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The Judge's Lodging

         
Presteigne Powys Wales
Description : 

'One of the world's most appealing small museums'

Dr John Davies, historian. 


The Judge's Lodging

'Truly inspirational' is how HRH Prince of Wales described The Judge's Lodging on his visit last year to this stunningly restored Victorian courthouse. 2014 was also the year this fascinating museum won 'Britain's Best Hidden Gem' in the Hudson's Heritage Awards and Historic Royal Palaces Curator & historian, Lucy Worsley exclaimed 'WHAT a stunning place!' after filming for the BBC in the building.

You really do need to see for yourself what all the fuss is over this exceptional courthouse in the tiny Welsh border town of Presteigne. The Judge's Lodging has long had a reputation for liking the quirkier side of history, so a visit to the museum will treat you to all sorts of fascinating insights into Victorian living, from jelly-making and napkin folding to toilet habits and household maintenance hints. This award-winning historic judge's accommodation and court offers a most unusual journey back in time. Wander through the judge's private apartments and make yourself at home, for The Judge's Lodging an historic house with a difference – you can touch!

You can lie on the beds, read the judge's books and even pump water in the kitchen. Below stairs there is the full range of servants' rooms to explore, with kitchens, sleeping quarters and workrooms; a whole gaslit world to discover. The tour is finished by a trip to the vast echoing courtroom, where you are haunted by the echoes of trials long since concluded. You are guided through this Victorian world by an eavesdropping audiotour featuring the voice of actor Robert Hardy.

This year you will find a host of special events and exhibitions to add to your entertainment. Kicking off the season in the spring, you can explore the local farming community over the last century in Farming Memories of East Radnorshire. This exhibition combines wonderfully entertaining audio clips of farm workers talking of their lives, photos galore, farming implements and more. Find out about the piglet who needed a teddy bear, the labourers' hiring fairs, driving the sheep to markets and how a man's word was his bond, all from the voices of those who lived through them.

Throughout the summer, you will have a chance to see objects from throughout the county in Napoleon & Powys, an exhibition looking at the local effects of the Napoleonic Wars, on the 200th anniversary of the decisive Battle of Waterloo. There will be regular mini- exhibitions on the Great War, plus talks, activity trails and more. Look out for special events and news throughout the year on the website, or follow on facebook.com/TheJudgesLodging

The Judge's Lodging has also teamed up with the owner of Stapleton Castle, whose ruins occupy a commanding position over the town, to offer guided walks throughout the year. Tours last about an hour, taking in the 12th century castle site, ruins of the later house, the mill site and a stroll through the gardens. There is no general public access to the site and tours are only by prior arrangement, but bookings can easily be made by calling the owner on 01544 267327, preferably giving 24 hours notice. They will endeavour to suit your requirements. Your personal tours are £5 per person, with a minimum charge of £25. All proceeds from the tours will be donated equally to The Judge's Lodging and the National Garden Scheme.

If you want more information on the castle walks, the museum and any of its activities, visit the website or just call the staff who are always happy to chat.

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