History and Research: Kenilworth Castle

The castle from the south; Geoffrey de Clinton's Norman great tower is to the right, Leicester's Building is in the centre and John of Gaunt's buildings are to the left

Kenilworth is one of England’s most magnificent castles. Once standing at the heart of a 1,600-ha (4,000-acre) hunting ground, and surrounded by a vast man-made lake, it represented a rich prize to the generations of royal and almost-royal great men who owned and embellished it: among them Geoffrey de Clinton, John of Gaunt, Henry V, and Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. Even in melancholy decay its influence has been far-reaching, thanks, in part, to Walter Scott’s best-selling romance, Kenilworth, which brought the castle new fame.

History

Spanning more than five centuries, Kenilworth Castle's varied buildings and architectural styles reflect its long connection with successive English monarchs.

History of Kenilworth Castle

Significance

Kenilworth has an exceptionally long and rich history as a royal castle and palace. It is remarkable too not just for its buildings, but for the scale and splendour of the great landscape that surrounded it.

Significance of Kenilworth Castle

Research

This section consists of a review of the major studies that have contributed to our growing understanding of Kenilworth Castle.

Review of research on Kenilworth Castle

About the author

Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust and formerly Curatorial Director at English Heritage, led the team that recreated the Elizabethan gardens at Kenilworth Castle in 2009.

About Portico

Portico is the area of the English Heritage website dedicated to exploring the history and significance of the 400 or so sites in the care of English Heritage.

More on Portico

Buy the guidebook

The Kenilworth Castle guidebook is one of a suite of authoritative and beautifully illustrated guides that help to bring English Heritage's properties to life.

Kenilworth Castle guidebook