Plans afoot to mark 750th anniversary of the Siege of Kenilworth

Kenilworth Castle, where the siege took place
Kenilworth Castle, where the siege took place

Plans to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Siege of Kenilworth are being drawn up, with the possibility of a recreation of the siege at Kenilworth Castle during August Bank Holiday.

Other potential ideas include a concert to be held around the time of the anniversary, educational talks for children at Kenilworth Library, a siege-themed Kenilworth Carnival and a ‘Kenilworth 750’ website dedicated to the events running over 2016.

I look forward to the events with anticipation.

Cllr John Cooke

Speaking to Kenilworth Town Council at its last meeting, Paul Garrison, Kenilworth development officer, said: “Our aim is to educate and entertain people through a series of activities.” He also said the tentative cost of running events for the anniversary would be between £20,000 to £25,000.

Many councillors were supportive of Mr Garrison’s ideas. Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s), remembered the 700th anniversary of the siege when he was eight years old, and thought the celebrations this year should try to emulate the atmosphere in Kenilworth 50 years ago.

He said: “In 1966 the anniversary was a tremendously large thing in the town. All the schools had classes about it.

“The number of events planned this year are way better than in 1966. I look forward to them with anticipation.”

This year also marks the 750th anniversary of the Dictum of Kenilworth, which the council did not want to the town to forget during the siege celebrations. Cllr George Illingworth (Con, Abbey), said: “Many people would say the Dictum was more important than the siege, and I would like to see it given more weight. The thing that put Kenilworth on the map was the Dictum.”

The Siege of Kenilworth took place at Kenilworth Castle from June to December 1266, where the rebel forces of Simon De Monfort held out inside against King Henry III’s army until surrendering and accepting the terms of the Dictum, re-establishing royal authority.