Medieval Defences for Dam at Kenilworth Castle

Description of this historic site

An earthwork bank, topped by circular mounds, and ditches, which were created during the Medieval period. They were created as defences against an attack on the Medieval dam associated with Kenilworth Mere. They are located 500m south west of Kenilworth Castle.

Notes about this historic site

1 The great dam (PRN 5379) and its sluice were considered to be so important to the defence of the castle, that further earthworks were constructed beyond in order to ensure their safety in time of attack. A small tongue of land lying between the S side of the lake and a small watercourse was scarped into a crescent and defended by an artificial bank some 6.1m high and 6.1m broad. On top of this earthwork circular mounds, the largest 12.2m in diameter, were erected at intervals. It is possible that mangonels were erected on these mounds for defensive purposes. In front of the bank is a ditch 12.2m deep and 30m wide, which was filled with water. Near the centre are the remains of two circular stone bastions which guarded the main entrance to the castle.
2 These earthworks were probably constructed in the mid 13th century by Simon de Montfort.
3 Scheduled as Warwickshire Monument No 1.
4 Scheduling information.
5 Re-Sheduled in 1996 as Monument No 21576. External ditch was originally full of water drawn form the mere, controlled by a sluice. A second ditch is visible running E below the earthen dam at the S angle – thought to be the outlet channel for the water defences of the Brays. A 30m length of it has been Scheduled, the rest having been truncated by the building on Castle St. S and SW of the Brays is a further ditch running parallel to the external ditch before running E alongside the outlet channel. It was part of the Castle’s water management system controlling water levels within the mere. The stone bastions were probably the facade of an elaborate entranceway built by Robert Dudley for one of Elizabeth’s three visits.

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