HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Great Mere

Hob Uid: 333875
Location :
Warwickshire
Warwick
Kenilworth
Grid Ref : SP2731272012
Summary : The Great Mere, an artificial lake in the grounds of Kenilworth Castle. The mere protected the castle to the south and west, and was one of the largest medieval man-made water defences in Britain. A lake was originally created by Geoffrey de Clinton, and documentary sources from circa 1125 record that the canons of Kenilworth Priory were permitted to catch fish in his 'pool' on Thursdays. In about 1210 King John substantially enlarged the lake by damming local streams and this provided the water supply for the moat and a pool to the north and east of the castle. The mere covered an area 800 metres long and 150 metres wide, providing fish, wildfowl and the power for two water mills. The massive dam which retained the water in the mere runs south eastwards from the southern side of the outer court. In the 12th century a wall ran along the east side of the dam, and when it was enlarged in the 13th century, a wall was added to the west side in order to fortify the whole of the dam. During the late medieval period and the 16th century the mere became important as a decorative feature which enhanced the setting of the castle, with Arthurian themed entertainments. This was the setting for Henry V's 'Pleasance in the Marsh', or manor house, for his private entertainment. In the mid-16th century the northern end of the dam was further increased in order to make it suitable for tilting, a favourite aristocratic sporting pastime. The dam was breached in 1649 in order to drain the mere and prevent it being reflooded. Today the area is farmland.
More information : [Name SP 2730 7205] Kenilworth Great Pool [GT] (Site of) (1)

The Mere, or Great Pool was created by Geoffrey de Clinton, chamberlain to Henry I, or by his son and successor Geoffrey. It was 1/2 mile long and in places 500 ft. wide and was formed by damming the streams on the south and west of the castle. It also supplied the moat on the other two sides. The Mere was drained in 1649. (2)

Extent of the Great Pool.
[This is indicated by the absence of field names on the plan.] (3)

The probable boundary of the pool, based on Fish's survey and confirmed by perambulation, has been delineated. Part of an apparently associated scarp has been re-surveyed at 1/2,500 scale. (4)

Registered Park and Garden. (5)

A 10 metre wide sample section of the floor of the mere adjacent to the dam, together with the dam itself, are scheduled. (6)

The Great Mere, an artificial lake in the grounds of Kenilworth Castle. The mere protected the castle to the south and west, and was one of the largest medieval man-made water defences in Britain. A lake was originally created by Geoffrey de Clinton, and documentary sources from circa 1125 record that the canons of Kenilworth Priory were permitted to catch fish in his 'pool' on Thursdays. In about 1210 King John substantially enlarged the lake by damming local streams and this provided the water supply for the moat and a pool to the north and east of the castle. The mere covered an area 800 metres long and 150 metres wide, providing fish, wildfowl and the power for two water mills. The massive dam which retained the water in the mere runs south eastwards from the southern side of the outer court. In the 12th century a wall ran along the east side of the dam, and when it was enlarged in the 13th century, a wall was added to the west side in order to fortify the whole of the dam.
During the late medieval period and the 16th century the mere became important as a decorative feature which enhanced the setting of the castle, with Arthurian themed entertainments. This was the setting for Henry V's 'Pleasance in the Marsh', or manor house, for his private entertainment. In the mid-16th century the northern end of the dam was further increased in order to make it suitable for tilting, a favourite aristocratic sporting pastime. The dam was breached in 1649 in order to drain the mere and prevent it being reflooded. Today the area is farmland. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1923-38.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Warwick: volume six: Knightlow Hundred
Source details :
Page(s) : 135-137
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : James Fish. 1692. Survey of Kenilworth
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JR 28-APR-61
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Warwickshire
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Part 42
Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Warwick, 04-JAN-1996
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks)
Source details :
Page(s) : 43-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1209
Monument Start Date : 1125
Monument Type : Lake, Wall, Dam
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Enlarged in 1210
Monument End Date : 1210
Monument Start Date : 1210
Monument Type : Lake, Watermill
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Breached in 1649
Monument End Date : 1649
Monument Start Date : 1649
Monument Type : Lake
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Increased mid C16th
Monument End Date : 1566
Monument Start Date : 1533
Monument Type : Lake, Dam, Wall, Tiltyard
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Register of Parks and Gardens Legacy No.
External Cross Reference Number : GD1472
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21576
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Warwickshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 3225
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 27 SE 12
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 333827
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1527846
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1527870
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1106832
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 333868
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 333892
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 27 SE 12
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-04-28
End Date : 1961-04-28
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE MERE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE MERE
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE MERE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE: THE GALLERY TOWER
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31