Kenilworth: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 52°20′28″N 1°33′58″W / 52.341°N 1.566°W / 52.341; -1.566

Ken clock 12g06.JPG
Kenilworth Clock on Warwick Road
Kenilworth is located in Warwickshire

 Kenilworth shown within Warwickshire
Population 22,582 (2001)
OS grid reference SP295715
Parish Kenilworth
District Warwick
Shire county Warwickshire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CV8
Dialling code 01926
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Rugby and Kenilworth
Website Kenilworth town website
List of places: UK • England • Warwickshire

Kenilworth is a town in central Warwickshire, England.[1] In 2001 the town had a population of 22,582 (24,000 est.2006). It is situated 6 miles (10 km) south of Coventry, 6 miles (10 km) north of Warwick and 90 miles (140 km) northwest of London.



Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth is perhaps best known for Kenilworth Castle, although other significant local landmarks include Kenilworth Clock, Abbey Fields park and St Nicholas' Church. A settlement has existed at Kenilworth since at least the time of the Domesday Book – the book refers to Kenilworth as Chinewrde. However, the main development of the town occurred to serve Kenilworth Castle and St Mary's Abbey. The original development by Geoffrey de Clinton II in 1140 being along what is now Warwick Road,[citation needed] from the present St John's church to the clock tower. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey grounds, adjacent to the castle, were designated as common land, in exchange for the common land used for expansion of the castle by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Only a few walls and a storage barn of the original abbey now exist.

The first potato grown in England, brought back from South America by Sir Walter Raleigh, is thought to have been planted in the Little Virginia area of the town, near the castle.[citation needed]

Just off the Coventry Road in Kenilworth is a field known as 'The Parliament Piece'. It is traditionally said to be the site where Henry III held a Parliament in August 1266, while his troops besieged Kenilworth Castle, where the late Simon de Montfort's followers, led by Henry de Hastings, were still holding out against the King's forces. This Parliament led to the Dictum of Kenilworth a settlement that offered the rebels a way of recovering the lands that the Crown had seized from them. One copy of the Dictum is endorsed "in castris apud Kenilworth" - in the camp at Kenilworth. Members of the public have free access to Parliament Piece, which is owned by the Open Spaces Society and leased by Warwick District Council.

Queen Elizabeth visited Robert Dudley at Kenilworth Castle several times, the last of which was in 1575. Dudley entertained the Queen with pageants and banquets that cost some £1,000 per day, presenting diversions and pageants surpassing anything ever before seen in England.[2][3]

The Council own and manage land across the Coventry Road at Tainter's Hill. This area of public open space was designated "for the poor of the parish" under the 1756 enclosure acts and is now registered as common land. Around this time in 1778 the town's corn mill was built later to become the towns water tower. It still stands today as a residential property, albeit minus the sails.

The arrival of the railways in 1844 brought industrialists from Birmingham and Coventry who developed the residential area around the town's railway station. In the nineteenth century the town had some fine large mansions with landscaped gardens; these were demolished after the First World War and the Second World War for housing developments. The names of these mansions still survive in the names of some roads and areas of the town (for example, Towers Close, built upon the grounds of Rouncil Towers) and some large trees from their grounds still survive (for example sequoiadendrons from The Moorlands and Rouncil Towers). The original railway station (1844) was partially rebuilt as the Kings Arms and Castle public house (later called Drummonds) when the new station was built in 1883. Drummonds was redeveloped during 2007 and now houses a restaurant chain. The building's hallmark pillars have been retained on its Warwick Road frontage.

The railways also boosted Kenilworth's market gardening. There were reputedly 40 nurseries growing market garden produce in Kenilworth and all have now been used for housing developments (the last nursery, Guests Nursery, was developed as 23 houses in 2002). The railway transported the produce to London where Kenilworth tomatoes had a reputation for quality[citation needed] The Victorian period saw a large expansion of the town to the West of Abbey Fields and in the land surrounding Warwick Road. Most of the buildings along Warwick Road date from this period and later[citation needed] although a few cottages still exist.

The former mansion on Forrest Road still stands, built around 1901. It is believed that a William Forrest bought the surrounding land, except that of the terrace to the north of Abbey End, and built the house, either for himself or for his family. The house was split into three separate residential lots in the 1970s, the main part of the house forming 'Hillcrest', the west wing of the house with the main grand staircase and gardens forming 'Max Gate', and the billiards room forming the bungalow 'South Brent'. The former landscaped gardens to the east and west of the property have been built on for residential purposes, but the south and north gardens still belong to the house. Some main features have been lost during the transition internally, but externally the house still keeps it's grand bay windows, tiled walls, high chimney stacks and other features, which can be seen in the new flats, Mulberry Court on Abbey End. The house is still the most prominent house on the road, and perhaps the most imposing house overlooking Abbey Fields, or maybe even in the whole of Kenilworth. Warwick Road is now the main commercial centre of the town[citation needed]

Most of the older existing buildings of Kenilworth are on Castle Green, New Row, and the High Street (formerly Alta Strata, meaning the high dry ground above the Abbey). The High Street boasts many of the older buildings in Kenilworth, with long established shops. These include Fieldgate Post Office/General Store, which was recently one of the post offices saved from closure due to popular appeal and local support and is now under new ownership, a Loch Fyne Resturant, the Old Bakery and Beck's Butchers. Sir Walter Scott stayed in the Virgins and Castle on High Street when he wrote Kenilworth The age of these buildings make it appear that this is the original settlement, but in fact this is simply the oldest existing part of the town. The original settlement along the present day Warwick Road having been subject to continuous redevelopment since the 12th century and now retains little of the original town. Many of the houses around Castle Green are made of stone salvaged when the castle walls were torn down after the English Civil War.

On 2 December 2008 Radio Abbey Kenilworth's first radio station was launched.

Modern Kenilworth

Warwick Road on the B4103, the main road through Kenilworth, pictured near St. John's Church.

Modern Kenilworth is frequently regarded as a dormitory town for commuters to Coventry, Birmingham and Leamington Spa. Despite its proximity to the University of Warwick on Coventry's southern outskirts, it has only a small student population of mostly postgraduate students, although many staff at the university choose to live in Kenilworth. The town has good transport links – the Birmingham International Airport, and M6, M42 and M40 motorways are within 16 km (10 miles) of central Kenilworth.

The town's railway station, actually an attractive building in its heyday, was situated on the Coventry to Leamington line of the former London and North Western Railway, later part of the LMS, but the line closed to passengers in January 1965 as part of the Beeching rail cuts. In May 1977 however it reopened, but Kenilworth station remained shut, falling into a derelict state before eventual demolition. Plans have now been put forward for the building of a new station. In the meantime there is a regular bus service to Coventry and Leamington railway stations, and Warwick Parkway railway station is less than 10 minutes' drive away on the A46 bypass (which was built in June 1974).

The town is currently undergoing a significant facelift as its central retail shopping areas in and around Talisman Square are modernised. The new scheme boasts increased shop sizes, contemporary looks rivalling neighbouring cities and towns and a new Waitrose supermarket which opened in summer 2008. There are also plans to renovate the existing library buildings. The town's old youth centre was demolished in 2007 to make way for the new supermarket, and a new one was built.

Local debates continue about the expansion of Coventry Airport and the need for a new railway station.

In the early 1980s, the town's name was briefly enhanced by one of the first generation of computer retailers, a company called Kenilworth Computers based near the Clock Tower, when it released a version of the Nascom microcomputer with the selling point that it was robust enough to be used in an agricultural environment.

Radio Abbey is Kenilworth's first and only radio station and was made by local children for the Kenilworth and Warwickshire area with help from Kenilworth youth centre manager Andy Norman. The station is located in Kenilworth's new youth centre.[4]



The town is unusually well served with active theatres. The 156-seat Talisman Theatre in Barrow Road was set up as the Talisman Players in 1943. It moved to its current site in 1963 and has recently had a run of national recognition with the award of 5 NODA awards between 2000 and 2010.[5] The 120-seat Priory Theatre on Rosemary Hill was refurbished in 1976 after a fire. Its alumni include the actor Dave Willetts.[6]

Kenilworth Festival

In 2005, the the town's first major festival, dubbed "Kenilworth Festival"[7], last held 70 years ago, was revived.[8] The first year was a big success, but attendance dropped off the following year and doubts were raised about the festival's longevity. [8] As a result, no festival was held in 2007. The Rotary Club of Kenilworth then sponsored a revival of the Festival, which returned in 2008 and was successful. In May 2009, the Festival was an even greater success and 2010 is promised to be "bigger and better" than ever, lasting the whole week including two weekends 8th to 16th May 2010..[9]

Two Castles Run

The Two Castles Run began in 1983 as a fun run between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle. Since then it has grown into an officially licensed run, and attracted 3000 entrants in 2009. It now takes the status of the Warwickshire Amateur Athletic 10 Kilometre Championship. The race is organised by the Rotary Club of Kenilworth [10] in conjunction with the Leamington Cycling and Athletic Club[11], and takes place in June each year.[12]


St John's, Whitemoor, Windy Arbour, Ladyes Hill, Crackley, Castle End, Burton Green, Abbey End, Knights Meadow

Town twinning

Kenilworth participates in town twinning with the following places:

Kenilworth has friendship links with:


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kenilworth is an attractive historical town in the English county of Warwickshire. Kenilworth grew up around the now-ruined castle that forms striking centrepiece to the town, notable for being the seat of power of revolutionary baron Simon de Montfort.

Get in

By car

A well-signposted exit from the A46 between Warwick and Coventry takes you onto the A452, a grand designation for a busy, windy road that makes its way through the town centre. The A452 is the main road north out of town for travellers heading from Leamington

By bus

Kenilworth is fairly well served by local buses, particularly from the nearby Leamington and Warwick

  • Kenilworth Castle, Castle Green, tel 01926 852078, fax 01926 851514, [1]. Open 1 November–28 February 10am-4pm, 1 March-31 August 10am-5pm, closed 24-26 December and 1 January, last admission 30 mins before closing time, admission adults £4.80, children £2.40, concessions £3.60, English Heritage members free, family ticket £12. One of the most impressive castle ruins in England

Get out

Take the bus to Warwick and visit Warwick Castle or to the spa town of Leamington

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

KENILWORTH, a market town in the Rugby parliamentary division of Warwickshire, England; pleasantly situated on a tributary of the Avon, on a branch of the London & NorthWestern railway, 99 m. N.W. from London. Pop. of urban district (1901), 4544 The town is only of importance from its antiquarian interest and the magnificent ruins of its old castle. The walls originally enclosed an area of 7 acres. The principal portions of the building remaining are the gatehouse, now used as a dwelling-house; Caesar's tower, the only portion built by Geoffrey de Clinton now extant, with massive walls 16 ft. thick; the Merwyn's tower of Scott's Kenilworth; the great hall built by John of Gaunt with windows of very beautiful design; and the Leicester buildings, which are in a very ruinous condition. Not far from the castle are the remains of an Augustinian monastery founded in 1122, and afterwards made an abbey. Adjoining the abbey is the parish church of St Nicholas, restored in 1865, a structure of mixed architecture, containing a fine Norman doorway, which is supposed to have been the entrance of the former abbey church.

Kenilworth (Chinewrde, Kenillewurda, Kinelingworthe, Kenilord, Killingworth) is said to have been a member of Stoneleigh before the Norman Conquest and a possession of the Saxon kings, whose royal residence there was destroyed in the wars between Edward and Canute. The town was granted by Henry I. to Geoffrey de Clinton, a Norman who built the castle round which the whole history of Kenilworth centres. He also founded a monastery here about 1122. Geoffrey's grandson released his right to King John, and the castle remained with the crown until Henry III. granted it to Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. The famous "Dictum de Kenilworth" was proclaimed here in 1266. After the battle of Evesham the rebel forces rallied at the castle, which, after a siege of six months, was surrendered by Henry de Hastings, the governor, on account of the scarceness of food and of the "pestilent disease" which raged there. The king then granted it to his son Edmund. Through John of Gaunt it came to Henry IV. and was granted by Elizabeth in 1562 to Robert Dudley, afterwards earl of Leicester, but on his death in 1588 again merged in the possessions of the Crown. The earl spent large sums on restoring the castle and grounds, and here in July 1575 he entertained Queen Elizabeth at "excessive cost," as described in Scott's Kenilworth. On the queen's first entry "a small floating island illuminated by a great variety of torches. .. made its appearance upon the lake," upon which, clad in silks, were the Lady of the Lake and two nymphs waiting on her, and for the several days of her stay "rare shews and sports were there exercised." During the civil wars the castle was dismantled by the soldiers of Cromwell and was from that time abandoned to decay. The only mention of Kenilworth as a borough occurs in a charter of Henry I. to Geoffrey de Clinton and in the charters of Henry I. and Henry II. to the church of St Mary of Kenilworth confirming the grant of lands made by Geoffrey to this church, and mentioning that he kept the land in which his castle was situated and also land for making his borough, park and fishpond. The town possesses large tanneries.

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