Heritage Lottery Fund awards £2.5million to the Landmark Trust to rescue rare medieval site

Golygfa allanol Llwyn Celyn
Golygfa allanol Llwyn Celyn Landmark Trust

With this news, a fresh appeal is being launched today to find the remaining £385,000 needed by Christmas so that work can begin early next year.

The grant will enable the Landmark Trust to save and restore the main house to create self-catering holiday accommodation available to everyone. In addition, various outbuildings will be repaired and converted into education and interpretation centres for use by the local community and general public.

Grade I listed Llwyn Celyn near Abergavenny is regarded by Cadw as one of the most remarkable of all surviving late medieval houses in Wales. Continuously inhabited since it was built around 1480, Llwyn Celyn has scarcely changed since a floor was inserted into its open hall in the 17th-century. Some exceptional decorated doorheads and a fixed bench in the once-open central hall are particularly rare survivals.

In addition to the stage two £2.5million HLF grant being announced today, a further £1.3million has already been donated to the appeal by the Landmark Trust’s supporters. The appeal is now 91% funded, but £385,000 still needs to be raised by Christmas 2015 in order for work to begin on site at the start of 2016. The combination of funding will secure Llwyn Celyn’s future, which has been hanging in the balance for decades. Today it is in an extreme state of disrepair: the building protected by emergency scaffolding since the early 1990s; its roof leaking; its floors braced with metal props; its timber structure damp and decaying as run-off from the hillside affects several rooms.

[quote=Dr Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust]"If no one intervenes then these rare buildings not only disappear forever from our landscape, but so do the stories that these sites tell us about the lives of our ancestors."[/quote]

Dr Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust, added: “We are extremely grateful to the HLF and to the Landmark Trust’s supporters for their generous donations to the Llwyn Celyn appeal. Such remarkable historic buildings are irreplaceable. If no one intervenes then these rare buildings not only disappear forever from our landscape, but so do the stories that these sites tell us about the lives of our ancestors. By creating a new landmark, we ensure its survival for generations to come.”

Head of HLF Wales, Richard Bellamy, explains why the project was considered important enough to be awarded a life-saving grant by the organisation: “This ambitious project is not simply about preserving a significant piece of Welsh history in the form of a medieval hall – it’s also about making the space a meaningful place for people today.

“With this support from National Lottery players, the entire site will be transformed.  As well as providing a boost to local tourism, the project will give people opportunities to access the buildings and use the spaces to help people learn about heritage, gain new skills and support community events. We’re excited to continue working with the Landmark Trust on this fantastic project, and seeing the difference it will make when it’s completed.”

Landmark acquired the site from its private owners in 2012 thanks to acquisition grants from Cadw and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The HLF awarded a development grant of £31,500 in July 2014 and since then a team of experts has carried out exhaustive research into the building using archaeology, structural analysis and documentary research. Local residents have contributed and learnt new skills through a community history project, under the guidance of Caroline Stanford, the Landmark Trust’s Historian and Head of Engagement. The trust has also formed partnerships to involve a number of local bodies with the site’s future, including Ty Mawr Lime Centre, Gwent Wildlife Trust and Arts Alive Wales.

Notes to editors

The Landmark Trust is a charity, founded in 1965 to preserve architecturally interesting and historic buildings at risk, giving them a future by letting them for self-catering stays. The rental income pays for the buildings’ upkeep but the trust relies on grants and voluntary sources of income to rescue further buildings at risk. Full details of all Landmark’s 195 buildings are available on the Landmark Trust website and in the 25th edition Landmark Trust Handbook, available via the website or phone 01628 825 925. Follow them on Twitter: @LandmarkTrust@LandmarkHistory or the Landmark Trust's Facebook page.

To make a contribution, no matter how big or small, to the Landmark Trust’s appeal to finalise the funding for Llwyn Celyn, please visit the Landmark Trust's Llwyn Celyn appeal page or call Bruce Hall on 01628 825 920.

Further information

For media enquiries e.g. to arrange an interview please contact:

Vanessa Shaw at Llwyn Celyn on Wednesday 29th on 07590 810 129, email: vshaw@landmarktrust.org.uk.

Amy Taylor in the Landmark Trust office on 01628 512 159, email: ataylor@landmarktrust.org.uk.