A chapter in the long history of Cardigan Castle closed last week with the death of the castle’s last private owner, Miss Barbara Wood.

Miss Wood, aged 91, died at Brondesbury Lodge nursing home last Monday evening. Her funeral will be held in the Chapel of Rest in Cardigan on Saturday.

Miss Wood and her mother moved to Castle Green House in the 1940s. They struggled to maintain the listed Regency House and grounds which quickly fell into disrepair.

A proud, independent woman, Miss Wood continued to live in the house after her mother died and entered into many lively disputes with the local authorities about the declining state of the castle famously telling Cardigan Borough Council to "go fry themselves" after they discussed compulsorily purchasing the site.

In 1984 Castle Green House was declared unfit for human habitation. Miss Wood refused the offer of a bungalow in Cardigan but agreed to the provision of a small caravan in the grounds. She became a recluse-like figure, cloistered with her numerous cats behind the crumbling castle walls. Her failing health led to her being moved to Brondesbury in 1996.

The castle lay empty and neglected for five more years until the Tivy-Side’s Castle in Crisis campaign started the wheels moving to bring the castle into public ownership.

Miss Wood finally sold the castle to Ceredigion County Council in 2003 for £500,000.

The castle recently got the green light for the first stage of a £4.8m Heritage Lottery Bid submitted by local building preservation trust Cadwgan.

"She is very much a part of the colourful history of Cardigan Castle," said Cadwgan chairman Jann Tucker.

"Miss Wood was the last private owner of the castle and Cadwgan is committed to restoring her former home into an asset for Cardigan."