Eight 13th-Century Catapult Stones Found Outside English Castle

In 1266, Kenilworth Castle was the site of what’s believed to be the longest siege in the history of medieval England, and these catapult shots were fired during the violent event. Construction workers at Kenilworth Castle in central England recently unearthed eight “perfectly preserved” catapult shots of various sizes. The smallest stone weighs just two pounds, while the largest weighs 230 pounds. Although they are nearly 800 years old, the stones are in remarkable condition. Now, historians hope they may reveal more about the history of what was once the home of royals and noblemen alike.


While making recent accessibility upgrades on the grounds of Kenilworth Castle near Birmingham, England, construction workers stumbled upon a piece of medieval history. Just outside the castle walls, they discovered eight “perfectly preserved” catapult shots of various sizes. These stones, fired during a famous siege by King Henry III in 1266, offer new insights into what is believed to be the longest siege in medieval English history.

catapult stones

The Siege of Kenilworth Castle

In 1264, the Second Barons’ War broke out between royalist forces and a group of noble rebels led by Simon de Montfort. The rebels had control of Kenilworth Castle, and in June 1266, King Henry III’s men laid siege to the fortress. The siege lasted 172 days, and during that time, the king’s troops attacked the castle with catapults and crossbows. The rebels inside had catapults of their own, and experts believe the stones discovered recently were fired from both sides.

Significance of the Catapult Stones

These catapult shots would have caused serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile. The discovery sheds light on the tactics and weaponry used during this pivotal siege.

Historical Context and Preservation

The age and condition of these stones make them a rare find. Historians can now study their composition, markings, and impact patterns to gain insights into medieval warfare. The discovery adds to our understanding of the events that unfolded at Kenilworth Castle during the 13th century.

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