MAJOR work on a major historic Denbighshire landmark is continuing.

Most people think of the hotel when thinking of Ruthin Castle, but in fact there are extensive remains of the castle that was built in the late 13th century during Edward I’s invasion of Wales.

Those picturesque ruins are in a perilous state, but work is ongoing to carry out repair work during what is turning out to be a big and busy year, with phase three of renovations set to get underway.

In 2016 Ruthin Castle Conservation Trust was set up in order to bring about the conservation of these extensive medieval remains.

In 2017/18, some emergency holding repairs were undertaken on areas of the defensive walls and now, for the first time, work, funded by Cadw is taking place to record and reconsolidate part of the remains of this magnificent site.

 

The National Wales: Vegetation at the Ruthin Castle siteVegetation at the Ruthin Castle site

"It is so exciting to see this work start at the castle," said Fiona Gale, chair of the Ruthin Castle Conservation Trust.

"Medieval Ruthin Castle is so important in the history of north east Wales, recognised as nationally important as a scheduled ancient monument and at last we are starting the process of repair, so that it will be in good order well into the future."

This first phase of work this year has involved the careful removal of vegetation from the walls of the gatehouse.

This was followed by a complete laser survey of the gatehouse structure.

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It was only after this had taken place that reconsolidation and the repair of the fragile masonry could begin.

The second phase of work started back in May and this was to begin the process of reconsolidating the great gatehouse of the castle, which is a mixture of original medieval work and later Victorian additions and alterations.

"It is quite a challenge to know which parts to conserve and how, some of the later Victorian work was always designed to look like a tumble-down ruin and does not have the strength and stability it should," added Fiona.

Specialist contractors, structural engineers and conservation architects are helping the trust ensure that this work is carried out to the highest standard, aiming to give this part of the site a long life into the future.

At all stages, archaeologists and ecologists are watching the work to ensure that no damage or disturbance results and everything is recorded for posterity.

 

The National Wales: A reconstruction image of Ruthin Castle which has been produced by Chris Jones JenkinsA reconstruction image of Ruthin Castle which has been produced by Chris Jones Jenkins

"It is so exciting to see this repair work taking place at the Medieval Ruthin Castle, so far on a small scale but the aspiration of the trust is to conserve much more of the ancient monument," said Fiona.

"A repaired monument will be a real positive asset for the town of Ruthin to be enjoyed by town’s people and visitors to the area alike, it will be much easier to see and understand and we hoped that the site will become much better known and appreciated for the important role it played in Welsh history.

"It is now up to the Ruthin Castle Conservation Trust to ensure the work continues.

"None of this work would be possible without the generosity of Cadw who have grant aided this important work as well as the hotel who have given permission for the work to take place.

"Tours of the work will take place in the early autumn, watch out for further information."