Kenilworth celebrates siege anniversary in style

The Siege of Kenilworth, Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, UK. Credit: Andrew Maybury Photography 20160829-133956
The Siege of Kenilworth, Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, UK. Credit: Andrew Maybury Photography 20160829-133956
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Kenilworth celebrated the 750th anniversary of the Siege of Kenilworth in true mediaeval style over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Abbey Fields was full of siege-themed attractions and stalls on Saturday August 27, while Kenilworth Castle played host to two separate re-enactments of the siege on Sunday August 28 and Monday August 29.

Castle bosses said the weekend was its busiest in seven years.

The weather remained kind for the most part, although a heavy downpour blighted Abbey Fields briefly on Saturday afternoon just before the soldier’s procession.

Business support and events officer at Warwick District Council Paul Garrison thought the Saturday went ‘really well’.

He added: “It was a really successful day, and the weekend as a whole went fantastically.

“Saturday was really well attended until about 2.30pm when the heavens opened, but we had a surprising amount of people stay out until 3pm for the soldiers’ procession.

“A lot of time and effort’s gone in from a lot of people. The town council and Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society have been a great help.

“Perhaps in 50 years’ time people will still be talking about it - I’d like to think we’ve raised the bar.”

The Sunday and Monday attracted 5,000 people to Kenilworth Castle to watch the re-enactment of the siege, which originally took place in 1266.

Rebels took up their positions within the castle’s walls, and King Henry III’s forces assembled outside ready to launch their assault.

The attacking forces had a variety of siege weapons at their disposal, including a 30-foot flaming siege tower.

English Heritage events manager Jenny Davie described how the re-enactment went on both days.

She said: “Kenilworth Castle’s rebel garrison put up a brave defence, with smoking tar barrels briefly driving back King Henry’s army, but eventually the royalist forces were victorious.

“This was the castle’s busiest weekend in seven years, with over 5,000 visitors, and English Heritage is grateful to over a hundred re-enactors who made the castle their home for the weekend.

“Their hails of arrows, battering ram and flaming siege tower certainly helped to add to the drama, and mark this important anniversary in style.”

Although the weekend was the centerpiece of the siege anniversary, the commemorations of the historic battle are not over yet.

The annual bonfire at Kenilworth Castle will incorporate a siege theme, although exactly what this will involve is to be confirmed.

And the traditional Christmas lights switch-on on Friday December 2 will also have a siege twist to it.