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WINTER 2015/2016



Wales -Year of Legends 2017

Wales -Year of Legends 2017

There are 641 castles in Wales, more per square mile than anywhere on Earth. They come in all shapes, sizes, and states of repair. Some have been lived in continuously for a thousand years. Others are tumbledown ruins in remote forests. There are castles on cliff tops, castles with gardens, haunted castles, castles with museums, castles on beaches — and every single one comes with its own rich history and legends.

This is our Year of Legends. Yes, Wales is an ancient landscape, with thousands of years of history and myth. But it’s also an epic land of thinking and high adventure. Everywhere you go, there are innovative ideas, in old places. It’s a great place to enjoy here and now. This year we’re creating new legends. Want to come and find yours? Welcome to our Epic Land.

To find out more click here

Summer Raffle Update

A huge thank you to everyone who supported the Summer Raffle by donating prizes and buying tickets. Also to those who attended the Summer Concert. The Raffle and the concert raised over £2000 which will go towards the renovation project.

Thanks to Hay Music for organising the concert and to the following local organisations and businesses who gave prizes:

Hay Festival
Hay Music
Llangoed Hall
River Cafe
Richard Booth's Bookshop and Cinema
The Swan
WJ George Butcher
Whitney Toll Bridge


A raffle will be drawn on 21 August, and some wonderful prizes have been donated by area businesses and organisations. You could win a one-year pass to the Whitney Toll Bridge, a night at Llangoed Hall, a Golden Ticket to all events at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend, a splendid Sunday brunch at the Swan at Hay, a cinema pass for a year at Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema, A gift voucher from Golesworthy's in Hay, lunch at the River Café in Glasbury, a Christmas turkey from WJ George Butchers or tickets to next year’s Hay Chamber Music Festival.

Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Thursday Market on August 11th so do pop over to Jason's furniture and sock stall in the memorial square where we will be based. If you would like to sell some tickets please do email

You can also buy them through JustGiving - just make sure you leave your name and a contact:

Project Manager appointment notice

Project Manager appointment notice

Hay Castle Trust wishes to appoint a Project Manager consultant to undertake work envisioned as follows:
Provide project management services to advise on OJEU procurement process to tender for a contractor, manage the tender process and project manage the pre-construction and constructions phases of the project from RIBA Stage 4 (technical design) through RIBA Stage 6 (handover and close out).

Details are on the Sell2Wales website



Heritage Lottery Fund awards Hay Castle £4.46 million

Heritage Lottery Fund awards Hay Castle £4.46 million

Fantastic News! Hay Castle has been awarded £4.46 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. More details below...

As thousands of literary festival goers make their way to Hay-on-Wye today a recognisable local landmark is about to steal the limelight. Thanks to National Lottery players, the future of one of Wales’s most important monuments has been secured.

Hay Castle, one of the few continuously occupied Medieval strongholds in the country and an important example of a Marcher Castle, had fallen into disrepair, but an award of £4.46million from the Heritage Lottery Fund will save and restore the castle and accompanying Grade 1 listed mansion. 

Nancy Lavin Albert, managing director of Hay Castle, said, “We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund which does crucial work saving irreplaceable buildings across the UK. We are extremely grateful to all our supporters for their generous donations to this ambitious project. The Trust’s aspiration is to create an inspiring place for people to enjoy their heritage and the arts, learn new skills and participate in cultural and community events.”

The award will enable the Hay Castle Trust to save and consolidate the castle ruins; provide access to the keep; restore the mansion; reopen the ancient gate; create a museum-standard gallery, educational space and café; and provide flexible spaces for use by the local community and public. 

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, Richard Bellamy, explains why supporting this project is so important: “While an incredibly ambitious piece of work, there is so much more to this than simply restoring and preserving a significant piece of Welsh history – it’s also about ensuring Hay Castle continues to be a meaningful place for people today."

“With the support of National Lottery players, there is a great opportunity here to make the castle accessible to all, enabling people to learn about their heritage, while at the same time providing a welcome economic boost with new jobs being created and an improved tourism offer.” 

In addition to the award of £4.46million by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Trust has also raised over £1million with the help of its supporters. However, £900,000 still needs to be raised by the end of this year in order for work to begin on site in 2017.

Elizabeth Haycox, chair of the Hay Castle Trust, added, “Hay Castle is currently in a critical state of disrepair so this announcement today is great news for the town, both culturally and economically. In addition to seasonal tourism attractions, the Trust is developing a year round programme of activities focusing on literature and Hay’s unique position as a Book Town.” 

When the project is complete, Hay Castle will be open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history.


A series of test pits are being investigated at the Castle which will help form the plans for the renovation and locate necessary items such as a lift and possible soak-away drainage. Three pits have been dug within the derelict section and on May 9th a soakaway test was excavated in the gravel area on the southern lawn.

Archaeologists Peter Dorling and Dai Williams have dug the interior pits by hand with the help of a willing team of volunteers. The soakaway pit however required a little more power behind the spade and so a JCB was called in. Everyone was surprised, and quite relieved, that the JCB was able to dig a 2m hole without disturbing any archaeology. Cadw archaeologist Will Davies was also on hand to supervise the excavation. Engineers then filled the pit with three bowsers of water to test the permability of the soil for the suitability of a soakaway. 

Peter Dorling and Dai will now return to more sedate methods of digging whilst they prepare around nine more sites for investigation.

If you would be interested in volunteering to help with archaeology please do get in touch - email

Barbara Erskine Talk at Hay Castle

Barbara Erskine Talk at Hay Castle Sleeper's Castle - Barbara Erskine Talk for Friends of Hay Castle

Tuesday 28 June at Hay Castle
Refreshments from 5.30pm, talk starts at 6pm

Two women, centuries apart. One endless nightmare tearing Wales apart - and only they can stop it.

Sunday Times bestselling author Barbara Erskine returns to Hay in the year that marks the 30th anniversary of her sensational debut bestseller, Lady of Hay.

Friends are invited to an evening with author Barbara Erskine to launch her new novel, Sleeper's Castle, published by Harper Collins. You will have a chance to talk with Ms Erskine about her book and her long-standing interest in Hay Castle and the colourful figures who lived here. 

If you are a Friend of Hay Castle and would like to attend this event at the Castle on Tuesday 28 June at 6pm please email and we will add your name to the guest list. RSVP is essential.

If you are not yet a Friend or your membership has lapsed - please see our Friends page on the website

Hay-On-Wye, 1400 - War is brewing in the Welsh borders. For two hundred years, the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend talks of. In the walls of Sleeper's Castle, Catrin finds herself caught in the middle of a doomed war as she is called upon to foretell Wales's destiny...And what she sees, is blood and war coming closer...Hay, 2015. Miranda has moved to Sleeper's Castle to escape and grieve. Slowly she feels herself coming to life in the solitude of the mountains. But every time she closes her eyes her dreams become more vivid. And she makes a connection with a young girl, who's screaming, who's reaching out...who only Miranda can help. Is she losing herself to time?

Photo copyright: Karolina Webb

Spring Newsletter

The Spring Newsletter 2016 is now available to read with updates about events during Hay Festival, funding news and archaeology updates on the Castle. If you would like to sign up to receive the newsletters quarterly please do so here.

Hay Castle features in CPRW Magazine

Hay Castle features in CPRW Magazine This month the Castle features in the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales' magazine, 'Rural Wales'. Activities Director Mari Fforde, wrote a piece about the history of the town, Castle and the project vision. Read the whole article and rest of the magazine here.

Visit Hay Castle and have your say in the future of this ancient monument.

Hay Castle Trust is a registered charity that was formed in 2011 to preserve this historic site and provide a future of cultural enrichment, educational opportunities and community enjoyment.
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