Council Pledges £570,000 to Protect Newark Castle

Posted on: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Funding has been approved to secure the future of one of Newark and Sherwood’s best loved and most important landmarks. At Monday night’s Policy and Finance Committee, Councillors voted to allocate £570,000 for repairs to Newark Castle, following a recent Condition Survey of the site.

Home to treasured memories and a vital town centre green space, the Castle is important not only to local residents but also nationally. Historic England has designated it an Ancient Monument due to its significance as the death place of King John in 1216, its architectural and archaeological worth, having the most complete example of a Romanesque gatehouse in England and, as the home of Bishop Alexander the Magnificent, being one of the few remaining episcopal residences in England.

While there is a common belief that the Castle was destroyed by Cromwell during the Civil War, it was actually gradually dismantled in the years following by the people of Newark themselves while rebuilding the town. The inner curtain wall, as it is now, would originally have been internal and exposure to elements over the years has led to vegetation and weather damage which forms the bulk of the repair work needed.

Councillor David Lloyd, Chair of the Policy and Finance Committee and Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The Castle is at the heart of Newark, both in terms of location and metaphorically. While it was sadly mistreated by our Newark ancestors in the 17th century, now is the time for us to show it the care and deference it deserves, ensuring this stunning 900-year old building can go on to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The Condition Survey, carried out by qualified heritage specialists, was delivered in January 2022 and recommends a series of repairs “to prevent the further decay of the highly significant historic fabric and ensure the safety of the public who regularly visit the Castle and grounds”. These will be able to commence soon now that funding has been secured.

The survey also advised the erection of Heras fencing around the curtain wall due to the risk of loose stone fall, which will remain in place until repairs are complete.

The work will also pave the way for the anticipated Gatehouse Project to progress, mitigating the risk of unforeseen emergency work as this exciting new visitor attraction and community hub are built. This project will develop the Castle as a tourist destination and as a much loved historic building and green space for residents, delivering improved educational and well-being benefits for the local community who will still be able to enjoy free access to the grounds.