The mid-15th century grand staircase at Raglan Castle has been reopened to the public following a major conservation programme.
The staircase has been given the nickname of the Hokey-Cokey Staircase because in its 550 year history it has been put in and taken out, at least three times.
This has left badly-disturbed and puzzling remains. It has taken numerous attempts to record the remains and gather evidence in order to reconstruct its original form.
The staircase was officially re-opened to the public following a topping out ceremony on Friday, 18 February by Cadw’s Chief Architect, Trefor Thorpe.
Cadw’s Inspector of Ancient Monuments Rick Turner said: “Prints suggest that an eroded version of the staircase remained in use throughout the 18th century. In about 1830, the duke of Beaufort commissioned the architect, Jeffrey Wyattville, to reinstate the staircase.
“The staircase survived until the Ministry of Works took over the site after World War II and remained in position until the 1950s at least. At some point after this date the stone of this staircase was stripped out to leave the structure as it survives today.
“In the mid-1980s it was replaced with a wooden staircase carried on posts standing on the historic fabric and contained within heavy wooden handrails.
“The posts began to decay and the whole structure was removed. From that point the staircase has been closed.”
Alun Ffred Jones, Heritage Minister added, “Re-instating the Grand Staircase has been a complicated and difficult task as the various phases in its construction over the centuries have masked much of the original structure.
“However, it is fantastic that Cadw has now been able to make safe the structure whilst also presenting the design of the Grand Staircase as it was originally intended.”