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Historic England Research Records

The Pleasance

Hob Uid: 333868
Location :
Warwickshire
Warwick
Kenilworth
Grid Ref : SP2675472492
Summary : 'The Pleasance in the Marsh', the moated manor house built for Henry V in circa 1414, is situated approximately 800 metres north-west of Kenilworth Castle. It was constructed at the edge of the Great Mere - an artificial lake which formed part of the defences of the castle. A 15th century source indicates that the moated site was laid out in an area of reclaimed waste ground, from which the site derives its name: 'le plesans en marais'. It was primarily a pleasure garden and place of entertainment, and was used in preference to the castle's state apartments.The moated site measures 200 metres by 180 metres and includes an inner and outer moat. A break in the western corner of the external bank is thought to mark the site of an inlet channel for the moats. The area between the two moats has a levelled surface and would have originally functioned as a terraced walkway. The Pleasance was originally approached by boat from the castle across the mere. At the south-east edge of the site are the earthwork remains of a channel, on either side of which is a raised platform, thought to be remains of a harbour or basin and landing stages to provide access to the site. There is no surface evidence for an original entrance to the moated island, thought to have been across the central part of the north-east arm. In this area, the terraced walkway is much narrower and may to mark the site of a bridge across the inner moat.The island contains an area of 1.2 hectares. Excavation at the eastern corner of the moated island uncovered the remains of a stone wall thought to have enclosed the island. The excavation also located the base of a spiral staircase and remains of square towers built within the enclosing wall. Documentary records indicate that the moated island was originally occupied by timber-framed buildings, including a banqueting hall. The Pleasance was abandoned during the reign of Henry VIII and the buildings were dismantled and re-erected within the castle.
More information : [SP 26757250] The Pleasance [G.T.]. (1)

About 1414, Henry V erected a pavilion on the other side of the great lake, over half a mile west of Kenilworth Castle. This was known as 'Le plesans en marys' from its marshy situation, and was used in preference to the state apartments by royalty during the 15th Cent. (2)

Excavated 1923. This medieval earthwork was built by Henry V c.1414 and apparently the area within the moat was surrounded by a stone wall, within which was a timber built banqueting-hall, dismantled by Henry VIII. At the present time all that remains of the earthwork is a square approx 100 yards each way, surrounded by a wide and partially double moat. At a slightly lower level is a long rectangular hollow, once a basin, connected by a canal to the Great Lake, where no doubt was the landing stage. (3)

Kenilworth. The Pleasaunce. Scheduled. (4)

The Pleasance or 'Pleasaunce en Marais' - a near square earthwork surrounded by a double moat, at present dry, and connected to the Kenilworth Great Pool by a basin. This earthwork is said to have contained a summer residence. (5)

An annotated 25" resurvey has been made. (6)

Site of buildings are identifiable within the Nat. Grid. refs. Further foundations exist towards the centre of the island. Revised survey of 4.5.61 amended. (7)

Additional bibliography with plan of enclosure showing site of buildings within the interior. (8)

Registered Park & Garden. (9)

New guidebook on Kenilworth Castle. (10)

Geophysical surveys were undertaken in 2004 by English Heritage to investigate the Pleasance. Anomalies likely to indicate the presence of structural remains were detected and it has thus been possible to identify the probable original and final sites of buildings that Henry VIII is recorded to have ordered to be removed from the Pleasance and reconstructed within the castle. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6' 1926.
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (J.H. Harvey).
Page(s) : 91-107
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 101, 1944
Source Number : 11
Source : Centre for Archaeology Report series
Source details : 'Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire. Report on geophysical surveys, June and July 2004', by N Linford, P Linford, and L Martin
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Vol(s) : 29/2005
Source Number : 3
Source : Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports
Source details : (W Murray Phelps)
Page(s) : 61-62
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 49, 1923
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : A.M. England & Wales, 1958, p.75. (M.O.W.)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 AC 23-APR-51
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 DS 04-MAY-61
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F3 BHS 11-APR-68
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Harvey J. 1981. Medieval Gardens, 106-107
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Source Number : 9
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Warwickshire
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Vol(s) : Part 42
Source Number : 10
Source : Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks)
Source details :
Page(s) : 44
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Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21557
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WA 2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Warwickshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 3218
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Register of Parks and Gardens Legacy No.
External Cross Reference Number : GD1472
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 27 SE 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 333875
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 333827
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1106832
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 333892
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 12451
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : THE PLEASANCE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1923-01-01
End Date : 1923-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 27 SE 11
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1951-04-23
End Date : 1951-04-23
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 27 SE 11
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-05-04
End Date : 1961-05-04
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 27 SE 11
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1968-04-11
End Date : 1968-04-11