Ruperra Castle

Friday, January 09, 2015

What will 2015 bring for Ruperra castle

Apologies for the lack of news since September. In fact there is very little.

In July we heard that a new person had bought the 13 acte Ruperra site with all its buildings. Most of the old companies who had owned the buildings since 1998 had become insolvent anyway.

The problem of the neglect and consequent dereliction of the outbuildings and castle still remains however.

In July John Griffiths AM met some Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust directors and advisers. He said that he recognised the immense importance of the place of Ruperra in the heritage of Wales, but that help with funding was impossible. He then instructed Cadw to make officers available to report on the condition of the buildings.

The photography for the report was carried out in September last year and we are waiting for the results.

The report will be in the public domain and we will post it here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Open Doors Heritage Day 2014

We are really fortunate that Anthony and Alex Rees at Ruperra Home Farm are so willing to let us hold meetings in their old Barn. 

Our Open Doors Heritage day was one of those meetings and it was a great success. This year we had seventy people attend which shows that an increasing number of people are now aware of the situation at Ruperra Castle. They surely did not come only for the lovely tea and cakes!
Our Patron, Simon Boyle, Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and his wife were very welcome visitors to the event and Simon gave us an introductory speech. We were also very pleased that William Graham the Assembly Member for South Wales East was willing to give us a talk. He spoke in the field to the south of the Castle about the Morgan Family of Ruperra. He  lives very near Ruperra and has always supported the Trust. 

It was good to talk to people over tea and cakes in the old Barn when the walk was over. There was great interest in the exhibition and everyone was really enjoying themselves, but there was an underlying sense of hopelessness, that for yet another year we have been unable to enter the Castle grounds. Indeed the Castle is now so unsafe that it would be dangerous for the public to be near it. Furthermore the growth of vegetation round the grounds and on the castle itself makes viewing from the footpaths very difficult. 

Simon Boyle said “We enjoyed it all, though I must say one could not help feeling frustrated by the general difficulty of actually seeing the castle. It looked rather a sad ghost of itself.”

On Monday 22nd September, two officers from Cadw were visiting the site to survey the condition of the buildings. We await their report which has been commissioned by the Welsh Government.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ruperra Open Doors Day 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ruperra Open Doors Heritage Day Sunday September 14 at 2 pm

The focus of interest in this visit is the 17th century ruined castle of Ruperra. It is privately owned and can be viewed only from the surrounding countryside and footpaths, but these views afford a stunning perception of the former glory of the Ruperra Estate.
After the walk on the public footpaths surrounding the castle and a short talk by a heritage expert, there will be tea and cakes in the barn at Ruperra Home Farm. This is working farm which once provided the food for the Morgans of Tredegar living at the castle. There will be an exhibition about the Ruperra estate which will include pictures of the castle and outbuildings and extracts from a diary written by William Beechey the farmer who every night sat down at Home Farm and described briefly the events of the day stretching from the 1890s to 1920s.
Supplying food means that knowledge of numbers is required but numbers are not restricted, so please call 01656 741 622 or e-mail with details of your telephone number and the names and number of persons booking. We need these details in case of changes due to the weather and so on. You will then be asked to send a cheque for £5.00 per person made out to Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust to Douglas Knight, 32 Afon Mead, Rogerstone, Newport, NP10 9JL
Meet for the start at Ruperra Home Farm NP10 8GG. Grid ref. ST 223 864 There is permissive access to the car parking facility at the Home Farm for this event. Starting at 2pm, the walk, talk, viewing the exhibition and eating the tea will take about 3 hours
Getting there - Please use sat nav or the grid ref and approach from the eastern side via the roads from Michaelstone y Fedw or Draethen. If you are coming from the west on the roads from Lisvane or Cefn Mabley, please go round to the eastern entrance to the Ruperra Drive. There will be Open Doors signs to guide you. Public transport bus stops from the Newport-Caerphilly road and the Caerphilly-Rudry road are about 1 mile from Ruperra Home Farm. Sunday timetables must be checked.
The approach along the Drive is quite rough and you need to drive slowly. There is no access to the grounds of the castle which are surrounded by barbed wire fencing and signed Private Property.
The pictures show, from left to right, steps up to Coed Ruperra from the Ruperra Drive, a view of the castle from Coed Ruperra. The aerial photograph of the castle grounds above was taken a few years ago before the more recent deterioration of the buildings. The public footpath from the Ruperra Drive to the south side of the Castle grounds threads its way through the trees.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

How the recession has hit Wales’ Heritage .

Local authorities are responsible for the protection of listed buildings within their locality. RCPT is a Building Preservation Trust with charitable status and is in a position to raise funding towards the purchase and restoration of Ruperra Castle and its outbuildings and gardens. However the Trust needs the support and help of the local authority with regards to issuing enforcement notices, repairs notices which could subsequently lead to a compulsory purchase order. 

In the event the Trust has already been told, by Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC), that it is not able to provide any funding for the legal costs involved in issuing enforcement notices which could help secure the ownership of the Ruperra Castle site. Repairs notices on listed buildings leading to the issue of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) need to be carefully drafted and require legal expertise, CCBC is not experienced in executing CPOs for buildings at risk in the county.

The Welsh Government via Cadw is responsible for the protection of the scheduled ancient monument (SAM) that is the castle. We are sure that the same problem of lack of money will be raised when we meet the Minister for Culture and Sport on July 28th 2014. 

It was acknowledged in reports by Cadw and CCBC in 2010 that the condition of Ruperra Castle and the 13 acre site has deteriorated significantly and is now in a critical state and is considered to be the most important building at risk in Wales. Britain as a whole may be in a recovery position, but in Wales, Welsh Heritage is at risk and in a downwards spiral.

We are in danger of losing forever a jewel of Welsh 17th century architecture, which apart from its intrinsic importance, could be used for public benefit to provide employment and countrified enjoyment in a most beautiful and historic part of Caerphilly Borough. Ownership of the site would allow RCPT to obtain funding from public funders who cannot help RCPT at present.

If there are any philanthropic benefactors reading this account, it would be good to know that they are willing to help with the initial stages of the people’s takeover, namely legal fees.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Visitors from Holland - an Unexpected Event

Ester and Hans Trommel from Delft were guests of Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust on Sunday 22nd June 2014. As long ago as 2003 Tony Jukes the Machen local historian had written an article about the connection between the Morgans of Ruperra and van Aldegonde family of Delft. We showed the Trommels the area of Newport where Charles Morgan of Pencarn came from before he went to fight for the Dutch and married a Dutch noblewoman.

Their baby daughter Anna was only weeks old in 1608 when her mother Elisabeth died. Charles Morgan known as Carel in Holland erected a monument to her in the Old Church in Delft. Anna Morgan later married Lewis Morgan the son of Thomas Morgan who built Ruperra Castle, but in her will she laid down that she should be buried with her mother in Delft. She was then 80 years old.

A Dutch visitor to Ruperra in 1652 saw the beautiful castle gardens and grounds. What a shock he would have had if he had visited the castle today. We took Ester and Hans up to the motte where Lodevijck Heugens stood and admired the view to the Bristol Channel. The path up to the motte must surely have been better cared for at that time, but the view was just as breathtaking.

After the visits we celebrated the Dutch Connection with 25 Friends of Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust at the Cefn Mably Arms in Michaelstone y Fedw.

Ester gave us an account of Lodevijck's impressions of Ruperra and presented Pat with an album of photographs and documents from her research. She hopes to publish a book to help save the Elisabeth's monument in Delft. We gave her a small cheque towards it.

Here are Ester and Pat Jones-Jenkins having their picture taken behind their countries' flags. The Dutch flag shows the colours of William 'the Silent' of Orange in the 16th century, under which Charles Morgan would have fought. He may of course have been in charge of a small regiment of Welshmen, raised by the Earl Pembroke to help the protestant Dutch fight off the Catholic Spanish. The Spanish Armada was threatening our shores too at the time. Before Charles died in 1643 he had become Governor of Bergan op Zoom, where there is a monument to him in the Church, and a bell was rung every hour in his honour at his death.

I'm sure that a visit to Holland will be quite different for us in the future.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Don't forget Rudry Walking Festival on Saturday Mat 24th

Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust  will beleading a walk to Ruperra on Saturday 24th May, part of the annual Rudry Walkong Festival which is proving so popular. Do join us at 2pm at the Village Hall CF83 3DF. We will drive part of the way so as to get back before dark!! We cannot enter the castle grounds but there are good views of the dereliction from the surrounding footpaths.go to www.rwhere can we / Rudry Walking Festival 

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