Yesterday we took a taxi, two trains, a bus and another taxi (one way) to visit the ruins of Kenilworth Castle.
Why was I so determined to get there? Because the castle has many links to the royal ladies in my life.
- The castle was given to its first owner by Empress Matilda‘s dad, Henry I.
- In 1327, Isabella’s husband Edward II was forced to abdicate while imprisoned at Kenilworth.
- Katherine Swynford‘s lovah, John of Gaunt, owned the castle later in the 1300s.
- In 1563, Elizabeth I gave Kenilworth to her down-low BF, Robert Dudley, who threw her a tremendous house party in 1575. It was such a good party, people are still talking about it! (By the way, Robert Dudley was the brother of Lady Jane Grey‘s unfortunate husband, Guilford.)
- It’s the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Kenilworth, which is about Elizabeth, Robert and Robert’s wife, Amy.
Of course, the only woman mentioned in any of the signs and guidebooks we saw was Elizabeth. God forbid we admit that Matilda and Katherine existed! That might be dangerously interesting to people.
Anyway, parts of the castle were destroyed by those humorless anti-royalists during the civil war of the 1600s, and it was all downhill from there for most of the Kenilworth buildings.
Fortunately, the gatehouse that Robert Dudley built survived, and various families lived in it over the years — as recently as the 1930s.
I think history is really my niche, don’t you?
I was going to molest one of the flowers in front of the gatehouse, but someone beat me to it.
After Kenilworth, we went to the nearby city of Coventry to see the amazing cathedrals. The original cathedral, built in the 1300s, was in use until World War II, when the German bombing destroyed nearly all of it. The ruins were kept intact and a new cathedral was built immediately next door. It’s a very moving experience to see them next to each other. And we were right on time for about an hour of bell-ringing. We could see the bell ringers at work in the tower of the old cathedral. They looked like they were getting quite a workout.