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Author Topic:   Conservation of Pembroke Castle
posted 02-07-2006 07:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinJP   Click Here to Email MartinJP     Edit/Delete Message
I am currently undertaking a dissertation in Heritage Management at the University of Gloucestershire. I am studying the rebuild of the castle over the last 100 yers. It is an attempt to look at the differences between Conservation and preservation of castles. The ways in which the management of castles affects the ways in which they are preserved or conserved.

I am looking for information on either of these topics in relation to any castle you know of which may have an active policy of allowing the walls to crumble , because that is natural or tostabilise the walls or converelsy to rebuild the walls which is what hapened atPembroke. If you rebuild the walls using stones that arent from the original source and not in the exact design of the old castle , is it still the same castle??

opinions? queries?


posted 02-07-2006 08:44 AM           Edit/Delete Message
What a fascinating subject!
I am going to sort some info out for you later today but in the meantime take a look at http://www.castlewales.com/cadw_rsk.html


posted 02-07-2006 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ipflo   Click Here to Email ipflo     Edit/Delete Message
My opinion is that it is still the same castle, although you use other stones. maybe you can compare it with a human, who also regenerate its skin and cells. The human stays the same, but its building blocks change. although I have to say I personally prefer ofcourse stone of original sources.

I am not sure if there are any castles with a management, which have active policy of crumbling the walls. But on the other side I think there are a lot of castles which are actively (partly) rebuilt as a castle(in the last hundred years), besides what I see as the rebuilding of castles as country houses (with as good examples Hohenzollern in Germany and the De Haar in the Netherlands). First you have ofcourse castles like Hohenkoenigsbourg in France and Marienburg in Poland. But I am not sure if you are looking for such cases for your dissertation. Furthermore you have a lot of castles which you probably mean, with policies of (partly) rebuilding to give the visitor a good impression to relive the castle, to assist in imaging how it once looked.

In the Netherlands you have many examples of castles of which the foundations are made visible by rebuilding them, and thus in some way are totally new (or fake): Egmond op de Hoef, Hedel, Hellenburg near Baarland, Heusden, Nieuwburg near Oudorp, Nuwendoorn near Krabbendam. And sometimes they make only use of hedges, like Middelburg near Oudorp. I really like it, other why's there no remembrance at all any more of these castles.

An example outside the Netherlands is Riberhus in Ribe, the oldest city of Denmark.



De Haar


Marienburg/ Malbork








These pictures are from the website from Kastelein: http://community.webshots.com/user/kastelein


posted 02-07-2006 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinJP   Click Here to Email MartinJP     Edit/Delete Message
a little more information because I wasnt quite awake this morning when I began posting.

The subject which I am studying is the differences between Preservation and conservation, in relation to Castles. I am looking at the ways in which managers and owners evaluate the state of a castle and decide how best to manage it. Whether to rebuild the castle and make it look like it once may have done. To maintain it at whatever level of decay and stopping anymore damage occurring to the castle. Alternatively, to see the castle as an organic being, in the William Morris style and realizing that the castle was created it reachs a peak and then it decays back into the ground from whence it came. All three of these management strategies come with there own built in problems of course. I am not attempting to show that one of these processes is better than the others as each will be case dependent. My dissertation however is looking at Pembroke castle and is looking at whether they have chosen the right method of management and whether this is the best for the site.

posted 02-08-2006 07:29 AM           Edit/Delete Message
Hi, my advice would be to get in touch with Cadw at http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/
or English heritage at http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/
Preservation and conservation in these days are
dependant on budget.


[This message has been edited by Paul (edited 02-08-2006).]

posted 02-08-2006 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinJP   Click Here to Email MartinJP     Edit/Delete Message
I have been in touch with CADW. But they are for some reason exceptionally slow at getting back to me, but I will attempt to get back to them.

posted 02-08-2006 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ipflo   Click Here to Email ipflo     Edit/Delete Message
Anyway keep us up to date of how your dissertation is going.


Senior Member
posted 02-08-2006 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ElCid     Edit/Delete Message
An interesting topic and I'm sure many in this group will be keen to hear the conclusions of your dissertation. It seems to me that the balance over conservation and preservation (not quite sure of the practical distinction here) will also include the matter of restoration and all are subject to the fashions, theories and opinions of the day.

In the 18th and 19th centuries in Engalnd it was the height of aristocratic fashion to have a romantic 'ruin' on your estate. If you had an actual ruined medieval castle on the land then you had the ultimate status symbol. Some landowners went to the trouble (and expense) of creating a mock ruined castle if they didn't have the real thing. The more ruined the better.

Later on in the 19th century the fashion changed with a growing interest in medieval history, gothic architecture, king Arthur, myths and legends. Castles were looked upon as buildings of purpose once again and many restorations (some fanciful, some quite authentic) were undertaken.

Today, restorations of castles, certainly in UK, seem not to be fashionable again (although it is a different story in many European countries where castle restorations - some very sensitively done - are frequent). Consolidation (or conservation) seems to be the popular approach to many castles, perhaps reflecting the wider archaological trend for not digging things up unless it is absolutely essential (such as a road widening going through the site) but adopt a watching brief or use non invasive techniques that do not permanently change anything.

My own view is that some degree of preservation or even restoration is acceptable if this makes the site or building more understandable to the visitor or (dare it be said), a more striking feature of the town/landscape.

This shouldn't try and pretend it is all original though (as can and does happen) but could use sympathetic materials but of sufficiently different properties to make it clear to the knowing eye what is original and what is new. This has been done with great success at Guildford Castle recently. Good luck.

Peter Burton

posted 02-22-2006 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
Sorry to come into this somewhatlate. Just been very busy of late.
I can only really speak of the Italian solution of bringing castles back into the community. As this is, to me, the main reason for spending vast amounts of money on a ruin. I have visited several sites that have been 'brought back', some quite isolated. But all aimed at pulling visitors to a specifia area.
The latest issue of the journal from The Italian Castle inst. Has an excellent example of a castle in southern Lazio (Trevia), that has been 'brought back' in a most sympathetic way.
Yet to struggle through the full text!

posted 04-04-2006 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinJP   Click Here to Email MartinJP     Edit/Delete Message
Just to let you know.
my dissertation is due in 21 days and it is al very hectic at the moment. the diss has changed tack so many times it is scary to see where it bagan all those months ago, anyway it is now looking at the camps of conservationists v stylistic restorers, or Waht John Earl called it, "over restoration" . the camps polarised around Wyatt and Le duc in the one camp and Morris, Ruskin and Lubbock in the other, it is looking at the rise of conservation from the fad of over restoration. The begining of SPAB and how this affected the rebuilding/restooring of Pembroke castle in 1928. Remember that SPab had been established 40 years by this point, the ancients monument act had been around 45 years and although it didnot become as powerfulas it is today too quickly, it is still amazing to think that no one argued against the restoration of the castle. I know it also takes time for these movements to spill out from London and Pembrokeshire is a long way away.

The second part of it is looking at visitors views on authenticity! does it matter that the castle has been rebult. Academics and professional say yes.

visitors tend to be more interested in the price of the tea and if the sun is shining!

posted 04-04-2006 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Levan   Click Here to Email Levan     Edit/Delete Message
Not Pembroke, but there were very similar arguements over the "restoration" of Carcassonne. Many of these arguements seem to be in the public domain (albeit in French).


posted 04-04-2006 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinJP   Click Here to Email MartinJP     Edit/Delete Message
Yes thank you
I ahv used these as well as many more of Viollet le duc at Vezeley and the flying butresses he intorduced there. also francoisdebret who restored one of the towers of Saint denis with horrific consequenecs. He replace the tower but did not account for the xtra weight his newly designed tower would place on the churcha nd within his lifetime Viollet le duc had to take it all down.

nice speedy reply by the way!

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