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Campaign launched to defend Suffolk’s precious castles

PUBLISHED: 10:38 22 August 2018

Framlingham Castle, which featured in the famous Ed Sheeran song 'Castle on the Hill' Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA

Framlingham Castle, which featured in the famous Ed Sheeran song 'Castle on the Hill' Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

After fending off sieges and battering rams, catapults and arrows for centuries, the enduring castles of Suffolk face a new hazard – and there’s not a cannon ball in sight.

A campaign has been launched to defend the country’s fortresses – including Framlingham and Orford – from a host of threats not unfamiliar to the average 21st century homeowner: severe rain, damp, and weeds.

The conservation charity English Heritage, which looks after 66 castles across the country, is calling on the public to donate to its #LoveCastles appeal – which seeks to invest in essential fortress wall repairs across England, removing deep-rooted harmful weeds like ivy and valerian.

The charity aims to raise £50,000 from the crowd-funding appeal, which it hopes will protect the precious stone landmarks for future generations to enjoy.

Christopher Hudson, Suffolk Coastal district councillor for the Framlingham ward, said the castle was “one of the finest jewels in the crown of Suffolk”, and all precautions should be taken to protect and preserve it for years to come.

Orford Castle, which is managed by English Heritage Picture: BARRIE BROOKS/CITIZENSIDE.COMOrford Castle, which is managed by English Heritage Picture: BARRIE BROOKS/CITIZENSIDE.COM

“It is in our heritage,” he said. “I think, funnily enough, even though it is from our past, it is part of our future as well.

“It is vital that we maintain that, and I am fully behind any campaign to raise resources.”

Throughout the year, English Heritage will spend approximately £1.9million on wall repairs at castles across the country.

At some fortresses, this involves removing extensive ivy, shrubs and sometimes even trees whose roots are growing deep into the castle walls.

A view of Orford Castle in Suffolk Picture: DAVID MORTIMERA view of Orford Castle in Suffolk Picture: DAVID MORTIMER

Once that work has been done, the walls need to be repaired, which can involve re-bedding the loose masonry before using bespoke lime mortars to repoint the joints that have been forced open by strong roots.

Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s chief executive, said: “So far this summer we’ve seen more people than ever visit the castles in our care. But if these fortresses are to survive for future generations to enjoy, we need people’s help to defend them today – not from sieges or cannon balls but from weeds and damp, the wind and the rain.”

People in Suffolk can donate to the appeal by visiting at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/defend-our-castles.

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