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The Judge's Lodging - Presteigne Powys
28 miles from Rhayader
Step into the 1870's at the award winning Judge's Lodging and discover the world of a most unusual household. Explore the 'upstairs, downstairs' life of the Victorian judges, their servants and of course, the felonious guests.
Set amongst the lovely unspoilt countryside of the Marches, the town of Presteigne will delight you. Its former prominence as the legal and administrative centre of Radnorshire (now central Powys) is echoed in the Judge's Lodging.
The building also houses the Tourist Information Centre, local history rooms and a permanent exhibition 'Neither Wales nor England' telling the history of the Radnor Borders region.
"No man ought to be in government of this land who does not spend three months of every year in country such as this" - George Bernard Shaw on Radnorshire.
Once called 'The most commodious and elegant apartments for a judge in all England and Wales' (Lord Chief Justice Campbell, 1855), decay beckoned Radnorshire's disused Shire Hall into obscurity. Now, aided by an interior hardly touched by time and original furnishings discarded in attics, extensive research and restoration has re-awakened this 'Victorian fossil' as The Judge's Lodging - a true revelation.
From the stunningly restored judge's apartments to the dingy servants' quarters below, you can wander through their gaslit world. Damp cells remind you of the building's true purpose, along with the vast courtroom where your imagination is captured by the echoing trial of William Morgan, local duck thief.
Visitors are accompanied by an eavesdropping audio tour of voices from the past; you will hear their tale, from Mary the hardworking maid, to Reverend Richard Lister Venables, Chairman of the Magistrates and employer of the famous diarist Francis Kilvert, portrayed by actor Robert Hardy.
An historic house, with a difference, our total 'hands-on' policy allows you to actually sit in the judge's chair, study his books, even pump water in the kitchen.
Within easy reach of Hereford, Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Mid Wales. Nearest railway station Knighton.
Open:- 1st March - 31st October, 10am - 6 pm (last admission March / April, 4pm); Closed 1st November - 28th February. Group bookings also available evenings and out of season.
We recommend you allow one and a half hours for your visit.
Facilities:- Tourist Information, gift shop, toilets, exhibitions, events hire. Look out for special events throughout the year.
Written guides are available in Welsh, French and German.
Disabled access regrettably to the ground floor only, with access via Harper's Lane (at the rear of the building).
Education:- Interactive 'Life Below Stairs' sessions available for Key Stages 1 & 2. Guides available for Key Stage 3 and other educational groups. Special topic sessions available throughout the year. Full education pack. Please ask staff for further details.
You do not have to take our word for it - in 1998 it received the 'Interpret Britain' award for its excellence of historical interpretation and The Good Guide to Britain 1999 hailed it as' Britain's Local Museum of the Year'.
The Judge's Lodging,
Broad Street, Presteigne, Powys, Mid Wales, LD8 2AD
Telephone:- +44 1544 260650 - Fax:- +44 1544 260652
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