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Historic England Research Records

Kenilworth Castle Stables

Hob Uid: 1106480
Location :
Warwickshire
Warwick
Kenilworth
Grid Ref : SP2797272285
Summary : The stable block at Kenilworth Castle built by Robert Dudley's father, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in 1553. Both men were Masters of the Horse, John to Edward VI, and Robert to Elizabeth I. The stable block lies downhill from the gatehouse, and a stable is documented at the castle from at least the early 14th century. In a survey in 1563 it was described as 180 feet in length and 21 feet in breadth, with 30 rooms for the great horses and 20 for geldings. It was the fashion of the time to build grand stable buildings, and it was constructed of ashlar against the earlier curtain wall. It had a porch, windows, and two doorways to the north. The upper storey is timber-framed with decorative square panelling along the west face (restored in the 1970s), and may have been for storage and perhaps accommodation for grooms. The stable had an open roof inside with 11 bays which was restored in the 17th century reusing some of the 16th century timbers. From 1650 until the Victorian period it was used as a stable and a barn, as part of the farm established in the base court. The large south entrance was rebuilt in brick in the early 19th century. In the 1930s a restaurant operated in the southern half of the building. The Home Guard also practiced in the vicinity of the stable during the Second World War.
More information : Listed building. (1)

Scheduled. (2)

Guide book. An elaborate improvement to Kenilworth Castle by Robert Dudley [NOTE: revised guidebook now states it was in fact his father John that had the stables built in 1553] in the late 16th century was the construction of a stable block along the eastern side of the outer court. It is built against the outer curtain wall and overlies an earlier structure. The lower storey of the stables is of stone whilst the upper part is timber framed. The upper floors were occupied by palace servants, including grooms. (3)

Registred Park & Garden (4)

Forty unprovenanced timbers removed during repairs in the early 1980s to Lord Leicester's Stables, Kenilworth Castle were assessed for dendrochronological potential by English Heritage in 1997 prior to their disposal. Of these, 14 timbers with moderate to good ring counts were sectioned for future tree-ring analysis. Of these, six samples were found to date, with two originating from the same tree. At least two phases of construction were identified, the earliest consisting of three trees producing termini post quem dates of after AD 1479, after AD 1531, and after AD 1539. These may relate to the assumed date of construction of the stables by Lord Leicester in AD 1571. The second phase is represented by two timbers producing a felling date range of AD 1675-1707, and a possible felling date range of AD 1654-86. It is possible that these may relate to repairs to the stables resulting from damage sustained during the Civil War. (5)

Prior to tree-ring analysis the stable roof was thought to be a seventeenth-century rebuild incorporating a large amount of sixteenth-century timber. Dendrochronological analysis by English Heritage has identified six separate fellings within its timbers. The earliest, AD 1543-68, is represented by eight timbers, six of which show signs of reuse. The stables are believed to have been built prior to Robert Dudley's acquisition of the Castle in AD 1563, making it possible that these timbers were reused from the original roof. With a felling date range of AD 1553-78, sample KNW-E05 may also have been reused from the original roof. Four timbers have been dated to AD 1613-38 and one to AD 1623-48, all from the north end of the building. These may relate to modifications to this part of the stables in the first half of the seventeenth century. Eight timbers dated to AD 1659-84. With no sign that these timbers are reused it is likely that they are primary to the construction of the roof as seen today, possibly a rebuild necessary in the aftermath of the Civil War. The final felling is represented by a single timber dated to AD 1690-1715 which is most likely an inserted repair timber.
Detailed phasing of the stable block is given in this report. Excavations in 1970-84 identified a stable building built against the wall in the 14th or 15th century. It was shorter and not as wide as the extant stable block.
The stable block was shortened at the north end, probably by one bay during the time of Robert Dudley. (6)

Revised guidebook reflecting results of the tree-ring analysis and further research.
The stable block at Kenilworth Castle built by Robert Dudley's father, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in 1553. Both men were Masters of the Horse, John to Edward VI, and Robert to Elizabeth I. The stable block lies downhill from the gatehouse, and a stable is documented at the castle from at least the early 14th century. In a survey in 1563 it was described as 180 feet in length and 21 feet in breadth, with 30 rooms for the great horses and 20 for geldings. It was the fashion of the time to build grand stable buildings, and it was constructed of ashlar against the earlier curtain wall. It had a porch, windows, and two doorways to the north. The upper storey is timber-framed with decorative square panelling along the west face (restored in the 1970s), and may have been for storage and perhaps accommodation for grooms.
The stable had an open roof inside with 11 bays which was restored in the 17th century reusing some of the 16th century timbers. From 1650 until the Victorian period it was used as a stable and a barn, as part of the farm established in the base court. The large south entrance was rebuilt in brick in the early 19th century. In the 1930s a restaurant operated in the southern half of the building. The Home Guard also practiced in the vicinity of the stable during the Second World War. (7)

An account of the excavations undertaken at the stables in 1970-84. (8)




Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Warwick, 10-NOV-1971
Page(s) : 1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 586
Source Number : 2
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 04-Jan-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Kenilworth Castle [guide]
Source details :
Page(s) : 11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
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 : 5
Source : Centre for Archaeology Report series
Source details : 'The Tree-Ring Dating of Lord Leicester's Stables, Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire', by D W H Miles
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17/2005
Source Number : 6
Source : Research Department Report Series
Source details : 'Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from Lord Leicester's Stable, Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire', by R E Howard, C D Litton, and A J Arnold
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21/2006
Source Number : 7
Source : Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks)
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : The Elizabethan gardens and Leicester's stables at Kenilworth Castle. Excavations between 1970 and 1984
Source details : Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, article by P Ellis
Page(s) : 81-116
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 99

Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WA 1
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 : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 307721
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Warwickshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 10291
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 27 SE 46
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : LEICESTER'S STABLES, KENILWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1976-12-31
Associated Activities : LEICESTER'S STABLES, KENILWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1981-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : LEICESTER'S STABLE, KENILWORTH CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : KENILWORTH CASTLE: LEICESTER'S STABLES
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31