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Sunday 7 April 2024

An Englishman's Visit is a Castle.

 The wind kept up through the night but didn't disturb us at all after our long day, We had decided that we would have a sightseeing day and headed off to catch a bus to Kenilworth around 10.

I noticed this ghost sign close by the canal bridge on the way into Leamington. Checking up it says Nestles Milk Richest in Cream and that slogan was used around 1900!?

There is a bus every 30 mins to Kenilworth and then on to Coventry that you can catch on the Parade. It only takes 15 mins to Kenilworth and then a 15 min walk from the bus stop. Free for us oldies too, but £2 each way for others. We wondered if the bus would come to the stop as it was the Leamington 10km run through the parks and across the bottom of the Parade, by the pump room, meaning the road was closed.

The castle is in ruins since the Civil War when it was deliberately ruined to prevent it being used in any rising. It was called 'Slighting'. This is the Great Tower and was built between 1150 and 1250, first by Geoffrey de Clinton and King John

Leicester's Gatehouse. This was built in 1771/72 by Robert Dudley who was once having ideas of marrying Queen Elizabeth as they had known each other since childhood. Dudley remained a favourite of Dudley. She gave Robert Kenilworth and the title Lord of Leicester and his brother Ambrose became Lord of Warwick and with the castle thrown in. The previous generation had been beheaded for treason! As a favourite of the Queen's he was rarely away from her side and when she made her Royal progresses around the country he went with her. This building was built as a grand entrance for when she arrived at the castle. It was lived in up to the mid 1930's when it was finally given to the State.

On thre marble fireplace can be seen the RL for Robert Leicester and their family motto 'Droit  and Loyal'. 'Just and Loyal'. There were three floors of exhibitions regarding the people that owned the castle.

Queen Elizabeth stayed at the castle four times and this garden was laid out for her. It is called the Privy Garden not that it has a loo there but as it was private and for her use only. The marble statue/fountain dates from that time too.

This is the Great Hall was built by John of Gaunt. at the bottom are the service cellars. The floor line is evident by the greenery. The entrance is to the left that there are the great windows bring loads of light in. Just to right of centre can be seen a large fireplace with a blank wall above to show off a large tapestry to the right is a large bay window. Between the two large windows is a large slot that would have taken the extremely heavy roof truss. There are two others to the right of this.

This is the Leicester's building in 1571/72, at the same time as his gatehouse, to provide the best accommodation for the Queen's visit, The top floor had a large private gallery with views from large windows over the courtyard and the mere towards the Chase, as well as a royal lady in waiting's bedroom. The floor below had a withdrawing room and an inner chamber along with the Queens Bedroom. The lower floors were lodgings for the other ladies in waiting

These are the stables built by John Dudley in 1553. The right hand side is now an exhibition space, and to the left is the tea room.

We spent nearly three hours here as there are plenty of exhibitions and sign boards to read. There is room for kids to run about and stairs to climb the walls etc. Today was a little windy so they had closed some of the higher spots. However it is great to imaging the layout and what places were used for. It has been through a fair bit of history and if it hadn't been for the Civil War it could well have been one of our great houses of today.

It was bought in the end by Sir John Siddeley in 1937who was knighted the same year. He had started making bicycles and then moved into motor cars as Armstrong Siddeley. Then he went on to make aero engines and in 1935 sold up and company became Hawker Siddeley, that made engines for the Hurricane plane of WWII. With giving the castle to the Minister of Works he had repaired the castle and also gave a large sum for its upkeep. In 1958 his son gave it to the town of Kenilworth and it is still owned by the Town Council. In 1984 English Heritage took over the care of the castle as the successor of the Ministry of Works.

It was a great visit and well worth the 15 mins travel on a bus and a further 15 mins walk, even on a blustery dull day. We got a discount as we are pensioners plus we used public transport which elicits a further discount. It is cheaper to book on liner, but that can only done up to the day before you visit.We had a couple of pints as we waited for the bus back to Leamington and I have promised Helen we will go out for tea too.


Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

Have you seen this

NB Holderness said...

Hi Both,
No I hadn't seen that so thanks for pointing it out. I see that although there are some in Leamington this Nestles Milk one is not one of them. I shall have to go through my posts and pick pout ones I have noticed previously around the cut and add them in, if not there all ready. The place I live has one that is noted too.

I hope you are both and enjoying your latest trip out. We have decided these wide locks are over rated!

Cheers for now, Tony and Helen.