Saturday, 10 October 2015

Hay Castle Information Day

I didn't plan it that way, but I was first on the doorstep when the Castle doors opened at noon today! Around the entrance hall there were plans of the building, for each floor, and booklets showing what was intended. There were artist's impressions of what the castle would look like, too - the idea for a sort of glass box on top seems to have been discarded, in favour of restoring the Jacobean roof, for which the Castle Trust now has a grant.
The viewing platform on top of the Norman tower is still on the plans though. Mari, still frantically pinning pictures to a display board as people came in, said that she'd been round the tower with the CADW archaeologist the day before, and he had been pointing out all the changes and rebuilds there had been over the centuries, so that not much that is actually Norman remains.
Mari was displaying information about the Victorian era of the Castle, with photos of a garden party, and also information about a small pendant whistle which is now in the V&A. Apparently it was given to a Captain Gwynn by Ann Boleyn on her way to the scaffold, and had been kept in the family ever since, including when members of the family lived at Hay Castle.
And then there were the Wellingtons, who lived in the Castle for 200 years, but have been almost completely forgotten (they were, apparently, grocers). Alan Nichols is working hard to change that, with the research for his new book about the Lords of the Manor of Hay. He's come across all sorts of fascinating documents, like the will of Miss Harley who built the almshouses from 1702.

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