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The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle Review

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Fiendishly Engaging

By Nick Ellis ~ Courtesy of the Abergele Visitor

The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle - Mark Baker

What are most teenagers into these days? Playstation 2? Football? The latest album by Eminem?

Not Mark Baker. His main mission in life is to save a 19th century castle from collapsing into obscurity.

The Abergele 18 year old is so passionate about Gwrych Castle he has written a book on it. The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle covers the entire history of the mansion. It also includes a biography of Winifred, Countess of Dundonald, last of the Heskeths of Gwrych. Mark has been collecting items on the castle since 1994 and over the years has enjoyed local, regional and national media exposure about his campaign to save the crumbling building.

The book features in great detail the history of the famous castle including comprehensive information on the families who lived there. Anyone knowing little about Gwrych Castle will certainly know plenty more after reading this book. The publication contains a nice blend of text and pictures sure to strike a nostalgic chord among history lovers.

One aspect I found difficult to understand was why the profile of the author appears in the middle of the book and not at the start as is the norm. I was also tickled by a printing error in the foreword by Barbara Griffiths, who described herself as having been fiend of Mark for many years. But overall this is an excellent book which can be used as reference material for many years to come. One can only Mark's dream of seeing Gwrych restored to its former glory comes to fruition and that perhaps one day he can write another book entitled something along the lines of The Rebirth of Gwrych Castle.

The Rise and Fall of Gwrych Castle is available at £7.95 from numerous book-selling stores in the area.

©Mark Baker 2003