Suffolk County Council has received confirmation that English Heritage is to provide over £288,000 in grant funding to enable the medieval ruins at Greyfriars, Dunwich and Clare Castle to be restored and maintained for many years to come, with the additional £112,000 being provided by the county council.
The Clare Castle ruins are the centre piece of Clare Castle Country Park a locally well used recreation site and popular visitor attraction. The ruins at Greyfriars Dunwich are the most extensive structures that remain of the old town of Dunwich.
The restoration of these important heritage assets will not only maintain them for many years to come, but enable Clare Castle Country Park and Dunwich Greyfriars to be put into a good state of repair as the county council seeks to transfer these sites to the local communities.
Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and property management, said:
“I am delighted to see this significant investment being made by English Heritage to maintain these important elements of Suffolk’s heritage.
By carrying out these important restoration works we are securing the historical legacy of these sites for generations to come and I am certain that they will continue to attract visitors.”
Geoff Abell of Dunwich Greyfriars Trust said
"Greyfriars Monastery is a site of historical importance and a key part of Dunwich's fascinating heritage. The village is very pleased that English Heritage and Suffolk County Council are funding substantial restoration works that will secure the future of this beautiful place"
English Heritage Team Leader for Suffolk, John Ette said:
"English Heritage is committed to reducing historic sites at risk and we are very pleased to be working with Suffolk County Council and the local community to help fund these important conservation works. Clare Castle and Dunwich are nationally important monuments which make a significant contribution to our national story. These vital works should enable these sites to be removed from our Heritage Risk register and allow the public to continue to safely enjoy them."
The restoration works will involve building works to consolidate and weather proof the castle keep and bailey walls at Clare and similar work on the peripheral walls at Dunwich but also the rebuilding of some sections of the old medieval walls that have collapsed.
Works in Dunwich will begin at the end of July with the works on Clare Castle starting in mid August. It is intended that the restoration of Greyfriars and Clare Castle will both be completed before the winter.
Visitors will continue to be welcome to both Clare Country Park and Dunwich whilst these restoration works are carried out. There may be some disruption to access, but this will be kept to a minimum, and footpath closures with appropriate diversions will be in place.