The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

By Anna Keay, John Watkins

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The garden created by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, at Kenilworth Castle in the early 1570s was one of the wonders of Elizabethan England. It is also the best documented of all the great gardens of its age, providing the starting point for English Heritage's ambitious re-creation in 2009. This beautifully illustrated book presents the extensive research that informed the scheme and describes the process by which the new garden was designed.

Seventeen chapters, written by specialists and experts in the field, range widely, covering: the place of Kenilworth in garden history; the Earl of Leicester as a cultural patron and his work at Kenilworth; the results of the excavation of the garden site; detailed consideration of key aspects of the Elizabethan garden, including the fountain and the aviary; and important new work on the early Elizabethan flower garden. The overall philosophy of re-creating the garden and the practical aspects of doing so, are also considered. This book represents a major addition to the study of English garden history.


List of contributors
1. The earl of Leicester and his world
2. The place of Kenilworth in garden history
3. The architectural setting of the Earl of Leicester's garden
4. The north court prior to Leicester's works
5. The north court after the Earl of Leicester
6. Princely pleasures: the cultural patronage of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
7. The Langham Letter as a source for garden history
8. The archaeology of the garden
9. Visual sources for the Elizabethan garden
10. The philosophy of the reconstruction
11. The form and structure of the garden
12. Sources for the new fountain and the stories around it
13. Designing and creating the fountain
14. The aviary
15. Birds for the Kenilworth aviary
16. The Elizabethan flower garden
17. Patterns of Planting
Appendix 1: Transcripts of select primary sources
Appendix 2: The water supply for Leicester's fountain
Appendix 3: Garden plants in 1575

Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

Additional Information

  • Series: Illustrated History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 224
  • Illustrations: 163, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51474
  • ISBN: 9781848020344


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