Infobox UK place
country = England
population = 22,582 (2001)
region= West Midlands
constituency_westminster= Rugby and Kenilworth
postcode_district = CV8
static_image_caption= "Kenilworth Clock on Warwick Road"
hide_services = yes
website = [http://www.kenilworthweb.com/ Kenilworth town website]
Kenilworth is a town in central
Warwickshire, England.cite book|title = AA Street by Street. Coventry Rugby| publisher = AA Publishing | page = p.64–5|edition = 2nd edition (May 2003)| isbn = 0749539739] In 2001 the town had a population of 22,582 (24,000 est.2006). It is situated 10 km (6 miles) south of Coventry, 10 km (6 miles) north of Warwickand 145 km (90 miles) northwest of London.
Kenilworth is perhaps best known for
Kenilworth Castle, although other significant local landmarks include Kenilworth Clock, Abbey Fields park and St Nicholas' Church. A settlement has existed at Kenilworth since at least the time of the Domesday Book, the book refers to Kenilworth as "Chinewrde". However, the main development of the town occurred to serve Kenilworth Castleand St Mary's Abbey. The original development by Geoffrey de ClintonII in 1140 being along what is now Warwick Road, from the present St John's Church to the clock tower. After the Dissolution of the Monasteriesthe Abbey grounds, adjacent to the Castle, were designated as common land, in exchange for the common land used for expansion of the Castle by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Only a few walls and a storage barn of the original Abbey now exist.
potatogrown in England, brought back from South Americaby Sir Walter Raleigh, is thought to have been planted in the Little Virginia area of the town, near the castle.
Just off the Coventry Road in Kenilworth is a field known as 'The Parliament Piece'. It is traditionally said to be the site 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 at Kenilworth. Queen Elizabeth visited Robert Dudley at
Kenilworth Castleseveral times, the last of which was in 1575. Dudley entertained the Queen with pageants and banquets that cost some £1,000 per day, presenting diversions and pageants surpassing anything ever before seen in England. [ [http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-masques.htm Information about Elizabethan masques] ] [ [http://www.cris.com/~Oakapple/gasdisc/sullchoral.htm#kenilworth Information about Elizabeth's visit to Kenilworth] ] Members of the public have free access to Parliament Piece, which is owned by the Open Spaces Society and leased by Warwick District Council. The Council own and manage land across the Coventry Road at Tainter's Hill. This area of public open space was designated "for the poor of the parish" under the 1756 enclosure acts and is now registered as common land.
The arrival of the railways in 1844 brought industrialists from
Birminghamand Coventrywho developed the residential area around the town's railway station. In the nineteenth century the town had some fine large mansions with landscaped gardens, these were demolished after the First World Warand the Second World Warfor housing developments. The names of these mansions still survive in the names of some roads and areas of the town (for example, Towers Close, built upon the grounds of Rouncil Towers) and some large trees from their grounds still survive (for example sequoiadendrons from The Moorlands and Rouncil Towers). The original railway station (1844) was partially rebuilt as the Kings Arms and Castle public house(later called Drummonds) when the new station was built in 1883. Sir Walter Scott stayed in the Kings Arms when he wrote "Kenilworth". Drummonds was redeveloped during 2007 and now houses a restaurant chain. The building's hallmark pillars have been retained on its Warwick Road frontage.
The railways also boosted Kenilworth's
market gardening. There were reputedly 40 nurseries growing market garden produce in Kenilworth and all have now been used for housing developments (the last nursery, Guests Nursery, was developed as 23 houses in 2002). The railway transported the produce to Londonwhere Kenilworth tomatoes had a reputation for quality. The Victorian period saw a large expansion of the town to the West of Abbey Fields and in the land surrounding Warwick Road. Most of the buildings along Warwick Road date from this period and later, although a few cottages still exist. Warwick Road is now the main commercial centre of the town.
Most of the older existing buildings of Kenilworth are on Castle Green, New Row and the High Street (formerly Alta Strata, meaning the high dry ground above the Abbey). The age of these buildings make it appear that this is the original settlement, but in fact this is simply the oldest existing part of the town. The original settlement along the present day Warwick Road having been subject to continuous redevelopment since the 12th century and now retains little of the original town. Many of the houses around Castle Green are made of stone salvaged when the castle walls were torn down after the
English Civil War.
Modern Kenilworth is frequently regarded as a dormitory town for commuters to
Coventry, Birminghamand Leamington Spa. Despite its proximity to the University of Warwickon Coventry's southern outskirts, it has only a small student population of mostly postgraduate students, although many staff at the university choose to live in Kenilworth.The town has good transport links - the Birmingham International Airport, and M6, M42 and M40 motorways are within 16 km (10 miles) of central Kenilworth. The town's railway station was closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching rail cuts, although plans have now been put forward for the building of a new station. There is a regular bus service to Coventry and Leamington railway stations, and Warwick Parkway railway stationis less than 10 minutes' drive away on the A46 bypass (which was built in June 1974).
The town is currently undergoing a significant facelift as its central retail areas in and around Talisman Square are modernised. The new scheme boasts increased shop sizes, contemporary looks rivalling neighbouring cities/towns and a brand new
Waitrosesupermarket. There are also plans to renovate the existing library buildings. The town's old youth centre was demolished in 2007 to make way for the new supermarket, and a new one was built.
Local debates continue about the expansion of
Coventry Airportand the need for a new railway station.
In the early 1980s, the town's name was briefly enhanced by one of the first generation of computer retailers, a company called Kenilworth Computers based near the Clock Tower, when it released a version of the
Nascommicrocomputer with the selling point that it was robust enough to be used in an agricultural environment.
St John's, Whitemoor, Windy Arbour, Ladyes Hill, Crackley, Castle End, Abbey End
Kenilworth participates in
town twinningwith the following places:
Bourg-la-Reine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Eppstein, Hesse, Germany.
* [http://www.kenilworthonline.co.uk/ Kenilworth Online] - Local newspaper
* [http://www.ksn.org.uk/ Kenilworth School] - Local School Website
* [http://www.kenilworthweb.com/ Kenilworth Town] - Official Kenilworth Town Centre Website
* [http://www.kenilworthchamber.co.uk/ Chamber of Trade] - Kenilworth Chamber of Trade
* [http://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/WDC/Council_x2c_+government+and+democracy/Democratic+processes+and+events/News+conferences/Warwick+District+Council+Archived+News/Big+news+for+Kenilworth.htm Warwick District Council press release regarding redevelopment]
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