10.  Leicester's Gatehouse

10 Gatehouse web.jpg

         The Gatehouse to the North was a new building by Robert Dudley.   The south elevation is engraved with the Beauchamp crest, via which Robert Dudley again laid claim to the Beauchamp-Neville noble ancestry.

         The ground floor chambers in the northern pair of turrets served as porter’s lodges.   The 2 upper floors of the gatehouse provided comfortable lodgings for senior members of Robert Dudley’s household, such as the constable of the castle.   Although Sir John Hubaud of Ipsley, who was constable from 1572 until his death in 1583, probably resided in a ‘constabulls lodging’ thought to have once existed between the Gatehouse and Lunn’s Tower.

         The ground level thoroughfare was later blocked by the building of accommodation by Colonel Hawkesworth, who was given control of the castle in 1649.   He is likely responsible for the sandstone lined well, still existing just outside the gatehouse to the North East.

         The repurposed thoroughfare is now instead 2 rooms, one containing an ornate fireplace, the lower part of which is alabaster and the upper part is of oak.   They are thought to have been taken from the Privy and Presence Chambers of Leicester’s Building.   Note that a flue for the fireplace would have had to have been retrospectively constructed within the external wall, and a new chimney built which now exactly matches those that already existed.