Medieval Watermill at the Brays, Kenilworth Castle
The site of a watermill at the Brays, Kenilworth Castle, for which there is documentary evidence from the Medieval to the Post Medieval period. Remains of the watermill are still visible as earthworks. The location is at the southern end of the castle.
1 There was a mill attached to the Castle in 1296. This was on the Finham Brook and its bays, or pond-head, apparently gave the name of ‘the Bayes’ (later ‘Brays’) to the S outworks of the castle defences. In 1361 the manor had two mills, the second being about half a mile to the S on a tributary of the Finham Brook (PRN 3208).
3 The estate map of 1692 depicts an artificial channel on the S side of the Castle lake or Mere (PRN 3225) and taken from the Inchford Brook. The channel is still visible in places, particularly nearer the Brays where the cutting is over 2m deep. It skirted round the Brays, where the estate map shows an area of ponding back, presumably held by a dam, as there is a drop of about 6m even to this day. A building is marked here, and there can be little doubt that this was a mill. A wall remains to this day. These works are probably of a date late in the history of the castle. Tradition asserts that there was another mill W of the buildings marked on the estate map.
4 A watching brief at the Brays found evidence of ditches that formed part of the moat surrounding the Brays, banks that correspond with the extant earthworks, a sandstone wall that may be related to flood or water control either for the Mere or the Brays area and finally a sandstone bank that has been suggested was a ramp used for the transportation of sandstone blocks from the quarries to the castle.