Hay Castle has a long and chequered history. The earliest parts are Norman, built when the French spread westwards into Wales . The main body is Jacobean, and over recent centuries various owners have tinkered with it, adding parapets and suchlike, so like most old buildings it is a complete patchwork. Oh and it has two major fires in its lifetime just for good measure.
It was famously bought by Richard Booth (for £500 according to rumour) in the 1960s. Richard is the man who put Hay on the map and turned it into the world’s first Book Town. Unfortunately one of the big fires was during his ownership, the story being that he fell asleep in front of the fire and a log rolled out… In 2011 the castle was sold to the Hay Castle Trust who undertook the daunting task of restoration and the creation of an arts and education centre – a task that is getting close to fruition.
A week or two ago we were taken on a tour of Hay Castle with friends, and what an eye-opener it was. Since we have been here the Castle has been out of bounds as workmen swarm over and around the scaffolding clad monument. So to see what has been going on inside was inspiring. The interior still frankly looks much like a building site – but one can see the immense imagination, talent and sheer hard work that is coming together to create something that will be really special. Hat’s off to all involved.
And the views from the top of castle are simply amazing!