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Historic England Research Records

Leicesters Gatehouse

Hob Uid: 1106472
Location :
Warwickshire
Warwick
Kenilworth
Grid Ref : SP2793272344
Summary : In 1571-2 Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester) erected a gatehouse at the northern end of the outer court of Kenilworth Castle. Leicester's Gatehouse formed an imposing approach from the main Coventry road and provided easier access to the castle's deer park to the west; and also to the east to Kenilworth parish church where Elizabeth I attended Sunday service in 1575. It is a two storeyed, rectangular sandstone building with octagonal corner turrets and mullioned and transomed windows. Originally it would have straddled the medieval curtain wall (removed in 1650), and featured an entrance passage wide enough for carriages at ground level and two floors of lodgings above. It was built in the tradition of a medieval gatehouse, perpetuated in the Tudor period, although not for defensive purposes. The style is similar to that of Leicester's Building, suggesting they were built at approximately the same time.In the 1650s, following the Civil War, it was converted into a substantial private residence under the ownership of Colonel Hawkesworth, who also built a domestic extension on the east side to provide a kitchen and additional accommodation. He blocked the passage to create a ground floor and basement, and the west porch was added as a new entrance. These modifications were built reusing demolished parts of Leicester's other buildings. Internally the building contains Elizabethan panelling and an alabaster fireplace (inscribed 'R L 1571'), relocated after 1650 and probably originally from the privy chamber. The roof structure was rebuilt in the mid-18th century. From 1958 the main room on the second floor was used as the council chamber of Kenilworth Town Council, and now houses an exhibition on Leicester and Elizabeth.
More information : Listed building. (1)

Guidebook. (2)

Within a Registered Park and Garden. (3)

Leicester's Gatehouse is not included in the scheduling of Kenilworth Castle, although the ground beneath the building is included. (4)

In 1571-2 Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester) erected a gatehouse at the northern end of the outer court of Kenilworth Castle. Leicester's Gatehouse formed an imposing approach from the main Coventry road and provided easier access to the castle's deer park to the west; and also to the east to Kenilworth parish church where Elizabeth I attended Sunday service in 1575. It is a two storeyed, rectangular sandstone building with octagonal corner turrets and mullioned and transomed windows. Originally it would have straddled the medieval curtain wall (removed in 1650), and featured an entrance passage wide enough for carriages at ground level and two floors of lodgings above. It was built in the tradition of a medieval gatehouse, perpetuated in the Tudor period, although not for defensive purposes. The style is similar to that of Leicester's Building, suggesting they were built at approximately the same time.
In the 1650s, following the Civil War, it was converted into a substantial private residence under the ownership of Colonel Hawkesworth, who also built a domestic extension on the east side to provide a kitchen and additional accommodation. He blocked the passage to create a ground floor and basement, and the west porch was added as a new entrance. These modifications were built reusing demolished parts of Leicester's other buildings. Internally the building contains Elizabethan panelling and an alabaster fireplace (inscribed 'R L 1571'), relocated after 1650 and probably originally from the privy chamber. The roof structure was rebuilt in the mid-18th century. From 1958 the main room on the second floor was used as the council chamber of Kenilworth Town Council, and now houses an exhibition on Leicester and Elizabeth. (5)

In 2004-5 tree-ring sampling and analysis was undertaken by English Heritage during renovations and repairs to the gatehouse. Samples were obtained from 115 different timbers in Leicester's Gatehouse. The Gatehouse contained a number of timbers which were probably felled in the third quarter of the 16th century, coinciding with Leicester's construction. The gatehouse was later re-roofed with timber felled in 1740-60. The portions of the building attributed to Colonel Hawkesworth's period contained a small amount of 16th century material, the majority of the timbers appear to have been felled in the later 14th century. This includes timbers from partition walls, the newel posts of the staircase, some of the timbers in the roof space, and possibly some oak panels (of Continental origin). Most of these timbers are reused. Some timbers were undated, most notably those of the stairs in the south-west turret of the gatehouse. (6)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Warwick 10/11/1971
Page(s) : 1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Kenilworth Castle [guide]
Source details :
Page(s) : 12
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
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 : 4
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Warwick, 04-JAN-1996
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks)
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Research Department Report Series
Source details : 'Leicester's Gatehouse, Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire: tree-ring analysis of timbers' by A Arnold, R Howard, and C Litton
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Aug-07

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Elizabethan
Display Date : Built between 1571-2
Monument End Date : 1572
Monument Start Date : 1571
Monument Type : Gatehouse, Royal Palace
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Converted into a residence
Monument End Date : 1650
Monument Start Date : 1650
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Used as council chamber
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1958
Monument Type : Local Government Office
Evidence : Extant Building, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Warwickshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 10357
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 307721
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 27 SE 45
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE: LEICESTER'S GATEHOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE: FIREPLACE, LEICESTER'S GATEHOUSE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE: LEICESTERS GATEHOUSE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : LEICESTER'S GATEHOUSE, KENILWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31