Carlisle Castle

Conserving Carlisle Castle

A major conservation project has begun at Carlisle Castle, to address issues with water damage within the castle keep, both at ground and roof level ensuring the castle will be around for generations to come.

Carlisle Castle will remain open whilst the work takes place. Follow the link below to book your ticket.

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Restoring 15th century carvings

Around 300 carvings, thought to be created by bored prison guards, are being restored as part of the project. They date from the 15th century and have always been something of a mystery. There are carvings of dolphins, horses, boar, salmon, mermaids, a magnificently endowed leopard, George and the dragon and more.

Resorer Alex Carrington is carefully removing, by hand, hundreds of years of sediment and water damage without industrial equipment or chemicals. One of the main jobs has been removing white crusts of salt using stencil brushes and scalpels. Black marks on some stones are possibly the result of hundreds of years of people touching them or brushing past.

The fox preaching to chickens carving is likely to have been a satire on the clergy – be careful who you trust. The restoration has also exposed previously unseen or hard-to-see carvings, one of which shows a deer-hunting scene, another a knight in profile.

The Project

Specialist workers will be working to repair parts of the roof and some masonry, ensuring that drainage at ground level is improved and adding in specialist heating to the roof to stop the water seeping in. Within the keep workers will repair stonework and ensure that the 15th century Prisoner carvings are safe.  

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