Kenilworth Castle, England

kenilworth

Kenilworth Castle, England.

The castle was the subject of the six-month long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266, believed to be the longest siege in English history, and is one of the finest examples of a royal palace in the Middle Ages. Construction began in the early 1100s, but it continued on for centuries, via the Normans and the Tudors. In fact, the British queen, that infamous Elizabeth I, visited it many times.  Owner Robert, Earl of Leicester, was deeply in love with Elizabeth (or just her money and power perhaps) and spent thousands of pounds on the estate. He built a new garden because Elizabeth complained about the lack of a view.  He entertained 31 barons and 400 staff from her court during her final (and longest ever) visit.  There were pageants, fireworks, bear-baiting, mystery plays, hunting and lavish banquets. She never married him, and he died in debt. Sadly, Colonel Joseph Hawkesworth “slighted” or deliberately destroyed Kenilworth in the 17th century based on political affiliations. It was stripped, turned into a farm, and largely forgotten about until Sir Walter Scott wrote Kenilworth, immortalizing it in Victorian literature. Today, the mostly-ruined castle is a popular tourist destination, and even with the signs that kindly ask visitors not to climb on the walls…well, sometimes one cannot resist.

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