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Water Tower (Early 13th Century)

Water Tower (Early 13th Century)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1872

Shelfmark: 7817.s.2

Item number: 0

Length: 15

Width: 20

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View of the Water Tower 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. The Water Tower stands on a corner of the eastern edge of the curtain wall surrounding the castle buildings. With Lunn’s Tower and the Swan Tower it was one of three angle towers defending the moat. It is so called for its position overlooking the lower pool, part of the castle’s spectacular water defences. At the beginning of the 13th century, a great artificial lake known as the mere was created on the southern and western flanks of the castle by damming the valley and enlarging an existing lake. Because of its extent towers were considered unnecessary on this side of the castle. In 1244, Kenilworth was granted to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and the Water Tower is thought to be among surviving mid-13th century fortifications made by him.

The image is one of 23 photographs illustrating a guide to the history and architecture of the castle by the Reverend E. H. Knowles. He considers the tower a “very beautiful ruin” and observes: “Notice the mouth of the drain into the moat, and the round-headed loop hole to the Garderobe chamber (1242), and contrast the arrow-holes with those of the keep (before 1136,) Lunn’s Tower, 1175, and Mortimer’s Tower, 1223...”

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