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Kenilwortha As A Typical Medieval Castle

2695 words - 11 pages

Kenilwortha as a Typical Medieval Castle

Kenilworth which was built around the 12th century is one of the
finest and most extensive ruins in England. It started off life as a
simple Motte and Bailey owned by Henry I. It was then adapted into a
square stone keep and later a palace owned by John of Gaunt. The
famous mere once surrounding it is now gone but still standing is the
huge Norman keep with walls nearly 20m in places. The remains of John
of Gaunt's Great Hall and state apartments, and the Earl of Leisters
stables and gatehouse still stand within the encircling walls built by
King John.

1575 was the date of one of Kenilworth's most famously splendid royal
occasions. It was a 19 day long entertainment spree hosted by the Earl
of Leister for Queen Elizabeth. It included a variety of entertainment
which included music, dancing, fireworks and hunting.

In 1066 King Harold and most of the Anglo-Saxon army had been killed
at the battle of Hastings and Duke William became King of England. He
decided to make the old English nobles give up some of their land to
make more room for his supporters who had been Promised land for
helping him. Through doing this William could make sure that no nobles
would be too powerful thus, able to overthrow him. He did not just
give his land away but rewarded his supporters for performing duties
for him. This system of duties and rewards was called 'The feudal
system'. He encouraged his barons to build castles at strategic points
all over the country so that he could keep a close watchful eye on
every Saxon town and village and to protect himself as he was not a
popular man after conquering England.

Kenilworth, however, was built by his 2nd son Henry I. He handed the
land over to his chamberlain Geoffrey De Clinton who built the castle
for him. It was built extremely close to Warwick castle, 5km away to
be exact, where Henry De Newburgh, a strong noble had residence. The
castle being built so near to Warwick was very unusual. We can only
wonder weather the purpose of building Kenilworth so close to Warwick
castle was to possibly deter Henry as well as it being a secure base
in the centre of England.

Kenilworth castle's natural features had many strengths and
weaknesses. Kenilworth castle is in the centre of England near to all
main routes, although far away from any large towns which meant the
risk of attack was small. Although this meant there was more farming
area, they were slightly disadvantaged as there were not many men
around to help with the building and maintenance of the castle and to
help if the castle was under attack.

Kenilworthstands on a naturally strong position as it was built 270
feet above sea level. With it being a great deal higher than
surrounding land the castles occupiers were of great advantage as they

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