Final phase of restoration work at castle set to be carried out

PUBLISHED: 16:12 12 August 2019

Walden Castle, in Saffron Walden. Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND/PATRICIA PAYNE

Walden Castle, in Saffron Walden. Picture: HISTORIC ENGLAND/PATRICIA PAYNE

© Historic England Archive

The final phase of work is due to start next month on Walden Castle which will allow the public to enter the castle’s keep for the first time in decades.

The work will see a new levelled floor finish to the inside of the keep ruins, as well as new gates and railings around the historic structure.

A new lighting scheme, described by Uttlesford District Council as "discreet", will also be installed to make "more of a feature of the castle walls in the evening".

This is the third and last phase of the regeneration project, which has been funded by a grant from Historic England to ensure the castle is retained as a piece of Saffron Walden's heritage.

Previous phases of work in recent years have stabilised the flint-rubble walls of the keep and introduced a new soft capping to prevent future deterioration by rain water.

It is anticipated that the castle, in Museum Street, will open its gates to the public early next year.

The castle is Grade I-listed by Historic England, and has been on the list since the early 1950s.

Although much of the original structure has been destroyed, there remains the shell of a tower-keep, which dates to the 12th century.

The castle's listing states: "Although a ruin, areas of original flat wall facing of simple flint work survive in several places, for example the exterior, centre of the north wall, outer face of pilaster buttress and adjacent wall on the east side, interior, rear wall of recess in the south wall and adjacent wall to the east."

Historic England says the castle was built by Geoffrey de Mandeville, who was said to have been arrested and forced to surrender the castle, and others he had built across the region, to King Stephen in 1144.

Much of the stone used to build the structure is understood to have been removed during the 18th century.

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