Shocking figures from Cadw have confirmed that 14-14.5% of nationally important Scheduled Monuments in Wales are “at risk” - please sign a Senedd petition to make conservation management plans for each of them compulsory.
Scheduled Monuments are supposed to be protected to preserve archaeology and buildings so that future generations can learn from our past.
Scheduling identifies monuments which are of national importance to Wales - having importance not just locally, but for the wider cultural heritage of Wales. They are rare examples, and many have international significance which attract visitors from all over the world.
There are currently 4,229 designated Scheduled Monuments in Wales. Current estimates from Cadw, the Welsh Historic Environment Service, indicate that around 14%-14.5% of these are at risk.
Many monuments are stable, others need managing to slow or avoid the effects of natural deterioration. Cadw’s website suggests owners of Scheduled Monuments may find it useful to draw up a Conservation Management Plan to guide their decisions, but it’s not a requirement.
Scheduled Monument Ruperra Castle, in South East Wales, is an example of the poor management of our historic environment. It is architecturally unique and historically significant as the only pageant Castle in Wales, built for show and not defence. In December 1941 it was gutted by fire and is still a ruin at risk having deteriorated in the intervening years. One of the towers has fallen and without considered intervention it will deteriorate further and soon be lost…
Cadw’s designation description includes: “Ruperra Castle is a rare example of a substantial Jacobean Renaissance mock castle... The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of post-medieval social, domestic, and political life and architectural design. Notably, the sophistication of Jacobean design at Ruperra was unprecedented at the time in Wales".
Ruperra Castle is also a Grade 2* Listed Building. There are currently 30,093 designated Listed Buildings in Wales. Current estimates from Cadw indicate that between 8%-8.5% of these are “at risk”.
The Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust is petitioning the Senedd/Welsh Parliament to make Conservation Management Plans compulsory for Scheduled Monuments at risk, to avoid neglect and subsequent loss.
Sign and share the petition before it closes on 18 July 2023 - 10,000 signatures are needed to be considered for a debate in the Senedd.
In January 2023 Caerphilly County Borough Council approved proposals for conversion of outbuildings next to Ruperra Castle into a residential community with no plans for Ruperra Castle, a building of huge historical importance and at risk. Country Life Magazine deemed this missed opportunity a national scandal in an article in February 2023
Find out more about Scheduled Monuments on Cadw's website
As the petition to conserve scheduled monuments at risk nears 3,000 signatures we receive news from one of our members collecting signatures from previous Welsh residents in Australia. Heather Powell was very active in supporting the Trust before she moved to Australia in 2004. She grew up in St Mellons, and later lived in Rudry, becoming one of the early members of the Trust – we love her story:
“Many visitors of all nationalities come to this area, from Perth, three hours away, for a weekend, several times a year, or flying in from other parts of the country. So many I've met have memories of Wales. One German smiled and said, in a thick accent, "Brecon Beacons”. While waiting in a clinic, a lady said to me, her husband's people were from Wales, he said "a little village you wouldn't know", and it was my home, St Mellons!
“Some of the signatories have connections with Wales. Last week, with a friend, having a coffee, we squeezed into a spot, overlooking the ocean, and apologising to my neighbour, we developed a chat. She was Welsh! She came from Machen! She'd gone to Bassaleg School, like me! So Judy 'Hawkins' (maiden name), and her husband came home with me, to have a cup of tea and a civilised talk (and signed our petition).
“Whether the work is 400 hundred years old, (Ruperra in 2026), or 65,000 years, (our first nation people's rock art), it needs protection.
“Caerphilly is blessed, spectacularly with its Norman castle, I think only Windsor is larger and I remember taking our French exchange student into the banqueting hall to enjoy our packed lunch, out of the rain. He was suitably impressed.
“Ruperra, unlike Caerphilly, was built in a modern 17th century style, by Thomas Morgan of Machen, combining brick and masonry, rendered over. I hope readers will seek out the petition below to help save this important building. Thanks to you all – Heather Powell.”
Sign the petition to the Welsh Parliament asking for conservation management for scheduled monuments at risk, like Ruperra Castle.