Dating from around 1120, Kenilworth Castle located in Warwickshire, UK, has been described as “the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship”. It is the biggest castle ruin located in the UK today it is rumoured to he the second most haunted castle within the English Hertiage Sites.
The first castle was established around the 1120s by the royal chamberlain, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built most of the Norman keep.
In the early 13th century King John added an outer circuit of stone walls and a dam to hold back a great lake, so creating one of the most formidable fortresses in the kingdom.
In 1266 Simon de Montfort held Kenilworth against the king through an extraordinary six-month siege – the longest in English medieval history.
In the 14th century John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, developed the castle into a palace, building the great hall and lavish apartments.
The castle was a favoured residence of the Lancastrian kings in the later Middle Ages – Henry V even built a retreat here at the far end of the lake.
In 1563 Elizabeth I granted the castle to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who transformed Kenilworth into a magnificent palace. Famously he entertained the queen here for 19 days of festivities in 1575.
The castle’s fortifications were dismantled in 1650 after the English Civil War. Later, the ruins became famous thanks in part to Walter Scott’s 1821 novel Kenilworth, which romanticised the story of Robert Dudley, his wife Amy Robsart, and Elizabeth I.
Staff at the Hertiage site have reported encounting ghostly figures, an antique cot rocking by itself and the smell of pipe smoke and burning.
Three of the ghosts rumoured to haunt the gatehouse are a little girl who asks for her father, a man in a black cloak who is thought to have been in a sword fight and who appears at night and a old lady. A young boy is said to haunt the stables and he is seen often along with phantom chickens and horses.
Written and photos by Charlene Lowe Kemp