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One of the painted timber obelisks in Kenilworth Castle garden

English Heritage

English Heritage
United Kingdom

From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England's affairs for much of its 900 year history. Standing on a low hill that was once at the heart of a 1,600 hectare (4,000 acre) park and surrounded by a vast man-made lake, these spectacular ruins, built mostly from the local red sandstone, reveal a medieval and Tudor past.
The original Elizabethan garden was created when Kenilworth was owned by Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and was intended to impress Queen Elizabeth when she visited in 1575 – Dudley had hopes of marrying the queen. This garden was lost over time, but is today recreated thanks to archaeological evidence and the survival of a letter – written at the time of the queen’s visit – which describes the garden in great detail from a first-hand account.
The letter is written by Robert Langham, an official who sneaked into the garden while the queen was out hunting. He describes the obelisks within the garden which he believed were made of porphyry (a rare marble from Egypt). But they were more likely made of painted timber as they are now recreated.

Details

  • Title: One of the painted timber obelisks in Kenilworth Castle garden
  • Location: Kenilworth Castle
  • Type: Site
  • Original Source: KENILWORTH CASTLE, ENGLISH HERITAGE
  • Rights: Historic England

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