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"Which British castle would you like to see fully restored?" Topic

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Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 10:47 a.m. PST

Which dilapidated and ruinous castle in the British Isles would you like to see fully restored to its past glory?

Why are such projects to restore these buildings not being implemented or are we too just wait until they irrecoverably crumble? That seems like a huge loss to me.

I have many favourites but will opt for Beaumaris Castle in Wales.


Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 10:51 a.m. PST

"Why are such projects to restore these buildings not being implemented"

For the obvious reason, it would cost an asbolute fortune, same as when they were first built.

Jovian1 Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 10:52 a.m. PST

It was never finished. So restored would be an incorrect statement – it is a beautiful place and to see it fully finished would be awesome!

ttauri Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 11:08 a.m. PST

None. Any restoration would destroy the original. Preservation, not restoration.

Bangorstu21 Jun 2011 11:08 a.m. PST

The original castle in Beaumaris has been partially restored…


Or did you mean that monstrosity of Edward I? :)

For me I'd like either the llys of Llewellyn Fawr at Abergwyngregyn (or indeed Rhosneigr) to be restored or one of the Welsh castles like Dolbadarn or Dolwyddelan.

The history of Wales before the Conquest is fascinating, and to be frank the locals were rather robbed in 1282.

They were doing exceptionally well just before dear old Llew got himself killed – they'd won two battles just before Cilmeri including wiping out one entire army of 2000.

dandiggler21 Jun 2011 11:10 a.m. PST

I'd like to see a timber motte and bailey castle like Hen Domen restored.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 11:19 a.m. PST

A problem would be when do you restore to. Like any very old building a castle can have had many changes in its life. Taking Stirling it is being restored piece meal link link to a 1500's look but a good number object to the bright lime-wash finish, historically correct for the time, wishing the plain stone of later times others wish for an earlier restoration (not practical now).

I'd like to see more restoration work but note that there will always be controversy as what you restore to.


Bangorstu21 Jun 2011 11:20 a.m. PST

There's a restored Motte & Bailey castle in Stanstead Mountfitchett in Essex.

Monkeyborg Dirtside Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 11:37 a.m. PST

Newcastle needs some work…

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 11:49 a.m. PST

Yeah, finish Beaumaris. That would be knock-out, and should keep a few people busy for a while. Only traditional methods, mind.

Bangorstu21 Jun 2011 12:02 p.m. PST

Building work in Beaumaris?

Are you mad?

The locals would never stand for it… The noise dear boy, the noise…

Andrew May121 Jun 2011 12:04 p.m. PST

What an interesting thread! I love our architectural heritage and studied it as part of my degree. Some really good suggestions have been made

(Nameo Falso) Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 12:14 p.m. PST

Elephant & Castle. Restored to say, circa 1939 or perhaps 1750.

Personal logo Red3584 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 12:57 p.m. PST

a good number object to the bright lime-wash finish, historically correct for the time

Likewise Craigievar was restored to a lovely shade of pink which raised a few eyebrows despite being authentic!


twicethecaffeine21 Jun 2011 1:20 p.m. PST


MajorB Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 1:25 p.m. PST

There's a restored Motte & Bailey castle in Stanstead Mountfitchett in Essex.

Yes, there is. Unfortunately it is absolutely awful.

bruntonboy21 Jun 2011 1:43 p.m. PST

None of them. Castles are at their most atmospheric when in ruins, you just need to add your own imagination.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 1:47 p.m. PST

Newcastle is only a Norman Keep, little remains of the rest. I would go for Caerphilly, a very large and imposing ruin

Aladdin Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 2:03 p.m. PST

Corfe Castle in Dorset, restored to just pre-ECW vintage. Nice, compact, scenic, and relatively affordable. Of course the nearby picturesque village might suffer somewhat since it is built from building materials taken from the slighted castle…

Edwulf Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 2:32 p.m. PST

Nottingham. The current "castle" is an 1840s mansion and the remains of a single gate. A restored castle would pay for itself over time with the the tourists it attracts.

Grand Dragon Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 2:35 p.m. PST

I'd love to have Pontefract castle back , and Baynards Castle , and the old palace of Westminster.

Chocolate Fezian Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 2:59 p.m. PST

The could all be refurbished relatively cheaply and put to good use link The problem is English Heritage, but don't get me started about English Heritage, if you want a building to decay and collapse get it listed.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 4:18 p.m. PST

Castell Dinas Bran 1m NE of Llangollen, Denbighshire,
I spent a afternoon at the ruins thinking about how it must have looked in the Middle ages.

Personal logo J Womack 94 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2011 5:03 p.m. PST

What state is Caernarfon in?

Jemima Fawr21 Jun 2011 9:26 p.m. PST

Apart from THE State and states of being, we don't have states. Caernarfon is in the county of Gwynedd (formerly the old county of Caernarfonshire).

Pijlie Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 9:29 p.m. PST


Keraunos Inactive Member21 Jun 2011 10:58 p.m. PST

there is a motte and bailey norman one in Pollock park in Glasgow I'd like to see restored.

right now, its just a bumps and a dip with some large stones – and a bike trail through it.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2011 4:29 a.m. PST

Caernarfon Castle doesn't really need restoring as it is still pretty much all in one piece.

Norman D Landings22 Jun 2011 4:41 a.m. PST

One of the major forts on Hadrian's wall – Houseteads, maybe.

The Eynhallow Brochs.

Dunstanburgh, Kenilworth, Tintagel… heck, any of them.

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2011 5:04 a.m. PST

Norham, it is a great looking ruin and interesting to me with my love of the border conflicts.


cheesedoffwithtmp Inactive Member22 Jun 2011 5:30 a.m. PST

Maiden Castle (actually hillfort but everyone calls it a castle)

Dutch508 Inactive Member22 Jun 2011 6:54 a.m. PST


Lord Downing
Duke of Nebraska (pending)

wyeayeman Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2011 6:55 a.m. PST

The restoration of Roy Castle would be nice. After all, dedication is all you need!

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2011 7:30 a.m. PST

Would that break the record?

Norrins Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2011 7:37 a.m. PST


Daffy Doug Inactive Member22 Jun 2011 9:58 a.m. PST

The castle "Aaagh"….

(Nameo Falso) Inactive Member22 Jun 2011 11:32 a.m. PST

How do you restore a maiden?

Redcurrant22 Jun 2011 2:35 p.m. PST


I believe that it is called hymenoplasty, and restores a barrier that has already been breached – not sure it would be much good on crumbling masonry though.

Doug em4miniatures Inactive Member23 Jun 2011 2:13 a.m. PST

Liverpool. Of course, they's have to start from scratch but they have got the replica at Rivington to use as a guide. I don't know if it's authentic but it looks nice;


Volleyfire23 Jun 2011 12:49 p.m. PST

Bolingbroke Castle, birthplace of a King (I know, I await the 'usurper' comments), slighted by Oliver Cromwell after Winceby. Then the thieving locals nicked the rest to build their houses. If I look out my window and crane my neck I can just see it.Or rather what is left of it. English Heritage dug half the moat out last year but left the other half in case they disturbed the newts. What point is there in having a castle (ruin) with only half a moat? Of course it being built of sandstone you would probably have to keep rebuilding it permanently as it weathered crumbled and fell down again.Should be good for local employment if nothing else.

Dravi74 Inactive Member24 Jun 2011 10:22 a.m. PST

As Martin Rapier says the cost. X42Brown links to the Stirling Palace renewal, it took over three years of work and cost over 12 million pounds to restore the interior of the palace to what they believe it was like when it was prepared by James V in the 1540's. The structure itself was in a good state, so there was not the need to rebuild the whole palace.

As much as I would like to see these things restored to their former glory, they will only be done bit by bit on places that are already in pretty good repair. Rebuilding a ruin would be exhorbitantly expensive.

On the other had, Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness would be nice to see rebuilt.

Bangorstu24 Jun 2011 11:55 a.m. PST

Denbigh castle is about to have 600K spent on it…

Could be the rest of the moat at Bollingbroke will be restored – newt mitigation is expensive but easy enough to do.

I can give a reasonable quote if asked :)

Pict17 Inactive Member24 Jun 2011 12:08 p.m. PST

Kenilworth. Restore the keep to full height and flood 'the Brays' to recreate the huge lake that served as a moat. Would be a spectacular sight!

Jemima Fawr24 Jun 2011 2:46 p.m. PST

It's a strange fact in the UK that 'incredibly rare' and 'almost extinct' species are found in every single rural location that is about to be redeveloped…

I suppose we should feel very lucky as a nation to have 'extremely rare' and 'endangered' species living in every single planned road, high-speed railway, airport extension, housing development, castle and moat in need of renovation. It's truly amazing that we should be so lucky…

During a relatively recent renovation of Carew Castle moat/millpond (see here: link ), near where I live, it was discovered that an 'extremely rare' and 'endangered' species of 'microscopic bearded nemetode worm' (whatever that is) was living in the 'extremely rare' and 'endangered' tidal lagoon environment of the millpond. The enviro-loons then assessed the main threat to the microscopic worms to be the large flock of swans that lived on the pond… Cue a mass cull of swans…

Back to the subject: Unless the castle was still standing in the photographic age, or at least in the ages of the Renaissance and Enlightenment and the great artists, how can renovation be anything more than complete guesswork? To be honest, I feel that 'restoring' any of the dozens of ruined castles near where I live would be nothing short of vandalism. The Victorians had the great idea of restoring Pembroke Castle (here: link ), to repair much of the damage done by artillery during the successive ECW sieges. In order to find stone to repair the main gatehouse and eastern curtain wall, they actually demolished what was left of the barbican, along with several 'unsightly' mediaeval buildings…

Even within the last twenty years, the small castle in my home town of Narberth (here: link – also wrecked by Cromwellian artillery) had the entire gatehouse demolished during a well-meaning 'restoration'.

John GrahamLeigh Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2011 4:10 p.m. PST

We have a pretty good idea of what many castles looked like in the early 18th century, through the drawings made by the Buck brothers. Orford, for instance, is now only a keep as the bailey walls collapsed in the 19th century and the rubble was all removed, but the Bucks' drawing shows what the walls and gatehouse looked like.

Generally I agree with the "preservation not restoration" view, but some Continental restorations I've seen such as Rothenburg and Carcassonne do have an appeal.

Bangorstu25 Jun 2011 2:17 a.m. PST

The problems with the Great Crested Newt are manifold…

First off, where you get them, you tend to get a helluva lot of them.

So if you live in a region with them, just about every devleopment job will run into problems. Cheshire and NE Wales are like that.

However, their populations depend on ponds, and we've lost an awful lot of them, hence the protection.

Why are GCNs protected and the other two species aren't? Well, they are rarer, and aside from a tiny amount of populations in Northern Gemrnay and the Netherlands, the UK is the only place in the world where you'll find them.

I now return you to your original programming…

Where I'll agree – unless there's documentary evidence for how a ruined castle looks like, best to leave it be.

Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2011 9:33 a.m. PST

Some castles, like Bodiam in Kent, could be restored with little effort, utilising traditional building methods and carpentary skills.

If the alternative is to see such magnificant buildings crumble to dust with the irreplacable loss to national heritage, then I for one say restore them and let future generations enjoy and understand what these edifices once were. Otherwise, Walt Disney's interpretation of castle building will be all that is left. Ho, hum!


stampedingviking Inactive Member25 Jun 2011 2:15 p.m. PST

It's not a castle, but I would like to see Basing House restored (and charge the decendants of Cromwell for it!).

Jemima Fawr25 Jun 2011 3:00 p.m. PST

But there is a difference between 'preservation' and 'restoration'. I agree entirely with preservation, but in the case of restoration there would have to be a definitive historical reference that the building could be restored to and this is not prsent in the case of 99.9% of cases.

I even know of two fortified manors locally (Stackpole and Lawrenny) that burned down as recently as the end of WW2 (courtesy of the Brtish Army), yet there is no known definitive surveyor's plan to which they could be accurately restored, should the will and the funding be available.

If you 'restore' without definitive documentation as to what the place was originally like, you simply end up with romantic monstrosities such as Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch, which are little more than tons of masonry sitting on top of the archaeology that could otherwise have been examined, had some Victorian idiot not piled all that masonry on top of it.

Connard Sage25 Jun 2011 4:12 p.m. PST

Ditto Bamburgh. It's been a fortified site for over 1500 years, Armstrongs's 19th century restorations hardly lent much to the site's archaeological importance, even though the castle is mostly 'complete'

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