Online Encyclopedia

KENILWORTH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 729 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KENILWORTH, a market town in the Rugby parliamentary division of Warwickshire, England; pleasantly situated on a tributary of the Avon, on a branch of the London & North-Western railway, 99 M. N.W. from London. Pop. of urban district (1901), 4544• The town is only of importance from its antiquarian interest and the magnificent ruins of its old castle. The walls originally enclosed an area of 7 acres. The principal portions of the building remaining are the gatehouse, now used as a dwelling-house; Caesar's tower, the only portion built by Geoffrey de Clinton now extant, with massive walls 16 ft. thick; the Merwyn's tower of Scott's Kenilworth; the great hall built by John of Gaunt with windows of very beautiful design; and the Leicester buildings, which are in a very ruinous condition. Not far from the castle are the remains of an Augustinian monastery founded in 1122, and afterwards made an abbey. Adjoining the abbey is the parish church of St Nicholas, restored in 1865, a structure of mixed architecture, containing a fine Norman doorway, which is supposed to have been the entrance of the former abbey church. Kenilworth (Chinewrde, Kenillewurda, Kinelingworthe, Kenilord, Killingworth) is said to have been a member of Stoneleigh before the Norman Conquest and a possession of the Saxon kings, whose royal residence there was destroyed in the wars between Edward and Canute. The town was granted by Henry I. to Geoffrey de Clinton, a Norman who built the castle round which the whole history of Kenilworth centres. He also founded a monastery here about 1122. Geoffrey's grandson released his right to King John, and the castle remained with the crown until Henry III. granted it to Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. The famous " Dictum de Kenilworth " was proclaimed here in 1266. After the battle of Evesham the rebel forces rallied at the castle, which, after a siege of six months, was surrendered by Henry de Hastings, the governor, on account of the scarceness of food and of the " pestilent disease " which raged there. The king then granted it to his son Edmund. Through John of Gaunt it came to Henry IV. and was granted by Elizabeth in 1562 to Robert Dudley, afterwards earl of .Leicester, but on his death in 1588 again merged in the possessions of the Crown. The earl spent large sums on restoring the See on this question, HEBREW RELIGION, and Budde, Religion of Israel to the Exile, vol. i.; G. A. Barton, Semitic Origins, pp. 272 sqq.; L. B. Paton, Biblical World (1906, July and August). On the migration of the Kenites into Palestine (cf. Num. x. 29 with Judges i. 16), see CALEB, GENESIS, JERAHMEEL, JUDAH. (S. A. C.)
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