Wedgnock Park and the Banquet That Never Was

Wedgnock Park Farm. Wedgnock Park itself no longer exists, its expanses mostly covered over.
Photo by Benjamin Earl.

Elizabeth’s visit to Kenilworth Castle in 1575 has been well documented, and indeed forms the basis of an article on this site. During the Queen’s lengthy stay there was the intention for Elizabeth to visit Wedgnock Park and banquet there, outdoors.

Aborted plans

The Letter… attributed to Robert Langham (catchily entitled in full A letter: wherein part of the entertainment unto the Queen’s Majesty at Killingworth Castle in Warwickshire in this summer’s progress, 1575, is signified; from a friend officer attendant in the court, unto his friend a citizen and merchant of London) offers an account of the preparation beforehand. A pavilion and provisions were sent on ahead and made ready, whilst there was talk of “a device of goddesses and nymphs” that, coupled with the fine standard of the writing, “would undoubtedly have gained great liking and moved no less delight.” However, Langham reports that this was cancelled due to the weather.

A scandalous cancellation?

The tone of Langham’s account changes dramatically, and there is mention of a serious talk that the Royal household will remove itself entirely from Kenilworth. It has been suggested that the reason for the banquet’s cancellation was in actual fact due to the Queen’s reaction on discovering the nature of Robert Dudley’s relationship with Lettice Knollys (see Kuin 1983). Whatever the reason, however, Wedgnock Park stands as a rare chronicle, that of an event that never occurred.

The full text of the Langham letter can be read here:

For further reading see Kuin, R.J.P. Robert Langham: A letter. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1983.

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