Heritage, Wales

Repairing Cardigan Castle

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The medieval stonework of Cardigan Castle, in the Welsh town of Ceredigion, is currently undergoing some crucial structural rejuvenation.

Since the mid-70s the wall, situated at the Castle, has been propped up from street level – partly by steel stanchions and partly by wooden props. In the summer of 2012, the long-overdue work to strengthen the outer-walls began, under the supervision of contractor Andrew Scott LTD.

Cardigan Castle dates back to 1176, when it was constructed into the stone structure seen today. Over the following centuries it changed hands numerous times, was stormed by the armies of Oliver Cromwell in 1645, and quickly fell into disrepair.

Discussing the historic site, Education Officer at Cardigan Castle, Rhian Medi, said it was the embattled history of the castle that had left it in need of such repair.

She said:

“Parts of the wall of Cardigan Castle are older than others, but the entire outer wall is being renovated. The castle has had a unique past so different sections of the site are much older than others.

“There is a low part of the wall that Oliver Cromwell’s men climbed over to storm the castle, so you can imagine these are areas of historical importance.

Rhian added:

“The repairs have to be done carefully; they were supposed to be finished by December 2012, but that seems unlikely now. But we’re in no rush, we would rather it be done in the right way.”

The £1 million project is being undertaken by Andrew Scott Limited of Swansea – a company with a history of repairing historical buildings.

The renovation and repairs were made possible by European grants as well as additional grant funding from the Prince’s Trust – a UK youth charity which has been in operation since 1976.

The site was the location of the Eisteddfod festival, one of the oldest and largest cultural events of its type – the first ever Eisteddfod festival was held on the year that the castle was built, now it is an annual event for locals and tourists around the world. With the rejuvenation of the wall, this year’s festival should be very significant.

The major regeneration work taking place at Cardigan Castle will also include the creation of a Welsh Language and Learning Centre, visitor destination holiday cottages, craft units and a cafe/restaurant.

Commenting on the importance of the project, Ceredigion’s Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Mark Williams, said:

“The refurbishment of the Cardigan Castle is a fantastic project, the amount of support it has garnered from so many different organisations just goes to show how important the restoration of this historic site is.

“The project has received fantastic backing. The funding and investment will not only benefit Cardigan Castle and its visitors, but will also benefit the Cardigan area as a whole. The Cardigan Castle project is set to attract visitors to the local area for years to come.”

For more information about Cardigan Castle, or to keep up to date with the ongoing works at the site, please visit: www.cardigancastle.com.

Falcon Structural Repairs

Falcon Structural Repairs Limited, founded in 1986, has over 25 years experience in underpinning and structural repairs and the repair of cracked brickwork and masonry.

With an impressive record in mind the Cadw – the official guardian of the built heritage of Wales – have entrusted the strengthening of some of Wales’ best loved monuments to the company.

After completing structural support and strengthening works on Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Montgomery Castle and Chepstow Castle, Falcon has most recently been asked to install anchors to stabilise stonework on Cardigan Castle.

Managing Director of Falcon, Ifor Roberts said:

“We were invited to undertake this latest project at Cardigan Castle because we’re an approved installer of the Cintec anchor system which is used internationally and approved by Cadw and English Heritage.

“I believe we were selected because at Falcon we pride ourselves on the quality of the work that we undertake and the high standards demonstrated by our staff and operatives.”

When talking about what challenges a heritage site brings, Ifor added:

“We are sympathetic to the requirements of any heritage project. The aim is to preserve the monument in its existing condition whilst providing structural stability to the fabric.

“At Cardigan Castle construction is underway and running smoothly but minor variations to the scheme have been necessary as the project evolves and the construction and condition of the stonework become evident. It is necessary to proceed with such works in a carefully controlled manner as heritage projects are sometimes very delicate.”

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