Promoting the heritage, history and archaeology of the Kenilworth area.
The Articles section includes a ‘From the Archives’ feature bringing to light past articles from the annual Kenilworth History publication, one-off pieces like the appeal for information on the stolen mediaeval carved heads from the Abbey and a regular ‘Myth Busters’ feature.
As we reported recently, for a number of years a KHAS member has been researching and creating a virtual 3D model of Kenilworth Castle as it might have been in 1645. Here is another preview of his model, this time a video time focusing on Leicester’s Stables:
This recreation is based on archaeological survey reports, English Heritage plans and elevations, and the building fabric now standing. However, many details remain unknown or unclear, particularly because the building has been repurposed and also substantially repaired over the years. New brick buttresses were added over a century ago, and more recently it was used as a tea shop and had two fireplaces with chimneys.
It is still generally accepted that there were two surface drains the length of the building, even though (as shown) every horse would then be partly standing in a drain! – so the drains would have to be covered with gratings. The location and extent of upper level flooring is also unknown, as is whether rain water from the roof was used to augment the adjacent well/cistern, or whether or how the drains ultimately connected to the drain known to run under the Water Tower.
This Leicester’s Stables 3D video, his original Abbey of St Mary 3D model and other KHAS videos can be found here: www.khas.co.uk/khas-videos/
The Abbey Gatehouse, sometimes known as the Tantara gatehouse, is one of the few surviving parts of the Abbey to still exist above ground and has the added distinction of being one of the oldest structures in Kenilworth apart from the castle and parts of St Nicholas’ church. Work has been carried out in recent years to keep the gatehouse watertight and protect it from the damage caused by people climbing on it and vegetation seeding in the gaps between the stones.
The Harry Sunley Memorial Project was set up some time ago with the object of preserving the gatehouse and making it safe and accessible to the public. Kenilworth Abbey Advisory Committee took up the Project and worked hard to bring it to fruition. It has been a long journey for the volunteers who have spent many hours in meetings, writing letters and cataloguing the dressed stones that were kept in the building and subsequently moving them for storage elsewhere.
At last our efforts were rewarded. In December 2016 Scheduled Monument consent was received from Historic England for the proposed work. In January 2017 Kenilworth Abbey Advisory Committee met with the architect, Jonathan Holland, and agreed a schedule for the work. Further meetings, with Warwick District Council Officers, set out the timetable for beginning the tendering process, clearing the buildings and installing a mezzanine platform in the north chamber and an oak, octagonal display cabinet in the south chamber. It is possible that this first phase of the work might be completed by early summer 2017.
A second phase will look at the provision of lighting to the gatehouse. Plans are also being developed to replace the door and windows and ensuring that the flooring is safe for visitors. All of the work will conform to the stringent conditions set by Historic England and Warwick District Council and the need to conserve this ancient structure for future generations.
The picture above is an engraving of the gatehouse as it appeared in the late eighteenth century. You will notice the chimneys that are visible on the top left of the picture indicating that the building was inhabited at this time. So far our research has not uncovered anything about the lives of the people living in the gatehouse after the dissolution of the Abbey in the sixteenth century. It is, for the present time, a mystery. If any of our readers has any ideas about how to solve this mystery please contact the KHAS website: KHAS Website email address
If you wish to contribute to the Harry Sunley Memorial project to make the Tantara Gatehouse accessible to visitors, a donation form can be found here: The Harry Sunley Memorial project
For a number of years a KHAS member has been researching and creating a virtual 3D model of Kenilworth Castle as it might have been in 1645. Here are some preview images of the current model.
Firstly, a view of the whole castle site from the direction of The Brayes:
The next image is of the inner bailey from the direction of The Water Tower:
This image shows The Keep taken from above the roof of the state apartments:
The last image is a view from the minstrel’s gallery in the Great Hall:
This model is still a work in progress at present and will no doubt spark some debates on the details. The model is being produced by the same KHAS member who produced the 3D model of The Abbey of St Mary, Kenilworth which can be seen here. We await its completion with anticipation!
14th March – there is a change of speaker and Nic Fulcher, of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, will be speaking to us on “The New Place Project”.
13th June – it has been clarified that speaker David Snowden is visiting us from the Simon de Montfort Society.
11th July – Members only evening at castle – we have had to change the date of this. It will now take place on Monday 25th July.
August – at the Committee meeting we decided not to have an August outing this year this has been changed to ‘no meeting’
As you know, the monthly Newsletter has been circulated in pdf form after each meeting. From the March issue onwards it is proposed to make it available on our new website instead, via the following link: www.khas.co.uk/category/news-letter. We trust that you will find this more convenient than having a bulky file arriving in your Inbox, especially if you had already picked up a paper copy at the meeting.
We look forward to seeing you at the meeting on March 14th. The Treasurer will be pleased to receive any subscriptions that are outstanding.
Just to remind you that the Society will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Monday February 8th at 7.45pm in the Senior Citizens’ Club at Abbey End. This will be followed by a talk from Tom Garner entitled “The History of Photography.”
Members are also reminded that Annual Subscriptions fall due at the AGM, at a cost of £10 for individual members and £15 for couples. Anthony Manning will be pleased to receive subscriptions on Monday, either before or after the meeting.
These carved stone mediaeval heads were discovered during excavations at Kenilworth Priory. They were housed in the ‘Barn’ museum in the Abbey Fields, Kenilworth, from which they were stolen in December 1992. At the time of writing they are still missing.
Leamington Spa Police (+44 1926 451111) would be pleased to hear from anyone who can assist in locating their whereabouts. The associated crime number is SL/10826/92.
Please share this article using the buttons below to help spread the word.