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8-08-2015, 15:25

Kenilworth and Pembroke Castles

At Kenilworth, where later building would make the castle one of the most complex expressions of a courtly age (see Chapter 4), a massive tower was built about 1122 by Geoffrey de Clinton, who acquired the land for a castle and park (Figure 10). These tower strongholds continued to be built longer than one might expect, considering their disadvantages as dwellings. Kenilworth became a royal castle in 1173 when King Henry II acquired it. Henry repaired the great tower and subsidiary buildings in 1184. Work continued in 1190–93 during the reign of Richard the Lion Hearted. Built of sandstone in well-cut ashlar blocks, Kenilworth Castle followed the traditional cubical Norman design but had large rectangular turrets, which seem to clasp the corners. Each of these turrets had its special function. The southwest tower contained the entrance (and later a forebuilding was added to conceal the actual door); the northeast tower had a spiral staircase providing access to all floors; and the northwest tower contained the garderobes. A fighting gallery ran along the wall head. The round towers were the answer to many problems. At Pembroke about 1189, Earl William Marshall built a splendid round tower (see Figure 4). In that year he married a wealthy heiress who provided the resources required for building an imposing and functional castle. A round tower had fewer blind spots and needed less masonry, and furthermore needed little buttressing. The tower at Pembroke Castle is not only large but also elegantly appointed. Barrel vaults and groined vaults were both used instead of wooden floors, and the uppermost room is covered by a dome. The double-light windows with dogtooth ornament set in deep embrasures form window seats. The earl and countess resided at Pembroke until he left for Ireland in 1207.