Kenilworth is a market town and civil parish in Warwickshire, England; it is situated approximately 6 miles (10 km) south-west of central Coventry, 5 miles (8 km) north of Warwick and 90 miles (140 km) north-west of London. It lies on Finham Brook, a tributary of the River Sowe, which joins the River Avon about 2 miles (3 km) north-east of the town centre. The 2011 Census recorded a parish population of 22,413. The town is noted architecturally for the extensive ruins of Kenilworth Castle, the ruins of Kenilworth Abbey in Abbey Fields park, St Nicholas's Parish Church and the town's clock tower.
A settlement existed at Kenilworth by the time of the 1086 Domesday Book, which records it as Chinewrde, meaning "farm of a woman named Cynehild".
Geoffrey de Clinton (died 1134) initiated the building of an Augustinian priory in 1122, which coincided with his initiation of Kenilworth Castle. The priory was raised to the rank of an abbey in 1450 and suppressed with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s. Thereafter, the abbey grounds next to the castle were made common land in exchange for what Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester used to enlarge the castle. Only a few walls and a storage barn of the original abbey survive.
Abbey Fields just off Coventry Road in Kenilworth is a field called Parliament Piece. This may be where Henry III held a Parliament in August 1266, while his troops besieged Kenilworth Castle, where the late Simon de Montfort's followers, led by Henry de Hastings, were still holding out against the king's forces. This Parliament led to the Dictum of Kenilworth: a settlement that offered the rebels a way of recovering the lands that the Crown had seized from them. One copy of the Dictum is endorsed in castris apud Kenilworth — "in the camp (or castle) at Kenilworth". Members of the public have free access to Parliament Piece, which is owned by the Open Spaces Society and leased to Warwick District Council.
Geoffrey de Clinton had a deer park created near Kenilworth. In 1488 Ralph, abbot of Kenilworth Abbey had 40 acres (16 ha) of land near Redfern, north-west of the town, emparked as Duck Park, which despite its name was a deer park. By about 1540 there were eight deer parks near Kenilworth. Another near Rudfen was a 30-acre (12 ha) park that was called Little Park in 1581. It was owned by Robert Briscoe in 1649 and was still called Briscoe's Park in 1785. One of the eight deer parks, The Chase, can still be traced. The eastern part of its park pale is about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the castle, while the northern part forms the boundary between Chase Wood and the farm road and bridleway between Little Chase Farm and Warrior's Lodge Farm.
In about 1414 Henry V had le plesans en marais — "The Pleasaunce in the Marsh" — built about 0.5 miles (800 m) west of the castle. This was a timber-framed banqueting house surrounded by a moated earthwork about 600 feet (180 m) by 500 feet (150 m), which 15th-century kings used instead of the Castle's state apartments. In the 16th century, Henry VIII had the banqueting house demolished and the materials reused for timber-framed buildings inside the castle. The mere was drained in 1649, but "The Pleasaunce" earthworks survive as a Scheduled Monument.
Elizabeth I visited Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester at Kenilworth Castle several times, the last in 1575. Dudley entertained the Queen with pageants and banquets costing some £1,000 per day that surpassed anything seen in England before. These included fireworks.
Warwick District Council owns and manages land across the Coventry Road at Tainter's Hill. This public open space was designated "for the poor of the parish" under an inclosure act in 1756 and is registered as common land. In 1778 Kenilworth windmill was built. Later turned into the town's water tower, it is now a private home, shorn of its sails.
In 1844 the London and Birmingham Railway opened the Coventry to Leamington Line, including Kenilworth railway station. The L&NWR had a new station built in 1883 and a new link line between Kenilworth and Berkswell in 1884 to bypass Coventry. This closed to all traffic on 3 March 1969. British Rail withdrew passenger services from the Coventry to Leamington Line and closed Kenilworth Station in January 1965 in line with The Reshaping of British Railways report. In May 1977, British Rail reinstated passenger services, but did not reopen Kenilworth station, which became derelict and was eventually demolished. In 2011 Warwick Council granted John Laing plc planning permission to build a new station, which was to open in 2013. However, this was postponed by four years to December 2017. In 2018, a track from Coventry was opened. There is also a track from Leamington. The train has a single carriage.
The railway in the 19th century brought industrialists from Birmingham and Coventry, to develop the residential area around the town's railway station. In the 19th century the town had some fine large mansions with landscaped gardens; these were demolished after the First World War and Second World War for housing developments. The names of them survive in the names of some roads and areas. For example, Towers Close was built on the grounds of Rouncil Towers. Some large trees from their grounds survive, including giant sequoias from the Moorlands and Rouncil Towers.
The town's growth occasioned the addition of a second Church of England parish church, St John's, which is on Warwick Road in Knights Meadow. It was designed by Ewan Christian and built in 1851–1852 as a Gothic Revival building with a south-west bell tower and broach spire.
After 1883, the 1844 station in Warwick Road was partly rebuilt at the far end of Station Road behind the King's Arms and Castle Hotel. Both station and hotel were demolished in 1983, but some railway stonework remains. The old King's Arms exterior was copied and reopened in 2007 as a chain restaurant. It has distinctive pillars on its Warwick Road frontage. Sir Walter Scott stayed in the hotel when working on his novel Kenilworth.
In 1884 the Parish Church of St Nicholas set up a mission room above the Co-Op in Park Road. It attracted a congregation of 150 and in 1885 moved to new premises. In 1905 it moved again to a "tin tabernacle" iron building newly erected in Albion Street and consecrated as Saint Barnabas Mission Church, a daughter church of St Nicholas.
The railway boosted Kenilworth's market gardening. There were reputedly 40 nurseries growing market-garden produce in Kenilworth, but all have now been redeveloped for housing. The last was Guest's Nursery, which was developed as 23 houses in 2002. The Victorian era saw much expansion of the town to the west of Abbey Fields and on land around Warwick Road. Most buildings along Warwick Road date from this period and later, but a few earlier cottages survive. Further east the Woodside Hotel was built in about 1860 and was the home of several notable people.
The former mansion in Forrest Road, built around 1901, still stands. It is believed that a William Forrest bought the surrounding land, except that of the terrace to the north of Abbey End, and built the house either for himself or for his family. The house was split into three separate residential lots in the 1970s, the main part forming Hillcrest, the west wing with the main grand staircase and gardens Max Gate, and the billiard room the bungalow South Brent. The old landscaped gardens to the east and west of the property have been built over for housing, but the south and north gardens still belong to the house. Some features have been lost during the transition internally, but externally the house still has its grand bay windows, tiled walls, high chimney stacks and other features, which can be seen in the new flats, Mulberry Court on Abbey End. Warwick Road is now the main commercial centre of the town.
Most older buildings in Kenilworth are found in Castle Green, New Row and High Street, which has long-established shops. The age of the buildings makes it appear that this is the original settlement, but in fact it is simply the oldest part still in existence. The original settlement along present-day Warwick Road has been redeveloped continually since the 12th century and retains few original buildings. Many houses around Castle Green are built of stone salvaged in the 17th century, when the castle walls were slighted after the English Civil War.
In May 1961, the Kenilworth Society was formed over concerns about a group of 17th-century listed cottages adjacent to Finham Brook in Bridge Street. It sets out to promote awareness of Kenilworth's character and encourage its preservation.
In the early 1980s, the town's name was used by one of the first generation of computer retailers, a company called Kenilworth Computers based near the Clock Tower, for its repackaging of the Nascom microcomputer with the selling point that it was robust enough to be used by agriculture.
Kenilworth was struck by an F0/T1 tornado on 23 November 1981, as part of the record-breaking nationwide outbreak on that day.
The data used is based on the CV8 Postcode District. Some roads of Kenilworth may lie in other postcode districts as other areas may reside in this postcode sector.
Due the small sample size, the data can become compromised due to fluctuating transaction levels or unusual transactions. As such, the data provided is for guidance only and must not be relied upon.
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