The Great Hall, Eastern Facade (About 1392)
Medium: Photographic print
View of the Great Hall at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Founded in the 12th century, Kenilworth is the largest castle ruin in England and was one of the country’s most magnificent noble residences. From 1361 until 1399 it was held by John of Gaunt, the fourth son of King Edward III. He transformed the existing fortified Norman structure of the castle into a palatial medieval home, erecting a complex of buildings including the stately Great Hall, and another grand chamber, the White Hall. The Great Hall, a two-storey structure with a vaulted basement below the main space, was used for banquets and assemblies. This is a close view of its east façade, seen from the Inner Court. It shows the ornamental detail of its enormously tall and elegant traceried windows, and the carved stonework decorating the recessed arched entrance of the main doorway to the right.
In his guide to the history and architecture of the castle, Reverend Knowles observed: “It is not possible to make out with certainty the arrangement of the approach to the Hall. Its very elaborate door is nearly the only remnant; a flight of steps led up from the court to the top of the groined passage, from which there must have been also access to the (14th Century) suite of rooms near the keep, and to the keep itself at that time.”