VANDALISED remains of one of southern Oxfordshire's most historic sites are being placed on the national Heritage At Risk Register.

The move could bring vital funding to ensure the preservation of Grade I listed ruins of St Nicholas' College at Wallingford Castle.

The castle motte and Saxon defences at the Bullcroft and Kinecroft parks will also be added to Historic England's latest Register being published tomorrow, the Herald can reveal.

The remains of the college have been damaged by vandals while the motte has been eroded by visitors to the gardens. All three sites have been named as Scheduled Monuments.

Last year town councillor Adrian Lloyd said the council called a specialist historic building expert to assess damage after the ruins in Castle Gardens were vandalised in 2016.

The council was warned repairs to St Nicholas College could cost £500,000.

Mr Lloyd said: "The town council has been having discussions over the past year with Historic England about these historic ruins.

"Now they are on the register we are in a much better position to bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations to protect the ruins.

"The council could still face having to find a substantial sum itself.

"We want to do everyone we can to preserve the town's history and this recognition from Historic England will help us."

The Heritage at Risk Register, now in its 20th year, is Historic England’s tool for shining a light on listed buildings and places in England that need most help.

Alison McQuaid, acting heritage at risk principal for Historic England in the South East, said: “Over the past 20 years we have used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention.

"We have dedicated time, expertise and money to bring cherished places back into use and we are proud to have played our part in saving them from neglect.

"Despite the successes, other places continue to fall into disrepair. They have been added to this year’s register and we will focus our attention on them in the years ahead."

St Nicholas College was founded by Robert D’Oyley inside the walls of his castle at Wallingford.

A Historic England spokesman added that after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which started in 1536, the college was used by fellows of Christ Church in Oxford as a refuge from plague.

The buildings fell into disrepair after the English Civil War siege of the castle.

Only sections of the walls survive - they have been added to the register because the masonry has also been badly affected by the weather.

Town mayor Lee Upcraft said: "This decision opens the door to us getting financial backing.

"The Castle Gardens is very popular with residents and tourists but it's a fine line - we need to keep them accessible but at the same time protect our history."

The new Wallingford additions to the at risk register join others around South Oxfordshire already on the list including Dike Hills at Dorchester on Thames and All Saints Church in North Moreton.

The Vale of White Horse's scheduled ancient monuments include the White Horse itself at White Horse Hill near Uffington.