Save Ruthin Castle – The Lost Royal Treasure of Wales
About this project
Ruthin Castle was built 750 years ago as part of Edward I’s formidable “Iron Ring” of powerful, elaborate and lavishly appointed medieval stone fortresses in North Wales and is contemporary with and of a comparable scale and architectural quality to the better known Royal Castles such as Caernarfon and Conwy, which are now designated World Heritage sites.
Ruthin Castle does not, however, enjoy this status and like many of the other great baronial castles of the Edwardian conquest, has received less attention than its royal counterparts. As a consequence, the massive and spectacular medieval ruin is rapidly crumbling away as the ravages of time take their toll and in sections the 13th century castle is in danger of imminent, catastrophic and irreversible collapse.
We urgently need your help to save this precious and unique lost royal treasure for the nation.
According to Cadw, Ruthin stands out as the only one of the great Welsh castles not to have been the subject of any detailed antiquarian description, academic study or conservation and is arguably the most architecturally, archaeologically and historically significant castle in Wales to have escaped any such attention. Ruthin Castle Conservation Trust, a charitable community benefit society, has taken on the breath-taking challenge of changing this situation and saving this unique lost royal treasure for current and future generations to visit, study and enjoy in all its splendid glory.
Ambitious rescue plans have recently been put in place by the Trust with the assistance of Cadw, but we desperately need your help to make these plans a reality and loosen nature’s grip on this proud and embattled monument, to stop rain and roots forcing centuries old masonry apart, destroying ancient craftsmanship which has survived so many battles and sieges only to fall in the first storm of winter.
The Trust’s ultimate aim is to share the 13th century castle, its follies, grounds and exquisite gardens with local people and the wider public for the first time in its long and fascinating history; securing the long term preservation of the ruins and creating a place of cultural enrichment, educational opportunities and community enjoyment. We know that this is a lifetime’s work, but we have to start somewhere so we are tackling the most immediate and urgent challenge; arresting decay in the three most endangered sections of the medieval curtain wall by removing vegetation and consolidating masonry until we can raise funds to repair the stonework. This will also save the equally fascinating listed Victorian features built on top of the ruins such as the beautiful and much loved Lady’s Walk.
But we must act NOW. We urgently need your support. We have to raise £110,000 to have any chance of saving the castle. Please donate what you can and join our quest to save Ruthin Castle’s place in history and transform it into a magnificent monument we can all enjoy once again.
In return for your generous support we have put together a fantastic and worthwhile package of rewards for each level of donation, some of which are worth more than the amount you donate. For as little as £50 you can receive a “Yourpiece” medieval wall gift package and become a Knight of Ruthin http://www.yourpiece.org and for larger amounts we have a series of amazing packages which include exclusive stays in luxury royal suites at the fabulous Ruthin Castle Hotel with award-winning cuisine and atmospheric entertainment.
Please take a moment to donate and spread the word and you will become a part of the wonderful unfolding story of this incredible historic monument.
What is the social/environmental problem this project will address?
Ruthin Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a Grade 1 listed building, and a remarkable late 13th century fortress founded by Edward I in 1277 following his conquest of Gwynedd and continued under his lieutenant Reginald de Grey from 1282. The history of the castle as a fortress, residence and administrative centre ended in a Civil War siege and its dismantling by Parliament in 1647. After this the ruins were used a quarry. The Scheduled fabric encompasses the castle ruins and defensive earthworks.
The ruins lie in the grounds of Grade II* listed Ruthin Castle Hotel, a neo-gothic mansion, which is built over part of the site. This building dates much later at 1825-6 (extended 1851-6), utilising some of the building materials of the original castle and incorporating the medieval walls into a romantic Italian garden.
Remarkably, the remains of the medieval castle have never been the focus of any significant academic research or attempts at systematic conservation. The site is considered by Cadw as ‘perhaps the most important medieval castle in Wales not to receive such attention’ and because of this, the ruins have gradually crumbled away and are now reaching the stage of irreversible and catastrophic collapse. If this happens, we will have lost a national treasure and a wealth of history and heritage which the public will never have had an opportunity to see, study and enjoy; the economic benefits of creating such a major public amenity in an area of rural deprivation will disappear and we as a nation will be the poorer.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
A recent condition survey and outline conservation management plan commissioned by the Trust and funded by Cadw identified an anticipated total for repairs to the Scheduled Ancient Monument of approximately £2,588,000. This is divided into the following categories:
Immediate (immediate action required to prevent imminent failure) £184,000
Urgent (Action required urgently to prevent loss) £1,086,000
Moderate (works necessary within 1 – 5 years) £1,318,000
What is your solution?
We want to clear and consolidate the ruins, provide public access and create a financially sustainable enterprise to ensure the preservation of this wonderful monument for future generations to enjoy.
The main aim of the Trust is for the public benefit to ensure the permanent preservation of the medieval ruins, gardens and structures comprising the Ruthin Castle Scheduled Ancient Monument and to create a place of cultural enrichment, educational opportunities and community enjoyment.
Working with public, private and third sector partners, it is intended that Ruthin Castle will become a major public amenity for the people of North Wales, creating employment, training and volunteering opportunities as well as providing a substantial boost to the heritage tourism offer of Ruthin and North Wales, attracting educational and academic visitors and tourists from all over the country throughout the year.
In addition to being a place for the community to use and enjoy, the Castle will also become a powerful tool and stimulus for regeneration, bringing money from outside the region which will flow into local businesses and households injecting additional spending into rural Denbighshire and stimulating the local economy.
None of these community benefits will be possible, however, if the ancient monument is allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that there will be no monument left for the public to visit and enjoy, so the first step is to raise the money required to carry out the immediate repairs necessary to prevent irreversible damage to the fabric. If we are successful in reaching our second milestone, this will enable us to consolidate the South West Curtain Wall Collapse before winter sets in.
How will you deliver this?
This crowd funding campaign is the first step in raising funding to deliver our vision of breathing new life into the ancient castle and seeing this lost royal treasure restored to its former glory as a focal point for the community and an asset to the nation.
When we have proved the overall project is sustainable for generations to come, we will raise further funding by whatever means we can to ensure that the vital preservation work is done as soon as possible and we can get on with creating a place for all to come and enjoy for leisure, cultural enlightenment, academic study and vocational training. Please help us to deliver our dream by donating as much as you can afford.