Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

What We Did Last Thursday

In the morning we went and wandered round Kenilworth Castle. We have a year's membership of English Heritage- and I mean to get my money's worth. Kenilworth belonged to a guy called de Clinton (an ancestor of Bill's?  I wonder...) who was your archetypal Norman brute and then to Simon de Montfort and John of Gaunt and a succession of English kings. It was a place where history happened. Eventually it passed to Robert Dudley- Elizabeth I's favourite- who went on a building spree and turned it into a Tudor palace. It got caught up in the Civil War and Cromwell slighted it- demolishing walls so it could never be garrisoned again. Most of it has been in ruins ever since.

Castles leave me cold, I've decided. Most of them, anyway. Kenilworth impresses, but is all about power and money and violence and ambition. 

Give me a monastic ruin anyday....

There's one on the other side of town, in the grounds of the parish church. Monasteries are about power and money and violence and ambition too- but also something else.

Here's what's left of the gatehouse...

And here's a curiosity. A romanesque doorway, snaffelled from the abbey, surrounded by Elizabethan fancy-work and installed in the parish church. This was probably done by Robert Dudley as part of an attempt to tart up the church in anticipation of a visit from the queen.

And here- just because I like it- is the churchyard path.

Curious. All these pictures are of gateways, portals.... I think it must say something about my current state of mind.

In the evening we went to see Hamlet... but I've already written about that.
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