Restoration work on the ruins of Wallingford Castle can finally start after the town council was given an additional £50,000 to shore up the crumbling remains.

The ruins of the 13th century St Nicholas College at Wallingford Castle Gardens have been closed since last October as the council could not guarantee public safety due to the increased potential of falling masonry.

But with the money in place, the Castle Gardens – among the most historic corners of the town – could open in April, with repair work to the castle remains beginning in from June.

A grant of £50,000 from The Wolfson Foundation – a charity that supports civic health through education and research – was secured by town councillor Katherine Keats-Rohan.

The funds are in addition to a grant from Historic England of £32,500 towards estimated development and survey costs of £40,747 and an in-principle grant offer of £250,700 towards repair work costing £313,478.

Herald Series: St. Nicholas College ruins at Wallingford’s Castle Gardens


This means only £21,025 of projected costs will need to come from Wallingford Town Council so long as construction costs remain feasible and in line with architect’s estimates.

Mrs Keats-Rohan said: “We have such an importance heritage here. We are restoring it now to prevent its lost in the future.”

The castle ruins project is split into two phases: development and survey, to be completed by mid-May; and repair work, which is currently due to be completed by November 2022. 

Scaffolding went up last November to enable careful cutting back of vegetation, comprehensive condition surveys and 3D scanning.

Due to the scaffolding onsite, the whole of the Castle Gardens is now a construction site, and is alarmed and monitored by CCTV. 

Specialists will need to assess how to remove vegetation on the ruins without causing damage, because of the risk of dislodging stones.

The 3D scanning will allow experts to measure the depth of cracks in the wall. That will determine the type of repairs that will be needed.

Town Mayor Marcus Harris said: “We are working furiously to get the gardens open by April and in time for the Jubilee celebrations."

As part of public engagement, the council is planning to organise tours for school pupils and re-start the programme of castle walks organised by Wallingford Museum, to visit the site and learn about what is being done.

The Grade I-listed building has been targeted by vandals. Damage has continued even though the site is closed.

While the ruins are being restored, visitors can learn more about the site's past at the Wallingford Museum. The attraction has a new model of the castle showing how it would have looked in the 1330s.

The museum is still closed for winter, but it will reopen on March 1.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here