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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 13:42 GMT
Castle ruins for sale for 1.25m
Cardigan Castle
A campaign is underway to save the 12th Century ruin
One of the biggest jobs possible for people who like to do up their own home has gone on sale in west Wales for 1.25m.

The ruins of Cardigan Castle are being sold off by their elderly owner.

The privately-owned castle is in a very poor condition its old stone walls and few surviving towers are in danger of collapse.

Proposed layout of a restored caste
A model of how campaigners see the site if it is restored

And there is also a derelict mansion, cottage and stable block - all Grade I or Grade II listed historic buildings - on the overgrown two-acre site for those who believe they are up to the task.

But there is also a plenty of competition to sign the deal - around 4,000 local people have already signed a petition calling on Ceredigion County Council to buy the ancient pile.

They want the historic site made available as a visitor attraction and the campaign has already a model of how they believe a restored attraction should look.

Built in the 12th century, Cardigan Castle is a focal point of the town.

Local campaigners have attempted to work with owner Barbara Wood, 84, to develop the castle's potential, but talks have not been successful.

Cardigan Castle
The castle is overgrown and off limits

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has written to the county council urging them to play a lead role in the negotiations.

The campaign to transform Cardigan Castle into a place of historic interest dates back 40 years.

Although very little remains of the original stone castle local people believe the prime site should be developed into a shrine of national significance.

An event mirroring modern eisteddfods - complete with contests and 'bardic' chairs - was held at the castle in 1176 by Lord Rhys.

In the 19th century, a Georgian mansion was built inside the bailey of the castle.

Siezed fortress

The medieval history of Cardigan Castle is filled with tales of battles between the Welsh and Normans, as the fortress changed hands frequently.

Lord Rhys - Rhys ap Gruffydd - the Prince of Deheubarth, used the castle as the centrepoint of his local defences.

The prince seized the fortress from the Normans in about 1170 and turned the timber structure into a stone castle.

In 1176, he used the castle to hold two cultural contests, between bards and poets and harpists and pipers, with two chairs presented to the winners.

After Lord Rhys' death in 1197, his two sons fought for control of the castle at the start of a turbulent period of control, which saw it swap hands from Llywelyn the Great to the Welsh, the Normans and Edward I.

In the mid 13th century, repairs and additions were made to the castle, including a new keep, town wall and two towers.

The castle was effectively destroyed during the English Civil War by Cromwell's army in the 17th century.

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