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KENILWORTH CASTLE

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A Medieval and Tudor castle. The original castle at Kenilworth is thought to have been a motte and bailey with wooden buildings, established in the 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton who built most of the Norman great tower. The remains of the original castle, an artificial mound, are now enclosed within the keep, whilst the later inner court is thought to occupy the site of the original bailey. In 1173-4 it became a royal castle; the stone built fortified keep and curtain wall were built at this time, and King John added an outer circuit of stone walls and a dam to hold back a great lake in the early 13th century. In 1253 Henry III granted the castle to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. The earl led a rebellion against the King but was killed at the battle of Evesham in 1265. His followers endured a long siege at Kenilworth before finally surrendering. In 1361 the castle passed to John of Gaunt (son of Edward III), who developed it as a royal palace, constructing the great hall, associated apartments and services. From 1415, Henry V built an eIaborate manor house at the far end of the lake. In 1553 the castle was granted to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who made alterations, previously ascribed to his son, such as the new stables. Following his execution, it returned to the Crown. The grant was renewed to his son, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and favourite of Elizabeth I, who sponsored extensive structural development until his death in 1588. Today the site includes a reconstruction of a garden of that period. During the Civil War, the Royalists initially occupied the castle but it was later held by the Parliamentarians, who demolished the north wall of the keep and the north curtain wall to make the castle undefendable in 1650. By the late 17th century Leicester's Gatehouse had been converted into a residence which was inhabited through to the 20th century; the remainder of the buildings were gradually abandoned. This is an English Heritage property.

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