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Reconstructing Holt Castle

Visitors have often found it hard to imagine a castle at Holt. You walk down a path from the village, bungalows overlook the site and the remains in front of you just don’t seem big enough to belong to a castle.

The challenge for the artist was to recreate the castle in a series of illustrations that would help visitors see that there once had been an impressive castle on the banks of the river Dee.

A controversial early draft of a CAD bird’s eye view of Holt Castle with outer bailey wall. Artist: Phil Kenning

The first task was to gather together as much evidence as possible to help historical reconstruction artist, Phil Kenning. Fortunately, despite the ruins being slight, there are plenty of written and visual sources:

Pencil stage, a first draft of the bird’s eye view of Holt Castle. Artist: Phil Kenning

We also consulted many secondary sources including:

The final watercolour of the bird’s eye view of Holt Castle. Artist: Phil Kenning

Coincidentally while Wrexham Museum was working on a series of reconstruction drawings of Holt Castle, c. 1315, soon after its completion, the Castle Studies Group was working on a more ambitious project. Their goal was to recreate the exterior of the castle and its internal layout, c. 1495.

Staff from the museum met the artist on site in September 2014 and then work could begin…