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 (although we would rather you did not use the commodes!).
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’.
From the stunningly restored judge’s apartments to the dingy servants’ quarters below you can explore their gaslit world. Damp cells remind you of the building’s true purpose, along with the vast courtroom where your imagination in captured by the echoing trial of William Morgan, local duck thief.
Visitors to the building are accompanied by an eavesdropping audiotour 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.