Farnham Castle's 12th Century Keep reopens after �1million restoration

Attention switched from the temporary Farnham castle at the centre of Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood to another with a slightly more concrete history last month

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010

Attention switched from the temporary Farnham castle at the centre of Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood to another with a slightly more concrete history last month.

One of Surrey’s most important buildings, Farnham Castle’s 12th Century Keep, was re-opened after a near �1million restoration programme.

A Scheduled Ancient Monument, which was originally built as a classic motte and bailey construction and formerly used as a defensive residence for the Bishops of Winchester, the Keep was officially opened by Jeremy Hunt, MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

“I am delighted to have been asked to open this brilliant restoration project,” he said. “We have all been anticipating the re-opening of the Keep, which will bring huge benefits not only to Farnham Castle but the town as a whole as it attracts a wide array of visitors. Well done to everyone who campaigned so hard to make this happen.”

Previously only open to the public for 80 days a year with an admission charge, a grant of over �700,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund means that the Bishop’s Palace and Keep will now come under the single management of the Farnham Castle charity and visitors will be able to visit the Keep free for 300 days every year.

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“We are delighted to see the restoration of the Keep complete,” says Mark Pemberton, director of properties for English Heritage, which retains guardianship of the site. “Farnham Castle offers a fascinating insight to our medieval past.”

The restoration included the removal of over 200 tonnes of concrete, to reveal the historic fabric of the tower, and the creation of an oak-framed pavilion, staircase and illuminated viewing platform over the tower and well.

Farnham Castle, Farnham GU9 0AG. Tel: 01252 721194.

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