A Grade I listed Welsh castle, identified by Cadw as an irreplaceable cultural asset, has secured £2.2m to save the building’s central hall from collapse.

Gwrych Castle near Abergele in North Wales was built between 1810 and 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. It was made a visitor attraction in 1948, and was closed in 1987 as it fell into decline.

After a series of sales, in 2018, the castle and its estate was sold to Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, enabled by a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

During the pandemic the castle became the home of ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’, as an alternative to the show’s usual Australian location.

Now, Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust will use the new £2.2m funding, coupled with match funding from the Richard Broyd Charitable Trust, to rescue the castle’s central building from imminent collapse. It will undertake urgent repairs that had been halted due to the closure of the Castle during the pandemic.

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The interior of Gwrych Castle

The funding comes from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) as part of a £.4.1m package for Wales’s heritage. Gladstone’s Library, Insole Court and two Medieval churches have also received funding as part of the package.

The announcement follows a similar £4.4m package for Scottish heritage, announced last week by the NHMF.

Scottish UNESCO World Heritage site and museum supported by £4.4m

Dr Mark Baker, Chair of Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust said: “The buildings are in perilous condition following the pandemic, during which development plans were limited and significantly delayed by the lack of funding streams and restrictions on construction work.

“This combined with extreme weather conditions has contributed to a decline to the roofless main building. With this substantial funding award, we can reverse the critical situation that the site is currently in, allowing Gwrych Castle to be returned to its former glory and offering our visitors the best experience when they come to learn about the fascinating heritage it has to share.”

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