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Day 6 of the Discover the Tudors Tour

Posted By on September 21, 2018

After another yummy breakfast the Arden Hotel’s veggie cooked breakfast is delicious, by the way – we headed off to spend the morning at Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle dates back to the 12th century, but for us Tudor history lovers it’s the link with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, that gets us excited. Leicester, who was of course Elizabeth I’s good friend and favourite, and, I believe, the love of her life, was granted the castle in 1563. In 1575, the Queen visited Kenilworth Castle for 19 days, the longest visit she made to any courtier, and Leicester made many changes to the castle in anticipation of her visit, including creating a chase, building a gatehouse and bridge over the mere, building a four-storey block of state apartments, and creating a beautiful privy garden. He also commissioned special entertainments for the queen in a last-ditch attempt to woo her.

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4 thoughts on “Day 6 of the Discover the Tudors Tour”

  1. Christine says:

    I have never visited Kenilworth but I’m wondering is it anywhere near Warwick Castle which is in the same county, does anyone know? I have visited the later which is very beautiful but i would love to walk amongst the ruins of Kenilworth, I know Queen Elizabeth gave it to her favourite the Earl of Leicester and he entertained her with wonderful displays of showmanship and banquets, fit for a queen, and for one whom many believed was his lover, the ruins of Kenilworth are carefully preserved but I think it’s a shame that she no longer contains the beauty she once had, I enjoyed looking at the photos and especially the armour of King Henry 11 and King Richard 111, their portraits stand side by side to show the world that these two kings forged Englands destiny, today Kenilworth stands as a testimony to a past that’s long gone, where a handsome gallant wooed a queen and Knights jousted, Kenilworth is forever linked to the strange love story of Elizabeth and Leicester and makes one wonder – were they really lovers in the physical sense? Like many questions in history it’s one we will never know.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Yes, Kenilworth and Warwick Castles are not too far from each other, both in the same part of Warwickshire, both mighty strongholds in their day, as Warwick still is, both regal houses and both important in the National History. We meant to go to both in June but we were a bit too far and it was too hot. We have booked for a closer hotel in May as I want to go to Warwick on a tournament weekend. Kenilworth has had its moments in the Middle Ages, Isabella the Fair and Edward ii and Queen Philippa made it her favourite residence.

      The connection to Elizabeth I and the love of her life, Robert Dudley as Earl of Leicester ( it is the traditional main Seat of the Earls of Leicester from the time of Simon de Montfort and ) was one that led to a fabulous visit by the Queen that lasted nine days. There was a famous and very expensive fireworks display made with very large fireworks. There was of course much feasting and jousting and dancing and as Claire says in her article he was trying to woo her one last time. BBC Four did a special documentary to recreate the fireworks and feast and made them from the traditional Tudor ingredients and powder. Dressed in Tudor costume guests gathered to watch a modern reconstruction of the display. It was very exhilarating to watch.

      What a very busy day, Kenilworth and Bosworth. Bosworth is in Leicestershire, a few miles from Market Bosworth and Darlington and down the road from Sutton Cheney. The centre is very well worth a visit and I love the pictures of King Richard iii and Henry, Earl of Richmond side by side. I had mine taken with Richard, sword raised. There is an interactive skeleton and of course the gilt boar badge found at the opposite side of the battlefield to Ambion Hill, in the spot close to the end of the battle. Several shot was also found from the small canon both sides fired. There is an impressive weapons collection and the story of Bosworth. Most weekends there is a soldiers camp and guided battlefield walk although you can walk around the vast expanse of paths and field trails at any time. Although the immediate site is two to three miles, the entire site, including the new site from 2015 and more recently Fern Farm as the exact site of Richard’s death takes up seven miles. There is a campaign at the moment to stop some kind of motor testing ground being built on part of it. The Council meets again to make a decision on 25th September and there is a petition at change.org. There is also a well at which Richard drank on the morning of the battle and two flags mark the start of the Battle on Ambion Hill. There are information boards all along the trail, a well stocked bookshop, children’s activities, bird of prey displays, a large barn cafe, and if you are in the area longer, you can see Mervale Abbey were Henry Tudor met William Stanley and Henry Viii and Queen Katherine visited in 1515. There is the Battlefield Church at Daddlington were most of the dead were buried and which was granted a Chantry Chapel. There is also Saint James at Sutton Cheney were legend has it that Richard heard Mass the night before, although it is unlikely as he would have had his own priests. He may have visited here though and on 21st August there is a Commemorative Service. There is also Stoke Goulding which is the location of Crown Hill where Henry was crowned by Lord Stanley after the Battle as Henry Vii. The locals climbed up onto the Church roof to watch the Battle. Henry dated his reign from the day before making it treason to fight against him. There is also Leicester 20 miles away, where Richard is buried and the King Richard iii Centre, both worth visiting.

      Claire, thanks again for sharing your lovely photos and articles.

      1. Christine says:

        Thanks Bq, yes I agree this summer was way too hot to visit anywhere, we are supposed to be heading for a dreadful freezing cold winter as well, Warwick is a pretty building, like something out of a storybook and they have a re enactment of the grisly murder of one of its previous owners in his bedchamber, where his murder took place, it also has a tableau of wax figures re enacting a weekend house party from the early Edwardian period, Winston Churchill is one of the guests and it was also the first ancient building in Britain to have electric lighting installed, you can visit the gruesome dungeons and they have armoury on display, it was a very hot day when I visited and was glad to cool of in the castle, I hope you get the opportunity to visit one day, Belvoir Castle is lovely to, and they had a re enactment of a medieval joust when I visited and if possible if you haven’t already, try to see Leeds Castle that is spectacular they have an annual balloon festival there, my mums old boss had a balloon and it was used in the festival, I think we are lucky we have got these lovely old buildings to visit, the upkeep of them is of course enormous.

  2. Christine says:

    Bah, meant King Henry V11, my apologies.

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