RUTHIN CASTLE CONSERVATION STATEMENT

RUTHIN CASTLE CONSERVATION STATEMENT DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES LTD REVISED OCTOBER 2006 CONTENTS Preface 1.0 Introduction 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2.0 Si...
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RUTHIN CASTLE

CONSERVATION STATEMENT

DONALD INSALL ASSOCIATES LTD REVISED OCTOBER 2006

CONTENTS Preface 1.0

Introduction 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

2.0

Site Development and its History 2.1 2.2 2.3

3.0

Precedents and comparison of related buildings The Architects of the Castle and the House

Statement of Significance 4.1 4.2

5.0

Development of the Castle 1277 – 1508 The Myddletons 1632 – 1508 The Castle as a Clinic and Hotel; 1922 to date

Historical and Architectural Context 3.1 3.2

4.0

The Site Scope of the Conservation Statement Value of the Conservation Statement Adoption of the Statement

Statutory Designations Categorisation of Site Elements 4.2.1 Very High Significance 4.2.2 High Significance 4.2.3 Moderate Significance 4.2.4 Little Significance 4.2.5 Negative Interest

Issues 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7

Condition Public Perception / Accessibility / Interpretation Resources Policy Framework Redevelopment Knowledge and Understanding Specific Issues 5.7.1 Castle Hotel – Condition of External Fabric 5.7.2 Castle Hotel – Condition of Internal Fabric 5.7.3 Condition of Standing Ruins within Landscape 5.7.4 Condition of Other Garden Features

Ruthin Castle Hotel – Conservation Statement Contents

6.0

Principles and Policies 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11 6.12

Building and Development Principles General Policies – new uses General Policies – demolition and removals General Policies – structures unsuitable for reuse General Policies – repairs Specific Policies Response to very high and high significance Response to Moderate Significance Response to little significance Response to Negative Interest Demolition Further Evidence

APPENDICES Bibliography Listed Building Entry Plans, Historic Maps, Drawings and Engravings

Donald Insall Associates Ltd 21A High Street Conwy Aberconwy LL32 8DE T: 01492 592378

Bridgegate House 5 Bridge Place Chester CH1 1SA T: 01244 350063 F: 01244 350064

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Preface

PREFACE Ruthin Castle, from which the present hotel and grounds have developed, is not only an important building locally but has both regional and national historical importance within Wales. Sited to the south of Ruthin, the Castle and its Hotel are an important focal point for locals and visitors alike, having had a presence since 1277. Its historical and architectural importance is underlined by its highly listed and scheduled monument status. The Castle now faces another phase of change. Faced with mounting repairs and general annual maintenance to both the hotel and its grounds, enabling development needs to be explored in order to secure a revenue income. This Conservation Statement is designed to assist this process of change. By understanding the history of the building, its surroundings and its development, the Statement is able to set out the scope for accommodating change whilst ensuring that its special architectural and historic interest is not undermined. Also, the possibility of undoing some of the previous mistakes is highlighted, so that the hotel, the standing ruins and the grounds can be further interpreted and enjoyed. Areas where alteration may be appropriate and the likely maximum level of any intervention are defined. Areas where change should be restricted are also highlighted. These are set out as policies for each defined area. This framework has been developed in collaboration between the Authors, the Local Authority’s Conservation and Countryside Offices and CADW. It stands to provide guidance for the owner and to remove uncertainty as to what is likely to be permissible for those who go on to design proposals and carry out works on the buildings. The Conservation Statement also demonstrates that the listing does not impede its future use or development and that it can remain a focal point for both the local community and visitors alike into the 21st century.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Introduction

1.0

INTRODUCTION This Conservation Statement has been prepared by the Chester Office of Donald Insall Associates Ltd to guide and inform future proposals to the Castle, the standing ruins and its environs. The Statement was commissioned by the present owners Ruthin Castle Ltd as a result of their own ongoing discussions with Denbighshire County Council. The Statement attempts to address these specific items relating to enabling development works, limited extension and alterations to the Hotel and the application and use of conservation principles. The Conservation Statement has been written by Tony Barton, Chris Wilson and Jennifer Chambers of Donald Insall Associates Ltd. Their work has been supported by background information provided by Anthony Saint Claire, Phil Ebbrill and Fiona Gale of Denbighshire County Council’s Conservation and Countryside departments and the research has been aided by Eleri Lloyd for Donald Insall Associates Ltd.

1.1

THE SITE The Castle is situated off Castle Street (Stryd y Castell) which, along with Clwyd Street, Prior Street, Well Street and Record Street form the historic centre of Ruthin. Currently, access to the Castle is via a re-laid tarmacadam driveway which follows a gravelled drive laid out by the Myddelton-Wests c.1849. There remains a driveway to the historic twin towered entrance to the east. This is used for private access to the house. Finally, a smaller tracked access is available to the Castle from Mill Street, this to the Hotel’s NW point. This access is gated and runs through a wooded area dating from before the early 1800’s.

1.2

SCOPE OF THE CONSERVATION STATEMENT During the process of researching for this Conservation Statement, relatively little in the way of drawings and plans were found of the Castle pre-dating 1769, although there is an engraving showing the Castle from the south west after its dismantling by Major-General Mytton c.1648. It was possible to piece together documentary evidence found during research from Denbighshire’s Record Office, Ruthin Castle’s own library and historical interest websites. The information from these books, articles, photographs, engravings and drawings has enabled an understanding of the historical development of the Castle.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Introduction

1.3

VALUE OF THE CONSERVATION STATEMENT This Conservation Statement stands as a statement of a view at a particular point in time. Further research could alter or enlighten this view. If understanding of the development of the site continues over time, then the conclusions of this Statement may need to be reviewed. The Statement does not attempt to present solutions to particular problems, in a way that a feasibility study would. It is, rather, a presentation of principles which are to be used to help guide and influence future proposals. It seeks not to restrict any proposed developments, but to highlight both the positive and beneficial aspects of the site. The document broadly follows the format of a full Conservation Plan, as recommended by the Heritage Lottery Fund guidelines, but is more limited in detail and in the scope of its research. The text attempts to highlight any major gaps in the understanding of the heritage asset and areas where further research and evaluation might further enhance the decision making process. In writing this Statement we, as an architectural practice, have sought to avoid imposing our own design ideas onto the assessment. We do, however, believe that the historic structures and planted woodlands have positive potential and have attempted to communicate this.

1.4

ADOPTION OF THE STATEMENT It is recommended that the owners of the Castle, Denbighshire County Council and CADW should adopt this Statement. In doing so, they should accept the principles set out in the document and endorse the parameters established as a basis for future development and consideration.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Introduction

Ruthin Castle Ownership Boundary Grade II Listed Landscape Scheduled Monument Approx Extent of Above Ground Grade I Listed Elements Grade II* Listed Building Grade II Listed Buildings

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

2.0

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND ITS HISTORY The place name of Ruthin is derived from the Welsh words ‘rhudd’ meaning red and ‘din’ meaning fort. These words are more obviously seen in the welsh spelling Rhuthun and refer to the Red Fort (probably a Celtic iron age fort predating 1277) standing on the red sandstone ridge which overlooked the marshy Vale of Clwyd (Yr Gwernfor).

2.1

DEVELOPMENT OF THE CASTLE, 1277 – 1508 The first documented castle in Ruthin was given to Prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd in 1277 by King Edward I in return for Dafydd’s help earlier that year during the English invasion of North Wales. Dafydd possibly had the fort strengthened, taking its original pentagonal shape with an upper bailey and moat around. The Castle was known as Castell Coch yn yr Gwernfor ‘The Red Castle on the Great Marsh’. 1282 and war flared up in the region when the English lords started to help themselves to unclaimed Welsh lands. The garrison at Ruthin was overwhelmed by English troops under the command of Reginald de Grey who had advanced westwards along the Dee Valley from Chester. Edward I granted the ‘Cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd’ which included Ruthin Castle as its chief stronghold, to de Grey as a reward for his loyalty. Reginald erected a protective wall around Ruthin to protect the English townsfolk and craftsmen that he had brought with him. Over the next twelve years, Reginald built up an army of men and horses, using Ruthin as a secure base. In 1294, he quelled the Madoc revolt and so protected the lands to the east of Ruthin as far as Chester and Wrexham. Buoyed by success and the backing of his King, the Castle was extended in 1295. Employing the most famous of master castle builders, Master James of St. George, the Castle doubled in size and included a new twin-towered entrance, six rounded towers and a Sally Port to the NW. The inner moat was retained, protecting the south western part of the Castle in the event of a semi successful attack. Outside the walls to the east were the Lord’s orchard and fish pond - evidence can be seen in the names Perllan yr Arglwlydd (Orchard of our Lord) and Pwll yr Arglwydd (Pool of our Lord). There is further written evidence of de Grey’s walk which connected the Castle to the game forest and deer park to the south and west of the Castle. It is likely that the existing woodlands directly to the west and partly to the south have a direct connection with those historic forests.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

Ruthin Castle c.1282 (overlaid on current OS map )

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

Principally, the areas surrounding the castle would have been forests or marshlands; hence the name ‘Red Castle on the Great Marsh’ and the number of timber framed buildings which still existing (although none are likely to predate the earliest castle) in Ruthin. It is reasonable to assume that the lands under the ownership of the de Grey’s would have been quite extensive but there is no documentary evidence recording acreage. Dendrachronological tests may well support the age of certain trees around the grounds as contemporary with the first castle. The earliest references to a Park at Ruthin date from 1533 to 1538 which detail fees paid to a master forester carrying out work to ‘Town Parke’ or ‘Ruthin Parke’ ( now known as Castle Park, lying directly south of the castle). Ruthin Castle remained under the ownership of the de Grey’s until 1508, with all Lords holding senior positions at Court. The Castle itself would have undergone some minor changes, but there is no historical evidence to reveal what or where. Ruthin Castle holds a place in Welsh national history as being the seat of a later Reginald de Grey who battled against Owain Glyndwr, Prince of Wales. Both men served under Henry IV and were trusted aides de camp. When Henry IV resumed his war against the Scots, he issued writs to all the Lords and Barons of the land to raise men and arms. De Grey was tasked with delivering the writ to his neighbour Glyndwr but, seeing an opportunity to put Glyndwr out of the King’s favour and then seize his lands, he withheld it. Glyndwr thought he had been snubbed by his King and raised an army of men to reclaim Wales with him as the rightful monarch. Seeking further revenge on de Grey, Glyndwr and his men attacked Ruthin, burning the village to the ground. The Castle remained untouched during the attack, with Glyndwr returning to the safety of Snowdonia. Two years later, Glyndwr ambushed de Grey, taking him, his sons and some followers hostage. A ‘King’s’ ransom was paid and de Grey released but he and his forebears never fully recovered from this financial loss. George de Grey, the great-grandson of the Baron held hostage by Glyndwr, sold the Castle and lordship of Ruthin back to the crown in 1508 and, during the latter part of the sixteenth century, the crown granted the lordship to Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and then, on his death, to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Warwick’s own death saw the lordship revert back to the Crown with revenues continuing to be collected.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

2.2.

The Myddletons 1632 – 1922 In 1632 Sir Thomas Myddleton of Chirk purchased the Castle from the Cranes who had been granted the lordship some years earlier by King Charles I. By some negotiation, Myddleton acquired the stewardship of the Castle in 1635 but it was not until 1677 that he received the full title. With the advent of Civil War in 1642, the Castle was inspected by the Crown Surveyor, repairs carried out and soldiers garrisoned, all at the Crown’s expense. Myddleton, a staunch Republican, was appointed Parliamentary Commander in Chief for North Wales and undertook to attack the Royalist troops encamped in his own Castle. After two days, Myddleton and his men were forced to withdraw such was the strength of fortification. With the Civil War dragging on to the beginning of 1646, when it became apparent that the Parliament would win, Major-General Mytton was tasked with reducing all the Castles in North Wales to the ground with Ruthin the first to be attacked. The Castle was strong, well defended and withstood severe bombardment and, it is asserted, that the besieged could have held out longer with supplies smuggled in via an underground passage from the site of the Red Lion Inn. Only when the Parliamentarians announced they were to mine the walls was an honourable withdrawal agreed, lead by Governor Reynolds. The following year, the Government passed an act for the dismantling of fortresses and in 1648 under the supervision of Simon Thelwall, the Castle was demolished. Tons of dressed stones and timber were carted off and Ruthin Castle became a ruin. With the outright purchase of the Castle in 1677, the Myddleton family – formerly Sir Thomas Myddleton from Chirk and then his brother Richard Myddleton of Llysfasi – became the owners of Ruthin Castle until the early part of the twentieth century. Richard Myddleton died intestate in 1796 leaving three daughters – Charlotte (the oldest), Maria and Harriet. The Chancery Court awarded Charlotte the largest estate – Chirk. Maria received Ruthin and Harriet the Dyffryn Ceriog Estate. Maria married Frederick West, 3rd son of the 8th Baron West in 1798 and had only one surviving son – Frederick Richard, who married twice, the first time to Lady Georgina Stanhope and then Theresa Whitby, only daughter to Captain John Whitby RN.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

Whitby died soon after Theresa was born and his close friend Admiral Cornwallis became her guardian. On his death, he bequeathed all his possessions to Theresa, making her wealthy in her own right. In 1826, moneyed and influential, the Myddleton-Wests set about building a two storied castellated house to the south west part of the ruined castle. Surrounded by lands owned by their ancestors, formal gardens, meadows and woodlands were set out and planted. Between 1849 and 1852 the Myddleton-Wests demolished part of their base and put up a larger, better proportioned rectangular block in three storeys with an imposing octagonal tower to the south west corner. A leading Victorian Architect, Henry Clutton, designed the house in the style of 15th century perpendicular, in line with the popular mid-nineteenth century gothic revival. The local red sandstone was enlightened by a series of finely detailed bay, mullioned and oriel windows. There is no further historical evidence as to works carried out to the surrounding forests and parklands which would have included the Coed Merchan ( Merchan Wood ) as part of the hunting grounds to the estate, until the Myddleton-Wests took possession in the nineteenth century, The parklands were extended in 1850 to the southwest when the castle was extended and remodelled by Clutton. The land around the castle was consolidated after the Corwen Road was re-routed to the east with the Park thinly planted around older, scattered oaks. The new road was lined by Lime trees, at Mrs Myddelton-West’s direction. The Garden layout and grounds within the walls underwent most changes during the nineteenth century at the initiation of the Myddelton-Wests. Ivy was heavily planted to the remaining castle walls to provide a backdrop for more formal planting to its front. Informal shrub and tree planting took place to the ‘more distant pleasure gardens’, to the banks of the castle mound to the west (dry moat and car parking area to the west presently) and to the south facing slopes ( dry moat to the right of the present main entrance to the Hotel ). The castle’s elevated position would have given good views over the remnants of the Deer and game forests to the south-west and west and, beyond them to the Clwyd Valley. The re-routing of the Corwen Road gave Clutton further scope to ‘improve’ the setting of the twin-towered entrance to the Castle to the northeast. Grounds in this area and to its south were laid out as sweeping lawns and planted up with shrubs and specimen trees. Paths were interspersed and took winding routes through. At the same time, the dry moat to the west of the present castle hotel entrance was further planted up with specimen trees, seemingly mostly conifers.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

The Lords Orchard to the north appears to have been sold off by that time but the dry moat to the north – the Lords Pond – still remained under the ownership of the Myddelton-Wests. The planting to the Lords Pond area seems concurrent with that of the works around and to the newly ivy-covered walls, with lawns interspersed with planted sections of shrubs and specimen trees. There still remain a number of older, more established trees in this area – further evidence of the extensive forests around the castle in its earliest guises. To the north of the Lords Pond, the Parkland area appears to have been retained as the Myddelton-Wests inherited it with no documentary records noting any changes or works being carried out. Engravings show the castle surrounded by well established trees of a similar height to that of Clutton’s extended castle. Care needs to be taken not to read too much into the scale and massing of these trees as they, although factually present, would provide an artistic background for the artist.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

Ruthin Castle c.1922 (overlaid on current OS map

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

The original gatehouse and park walls received Clutton’s attention with curtain walls in a grey limestone, topped with the local red sandstone. Of note is that the Corwen Road passed ‘under’ the Castle walls but with the enclosing works and the Myddleton-West’s granting land to the northeast of the Castle grounds, a new road was formed. New gardens were laid out to the north of the castle – the Lady’s Walk and the Rose Gardens., and the new Corwen Road lined with Elm trees.

2.3

The Castle as a Clinic and Hotel; 1922 to date The Myddelton-Wests sold the Castle in 1913 and with various internal alterations presumably including the infilling of the moat. The Castle became variously known as a Sanatorium, private hospital or clinic from about 1920 and was owned by the Duff family from Banff, Aberdeenshire (in actual fact the Earls of Fife). The Duff family had changed the family seat to a sanatorium in 1913 which became very successful and, in order to expand, he bought Ruthin Castle in 1920. The clinic traded until 1962 when it closed. There is also evidence that the thrice married George Cornwallis-West may have been in residence - as owner or long term guest it is not clear – until his suicide in 1951. The form of the building of this time is largely as it is seen today. Plans drawn up by Architects Saxon Smith & Partners, Chester show the in filled moat with treatment rooms; the plans do not show whether they are ‘existing or proposed’ but from earlier block plans which show the in filled moat, it seems that these proposals may have been internal reorganisation. There is some documentary evidence that further shrubberies were added to the southwest of the castle in a series of informal beds. These are most likely to be the beds that adjoin the car park to the southwest of the present hotel. Warburton Hotels bought the House, Castle and grounds in 1963 and turned it into a luxury hotel. Some changes to the building were implemented a 1965 ‘Terrace’ Bar adjacent to the existing Clutton redesigned entrance (again Saxon-Smith of Chester) and in 1966 internal revisions to open up the Medieval Banqueting Hall (Architects K. Farrell, Ruthin). During Warburton’s ownership, there are no found records of works altering the grounds as purchased. It is reasonable to assume that the main areas would have been looked after but that the more heavily wooded areas to the west and northwest and the Lords Pond and parklands directly to the north may have

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

been left. Certainly it would seem that the ivy has been left unchecked for a considerable time and what was a backdrop is very much to the foreground. From aerial photographs, the wooded area to the southwest of the castle appear to be mostly post 1963. The area is quite dense and appears to be planted with smaller trees of a similar variety to those around the castle. In 1973 the town of Ruthin held the annual National Eisteddfod. The Gorsedd Circle was erected at this time with the 12 outer stones symbolising the counties of Wales and the central Logan Stone intended for the Arch Druid to proclaim his information about the festival.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Site Development and its History

North Boundary Wall

Ruthin Town Centre

Lodge

7 8 11

3 1

10 6

2

9 5

12 4 Folly

Coach House

Main Entrance Car Park Walled Garden

Corwen Road

Overflow Parking Area Helicopter Landing Area

1. 2.

West Gate and Sally Porte West Tower (Lower Bailey) 3. West Tower (Upper Bailey) 4. Stone Lined Tunnel 5. Footbridge 6. Stair to Upper Bailey 7. Ladies’ Walk 8. Fountain Garden 9. Dovecote and Well 10. Gate House 11. Stair to Underground Chambers 12. Screen Wall

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The Gorsedd Circle

Scott House

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Historical and Architectural Context

3.0

HISTORICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL CONTEXT

3.1

PRECEDENTS AND COMPARISON OF RELATED BUILDINGS Ruthin Castle benefits from three distinct phases of development; that of its very early fortification, the construction and subsequent redesign of the house in the early 19th century and its comparatively recent life as a Clinic and Hotel. There are a number of comparable Castles in North Wales that are earlier architecturally to Ruthin. The principal Architect Master George of St. James was responsible for 12 of the 17 castles that Edward I built in Wales, including Rhuddlan, Caernarfon, Conwy and Beaumaris. All were fortified versions of larger iron-age Celtic forts that preceded them, and all had a similar approach in design using the terrain to its best advantage, a double ‘d’ tower to protect its main entrance and large rounded towers to its corners. Ruthin was one of his latter works, though pre-dating the historically more important Conwy Castle. The Middleton-Wests and their Architect Henry Clutton (1819 -1893) most heavily influenced the layout and design of the building as it is seen today. Its style was that of Gothic Revival, attributed to the general consensus of work during the early to mid part of the nineteenth century. During the period, other castles throughout the UK are bought by wealthy landowners and turned into extensive residences and most, more latterly, Hotels. Brecon Castle (now the Castle of Brecon Hotel) had repairs and alterations to them to turn the Castle building into a Hotel in 1809; similarly Langley Castle in Northumberland underwent significant repairs in 1882; again, this 14th century Castle now operates as a four star Hotel. Gwydir Castle, Llanrwst is the most local comparison of a late 15th century Castle (Grade I Listed) with alterations and extensions in 1600 and 1826 which now provides visitor accommodation. The 1920’s was also a period of considerable activity. The buildings had largely reached the plan form we see today. Some time between 1920 and the outbreak of the second world was, the House is converted to a Clinical Retreat with plans (c.1958) showing room layouts for the North Wing and South Wing. These were drawn up by local Architects Saxon Smith & Partners, Chester; the drawings do not show whether they are ‘existing’ or proposed and it is perhaps reasonably assumed they are existing as the infill to the Moat Wing is thought to pre-date WWII. To date, the Castle ruins and the Hotel itself have changed little. The existing historic woodlands to the west, south-east and east of the Castle – remain as Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Historical and Architectural Context

they were in both the late thirteenth and early nineteenth centuries and new woodlands created to the south-west of the Castle – this after 1963.

3.2

THE ARCHITECTS OF THE CASTLE AND HOUSE Master James of St. George. As far as Edward I’s late 13th century Castle building programme was concerned, the principal architect/mason was James of St. George. Summoned from the continent, he implemented the King’s extreme plans for fortification, 12 of the 17 Castles in Wales which Edward either built, rebuilt or helped strengthen. Rhuddlan Castle (to the north of Ruthin) was his first Castle, Beaumaris his last but perhaps his most famous are Caernarfon and Conwy. Ruthin predates Conwy but still shows all the characteristics of his earlier work. Born in 1230, he worked on a number of great European Castles including the fortress at St. George d’Esperanche (in Savoy on the Swiss - Italy, France border) with this effectively making his name. Edward clearly appreciated James’ worth – he was paid between 7 and 10 times the rate of a skilled mason – and he went on to build Castles in Scotland although he lived in a manor granted to him in North Wales, (possibly St. George near Abergele) until his death c.1308.

Henry Clutton Clutton commenced his own distinguished practice in 1844, winning first place in the Lille Cathedral competition with William Burges – his partner between 1851 and 1856. Burges, who was though to have worked with Clutton at Ruthin, was considered an expert on medieval design and carried out remodelling works on other buildings from the middle ages such as Castell Coch near Cardiff. Aside from the extensive remodelling at Ruthin, Clutton was Architect at the RC Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Notting Hill 1859 -1860, Birmingham Oratory 1860 and Battle Abbey where he designed the library to the SW end of the west range 1858. It is possible that the Myddleton-West’s who employed Clutton between 1849 and 1852 were one of his first major clients during a period of success for Clutton at home and abroad. Clutton’s works tended to be in the south and south-east so a commission in North Wales may have been as a result of a social introduction.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Historical and Architectural Context

Clutton is also credited with works for the first Duke of Westminster in Covent Garden and to the other of the Ducal properties between 1876 and 1890, only three years before his death.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Statement of Significance

4.0

STATEMENT OF SIGIFICANCE

4.1

Statutory Designations The structures and landscape within the grounds of Ruthin Castle are considered to be of national importance. This level of significance is recognised through the wealth of statutory designations that have been applied within the site: Ruthin Castle - Scheduled Monument and Grade I listed Ruthin Castle Hotel – Grade II* listed The Gateway & Lodge, Screen Wall & Folly and North Boundary Wall – all separately listed Grade II The Landscaped Park, formal garden and shrubbery walks are a grade II listed landscape The site is within Ruthin Conservation Area. It should be noted that any structure built before 1948 within the curtilage of any listed building (arguably within the whole castle park) are likely to be subject to the same statutory restriction as the specifically listed element, requiring listed building consent for any alterations.

4.2

Categorisation of Site Elements In order to develop policies to assist the conservation and management of the site and its various elements, it is necessary to identify why Ruthin Castle is significant. The assessment is based on the ‘understanding’ of the castle’s history and development discussed in the previous section. Whilst ideally a series of individual policies for each type of building element would be proposed, it is not practical to do so within the limited nature of this document. It is therefore intended that key building elements are classified within a series of categories according their level of significance. This enables generic policies to be applied to an issue which relate to their level of importance where a more specific policy may not have been considered. The following categories are used for this purpose:  Very high significance – will generally relate to elements considered to be of national importance, typically scheduled monuments and grade I and II* listed buildings.  High significance - will generally relate to elements considered to be of national or regional importance, for instance grade II or II* listed buildings.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Statement of Significance

 Moderate significance – structures of a local level of significance which are likely to be listed and play a role in the setting of other buildings or structures.  Little significance – structures with at most some limited historical or architectural interest which are not listable in their own right but may contribute to the setting of a listed building or part of a conservation area.  Negative interest – building or structures that detract from the setting of other site elements. The significance of each element is considered based on an assessment of its period, rarity, documented history, group value, condition, and architectural and aesthetic merits. Below is a brief list of the key elements of the site within each category. With each element listed is a brief description of the particular aspects of its significance. Where elements are outside the ownership boundary of the Castle Hotel, but are nonetheless an important part of its setting, they are marked with an asterisk.

4.2.1

Very High Significance  All elements of the medieval castle, including the standing remains of the towers, curtain walls, gatehouse, moats and any hidden elements within the scheduled monument boundary that might be concealed beneath soil or more recent structures. These elements are highly significant as visual and archaeological records of a medieval border castle and important as good survivors from their period, enabling the original form to be readily identified by the general public.

4.2.2

High Significance  The external fabric of the 19th century part of the hotel – significant as a very good example of a ‘picturesque’ architectural composition. Contributes significantly to the character of the area.  The interiors of the principal public rooms within the hotel; the Entrance Hall, Grande Salon, Cornwallis Room and Library, most notably – significant for their high quality and for the involvement of William Burges.  The 19th century additions to the curtain walling – contributes to the visual setting of the 19th century ‘picturesque’ composition.  19th century addition to gatehouse– contributes to the visual setting of the 19th century ‘picturesque’ composition.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Statement of Significance

 Principal 19th century built fabric of the garden within the curtain walling that are critical to its character and that define spaces (e.g. the ladies walk, archways, the stone footbridge) - contributes to the visual setting of the 19th century ‘picturesque’ composition.  The Italian Garden and other surviving layouts within the formal garden – part of pleasure gardens laid out by the Myddleton-Wests. It is understood the layout has changed little since the 19th century except where subsequent building work has taken place.  Gateway and lodge – contributes to townscape and is a vital visual link between the town and the castle.  Surviving remnants of the 19th century planting / landscape scheme, including specimen trees and pathways – critical to the ‘picturesque’ character of the character, with framed vistas created enhancing its setting.

4.2.3

Moderate Significance  The timber footbridge – likely to be part of original layout by the Myddleton-Wests, although its fabric has probably been replaced at least in part since that time.  General plain 19th century stone walling within the grounds and other fabric such as steps – contributes to the setting and ‘picturesque’ qualities of the castle. The boundary wall is an important link between the castle and the town.  Other 19th century interiors within the hotel – some attractive features such as doors, doorcases, fire surrounds and cornices likely to be present, together with any fixed artefacts that might relate to the original / early uses of the room in question.  The western, flat-roofed 1920’s limestone wing – part of the evolution of the site. Good quality architectural detailing and makes some contribution to the setting of the earlier buildings.  Scott House* (built as a nurse’s home) – attractive Arts and Crafts style house built in around 1912. Contributes to the setting of the Castle Park upon approach from the south along Corwen Road  The walled garden* - part of the 19th century garden, although is small with very little left of the original planting.  The coach House* - Part of the 19th century work within the park, although has been subsequently converted. Some contribution to the setting and history of the castle.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Statement of Significance

 The Gorsedd Circle – erected as part of the 1973 Eisteddfod. Part of the modern history of Ruthin and a visual landscape feature.  The dovecote – history unknown, but likely to be c.1900. In a poor condition but contributes to an extent to the setting of the castle.  Screen wall and folly – a good example of an early 19th century folly which has some contribution to the setting of the castle.  Areas of woodland not designed as part of the Clutton landscaping scheme – add to the generally setting of the castle but are not used specifically to define views and vistas. Trees within these areas have over a period of many decades had little management and therefore are in mixed condition

4.2.4

Little Significance  The western, pitched-roofed 1920’s roughcast wing of the hotel – of interior interest to the 19th century elements of the castle hotel, but has some limited architectural merits.  The private house within the grounds to the north-west of the castle* – of little architectural merit and was constructed post-war, but its impact is limited by its small scale  The well – likely to be modern, or a modern construction, but utilised sympathetic, traditional materials.  The twentieth century shrubbery and areas of trees – not part of more significant 19th century schemes but makes some limited visual contribution to views of the castle.

4.2.5

Negative Interest  The 1960s additions to the northern elevation of the hotel – built of interior materials to all other parts of the hotel and detract considerably from the setting of the castle when viewed from the north.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

5.0

ISSUES Despite the Castle having survived so much change and enjoying its deserved statutory protection, the site continues to be threatened in many ways. The current climate however provides both positive and realistic opportunities.

5.1

Condition •

There is a considerable disparity between the needs of the fabric of a surviving archaeological asset and that of the more aesthetically important landscaped romantic ruin.



Over a long period of time the standing ruins not been repaired to the same standards as the occupied Castle buildings.



The Castle does not generate sufficient income to ensure adequate structured maintenance and repair programmes are carried out.



A proportion of the site is largely unused (ruins, woodlands, dry moats etc.) therefore defects often go unnoticed.



The general age of the hotel buildings means that many of its original materials are coming to the end of their normal lifespan. Major repairs are now required to many areas.



Previous uses of the building have caused damage to the fabric of the building. These adaptations over the years may have inherent weaknesses which, if unchecked, will lead to further damage.



Features are being lost – either through vegetation masking them or general weathering.



Current maintenance regimes simply limit the damage caused by more significant problems, with priority being given to the main Castle buildings.



There are a number of later, 20th century changes that have resulted in the loss of historic fabric and some of the aesthetic value of the building. ‘Restoring’ these elements would reinstate the original appearance, but if unsympathetically / inaccurately carried out, the new elements could confuse the legible history of the castle and potentially result in the damage of historic fabric.



Many of the historic woodlands pre-dating 1850 remain intact with little subsequent alteration or management. To allow these areas to continue unchecked could give rise to a risk of disease.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

5.2

5.3

Public Perception •

With the possible exception of guests of the hotel, is the public aware of Ruthin Castle and its place in Welsh history?



There is a lack of connection between the Castle and the town, but visually and also in terms of its use.



The current overgrown nature of the scheduled monument makes it difficult for the public to understand its significance and value. Many of the finest historic details are hidden from view under dense vegetation.



In the past, ruins have been sanitised to make them visitor friendly, as opposed to their being properly interpreted and conserved.



There are numerous good examples of the considered reuse of castles and ruins, demonstrating their enormous potential.



Can the better documented areas of woodland and parkland under the current ownership be brought back into more valuable use? Clutton introduced ‘curving pathways’ through planted areas – it should be possible to use this as a means to ‘open up’ areas of the castle grounds and provide interpretation, especially to the Lords Pond and Orchard.

Resources •

The amount of investment needed financially to both repair the existing buildings and fund the conservation works to the ruins is substantial.



The overall cost of repair and reuse may be greater than the end value of the site.



The current owner is prepared to invest both time and financial resources to secure the future of the entire site but this is largely reliant on an agreed enabling development programme or alternative to make up the inevitable capital shortfall.



The site may be more valuable as a visitor attraction if considered conservation works are carried out to the standing ruins.



Internal alterations may be necessary to maximise the value of the building.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

5.4

5.5

Policy Framework •

As a site with highly graded listed buildings and a Scheduled Monument, the Castle as a whole is protected against demolition or alterations without statutory consent. This process allows for interested bodies to comment on or help influence proposals.



The Castle is within the Ruthin Conservation Area and this designation also prevents significant demolition or tree works without consent. Design guidelines influence the impact of proposals on the wider area and can safeguard the setting of key historic buildings.



The site is within a grade II scheduled landscape which is a factor that would be considered as material consideration in any planning, listed building consent or conservation area consent application.



There may be a conflict between the presumption (within statutory documents such as PPG15 and 16) of the need the preserve scheduled monument intact without change and the listed building legislation which encourages viable uses and a limited degree of change.

Redevelopment •

Development that is needed to allow new or extended uses may call for limited demolition, alterations, adaptations and the removal of artefacts. Ill-considered or overly intrusive proposals might damage important features to the site.



The requirements of new uses, in terms of new services, fire protection, site security and access could all have an impact on the structure, character and appearance of the site.



Parts of the Castle are so important that scope for alteration or intervention is very limited.



Parts of the Castle lend themselves easily to a wide range of possible uses, without detraction to the site as a whole.



The challenge in any proposal for an important historic site is to balance conservation with the need for development.



Parts of the woodlands both pre-1850 and post 1963 lend themselves to a variety of uses, potentially without detriment to the gardens as a whole, the setting of the parklands to the south nor the overall setting

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

of the castle and its grounds within Ruthin itself. The wooded areas are established enough to encompass redevelopment; the Lords Pond entirely capable of providing an excellent ‘amphitheatre’.

5.6

Knowledge and Undertstanding

5.7



Further and ongoing documentary research is required to understand the Castle’s history and evolution. Important aspects could unwittingly be overlooked in preparing proposals. The same is true for the immediate woodlands, parks and forests all of which have either documented pathways or, with further investigation, open up Clutton’s curving pathways.



Ongoing collaboration needs to take place between the Client and other interested parties to provide guidance and to remove doubt as to what is likely to be permissible.

Specific Issues The following specific issues that concern the fabric and use of the site have been noted during a brief ground level visual inspection of the grounds and built structures. Wherever possible general matters regarding the condition of the fabric are noted, however a separate, full condition survey would be required to further inform these issues and identify any less obvious defects. The specific issues relating to the castle are further discussed in the ‘Policies’ section of this document.

5.7.1

Castle Hotel – Condition of External Fabric i.

Spalling/delaminating to the sandstone walling, particularly at high level.

ii.

Significant erosion to sandstone detailing (for instance string courses and cills).

iii.

Cracking of stone and widening of joints, most notably on principal south-east facing facade adjacent to oriel windows. Although sudden movement is unlikely, it could be indicated an inherent structural problem.

iv.

Areas of cementitious render which are both unsightly and could be accelerating the decay of the sandstone beneath.

v.

Areas of failing / inappropriate pointing

vi.

Failing rainwater goods – as a result of material failure, inadequate sizing or poor design. In places this has lead to staining on the stone walls.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

vii. Untidy cabling surface-fixed onto the external walls. viii. The large number of soil vent pipes, particularly at rear of building, detracts from its visual character. ix.

At ground floor level the external joinery is generally sound, but higher up, where access is difficult, the decoration to the windows is failing and subsequently their exposed timber is showing signs of deterioration.

x.

There is evidence of a terracotta coloured decorative scheme of the limestone of the east facing elevation. This could either have been a coloured paint / limewash or a thin render. This may have been coated to mimic the colour of the red sandstone.

xi.

The fire escape stairs cause a considerable visual intrusion and where they have rusted there is staining down the stone walls.

xii. There are a number of visually obtrusive air-conditioning units. xiii. Attached to the western wing is a modern, flat-roofed extension. This element is of an inferior quality to the rest of the building both in terms of its appearance and its visual effect on the setting of the castle.

5.7.2

5.7.3

5.7.4

Castle Hotel – Condition of Internal Fabric i.

There are predominately modern finishes to the walls and ceilings within the hotel building. These are generally of a simple, unobtrusive nature, however, in a few instances these poorer quantity modern finishes detract from older more important features and potentially confuse the ‘legibility’ of the building’s history.

ii.

Prominent historic features such as plastered ceilings and fireplaces generally appear sound, with defects being attributable to ‘wear and tear’. There is some damage to these elements as a result of penetration of services.

Condition of Standing Ruins within Landscape i.

Many of the standing ruins are inaccessible due to the high extent of vegetative growth. This clear restricts public access and appreciation as well as the potential means of carrying out vital repairs and maintenance.

ii.

Plant growth in the mortar joints to the ruins has been cut down, but apparently treated to prevent regrowth.

Condition of Other Garden Features

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

i.

The steps connecting the various garden elements are generally uneven, and potentially could become a trip hazard and severely restrict access. In places the steps have been patched repaired with cement.

ii.

The sandstone garden and balustrading walls have become severely eroded which has affected their structural stability in parts. In places this has been worsened by cementitious pointing and patch rendering. Many of the coping stones are precarious, posing a potential threat to health and safety, particularly where they are adjacent to significant falls. Many have been dislodged by persistent ivy growth.

iii.

There is significant plant growth in the mortar joints of walls.

iv.

The timber footbridge is currently closed off to public access, presumably due to safety concerns regarding the integrity of the timber members.

v.

Fencing and concrete block wall is used in places where sections of historic wall are missing. These significantly detract from the visual character of the castle.

vi.

Piles of loose stones on floor along the Ladies’ Walk indicate that there is a significant volume of loose stones falling regularly from the walls. This could result in the permanent and irreversible loss of historic fabric and is a treat to health and safety.

vii. A significant movement crack is present in the garden wall connecting the gate house with the main hotel building up to around 40mm wide. viii. The gravel surface generally used throughout the grounds does not detract from the visual interest of the hotel and the standing ruins and promotes good drainage, but has some weed growth. ix.

The invasion of vegetation generally adds to character of a romantic ruin but is in places intensifying the decay and damage of the stonework as roots and branches expand within stonework joints.

x.

There are a number of self-seeded trees (most notably birch and sycamore) growing immediately adjacent to the standing ruins that could endanger the structural stability of the historic structures.

xi.

Within the ground level chambers adjacent to the gate house there are a number of loose artefacts – in particular two loose doors in a state of decay.

xii. Also within these chambers are areas of textured floor surface – made with different sizes, shapes and colours of stones – these are missing and covered over in modern mortar in places. xiii. The dovecote has a distinct but possibly historic leer to the east. This has caused the cracking and in places failure of three of the concrete bases into which its posts sit. Many of its slates have slipped and are held in place with lead clips. There is some damage and deterioration to the timber boarding. The condition of the dovecote is undoubtedly worsened by the blocked (plastic) gutters. Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Issues

Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

6.0

PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES The Conservation Statement will be used as a guide for all future decisions which have an impact on Ruthin Castle. Basic principles and broad policies are set out below. Some detailed policies are grouped together with some of the very specific issues that will arise as part of the repair and reuse of the site.

6.1

6.2

Building and Development Principles •

An increased range of uses needs to be found for the Castle to give it a sustainable future.



The ruins should include for increased public access and interpretation, but must include for commercial uses – outdoor events, concerts in the dry moat to the north of the Castle.



Any proposals for the Castle must be founded on the principle that the significance of the site as a whole must be maintained.



The Castle has seen change and development in its history. In order to survive, this process of change must be allowed to continue but within defined limits.



It is desirable to retain visitor/guest uses on the site for as long as this is compatible with the wider use of the area.



Limited clearing of more contemporary planting to provide useable space for commercial activities – overgrown conifers to the dry moat to the southwest of the castle

General Policies – new uses •

The design of alterations, extensions or new buildings in conjunction with the Castle involves reconciling the old and the new so that the significance of the old is not diminished but enhanced. This requires specialist skills in Architecture and planning.



Any development must support the conservation of the Castle as a whole.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

6.3

6.4

General Policies – demolition and removals •

Change should be both additive and reversible. Demolition or removal of any structure or object should be seen as the last resort when all other possibilities have been dismissed.



Alterations which damage important historic features must be shown to have real benefit to the wider conservation objectives and to therefore outweigh any loss.

General Policies – structures unsuitable for reuse •

6.5

Structures such as the curtain walls, Sally Port and remnants of the towers should be considered as monuments rather than buildings.

General Policies – repairs •

Urgent repair works are required to prevent the danger of serious damage e.g. failing stonework at high level to the main entrance.



Repairs must not diminish the historic character of the Castle, materials and workmanship must be sympathetic to the original. This requires specialist skills in architecture and conservation.



Wherever possible all repairs are to be using like-for-like materials and techniques. Any new materials and techniques would need approval from the conservation officer and may warrant a listed building / schedule monument application. Repair works should involve the minimum possible amount of removal of historic fabric.



Where like for like repairs are not possible or would result in loss of historic fabric, tried and tested modern techniques may be used. These should not draw attention to themselves nor be disguised as something else.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

6.6

Specific Issues and Policies

Item Issue No.

Threat to Significance

Policy

A

GENERAL CONDITION

A1

Considerable disparity between the needs of the fabric of a surviving archaeological asset and that of the more aesthetically important landscaped romantic ruin

The needs of one aspect are followed strictly to the detriment of the other – e.g. vegetation is completely cleared from stonework of ruins which would help its condition but it would have a negative impact on the ‘picturesque’ nature of the site.

Adopt a considered and balanced approach when decision making. Ensure that all parties are fully aware of the various aspects of its significance and the need to consult other bodies where appropriate.

A2

The Castle does not generate sufficient income to ensure adequate structured maintenance and repair programmes are carried out.

Continued deterioration to the condition and eventually loss of the fabric.

Agree a strategy that will achieve a balance between the need to provide a sustainable income and the need to preserve the fabric, character and setting of the castle.

A3

A proportion of the site is largely unused (ruins, woodlands, dry moats etc.)

Defects often go unnoticed.

Prepare a maintenance plan to instigate a regular maintenance regime. Carry out a buildings / site appraisal identifying the suitability of current uses. Consider sustainable uses for all identified underused areas.

A4

The general age of the hotel buildings means that many of its original materials are coming to the end of their normal lifespan. Major repairs are now required to many areas.

Potential failure of major building elements leading to further knock-on effects.

Carry out a condition survey of all major parts of the historic fabric. Make plans for the necessary future major repair projects carrying out temporary repairs to minimise damage whilst works are planned. Where a material remains useful, leave it in place but plan financially for its future replacement.

A5

Previous uses of the building have caused damage to the fabric of the building. These adaptations over the years may have inherent weaknesses.

These weaknesses, if unchecked, will lead to further damage.

Carry out a condition survey and repairs as above.

A6

Features are being lost – either through vegetation masking them or general weathering.

Features lost / covered

Identify significance of element and where possible remove / address cause of deterioration. Carry out

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

repair works to prevent further worsening of problem. A7

Current maintenance regimes simply limit the damage caused by more significant problems, with priority being given to the main Castle buildings.

Worsening of condition of fabric leading to eventual loss

Carry out a condition survey and prepare a maintenance plan prioritising works. Consider means of instigating any necessary major repairs programmes.

A8

There are a number of later, 20th century changes that have resulted in the loss of historic fabric and some of the aesthetic value of the building.

‘Restoring’ these elements would reinstate the original appearance, but if unsympathetically / inaccurately carried out, the new elements could confuse the legible history of the castle and potentially result in the damage of historic fabric.

Ensure that all parties working on the castle understand the different levels of significance of the fabric and the approach taken in any repair / buildings work.

A9

Many of the historic woodlands pre-dating 1850 remain intact with little subsequent alteration or management.

To allow these areas to continue unchecked could give rise to a risk of disease.

Regular inspections to be carried out by specialists.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Item Issue No. B

PUBLIC PERCEPTION

B1

The general public is not aware of Ruthin Castle and its place in Welsh history.

Castle does not make full contribution to understanding of history of area and therefore its social significance is lessened

Consider methods increasing public access

B2

There is a lack of connection between the Castle and the town, but visually and also in terms of its use.

Castle’s contribution to character and setting Ruthin is limited and therefore its social significance is lessened

Consider methods of increasing visual connection (e.g. opening up old vistas, using lighting etc) and increasing interaction and shared events with the town.

B3

The current overgrown nature of the scheduled monument makes it difficult for the public to understand its significance and value. Many of the finest historic details are hidden from view under dense vegetation

Public perception of significance is limited.

Limited and clearance.

B4

In the past, ruins have been

Setting

A balanced and considered

Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

of

monument

and

of

considered

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

B5

sanitised to make them visitor friendly, as opposed to their being properly interpreted and conserved

character as a romantic ruin compromised.

approach should be adopted with strategies such as disabled access and fire escape considered from the outset of any project.

Areas of woodland underused with no interpretation

Potential income not taken advantage of. Public perception limited and the areas of greenery are not used to maximise the ‘picturesque’ qualities of views.

Carry out a tree survey and landscape management plan to maximise the understanding and usability of the asset.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Item Issue No. C

RESOURCES

C1

The amount of investment needed financially to both repair the existing buildings and fund the conservation works to the ruins is substantial.

Lack of financial resources inevitably leads to acceleration in the deterioration of the fabric as maintenance and repair projects are not carried out as required.

All potential sources of income analysed and assessed against repair and maintenance costs. Specialist advice should be sought.

C2

The overall cost of repair and reuse may be greater than the end value of the site

Lack of capital for maintenance and repair which inevitably leads to the further deterioration of historic fabric.

If repair costs are found to be higher than the cost of any value achievable within the site, grants and funding need to be sought.

C3

Alterations may be necessary to maximise the value of the building

Alteration or partial removal of historic fabric or change to the setting of the structures

Identify areas where change would have the least damaging effect on setting or significant fabric. Assess long-term sustainability of any change and balance against loss. This procedure could be in the form of a Heritage Impact Assessment.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Income and therefore funding for repairs and enhancement works limited

Open discussion with all parties as to the nature of the problem with the financial situation clearly set out by a specialist if enabling works are to be justified. Alternative funding may need to be sought if a satisfactory

Item Issue No. D

POLICY FRAMEWORK

D1

Strict planning policy and guidance may restrict uses and development within the grounds that would enable an income to be generated that would fund repairs and maintenance.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

compromise reached. D2

There may be a conflict between the presumption (within statutory documents such as PPG15 and 16) of the need the preserve scheduled monument intact without change and the listed building legislation which encourages viable uses and a limited degree of change.

Item Issue No.

cannot

be

A confused approach may result in actions that are not in the best interest of either the 19th century listed structures or the scheduled monument.

Carry out specialist archaeological survey work to make a clear distinction between the medieval and the 19th century fabric. Adopt distinct policies for the different elements and ensure that everybody working on the structures has access to the survey findings and that the correct approach can be undertaken in each instance.

Threat to Significance

Policy

E

REDELOPMENT

E1

Development that is needed to allow new or extended uses may call for limited demolition, alterations, adaptations and the removal of artefacts.

Ill-considered or overly intrusive proposals might damage important features to the site

Identify areas where change would have the least damaging effect on setting or significant fabric. Assess long-term sustainability of any change and balance against loss. This procedure could be in the form of a Heritage Impact Assessment.

E2

The requirements of new uses, in terms of new services, fire protection, site security and access could all have an impact on the structure, character and appearance of the site.

Loss / damage to historic fabric

As above.

E3

Alterations and extensions could financially aid the existing structures in terms of providing an income that would fund repair work, but may detract from the building of the castle of not adequately considered.

Detrimental change to the setting of the historic structures.

Alterations should not necessarily imitate historic features but should keep the robust aesthetic of simple, good quality materials.

E4

Mixed uses may lead to fragmented ownership and/or management

Historic fabric vulnerable to uncoordinated management. Historically, site has been under a single ownership

Ensure that all owners/tenants sign up to a common management policy or similar.

E5

At present generally

Detrimental change to setting of

Any new car parking to be

Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

Carry out detailed discussions with conservation and building control officers at an early stage so that a satisfactory compromise can be reached.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

unobtrusive. Any greater use of site could result in large, unscreened car parking areas being necessary.

site

carefully considered to minimise its visual impact, avoid large, unscreened areas.

E6

Commercial uses to ruins may require m & e services (i.e. outside functions)

Services installation may damage fabric and/or setting of ruins

Mobile generators used to avoid cables being run from main (in ducts or to walls).

E7

Commercial uses to Castle building require extensive m & e provision (pool & health spa)

Services installation may damage fabric and/or setting of castle hotel

Avoid creating chases within historic fabric. Utilize any existing useful voids to floors. Use of raised floors may be appropriate rather than build in services (unless head heights are an issue).

Threat to Significance

Policy

Further and ongoing documentary research is required to understand the Castle’s history and evolution. Carry out more detailed archaeological / architectural ecological studies in affected areas.

Item Issue No. F

KNOWLEDGE

F1

Important aspects could unwittingly be overlooked in preparing proposals. The same is true for the immediate woodlands, parks and forests all of which have either documented pathways.

Loss of fabric / historically important areas.

Ongoing collaboration needs to take place between the Client and other interested parties to provide guidance and to remove doubt as to what is likely to be permissible.

Confusion as to the best approach to a problem may lead to a inferior solution

Carry out detailed discussions with conservation and building control officers at an early stage.

Threat to Significance

Policy

F2

Item Issue No.

Incomplete asset.

understanding

of

G

SPECIFIC ISSUES – CONDITION OF EXTERNAL FABRIC OF CASTLE HOTEL

G1

Spalling/delaminating to the sandstone walling, particularly at high level

Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building. May trap moisture and accelerate deterioration.

Seek cause of problem and resolve that problem if at all possible first (e.g. faulty rainwater goods). Generally repair only if may be accelerating deterioration. Remove loose / flaking stone. Remove any hard pointing

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

and replace with a soft lime mortar. Indent repair / replace stones only if structurally unstable or to preserve other fabric. G2

Significant erosion to sandstone detailing (for instance string courses and cills).

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building. May trap moisture or cause water to spill onto another area and accelerate deterioration.

Seek cause of problem and resolve that problem if at all possible first (e.g. faulty rainwater goods). Generally repair only if may be accelerating deterioration. Remove loose / flaking stone. Remove any hard pointing and replace with a soft lime Indent repair / mortar. replace stones only if structurally unstable or to preserve other fabric.

G3

Cracking of stone and widening of joints, most notably on principal southeast facing facade adjacent to oriel windows. Although sudden movement is unlikely, it could be indicated an inherent structural problem.

May trap water or allow water to penetrate internally. Likely to worsen and could lead to the loss / damage of further historic fabric.

Seek advice from structural engineer as to the cause of the problem, carrying out limited, non-destructive opening up works if necessary. Once problem remedied, pin cracked stones and repoint area in a soft lime mortar. Avoid replacing whole stones if possible. Monitor small cracks with tell-tales before taking action.

G4

Areas of cementitious render which are both unsightly and could be accelerating the decay of the sandstone beneath.

Damage to historic fabric and the aesthetic value of the building.

Carefully remove render. Rerender with an appropriate soft lime render or piece in replacement original walling material depending on what is found beneath old render.

G5

Areas of failing inappropriate pointing

/

Could accelerate deterioration of surrounding stonework

Repoint area in a soft lime mortar, removing all hard pointing.

G6

Failing rainwater goods – as a result of material failure, inadequate sizing or poor design.

In places this has lead to staining on the stone walls or erosion of the fabric.

Check for blockages and consider ways of improving performance (e.g. larger outlets or more practical maintenance regimes). Repair or replace like-for-like where necessary. Check correct falls and sizing for situation.

G7

Staining to stonework

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building. Cleaning may damage stonework and lead to loss of

Investigate and resolve cause. Carry out sampling on any old finishes and protect if

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

evidence of old paint schemes.

found to an original or early colour scheme. Carry out cleaning trials to ensure that there are no long-term detrimental affects and agree any sample with the conservation officer before proceeding.

G8

Untidy cabling surface-fixed onto the external walls

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building.

Reconsider route that will have most limited effect visually and will involve most limited drilling through historic fabric. Remove all redundant cables.

G9

The large number of soil vent pipes, particularly at rear of building, detracts from its visual character

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building.

Reconsider routes that will have most limited effect visually and will involve most limited alteration to historic fabric. Remove all redundant pipes, piecing in new stone where appropriate.

G10

At ground floor level the external joinery is generally sound, but higher up, where access is difficult, the decoration to the windows is failing and subsequently their exposed timber is showing signs of deterioration.

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building and the condition of the fabric.

Draw up programme of regular maintenance, identifying methods of providing safe access.

G11

The fire escape stairs cause a considerable visual intrusion and where they have rusted there is staining down the stone walls.

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building and the condition of the fabric.

Consider replanning internally if a stair can be installed with only limited damage to significant building fabric. Alternatively consider if the stair can be relocated externally or rebuilt in a different form to lessen its impact.

G12

There are a number of visually obtrusive airconditioning units

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building

Relocate in a less obtrusive location or at least replace the units with a smaller, more attractive design, using, for instance planting, to draw attention away from their presence.

G13

Attached to the western wing is a modern, flat-roofed extension. This element is of an inferior quality to the rest of the building both in terms

Detrimental to aesthetic value of building

Any major building works should aim to include the removal or replacement of this element. In the short term works such as rendering

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

of its appearance and its visual effect on the setting of the castle

Item Issue No.

and new window and roof details could substantially improve its appearance.

Threat to Significance

Policy

H

SPECIFIC ISSUES – CONDITION OF EXTERNAL FABRIC OF CASTLE HOTEL

H1

Some poorer quantity modern finishes and fittings detract from older more important features and potentially confuse the ‘legibility’ of the building’s history.

Detrimental to aesthetic value of original fabric.

Remove / replace finishes / fittings in question with simple modern alternatives. New fittings should be of a quality that is equivalent to that of the original fittings but should generally not try to emulate them.

H2

There is some damage to historic features as a result of penetration of services.

Detrimental to aesthetic value and condition of original fabric.

Remove services and reconsider route. Repair like for like.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Item Issue No. J

CONDITION OF STANDING RUINS WITHIN LANDSCAPE

J1

Loose stones

May be a threat to public health and safety and therefore may result in more restricted access. May also result in the permanent loss of historic fabric.

Instigate a regular programme of visual inspections and basic maintenance. Rebed any loose stones in soft lime mortar.

J2

Plant growth in the mortar joints to the ruins has been cut down, but apparently treated to prevent regrowth

Vigorous regrowth, encouraging large, strong roots to penetrate into the stonework.

Treat all vegetation to be removed with a suitable herbicide. Repoint all open joints carefully with a soft lime mortar.

J3

Many of the standing ruins are inaccessible due to the high extent of vegetative growth. This clear restricts public access and appreciation as well as the potential means of carrying out vital repairs and maintenance

Limited public appreciation

Selective vegetative ruins.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Item Issue No. Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

removal of growth around

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

K

CONDITION OF OTHER GARDEN FEATURES

K1

The steps connecting the various garden elements are generally uneven, and potentially could become a trip hazard and severely restrict access. In places the steps have been patched repaired with cement

Potential for poor quality repairs. Cement repairs may worsen condition of stone and are detrimental to their appearance.

Investigate cause of any settlement through limited opening up works. Carefully taken up and relay step steps following necessary stabilisation works agreed by a structural engineer. Remove all cementitious repairs and replace with stone indents and lime mortar plastic repairs.

K2

The sandstone garden and balustrading walls have become severely eroded which has affected their structural stability in parts. In places this has been worsened by cementitious pointing and patch rendering. Many of the coping stones are precarious, posing a potential threat to health and safety, particularly where they are adjacent to significant falls. Many have been dislodged by persistent ivy growth

Accelerating deterioration of stonework. Potential for eventual loss of substantial elements.

Remove all cementitious pointing, plant growth and mortar repairs. Replace with matching stone any elements that have become so eroded that they might be an imminent threat to health and safety or are causing damage to other fabric. Re-secure loose copings with stainless pins. Repoint with a soft lime mortar.

K3

There is significant plant growth in the mortar joints of walls

May affect stability of wall eventually and allow water penetration as the joints open up.

Remove all vegetation if it is causing damage to walls and if it is not considered to be of aesthetic value. (It should be noted that some established ‘woody’ plants may have become structurally integral to the wall.) Repoint with a soft lime mortar.

K4

The timber footbridge is currently closed off to public access, presumably due to safety concerns regarding the integrity of the timber members.

Deters public access around site and therefore their appreciation.

Carry out a structural assessment and repair according to recommendations.

K5

Fencing and concrete block wall is used in places where sections of historic wall are missing. These significantly detract from the visual character of the castle

Detrimental to setting of historic remains.

Remove unsympathetic material. Replace with suitable alterative – a simple painted metal railing may be appropriate or piecing in a new section of ‘honestly modern’, yet high quality stonework.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

K6

Piles of loose stones on floor along the Ladies’ Walk indicate that there is a significant volume of loose stones falling regularly from the walls. This could result in the permanent and irreversible loss of historic fabric and is a treat to health and safety

Permanent loss of historic fabric.

Instigate a regular inspection and maintenance regime. Rebed all loose stones with lime mortar, pinning if necessary.

K7

A significant movement crack is present in the garden wall connecting the gate house with the main hotel building up to around 40mm wide

Potential damage to historic fabric.

Monitor for current movement using tell-tales. Repoint with lime mortar if stable, if not seek the advise of a structural engineer.

K8

The invasion of vegetation generally adds to character of a romantic ruin but is in places intensifying the decay and damage of the stonework as roots and branches expand within stonework joints

Conflict between the damage cause by vegetative and the positive nature of its aesthetic effect.

Identify plants that contribute visually to the setting of the building and aim to preserve them if possible. Regularly monitor the condition of walls adjacent to vigorous plants.

K9

There are a number of selfseeded trees (most notably birch and sycamore) growing immediately adjacent to the standing ruins that could endanger the structural stability of the historic structures

Potential damage to historic fabric.

Instigate a regular programme of inspections and remove / prune trees to an agreed methodology.

K10

Within the ground level chambers adjacent to the gate house there are a number of loose artefacts – in particular two loose doors in a state of decay

Potential damage to historic fabric.

Identify age and significance of loose elements. Record using photographs and/or drawings. Repair, preserve and refix in original position if at all possible

K11

Also within these chambers are areas of textured floor surface – made with different sizes, shapes and colours of stones – these are missing and covered over in modern mortar in places

Potential loss of historic fabric.

Carefully undercover existing surfaces. Use lime mortar to carry out basic repairs where necessary.

K12

The dovecote has a distinct but possibly historic leer to the east. This has caused the cracking and in places failure of three of the concrete bases into which its posts sit. Many of its slates have slipped and

Potential loss of historic fabric

Carry out a full condition survey of this element and repair using like-for-like materials.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

are held in place with lead clips. There is some damage and deterioration to the timber boarding. The condition of the dovecote is undoubtedly worsened by the blocked (plastic) gutters

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

Item Issue No.

Threat to Significance

Policy

L

ACCESS AND ESCAPE

L1

Long travel distance to stairs possibly requiring additional stairs/lobbies

The majority of structure is original

Find the least sensitive location for new stairs. Consider stairs sited externally in less sensitive areas, as these are additive and reversible and continue tradition.

L2

Stairs too steep/narrow

Most stairs are original

Retain existing stairs and add new in different locations. Consider managing risk using other methods where possible, e.g. detection systems

L3

Numerous level changes creating access difficulties (especially for disabled)

Original floor levels, all per WWII

Locate lifts and stairs to serve as many areas as possible. Accept some installations in use. Seek specialist access audit.

L4

Historic surface finishes around standing ruins

The majority of paths are either gravel or small cobbles

Compact certain sections to assist wheeled chair users. Seek specialist access audit. Accept some limitations in accessibility.

Threat to Significance

Policy

Item Issue No. M

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

M1

Old mechanical and electrical equipment

Potential threat of fire and therefore damage to building

Carry out an assessment of all equipment. Record and remove / make safe any redundant equipment.

M2

Potential for below ground archaeology

Potential for loss of important, undiscovered artefacts.

All below ground work within the boundary of the scheduled monument will require consent from the local authority and possibly a archaeological watching brief. Excavation outside of these areas may still be restricted by the local authority but should otherwise proceed with

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

caution. Any suspected archaeological artefacts should be immediately reported to the local authority or other agreed body. M3

Built in items / fixtures and fittings may be redundant and potentially in the way of proposed alterations.

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Potential loss of items that are a visual record of the history of the site.

Items only to be removed as a last resort and justified as to be being in the overall, balanced interest of the site. These should be recorded and photographed in-situ before carefully removing and replacing / storing in an agreed location.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

6.7

Response to very high and high significance The significance or vulnerability of elements to the Castle and its grounds determines the extent to which they can accommodate change in the future. Parts of the site identified as very high or high significance should be protected against change which could adversely affect their essential character or important features.

6.8



There must be an absolute presumption in favour of retaining their external elevations.



Creation of new structural openings or the alteration of these existing structures should be avoided unless it can be demonstrated conclusively that the work is necessary as part of a scheme which provides long term conservation or interpretation benefits for the structure or area in question.



Serious consideration should be given to enhancing these buildings or structures by restoring major losses to significant fabric. Works must not be conjectural and should be supported by historical evidence.



There should be absolute presumption against demolition or removal of areas of very high significance.



There should be strong presumption against demolition or removal of areas of high significance.



There should be a strong preconception to keep the main documented areas of woods, parklands and lower planting around the castle. Works must not be conjectural and should be supported by historical evidence.

Response to Moderate Significance Those parts of the Castle and its grounds that are of moderate significance should be protected against change that could adversely affect their essential character or important features. •

There is a strong presumption in favour of retaining their external decorations.



Minor alterations, including the creation of new structural openings, the removal of or alteration to existing structures will be permitted

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

where it can be demonstrated conclusively that the works are necessary as part of a scheme which provides long term conservation or interpretation benefits for the structure or the area in question as a whole.

6.9



Serious consideration should be given to restoring major damage to their aesthetic appearance and significance.



There should be a strong presumption against the demolition or removal of areas or structures of moderate significance.



Minor tree removal / thinning out will be permitted where it can be demonstrated conclusively that the works are necessary as part of a scheme which provides long term conservation or interpretation benefits

Response to little significance Areas of little significance should be protected against major change or loss.

6.10



The general character of their external form should be retained.



Major alterations may be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the work is necessary as part of a scheme which provides long term conservation or interpretation benefits to the structure or area of higher importance or to the site as a whole.



Restoration or enhancement should be considered especially where it would benefit a structure of higher significance.



The demolition or removal of areas or structures of little significance will require justification.

Response to Negative Interest Areas of negative interest that detract from the remainder of the site may be substantially altered or removed in appropriate circumstances. •

Very substantial alteration or total loss will be considered where it will benefit another structure or part of the site as a whole.



There should be a general presumption in favour of the demolition or removal of areas or structures of negative value.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Principles and Policies

6.11

Demolition •

6.12

Any demolition must be fully justified in accordance with the ‘tests’ set out in the current edition of PPG15.

Further Evidence If, as a result of ongoing research, evidence comes to light that these or other structures are in fact either of greater or lesser significance, their status and consequential treatments should be reviewed.

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Appendices

7.0

APPENDICES

7.1

Bibliography / References J.Curl – Dictionary of Architecture – ‘Henry Clutton’ Reginald de Hereford – concise history – ‘The History of Ruthin Castle’ Ivor Wynne Jones – concise history – ‘The Ruthin Set; a sad saga of lovers and losers’ John Northall – www.castlewales.com – ‘Ruthin Castle Lower Bailey’ John Northall - www.castlewales.com – ‘Ruthin Castle Upper Bailey’ John Northall – www.castlewales.com - ‘Ruthin Castle Gatehouse’ John Northall - www.castlewales.com – ‘Ruthin Castle’ John Northall – www.castlewales.com - ‘Ruthin Castle Timeline’ Gwyn A Williams – Penguin Books – ‘When Was Wales’ Parker and Whitfield – Rough Guides Ltd – ‘Wales – the Rough Guide’ Denbighshire CC – www.ruthin-wales.co.uk – ‘A History of Ruthin’ Unknown – www.castlewales.com – ‘Master James of St.George’ Edward Hubbard – Pevsner series – ‘Clwyd’

7.2

Listed Building Entry / description Listing description, dated 24th October 1950 Listing description, dated 15th January 1992 Coloured OS Plan, showing ‘revised’ and ‘descheduled’ areas Register of Parks and Gardens in Wales, undated – late c.20 (map) Register of Parks and Gardens in Wales, undated – late c.20 (description)

7.3

Drawings and copies of Engravings Plan 01 – Development of the Castle 1282-1295 Plan 01 – Development of the Castle 1828-1879 Plan 01 – Development of the Castle 1922-1958 Map 01 – 1826 Map 02 – 1859 Map 03 – 1874 Map 04 – 1879 Map 05 – 1900 Map 06 – 1912 Map 07 – 1914 Map 08 – 1949 391 – ‘Ruthin Castle’ c.1833 Donald Insall Associates – October 2006

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Ruthin Castle – Conservation Statement Appendices

392 – ‘The South West view of Ruthin Castle’ c.1833 396 – ‘The South West View of Ruthin Castle’ c.1833 397 – ‘Ruthin Castle’ c.1830 399 – ‘North west view of buildings recently erected’ c.1852 402 – ‘South west view of the buildings recently erected’ c.1856 404 – ‘Ruthin Castle – Mr.John Clutton, Architect’ c.1865 405 – ‘NW view of Ruthin Castle’ c.1856

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