The 12th century castle is made of mudstone ‘septaria’, which has been slowly eroding, and the proposal is to apply a layer of lime render to the outside of the keep. The works also mean that, for the first time in years, visitors will have access to the grounds around the castle, which, due to the crumbling septaria, are currently fenced off .
The decision follows 13 years of research, trials and consultation to find the best way to protect the castle’s deteriorating external walls and delicate stonework from the elements. The castle walls were constructed almost 1,000 years ago using a delicate local mudstone, known as ‘septaria’, which has been deteriorating since the 16th century.
The conservation project is expected to begin next year with ongoing support and expertise from Historic England.
Due to the age of the structure, and heritage considerations, we are unable to tie in to the building so the JDC team have designed a support system with buttresses and kentledge.
Shelley Garland, senior properties curator English Heritage East, said: “We know how important Orford Castle keep is to local residents in the Orford area, and we are, of course, mindful that the works will lead to a change of appearance to the beloved castle.
“However, if we don’t take action now, future generations will lose this important piece of heritage in Suffolk. Will Fletcher, development advice team leader for Historic England in the East of England, said: “We recognise it is an important part of the national collection but also a significant local landmark.
“Without this important investment the castle would face an uncertain future.”