When Francis and Karen Shaw bought the crumbling Peel Castle, little did they realise what a massive undertaking it would be to restore...or would it? Well actually that is what we were led to believe. Millions of us have seen it so many times on television and the castle now has world-wide fame.
Francis is an architect, a precision architect, who now runs Shaw and Jagger with a track record in achieving planning approvals for sites and buildings that are often dilapidated, ruined and of national importance. If anyone was going to succeed, Francis and Karen would. That does not detract from the feat they had undertaken. Karen and Francis were not amateurs; they knew exactly what this journey was going to be like, and knew what the budget would be, right down to the last penny.
I have know Karen and Francis for a while now, in fact I remember seeing Peel Castle on Grand Designs and my first thought was that they would have to rent the castle out to make back some of the money they spent on it. I never imagined taking a call from Karen and then getting very involved with the castle when it first started letting bedrooms.
Julie and I were rent-a-guests for the re-visited Grand Designs programme. When the programme presenter declared it one of this favourite projects, Karen joked that they’d put a plaque on the bedroom he stayed in, stating. 'Kevin McCloud slept here'. When the programme went live, I remember we filled the property for 2 years; job done!
This is a romantic story; there was a feeling that fate had brought the Shaws to Peel Castle. Francis visited the house when he was 14, on holiday with his parents. “When I saw it on the Buildings at Risk register, I remembered it immediately. It appealed because of the location and because I’ve wanted to live in a castle since I was a child.”
The drama in the build was when the central wall collapsed. It was a major financial setback and added six months on to the build time, but it allowed Francis and Karen to rethink their original plans. As a result, they were able to capture one of the most amazing views in Yorkshire. Francis designed a fabulous loft apartment with floor to ceiling windows and a roof terrace. It added another £100,000 to the cost, but this is why this castle is special; south facing, you can view Telly Tubby land out the back, with the occasional train going by.
I have seen many restorations in my time and this has to be at the top of my list, not only from what we saw on the TV programme, but also the continuing work Karen and Francis have done during their tenure of Peel Castle.
Peel Castle in now on the market for £1.65M; if you need to know more, you can contact me, Roger the Castle Man.
We are also very excited to be bringing Francis’s latest project in Scotland to Celtic Castles... more to come on this in the near future, but just to tempt you, the image below shows you the backdrop. This is another Grand Design, not captured on TV, that you will have to come and visit!