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Kenilworth Castle, From The South

Kenilworth Castle, From The South

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1872

Shelfmark: 7817.s.2

Item number: 108

Length: 15

Width: 20

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View from the south of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Kenilworth is the largest castle ruin in England and was one of the country’s most magnificent residences. During its long history it was witness to siege, royal intrigue, medieval chivalry and spectacular pageantry. It was founded in the early 12th century by Geoffrey de Clinton, chamberlain of Henry I, who built the castle and endowed a priory on land given to him by the King. In the late 14th century it was held by John of Gaunt, who added a range of stately medieval halls to the original Norman keep. When his son Henry IV came to the throne the castle passed to the Crown and remained in royal hands until Elizabeth I gave it to her favourite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, in 1563. He transformed Kenilworth into a fashionable Elizabethan palace. Its fall from grace began after the English Civil War when orders were given by Parliament in 1649 for the castle's demolition. This policy was known as "slighting" and the intention was to damage a castle badly enough to make it indefensible. At Kenilworth, the north wall of the keep, the north curtain wall, and the causeway were all breached. This view of its grand skyline is taken from the grassy bed of the Mere, a great artificial lake, now drained, which defended the castle on its southern and western sides.

the castle was slighted by order of Parliament in 1649.

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