Heritage Lottery Fund awards Landmark £2.5 million

Fresh appeal launched so work can begin

We are delighted to announce a successful bid for a £2.5million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to rescue Llwyn Celyn. With this news, a fresh appeal is being launched today to find the remaining £385,000 needed by Christmas so that work can begin early next year at this rare late 15th-century building at risk in the Black Mountains, within the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The grant will enable us to restore the main house to create a new Landmark, available to all. In addition, various outbuildings will be repaired and converted into education and interpretation centres for use by the local community and general public.

Llwyn Celyn artwork cutout

Grade I listed Llwyn Celyn near Abergavenny is regarded by Cadw as one of the most remarkable of all surviving late medieval houses in Wales. Continuously inhabited since it was built around 1480, Llwyn Celyn has scarcely changed since a floor was inserted into its open hall in the 17th-century. Some exceptional decorated doorheads and a fixed bench in the once-open central hall are particularly rare survivals. You can read more about its history here.

In addition to the stage two £2.5million HLF grant being announced today, a further £1.3million has already been donated to the appeal by our supporters. The appeal is now 91% funded, but £385,000 still needs to be raised by Christmas 2015 in order for work to begin on site at the start of 2016. To make a contribution, no matter how big or small, to the Landmark Trust’s appeal to finalise the funding for Llwyn Celyn, please visit our website or call Bruce Hall on 01628 825920.

The future of Llwyn Celyn has been hanging in the balance for decades. Today it is in an extreme state of disrepair: the building protected by emergency scaffolding since the early 1990s; its roof leaking; its floors braced with metal props; its timber structure damp and decaying as run-off from the hillside affects several rooms. Listen to our Historian and Head of Engagement, Caroline Stanford, talk in more detail on the video here.

On hearing the news, Dr Anna Keay, our Director said:

"We are extremely grateful to the HLF and to the Landmark Trust’s supporters for their generous donations to the Llwyn Celyn appeal. Such remarkable historic buildings are irreplaceable. If no one intervenes then these rare buildings not only disappear forever from our landscape, but so do the stories that these sites tell us about the lives of our ancestors. By creating a new Landmark, we ensure its survival for generations to come."

As with all of our restoration projects, repairs and sensitive alterations will be carried out by skilled craftsmen. Our work at Llwyn Celyn will nurture the survival of traditional skills, with craft training apprenticeships set to run throughout the project. Following a meticulous restoration process, the main building at Llwyn Celyn will open as a new Landmark sleeping up to eight people for short breaks in 2018, joining our collection of 195 other historic buildings.

Llwyn Celyn in scaffolding

Head of HLF Wales, Richard Bellamy, explains why the project was considered important enough to be awarded a life-saving grant by the organisation:

"This ambitious project is not simply about preserving a significant piece of Welsh history in the form of a medieval hall – it’s also about making the space a meaningful place for people today.With this support from National Lottery players, the entire site will be transformed. As well as providing a boost to local tourism, the project will give people opportunities to access the buildings and use the spaces to help people learn about heritage, gain new skills and support community events. We’re excited to continue working with the Landmark Trust on this fantastic project, and seeing the difference it will make when it’s completed."

Landmark acquired the site from its private owners in 2012 thanks to acquisition grants from Cadw and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The HLF awarded a development grant of £31,500 in July 2014 and since then a team of experts has carried out exhaustive research into the building using archaeology, structural analysis and documentary research. Local residents have contributed and learnt new skills through a community history project, under the guidance of Caroline Stanford, the Landmark Trust’s Historian and Head of Engagement. The Trust has also formed partnerships to involve a number of local bodies with the site’s future, including Ty Mawr Lime Centre, Gwent Wildlife Trust and Arts Alive Wales.

Heritage Lottery Fundy Logo      National Heritage Memorial Fund logo     CADW logo