Future of Pembroke’s medieval town walls set in stone, thanks to National Lottery players

By Observer Reporter in Community News

Over a quarter of a million pounds (£256,000) of National Lottery money will be awarded to protect the historic town walls of Pembroke.

Dating back to c.1280, the walls were built after the outer ward of Pembroke Castle was completed, and now the Pembroke Town Walls Trust want to protect and preserve them for future generations.

Modern Pembroke has successfully retained much of its medieval layout and stonework, with some sections of Grade II and Grade II* wall subject to Scheduled Ancient Monument status and of national and international significance.

Janet Drogan, chair of the Pembroke Town Walls Trust, said: “Having stood proud for nigh on 800 years, many sections of the town walls are now deteriorating rapidly and are currently unsafe. Our intention in forming the Pembroke Town Walls Trust was to help protect this important historic legacy ensure they are still here for the next 800 years.

“This funding is vitally important as it means we can now - for the first time - start to conserve the walls. It is the first step on a long journey, but one we are incredibly excited to take.”

More than 50 volunteers will be involved in the initial pilot project, producing information panels and leaflets as well as a series of events and guided tours to explain and showcase the restoration work to the local community.

Volunteers will also be able to get their hands dirty and take part in accredited training in traditional stonework.

With many sections of wall currently owned by local homeowners, the project will also create an online database of owners and, using its findings, encourage appropriate repair and maintenance of all sections of the wall in the future.

Richard Bellamy, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Pembroke Town Walls are a fantastic asset for the local community, but it’s often easy to take heritage on your doorstep (or in this case, your back garden!) for granted.

“This important conservation project made possible by National Lottery players will help create a greater awareness of the walls’ true value and how to maintain them, making sure they stand the test of time and continue to be recognised as one of Pembroke’s defining historic features.”

What next?

In addition to restoring the wall and the 18th century lime kiln built into it, the work will also link the main street to provide access to the Tabernacle United Reformed Church and adjacent community garden - itself currently undergoing restoration as part of another project also funded by the National Lottery.

Angela Burns, Assembly Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, added: “Every time I drive down St. Daniels Hill and am confronted by the jewel in the crown that is Pembroke Castle and its medieval walls, I am in awe. I am delighted to hear that National Lottery funding has been granted to ensure that the walls are preserved for generations to come.

“With the recent unveiling of the Henry Tudor statue and the grant being given to the Town Walls Trust, Pembroke really does now have a claim to be the historical ‘centre’ of Pembrokeshire.

“It has been heartening to see the community come together to take charge of the walls’ preservation, and I wish the project and the Pembroke Town Walls Trust every success for the future.”

You can keep up to date with the project’s progress on the group’s Facebook page and on their website at pembroketownwallstrust.org.uk.

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