Major funding boost to help safeguard castle

Scenesetter'Ayton Castle which has been granted funding by English Heritage'Picture by Neil Silk  123111'31/07/12
Scenesetter'Ayton Castle which has been granted funding by English Heritage'Picture by Neil Silk 123111'31/07/12
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Ayton Castle has been awarded an £85,000 grant from English Heritage to carry out urgent repairs to the building, in particular its stonework.

The castle, which is a grade 1 listed building and scheduled ancient monument, is currently on the at risk register.

A local Friends’ group is now being set up and will work with Scarborough Borough Council to develop repair and management plans to secure the future of the site, with the intention the group can be more involved in the castle’s management.

A possible long-term aim is that the community will feel able to take over the fully repaired castle, which could then become a local visitor attraction.

Cllr Bill Chatt, portfolio holder for property maintenance, said: “The council has been working closely with English Heritage for some time now to find a sustainable future for this important piece of local heritage. With the help and support of the parish councils, we hope that the formation of a Friends’ group will enable not only the essential repair work but also a programme of maintenance, ongoing improvement and an increase in visitor numbers to be realised.”

Baroness Andrews, chairman of English Heritage, said: “It is wonderful news that we and Scarborough Borough Council have been able to find a group of enthusiastic local people to set up a Friends’ group.

“Ayton Castle is among the most important buildings in Yorkshire, as it is listed at grade I, but it is also on our at risk register so we must all work together to find a solution that means this very special place is safeguarded for generations to come.”

Already popular as a site for walkers, the castle dates from the late 14th century and is in the form of a Peel Tower, a combination of a fortress and dwelling.

Such towers are common around the north of England, where they were a defence against Scottish marauders.

However it’s likely the de Aton family just wanted to show their wealthy status through this defensive design.