NEW information boards at one of Flintshire’s most historic sites have been vandalised and stolen in what has been described as an ‘attack on the community’.
Caergwrle Cllr Dave Healey, a historian and Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment reported the damage at the village’s castle remains on Wednesday (July 19).
Two panels have been removed, and the whole supporting structure for one of them has been pulled out of the ground.
Much work has been undertaken in recent decades in an effort to learn more about the castle, to preserve it, to make it accessible to all, and to provide as much information as possible about the site to visitors.
It was built in 1278 by then Prince of Wales Dafydd ap Gruffudd before he launched an ill-fated rebellion against the English which ended in his execution.
And history records that Edward I and his queen Eleanor, were staying at the castle in 1283 when a terrifying fire broke out and they were lucky to escape with their lives.
In May 2018, Minister for Culture Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas unveiled a plaque at the foot of the castle signalling a commitment from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw to take guardianship of the site.
The new interpretation panels had only recently been installed and this damage has left Cllr Healey horrified at what he sees as an attack on village heritage and the community.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service he said: “I am outraged by this wanton attack on Caergwrle’s heritage.
“CADW, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, took Caergwrle Castle into its guardianship in 2018 following a local campaign.
“Progress was held up by the Covid pandemic and budget issues but two excellent interpretation panels were finally erected earlier this year. The artwork on the panels was superb and, in my view, I believe that the interpretation of the site was spot on.
“There are several mysteries about the castle and the panels did a cracking job in suggesting possible answers to those mysteries. It must have cost CADW a great deal to commission both the artwork and the heritage consultant involved. What emerged was an act of genius.”
Cllr Healey added: “I was horrified to see the damage done to this site. The panels have been completely ripped out and stolen. The supports for one of the panels have been brutally ripped up out of the ground.
“I think celebration of the local heritage is immensely important. It encourages tourism which increased footfall and dwell time in our community. This helps with local economic regeneration.
“The heritage also helps to give people a sense of place and helps with their wellbeing. This really is an attack on the community of Caergwrle itself.
“I would appeal for anyone who knows anything about this crime to come forward and report the details to the police.
“I really hope that CADW are able to replace these boards so that they are they for people to learn about this historic site.”
Anyone who knows anything about the vandalism is urged to contact North Wales Police, who have confirmed there have been no arrests in relation to the incident to date. The crime reference number is A113961.