The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

BookThe Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

English Heritage


September 15th, 2013





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.

The book is really wonderful and beautifully enriched with fantastic photographs.
Diego Passera, Drammaturgia

For a specialist publication the quality of its production is extraordinary: beautiful plans and colour photos abound throughout this book. ... The authors of the various essays are authorities in their field and there is much to learn rom this volume for anyone with a serious interest either in Elizabethan gardens or in what English Heritage has achieved in their recent work at Kenilworth. ... For those interested in Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan court culture this book is a valuable, authoritative and important work.
John Goodall, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society

'English Heritage has given us an excellent book that will be of considerable value to anyone engaged with the making of historic gardens and is thus highly recommended.'
Susan Oosthuizen, Landscape History

Author Information

Anna Keay is the Curatorial Director for English Heritage. From 1996 to 2002 Anna worked as a curator for Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Since 2002 she has been Properties Presentation Director of English Heritage, responsible for curating and presenting to the public 420 historic sites across England, from Stonehenge to Kenwood House. John Watkins has been Head of Gardens and Landscape at English Heritage since 1999, providing policy advice and technical guidance on the maintenance and management of designed landscapes and historic parks and gardens.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
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 the Earl of Leicester
7. The Langham Letter as a source for garden history
8. The archaeology of the garden
9. Visual sources for Elizabethan garden
10. The philosophy of the reconstruction
11. The form and structure of the garden
12. The ‘Very Fair Fountain’
13. Designing and creating the fountain
14. The Aviary
15. Birds for the Kenilworth aviary
16. The Elizabethan Flower Garden
17. Patterns of Planting