traces of the grooves survive.  The external defences of this tower were probably swept away when it was later modified into a twin towered gatehouse by adding 2 odd, elongated D shaped towers onto its outer face.  These contain another main gate with a portcullis within.  The whole structure has been cut down to first floor level, but the remnants show that the D towers once had a moulded external offset, while the original rectangular gatehouse had a first floor garderobe exiting on its west face.  This chute is now partially blocked by the rear of the D shaped tower.  A Victorian photograph shows quite clearly a fracture through the west D shaped tower to the plinth.  This fracture has since been rebuilt and a crossbow loop fabricated for the gap.  A nearby fissure through the plinth has also been repaired.  In short this demonstrates just how easy it can be to be fooled by Victorian renovations.  An examination of the loop in the tower shows quite clearly that it has been cobbled together from what were probably pieces found on the site.  Indeed from this (the photograph and the better quality masonry at the summit of the tower) it becomes relatively easy to see how this section of the ruins have been ‘improved' in the period immediately prior to 1872.

From Mortimer's Tower the long dam with later Tilt Yard south of it, run for some 500' to a hole in the wall style gate that led to a small irregular barbican, now called the gallery tower, after Leicester's recorded modifications in the area.  There is also a small D shaped tower that lay at this enclosure's southwest corner.  Only the northern half of the tower's foundations remain, the rest apparently having fallen down the scarp, possibly when the dam was broken in the late 1640s.  The modern English Heritage hut obscures much of this area.

The South Curtain
From the gatehouse the southern enceinte does not run off from the gatehouse at right angles, as would be more normal, but shears backwards at some 45 degrees to the northwest before turning west.  The subsequent long front then bulges slightly to the south as it makes its way around the edge of the drained mere.  There is also an apparently fourteenth century ‘postern' here, set in large ashlar masonry which replaces the older rubble wall at this point.  The bulk of this wall is conspicuous by its small, rectangular stoned, roughly coursed construction and later its powerful projecting square buttresses.  Where the wall has been breached to the south, it has been rebuilt with better coursed, often larger blocks of masonry and many more double plinthed buttresses.  There is also a plinth half way up the wall.  Documentary evidence is said to show that portions of this wall were rebuilt during the fourteenth century.  These rebuilds are quite obvious, without taking the changing thickness of the wall into consideration.  Some are undoubtedly Elizabethan and others may be Victorian.  Also towards the eastern end of this front is the site of what may have been the early hall as has been discussed above.

The west curtain contains 2 gateways, the Water Gate facing southwest and the King's Gate facing northwest.  The former is certainly Elizabethan, while the King's Gate shows some interior signs of greater age.  The west outer curtain is generally plain and once contained internal buildings as is evidenced by the odd window and fireplace.  These all appear to be Elizabethan.  The bulk of the wall is straight and again has been much rebuilt, varying from large ashlar sections to earlier rubble lengths of wall.  No doubt the presence of the mere led to the constant undermining of the walls by moisture.  This section of wall ends in the Swan Tower.

Swan Tower
The slight remains of the ashlar Swan Tower cap the much earlier east curtain at its north end.  The base of the tower is rectangular and has a fine sloping plinth of 4 courses only to all the external sides except, for some reason, the north.  Sadly the tower is much destroyed above the plinth, but the start of what may have been a magnificent oriel window can be made out at first floor level to the west.  This would have given wondrous views over the lake to Henry V's Pleasance.  The tower, although possibly as old as the thirteenth century, could well be fifteenth century in origin and is probably sixteenth century in its current form.

The interior is claimed to have been used as a sixteenth century banqueting hall - if so it was incredibly small.  It is entered via a mostly destroyed doorway with a much modified interior wall to the south.  Within this is a small fireplace with a brick back close to the doorway.  Its odd positioning suggests that it is another Elizabethan fake.  Currently there is no means of access into the basement which was blind.  The ground floor interior has set backs at various levels which suggests some rebuilding, possibly in the nineteenth century.  In the east wall, next to the entrance doorway, is an odd rectangular recess whose purpose is obscure, although it appears to be a later addition. 

Internally the curtain wall to the south definitely buts against the tower, suggesting it has been rebuilt after the tower.  Externally the south curtain adjoining the tower is of the small ‘Roman' style sandstone blocks.  Consequently this would appear to be an early section of the enceinte, although it has subsequently been much patched with what appears to be a blocked breach just 10' south of the tower.  Between this and the tower are traces of a poorly blocked postern.  No trace of the north curtain leaving the tower can currently be seen, but at the top of the ruin of the east wall are some springers which may mark the site of an overhanging garderobe.

The north curtain of the castle was destroyed during the Civil War (1642-49), but Leicester's Gatehouse lies on its course to Lunn's Tower as is evidenced by the scaring on the latter's west face.  This matches the stub of wall leaving Lunn's Tower.  Excavation and an early plan have shown that it originally contained 2 small towers, one of which contained a postern gate.

Leicester's Gatehouse
Robert Dudley (d.1588) was responsible for altering the entrance arrangements to the castle by erecting a gatehouse at the northern end of the outer court.  This was reached via his 600' long bridge.  The new arrangement may have been constructed due to the Brays, the tiltyard and Mortimer's Tower being thought to have become too inconvenient an entrance in the more peaceable Elizabethan age.  Leicester's Gatehouse consisted of a relatively thin sandstone rectangle with 4 octagonal corner turrets.  It was undoubtedly built for show rather than defence and contained large, mullioned and transomed windows.  It was converted into a private residence after the civil war by blocking the gateways and adding a rectangular block to the east side and an entrance porch to the west.  The gatehouse overlooks Lunn's Tower which marks the eastern angle of the destroyed north curtain.

Lunn's Tower
This is an odd octagonal tower with a fine sloping plinth dropping down the scarp to the corner of the north moat.  The structure is ashlar built and has interesting pilaster buttresses at the many angles.  It also has a single sloping offset at each external floor.  The stonework is of the type that would be classified as reused Roman work in the North.  The ground floor has 2 powerful recessed crossbow loops without oiletts, one to the north and one to the east.  Thankfully Victorian photographs and prints show that they are both Victorian fakes - as too does a close examination of the surrounding exterior stonework.  At first floor level is another such loop, with an odd, large fish tailed chute instead of an oilett.  This is set in the buttress - a distinctly non-medieval style, but reminiscent of those recessed loops found in the keep.  Next to this is a small, rectangular window to the north.  This may have been inserted above the fake northern basement loop before the Elizabethan era although it too may possibly date to Dudley's renovations.  The fake recessed loop in the basement to the east may be in the site of an original embrasure, for a photograph shows that this was blocked in the early Victorian era, before the current monstrosity was inserted during the pre 1872 renovations.

The summit of the tower is also unmedieval in its current form.  The base of another loop is set in the remnants of the third floor in the same east buttress, that has the inserted crossbow loop below.  This upper loop is flanked by 2 square recesses, which may have been supports for timbers for a hoarding.  As the loop has the odd, large fish tailed base, it is almost certainly Elizabethan as are the pilaster buttresses.  This seems to be proved by the base of the buttress being chamfered in a manner unique to Kenilworth.  The reasoning for the dating of these features as Elizabethan will be examined further in the last section under The Keep. 

Access to the upper floors of the tower was via a vice set in an octagonal turret in the gorge of the tower.  This has been modified over the years as its blocked doorways and odd configuration duly testifies.  The spiral vice exited into the tower in its upper levels as well as awkwardly onto the curtain wallwalk where a small overhanging garderobe was added to the external junction of curtain and tower.  The door linking the wallwalk to the tower is shoulder headed and therefore dates to between 1250 and 1350, while the stairwell doorway is rectangular and possibly Elizabethan.  Within the tower the embrasures have different styles.  In the basement they are nearly Romanesque semi-circles, on the first floor more like quarter round, while the second floor ones are lintelled over the beginnings of a quarter round summit.  Further, there are remains of 2 further embrasures at ground floor level to the north and south, one having been blocked when the stair turret was added and the other when a passageway was added which possibly led to a garderobe within the north curtain at first floor level.  The blocked loop of this embrasure mostly survives and possibly represents the original style of fenestration.  It is a narrow, recessed loop with chamfered edges and apparently no sighting slits.  Further it has no apparent basal oillet, although this part of the loop may have been destroyed.  Sadly the central section of the loop has been heavily damaged when the springer for an arch was inserted in it, presumably for the latrine serviced by the inserted passageway above.  The masonry of this loop is otherwise in extraordinary good condition which would suggest that it has either been covered up for most of its existence or that it is modern.  If original, it might suggest that the passageway was inserted soon after the tower's building and that the original tower might just date back to the twelfth century.

The brief description above suggests that the tower has altered in the thirteenth century and then heavily modernised in both the Elizabethan and Victorian eras.  Further, it is obviously uncertain who initially ordered the construction of this tower.  Consequently it should not be accepted as bone fide work of King John (1199-1216) as has previously been the case.

South of Lunn's tower the curtain ran directly to the Water Tower, although it has been much destroyed, with parts replaced as well as having buttresses added.  Taking up the bulk of this front between the 2 towers was a long stable block, 160' in length by 20' wide.  This is thought to have been built by Earl Robert Dudley (d.1588), but excavation has shown that it was built over an older building of the same dimensions.  This suggests the stables were probably always here, possibly from the castle's inception.  Two round headed openings at the northern end of the building appear to be original, although the brick built structure with wooden first floor, has been much rebuilt over the years as have it's west entrances.

Water Tower
At the easternmost point of the enceinte stands the semi-octagonal Water Tower.  This has a rectangular base some 35' by 45', which rises up into an octagonal, ashlar structure with fine spur plinths.  It also has fine double ogee windows on the first floor and almost triangular pointed embrasures, making it somewhat resemble the late thirteenth century Valence work at Goodrich or the keep at Newport in Pembrokeshire.  These true medieval works, however, lack the summarily large windows in their defensive structures.  Such windows would not be found in defensive towers and there is no evidence that they were not part of the original build to the Water Tower.  This tower seems originally to have been of 3 storeys, but the uppermost one is now mostly gone.  Once more the tower is a varied mix of styles and totally unmilitary in makeup, despite the smattering of crossbow loops found randomly in the design.

The square to octagonal ground floor is merely another bizarre feature of its extreme makeup.  The stubby spur buttresses are unique as is the Romanesque ‘postern', set off centre in the east wall, not to mention the weird garderobe in the northeast corner turret with its overlarge window loop.  This latter bizarre feature is backed by a single pilaster buttress to the south which thickens the south wall to allow for a ground floor fireplace.  To the north is a window embrasure equipped with a wonky single crossbow loop which shows some signs of having been an insertion.  Within the enceinte the tower shows at this ground level a sharply pointed Early English entrance doorway that appears to be a Victorian repair, although it is in a similar condition in a photograph from the 1860s.  Next to this is another totally unique Romanesque window.  Internally the embrasure of this is a typical ‘thirteenth century' design which bears most resemblance to those found at Goodrich castle.  Set within the tower entrance doorway is a short passage leading to a spiral stair in the northwest corner of the tower where the entire north wall of the structure is shockingly thin for a defensive tower at ground floor level.  The wall would have been even thinner at third floor level if the tower still rose that high.  As a final joke, the southern drawbar slot is left ‘hanging in midair' by being opposite the entrance to the stairway, ie it has no northern return socket.  Once more these ‘features' are unique in medieval castle design.

The first floor of the tower is equally ‘unique' in style and design.  As the steps up reach the first floor there is set in the curtain a totally fake crossbow loop, which, of course, would be unusable from the stairs.  However, this looks very pretty from the outside.  The loop is externally chamfered and has fine oillets at the 4 points, with the lowest one, oddly, being the smallest.  It appears integral with the surrounding wall facing.  On a lower level to this, in the north wall of the tower, is perhaps the most bizarre of all the odd loops in Kenilworth castle.  This narrow loop is shoulder headed and has a large, much decayed oillet at its base!  The 2 are obviously mismatched and an 1818 sketch of the Water Tower appears to show a blocked rectangular window here.  This suggests this abomination dates to the 1860s.  The next face of the tower contains an off centre crossbow loop, the match to the fake one in the stairwell.  The east wall, somewhat more central than the ‘postern' below, contains an ‘Early English' twin light window with trefoil designs.  The next wall face contains a central window of similar design.  Finally, the south face contains the unnatural pilaster buttress, rather than providing flanking down the curtain as would be natural in a real castle mural tower.  However, in a chamber set in the thickness of the curtain is the mutilated remnant of another fake crossbow loop.  Opposite this, internally, is a weird lancet window which is externally chamfered and has a fish tail.  Internally there is another one of the ‘Early English' twin windows, followed by a corbelled out chimney buttress, similar to those found on either side of the outer gatehouse at Whittington castle in Shropshire.  Internally the fireplace is pure Elizabethan.

The top floor of the tower is mostly gone, but at the stair turret a single battlement survives.  Interestingly, the 1739 Buck's print shows the tower roofed at first floor level.  The peak of this roof ended just before the 2 remaining battlements on the stair turret.  It should also be noted that the stair turret at this level had an exit onto the curtain alongside the earl of Leicester's stables which now stands considerably lower than its sixteenth century form.  On the south side of the tower a single obviously fake crossbow loop survives along with 2 unusual ‘putlog' holes flanking the chimney buttress.  Ludicrously this chamfers out at this level with the crossbow loop above it.  This would have meant that the flue below it simply ended here without an exit.  Obviously this makes the entire chimney pointless and such ‘features' are seen nowhere in any known medieval structure.

As the Water Tower currently stands, the whole thing is clearly a sixteenth century Dudliean fantasy.  Further there is no evidence that an earlier tower stood in this position at all, although a tower here to control the lower pool and moat junction would make good military sense.

From the Water Tower the curtain returned to the side of the original south gatehouse where the teething of its joint still remains.  Some third of the way to the Mortimer Tower stands the oddest remnant of Leicester's fantasy castle - the so-called guard room.  This chamber is built into a large buttress that projects unevenly some 15' east of the line of the main curtain wall in a series of bizarre projections.  The furthest of these culminates in a rather absurd loop capped by an impressive - and pointless, but rather decorative - chamfered plinth.  Southwest of this the buttress recedes in 2 segments back to the line of the curtain and in its chamfered plinth has the base of a fine thirteenth century chimney!  It looks like even Dudley wouldn't have gone this far and the chimney does not appear in the Victorian photographs of the site.  They would therefore appear to have been part of the rebuilding of which the Reverend Knowles complained of in 1872.  Possibly this was used as a lodge by a late Victorian custodian.

The Inner Ward
The inner bailey is located on a bluff of higher ground from which the ground falls away sharply on all sides except to the east where it has probably been landscaped.   The original ward seems to have been about 400' in diameter, although most of what is thought of as the primary wall has now gone.  Excavations have shown that this bailey was originally surrounded by moat, making the whole thing a ringwork.  Only a portion of this uncovered ditch is still visible to the east.  In 1960 an excavation on the south side of the enceinte uncovered 2 buried ditches, both 14' deep.  The earlier one was U shaped and therefore probably a moat and lay right alongside the outer ward curtain wall at the base of the slope down from the Great Chamber.  This moat had been infilled with the cast of the second ditch which was V shaped and dug within the first.  The second ditch was thought to date from the reign of King John and therefore could be assigned to the works of 1211-12.  Shards found in the south outer curtain wall construction trench suggested that this wall postdated King John's reign.  If so, it must have been built by the Crown without any record being kept of the work, which might just have occurred in the period 1216-1222.  Alternatively, the section of wall excavated may have been even a fourteenth or fifteenth century rebuild of the earlier enceinte.

Currently entrance into the main ward is via a causeway over the east ditch.  This led to a gateway tight against the south side of the southeast corner of the keep.  Here, on the side of the keep, can be traced a short section of curtain wall with an added external ashlar wall facing.  Behind this is a portcullis groove, while above is part of the gate arch.  Whether this was the original entrance or not is a moot point, as if the Mortimer Tower was the original entrance to the outer ward, as every indication currently suggests, then the main entrance to the inner ward should have been to the west.  This would have made any attacker have to fight all the way around the castle to gain entrance to the main ward.  Possibly then, this current main entrance was originally a postern and the main inner gateway lies underneath the Great Hall or Strong Tower.  Alternatively, if the western two thirds of the outer ward was yet to be built and the inner ward was a moated bluff, as excavation seems to suggest, then this may mark the original entrance to the ward.

Of the original enceinte, the most obvious remnant is a section of the foundations partially under Leicester's Building in the southeast corner of the ward.  The core of the north and south walls are claimed to be original work, but refaced during the later rebuildings of the castle.  The facing of parts of the north curtain to the west of the keep consists of the small blocks which may be reused Roman ashlar.  As such this wall is possibly part of the original enceinte.

South of the current entrance to the inner ward lies the foundations of the early chapel.  This was probably the church which Henry III had altered in 1241.  If so, it lay with its east end, the altar end, against the castle curtain wall.  The chapel can be seen in sixteenth century drawings of the site and was abutted to the north by a partially timber framed range which was described as newly built around 1545, but is believed to have been completed by 1532.  This range later became known as Henry VIII's Lodgings, but has since totally disappeared.  Directly south of the chapel stands Leicester's Building. 

Leicester's Building
Earl Robert Dudley of Leicester (d.1588), demolished a section of the inner enceinte in order to build this 3 storey residential complex.  It projects southwards over the inner ditch and into the outer ward, totally wrecking the defensive nature of the inner court.  The building was attached to the enceinte to the west and was divided into 3, with beautiful bay windows in each section looking east.  Elizabeth I (1558-1603) is thought to have stayed here in 1572 and in 1575, which fits with the building stone dated 1571 which was once found here.  One of the rooms is thought to have been a dancing chamber, a passion shared by both Dudley and his queen.  The block is supposed to have survived into the eighteenth century when it was occupied by weavers from Coventry, although it appears well ruined and overgrown by the time of Buck's print of 1739.  West of the building lies the privy kitchen and then the rectangular, boldly projecting Gaunt's Tower

Gaunt's Tower
This is an octagonal structure on a square base with spur buttresses.  The tower seems mostly to have been intended for accommodation although it has paired garderobes at ground and first floor levels.  The 2 upper floors had large, rectangular windows, while the lower ones had recessed loops.

From here the enceinte continued as a long chamber now called the wardrobe.  This suite of apartments were on the first floor, but have now been destroyed although their elegant entrance oriel survives.  On the west side of these lies the so-called Saintlowe Tower.

Saintlowe Tower
The smaller, but taller Saintlowe Tower balances the Strong Tower at the northern end of the Great Hall.  It allowed access from there to the wardrobe and state apartments to the east.  The main first floor chamber was double height and had windows almost as impressive as those found in the attached Great Hall.  Its name, Saintlowe, apparently dates no earlier than Oakley's guidebook of 1874.

Great Hall
The current Great Hall is considered to have been one of the largest and finest secular apartments of the late fourteenth century.  However, it is certainly a reworking of an earlier hall that had been standing long enough to need reroofing in 1347.  The reworking consisted of adding a vaulted undercroft and inserting transomed 2 light traceried windows under a wide single span trussed roof.  Originally this great room had 6 fireplaces.  There was also a postern under the hall exiting next to the Strong Tower.  This might just possibly have been on the site of the original inner ward entrance.

Strong Tower
This lay north of the Great Hall and allowed access to both levels of the hall as well as to the kitchens to the east.  This decorative tower with its octagonal corner turrets and pointed spur central buttress, was vaulted on all 3 floors and contained numerous large rectangular windows.  The outer walls had an impressive sloping plinth, while the corner turrets were unnecessarily equipped with spur buttresses.

The entire west front of the castle is partially covered by a 25' high scarp which made it appear even more impressive from the lower level of the outer ward.  The winding path that leads up the scarp to the postern possibly marks the route of the original main approach to the inner ward.  Alternatively, Dugdale (d.1686) thought that this entire earthwork was the work of Robert Dudley for the benefit of Queen Elizabeth in July 1575.

Keep Forebuilding
The final buildings to be examined in this survey of the castle are the keep and forebuilding.  Leaving them to last has been deliberate as there are so many unanswered and possibly unanswerable questions about these structures.  These questions tie them directly into the Elizabethan aspects of the Lunn and Water towers which have been overlooked in all previous accounts of the castle.

Access into the keep is via what appears to have been a much mutilated forebuilding.  This has been constructed against the keep's western side, protecting the current main entrance and providing 2 rooms on its first floor.  What remains today seems mainly the work of Dudley who remodelled it as an approach to the privy garden, which was in the outer ward to the north, as well as the entrance to the revamped keep.  A former dating stone found at the site with the numbers ..70 on it, would seem to have referred to a building or rebuilding date of 1570.

The forebuilding consists of an arcaded Elizabethan gallery running from the main entrance to the south, to the garden entrance to the north.  It still, rather incidently in its current form, gave access to the keep to the east at a higher level, but still below its first floor accommodation.  A quick glance at the main forebuilding entrance to the south clearly shows that this is a modern, probably Victorian insertion.  From here steps led up north to the main platform in the centre of the gallery, which allowed access to a destroyed set of steps, which ran eastwards up to the keep entrance, the gallery then dropped slightly down to the north gate into the privy garden.  Within the structure the arches are Romanesque, but are similar to no other military forebuilding of the twelfth century, viz. Berkeley, Castle Rising, Dover, Ludlow, Newcastle on Tyne, Norwich and Rochester.  Perhaps the nearest fit to it in style are those to the keeps at Corfe and to a lesser degree Portchester, but again these are quite different.

The long west wall of the forebuilding is made of relatively small, well laid stone blocks and has the remnants of a triple coursed sloping plinth.  This wall, in a style apparently unique to the site, must be a rebuild.  Further, it would have been an external wall before the kitchen was built.  The plinth at the southwest corner, beyond the kitchen south wall, is perfect and consists of a some half a dozen chamfered courses.  The masonry here, making up the south front, has also changed, being a reasonable ashlar continuing to the east to its inserted central, ‘Norman' doorway in the south face.  This projects slightly from the line of the keep corner turret.  Nothing more needs to be said of the modern entrance doorway, other than it would bear no similarity to the original entrance which was probably here.  The east corner of the forebuilding cuts into the massive sloping plinth of the keep, so likely post dates it.  There is a projecting string course at first floor level and above this the masonry becomes slightly smaller.  Six feet above this there is a larger course of masonry on top of which the wall begins to chamfer in for some 3 courses, before rising vertically again to a moulded string course of which only 2 pieces remain.  Set above this is one side of an Elizabethan rectangular window showing that one or more apartments lay at this first floor level.  The wall here butts against the keep and originally rose up for at least another 6 feet.  The teething of the inner wall of this first floor internal room remains cut into the north side of the keep turret as do rectangular holes to take the beams of the floor.  Internally it can be seen that all this south wall has been refaced, if not rebuilt in its entirety.

It is really the north side of the forebuilding though, which is of most interest.  The ashlar on this face is integral with the keep northwest turret.  The central arch leading down to the gardens is an obvious rebuild with all the wall above, at least the eastern half of the arch which can be seen in a sketch of 1834, being a rebuild.  The current triple arch and the masonry above it have every appearance of being a Victorian rebuild, as too does the northwest portion of the forebuilding with its 2 single courses of chamfered plinth to the north.  This feature is lacking elsewhere.  It should also be noted that the unique, massive plinthing around the keep is carried on naturally in front of this side of the forebuilding, making these 2 structures integral.  Within the rebuilt forebuilding north archway is a Romanesque doorway, that might perhaps be better called Elizabethan Normanesque!  Internally the bases that the springers rise from are rubble built.  The arches themselves and the wall above it are ashlar and obviously later.  As it stands today the doorway appears Elizabethan or later.  This deduction is confirmed by the chamfered stepped plinth that encases this side of the forebuilding and the keep in one continuous line.  In 1872 the keep plinth was said to have been badly repaired.  Possibly then, this is all Victorian.  Alternatively it is the work of Robert Dudley.  Certainly a plinth extending some 20' up the side of a keep, as it does here to north, south and east, is otherwise unknown in Britain.

The Keep
This brings the tour of the castle to a close, with its heart, the great keep.  First impressions of the great rectangular keep are its imposing majesty.  It is massive in scale, some 80' east to west by 60' deep externally, but originally only standing 2 storeys high at some 50'.  It was later raised by another storey of some 20'.  The basement walls are 20' thick, 5' of which consists of the batter which fades out by some 10' up the tower.  Robert Latham, writing in 1575 when Elizabeth I (1558-1603) visited, was of the opinion that the keep:

was ancient, strong and large... called Caesar Tower' as ‘it is square and hye formed, after the manner of Caesar Fortz, than he ever built it.

This was at a time when Dudley was entertaining the queen lavishly at Kenilworth and had allegedly spent £60,000 on revamping the castle.  The current remains suggest a fair portion of this money went on remaking the keep.

The great tower is currently entered about 15' above the current inner ward ground level from the west, within the forebuilding.  This entrance appears Victorian, rather than Elizabethan, although the northern, lower section of the outer arch might just be original.  This is largely overlain by an Elizabethan wall of the forebuilding.  Within the new arch is a narrow passage that exits through a Romanesque doorway with a drawbar, into the ground floor of the keep.  A quick glance at the inner wall of the doorway shows that this Romanesque arch is another sham. 

Indeed, when the main chamber is examined cold bloodedly, it shows that much of this ‘Norman' keep is in fact Elizabethan.  A look at the walls show that the lower courses are laid ashlar.  This could well be Clinton work.  Above that, all the big ‘Romanesque' arches of the embrasures are built of rubble - probably Elizabethan rubble.  The same is true of the ‘only Norman' embrasure in the east wall.  This is deeply splayed on both internal and external sides and set in an arched recess.  In short, it is unique in both a Norman and any other context.  It also serves no logical purpose and the idea that the keep was studded with these before Dudley got his hands on it, just does not ring true.  The hall block at Grosmont, or the keep at Middleham, has real basement windows and loops and should be compared to this.  Next to the odd Kenilworth ‘window' is a peculiar, tall narrow passageway that leads to the well.  This has a lintel top, over which is a blocked Romanesque arch.  Other than parts of the arch, the whole is crudely assembled and probably Renaissance in date.

A quick study of the keep ground plan should also ring alarm bells.  The 4 keep turrets were initially almost certainly solid as is evidenced by the crazy access to them all, while the well's position in the middle of the wall and not in a turret is equally bizarre.  Further, the entrance to the lower chamber in the southwest turret is only accessible via the forebuilding and not the keep.  Note too the off centre nature of the chambers that have been hacked into the turrets.  This is by no means normal of any other great rectangular keep, viz. Castle Rising, Newcastle on Tyne, Dover, Hedingham, Rochester, or the Tower of London.  As there is even less visible of antiquity in the first floor this will be passed over in silence, apart from some comment about the 70' deep well which was found within the southernmost section of the interior east wall of the keep.  This was still wet when cleared out in 1819, but had by 1872 run dry due to infilling.  The adjoining southeast turret was solid, but the well shaft itself was continued up within the wall for a further 20' to the floor above.  This is somewhat reminiscent of the design at Rochester keep.  At ground floor level the well is some 3' in diameter, but increases to 4' by the bottom.  The last 10' of the shaft was rock cut and allegedly used to fill to this level with water.  However, once again, the doorways to this well on the first floor are all fairly obviously modern, probably Victorian builds.

The top floor of the keep is alleged to be the work of King John in 1211-13.  Certainly this has a more thirteenth century ‘feel' about it, but the odd crossbow loops with their massive fish tails are again unique in Britain, other than in the nearby Lunn's Tower.  The chamber within, from which they would have been used, is rather larger than the one below due to the great offset on which the floor would have been laid - an even greater offset than the large one to hold up the floor below.  However, it is the embrasures behind the loops that give the game away.  They appear from a distance to be utterly unusable, unless perhaps by pygmies armed with blowpipes...  In short they are not medieval and should again be thought of as Dudley's embellishments.  The point is strengthened by the positioning of these loops on the inner ward side, but not the outer ward side where they would have been of more use.  The final proof of the pudding comes in the west wall of the tower.  Here there are 2 ludicrous recessed ‘Norman' windows set roughly centrally on the first floor level.  Above them are 2 alleged crossbow loops, which are claimed to be from King John's era.  The northern one of these has been deliberately shrunken so as not to interfere with the Elizabethan window below.  How could King John have known that the Elizabethans would have needed such a large window here and positioned his loop accordingly?  Of course they did no such thing as both ‘features' were installed simultaneously, almost certainly for Robert Dudley (d.1588).

There really is little more point in examining the keep for early medieval features as they all seem to have been swept away as thoroughly as the clock that Leicester had installed in the  southeast turret.  This had 2 faces, one facing east and one south.  These were always pointing to 2 o'clock while the queen was there, for that was banqueting time.

What then may have been the original castle of Geoffrey Clinton?  Possibly he built a great hall where the keep now stands.  As such this may have been originally more like Chepstow hall-keep than Rochester tower-keep.  Much, much later, Robert Dudley (d.1588) enlarged this hall into the keep of today by expanding the solid corner turrets and hacking out their interiors to make off-centre rooms and the staircase.  He certainly seems to have refaced the whole tower and its interior and added the unique, missive, decorative sloping plinth, although the surviving part of the plinth at Middleham keep does bear some comparison as too does the plinth at Newcastle upon Tyne keep.  Possibly Clinton may have built a moated inner ward in the twelfth century, but just as possibly he may also have built the original outer ward from the hall west of the Mortimer Tower and dam, all the way around to the east and then up north to around the site of Leicester's gatehouse.  This twelfth century wall would have stood pretty much where the current wall stands.  Such suggests a scenario where the early castle was a ‘keep' standing upon the higher ground of the inner bailey which was moated with an outer ward only to the east and a moat towards the lakeside as well as a secondary one around the eastern outer ward.  This might explain the excavated early moat which once surrounded the inner ward.  Was this later filled in, possibly on the orders of King John (1199-1216), when a new ditch was dug within and this original moat infilled with the detritus.  The western and possibly also northern portions of the inner ward would therefore only date from his recorded work at the castle in the early 1210s, or possibly from unrecorded work early in the reign of Henry III (1216-72).

Regardless of the early form of the castle, the survey above begs the question as to how much of the quirky Keep, Lunn and Water towers are actually medieval and how much of it, like the ludicrous crossbow loops and pointless other works, are actually Elizabethan or Victorian?  The answer would seem to be the bulk of both.


Copyright©2023 Paul Martin Remfry