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28th Jun, 2022

Future of historic home secured

Worcester Editorial 14th Oct, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE of the historic former home of the Bishop of Worcester has been secured thanks to a £5million lottery grant.

Anxiety was growing over the long term future of Hartlebury Castle after the Church of England decided to sell the site in 2012.

But that turned to joy last Wednesday (October 8) when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced it was going to give Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust (HCPT) and its partners Worcestershire County Council and Museums Worcestershire a financial boost.

The grant means the trust can now buy Hartlebury Castle, which is home to the Worcestershire County Museum, along with its surrounding 43 acres of parkland and embark on programmes for conservation and activities.

Robert Greenwood, chair and HLF project sponsor at HCPT, said: “This £5million award from HLF together with the generosity of so many organisations, authorities and individuals who have pledged about £2.25million in matched funding, revenue support, individual gifts and time will now enable us to go ahead with our project.

“For centuries, Hartlebury Castle was Worcestershire’s powerful centre of influence, and it’s great to know that we are now able to achieve the dream of the founder trustees, members and volunteers.”

As part of the project, the Hurd Library, which was built for Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester in 1782, will remain open to the public.

The current Bishop of Worcester Dr John Inge said: “I am delighted that several years of anxiety about the future of the castle and its great library have been resolved so positively.

“It is very good news for the people of Worcestershire and beyond. It is the result of a great deal of hard work and constructive collaboration by the many friends of the castle, the county council and the church commissioners.”

Coun Lucy Hodgson, chairman of the joint museums committee at the county council, said they would be able to make a “first class” visitor attraction, while Angela Brinton, president of the HCPT, added: “I am thrilled by this news. The future of the castle and its wonderful library has been secured after a long period of doubt and anxiety.

“The support of the HLF has been magnificent and we and our partners can ensure that Hartlebury Castle is established as a great resource.”

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