RUPERRA CASTLE, Stables, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan 2009

RUPERRA CASTLE, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan 2005
Notes on RUPERRA CASTLE, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan 1997, 2005 and 2009

Ruperra was built by Sir Thomas Morgan in 1626 and likely on a former medieval site. Requisitioned, like many a stately home, by the army during the Second World War. In 1941 it was gutted by fire and in 1956 sold and since then there has been a slow and steady demise of the once rich estate. In 1982 the South Eastern tower collapsed and large cracks have appeared in the other three.

An awful waste and a compulsory purchase order would seem the obvious choice. Adjacent and within its walled borders are large service blocks, greenhouses and stables now all empty and neglected. A trust, formed in 1996, with the aim of purchasing the castle and grounds, own woodland around Ruperra with many walks offering the visitor various views of the castle.

I was unable to gain permission to enter the grounds, once in 1997 and again in 2005. Negotiations are underway to sell the house to the trust so in the longer term its survival seems more secure.

Notes on images taken in 2009

My alarm went off at 4am, I rose and drove to the village of Draethen and walked up and over Ruperra hill to the castle, barns, outbuildings and greenhouses. Buttercups filled the meadows and three horses trotted up to me braying/naying, curious but guarded.

The castle on this morning, today as all days, is impregnable due to the spring foliage of nettle and bramble and stands, as it did on previous visits in 1997 and 2005, majestic yet also sadly in its crumbling state. In 1997 the owner(?) lived in the service quarters that stands beside the castle. He refused me entry or even allowed me to take a quick snapshot of the castle. I believe he was tired of the constant flow of artists, photographers and historians wishing to visit and pay homage to such a lovely building. It is understandable of course.

I visited again in 2005 and walked around the ruins. Little seemed to have changed since my previous visits. The service quarters however were long empty, windows broken and looking as sickly as the castle.

A further visit in 2009 and a wrecked car sits at the entrance. The morning air is clean and there's a heavy dew clinging to the high grass soaking my trousers. Within the walls of Ruperra someone had enjoyed a barbeque and a few cans of lager I don't think I could have enjoyed a meal and drink within those high dangerous walls(!). The inner walls are built with red brick and in John Newman's - 'The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan' he states this is one of the earliest buildings substantially using brick in Glamorgan. He also mentions the grey and depressing render on the outside walls. He is right of course. Ruperra Castles grey exterior does nothing but to depress the viewer even further and one wonders if this jewel in Glamorgans history will be left until the remaining towers collapse. Maybe then, and only then, will something be done to stabilise this impressive building.

The service quarters were still empty and peering through the windows, damp and rotting, revealing sodden joists and vandalised walls and furniture. Plastic sheeting attempted to keep water (and people) out of the windows but the plastic sheeting is no defence against the weather and it flapped noisily in the morning breeze leaving the air uncomfortable and eerie.

From the footpath above, the stable roof seemed also to be losing the battle against the elements. The stables it must be said, although not as spectacular as the castle are worthy due to their size and aesthetic proportions. Where undamaged they appear to be partly in use as storage.

Down the side of the short steep bank the greenhouses; all broken glass, searching bramble and of course, the country house favourite, the rhodendrum, thick and twisting itself through the undergrowth, fighting to capitalize on any gaps in the canopy.

Ruperra Castle 2009 (stable block – still in some use)

Ruperra Castle 2009 (Service Quarters – in ruin)

Ruperra Castle 2009 (Rear of Service Quarters)

Ruperra Castle 2009 (Service Quarters – in ruin)

For further information on the trust thats been formed to help preserve Ruperra Castle click on this link and for up to date information on planning click here
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RUPERRA CASTLE, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan 2009


Photo comment By roger fowler: please say who is the pressant owner when purchased and is the castle still on its own entrance and grounds please thank you mr r.fowler hisotical intrest

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