Kymin custodians told their jobs will go in January

By Jake Chown  
Tuesday 10th November 2020 2:43 pm
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Custodians Martin Kerrigan and Sara Szwer on their wedding day ()

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THE custodians of one of Monmouth’s most famous landmarks have been told they will lose their job and home of 17 years in January.

Martin Kerrigan and Sara Szwer say have been told by the National Trust that they must leave the Kymin Round House on January 19.

The couple have lived at the site for 17 years, with Mrs Szwer employed as the manager and Mr Kerrigan the volunteer deputy manager.

However the site has been closed “for the foreseeable future” due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The National Trust says it is committed to keeping the pleasure grounds open, including the Naval Temple, but it is feared the site will be left without custodians for the first time since 1902.

“Sadly our redundancies have been confirmed and we have got to move out on January 19,” Mr Kerrigan said.

“We are obliged to stay until that date as custodians so we cannot leave before.

“As far as I know the plan is still to have no one on site.

“We are very sad about it. The concerns about having no one on site remain.”

The couple, whose house is a former stables on the 10-acre site, fear the landmark will fall prey to vandalism, littering and thefts without custodians.

Politicians and residents have voiced fears over the plans, including Beverley Fate, from Caldicot, who had her wedding at the venue in 2017.

“I really can’t see how it could work effectively without custodians as I believe the whole grounds are open 24 hours and would be very vulnerable to vandalism and anti-social behaviour,” Mrs Fate said.

“This is a well loved tourist attraction and I believe an essential part of Monmouth’s heritage which deserves to be preserved and protected as such.”

Mr Kerrigan said there had been “lots of protest” over the plan, and that he was grateful to everybody who had shown support since the proposals were outlined.

“Everything is up in the air at the moment,” he added.

“We did have self-employed work as well but that has been stopped due to Covid so we are looking for new jobs and a house.”

A National Trust spokeswoman said: “We have considered all of the feedback and suggestions received about the Kymin and we are discussing all aspects of the site management with the custodian and Monmouthshire team to find a future model that works and won’t leave the site vulnerable.

“We are also working with local partners, authorities and volunteers to create this sustainable new model.

“We are committed to keeping the pleasure grounds open, including the Naval Temple, and maintaining conservation standards at the special places we look after. We look forward to welcoming visitors back when we’re able to do so.

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