Visit Kenilworth and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Kenilworth, Warwickshire, lies between Coventry and Warwick off the A46. Its Victorian residential area was given some of its impetus by the fame of Sir Walter Scott's historical novel. On the north side of the town several old houses of considerable charm survive from an earlier phase of building from the 15th century. Kenilworth Castle remains the chief glory. This has been called the grandest fortress ruin in England. Norman, Plantagenet and finally Tudor monarchs all played a part in its development.
Starting as a wooden fortress built in A.D. 1112 by Geoffrey de Clinton, who was chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I, it rapidly gained in importance. The keep that still stands was built in 1162 by a son of the first de Clinton, with money provided by Henry II. King John paid several visits to Kenilworth and provided £2,000, a lot in those days, to be spent on its defences. In 1199 another de Clinton surrendered all his rights to the king. Henry III gave it to his sister who had married Simonde Montfort. By 1361 Kenilworth Castle came into the possession of Blanche, of the Lancastrian house, who married John of Gaunt. He was the first owner to transform it from a fortress into a grand castle.
He built the great hall and the long wing of private apartments. Much of this is still recognizable in the ruins - From John of Gaunt the castle went to his son Henry IV and remained a royal residence, until in 1563 Queen Elizabeth gave the castle to her favourite Robert Dudley. The queen conferred on Dudley the title of Earl of Leicester. Then began a new and magnificent period for Kenilworth. Costly entertainments such as had rarely been seen in England were provided for the pleasure of the queen. Leicester converted all the old apartments and erected a great range of new buildings to adjoin the chapel built by Henry VIII. Nothing remains of this chapel other than the foundations. The Long Barn and Great Gate-house were all built by him at this period. It was only after his death that Kenilworth began its slow decline.
The end came with the Civil War when Cromwell ordered the castle to be dismantled. After the Restoration it passed into the hands of the Clarendon family, whose successors passed it over to the state shortly before the Second World War. The ruins are now in the care of the Ministry of Public Building and Works.
The Church of St Nicholas, though mainly Perpendicular in style, has a good Norman doorway. It is believed that it may have been an entrance to the old priory church of the Augustinians which like Kenilworth Castle was founded by Geoffrey de Clinton. It is situated in Abbey Fields where intelligent excavation has revealed practically the whole lay-out of this great abbey, dissolved by Henry VIII.
Nearby cities: Birmingham, Coventry
Nearby towns: Knowle, Royal Leamington Spa, Solihull, Warwick
Nearby villages: Ashow, Baginton, Berkeswell, Bubbenhall, Canley, Coventry, Grove Park, Guys Cliffe, Hatton, Honiley, Leek Wootton, Lillington, Milverton, Offchurch, Shrewley, Spon End, Stivichall, Stoke, Stoneleigh, Temple Balsall, Tile Hill
Have you decided to visit Kenilworth or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Kenilworth bed and breakfast (a Kenilworth B&B or Kenilworth b and b)
- a Kenilworth guesthouse
- a Kenilworth hotel (or motel)
- a Kenilworth self-catering establishment, or
- other Kenilworth accommodation