The Judge’s Lodging, Presteigne

The Judge’s Lodging, Presteigne
Broad Street, Presteigne, Powys
01544 260650
Region or country

The Judge's Lodgings in Presteigne is an 1820s grade 2* listed building. Step back to the 1870s to see how the world looked to the Victorian judges, their servants and felonious guests (oh yes, we do mean prisoners!). Lit only by oil and gas lamps, visitors can wander through the judge’s private apartments, sit in his armchair or at his dining table. Below stairs you can pump water in the kitchen or explore the servants’ sleeping quarters and workrooms.

The murder in Rhayader of one judge in the 1530s was to change the life of the tiny border town of Presteigne forever. Rhayader, chosen as the venue for the Court of King’s Great Sessions, was obviously not a safe enough place for eminent men to stay and in 1542 Presteigne was chosen as an alternative. Its life as the legal seat of Radnorshire was set for more than 400 years and with it the development of Presteigne into Radnorshire’s county town.

By the early 1800s Presteigne was thriving in its legal and administrative role for the county. Not only did it host the Great Sessions (called Assizes after 1830) but also the Quarter sessions, where the Magistrates met to try minor offences and carry out their administrative duties (rather like a County Council does today).

In 1825 the magistrates advertised in the local press for tenders to build a new Shire Hall, Court of Justice and Judge’s Lodging on the site of the old gaol and in 1826 Edward Haycock, an eminent architect from Shrewsbury, was chosen to carry out the work. It was not until 1829 that the lodging rooms themselves were furnished and the building declared finished

What can be found at the venue?
Collection of artifacts, Historic building or site
Significant collections relating to regional crime and punishment organisation or to a particular individual
The Judge's lodgings contains: the judges’ apartments, service areas, courtroom and two sets of holding cells (1826 & 1901). Former court offices on site are now community exhibition areas and work spaces for staff and volunteers.
Does the venue have an online collections catalogue?
Details of opening for public access and / or research services
Opening days and times can be found on their website.

Adults: £8.95; Children: £4.95; Concessions (OAP, Student, Benefits, NHS): £7.95; Family (2+3): £23.00; registered disabled: £Free
Available services or facilities
Shop, Toilets
Accessibility and disability arrangements / Covid requirements
The front of the building has two short sets of gently-rising stone steps – both have handrails. Alternative entry is via Harper’s Lane, at the rear of the building where a lift in our garden will raise you to ground floor level. If you wish to use the lift for admission, please go just past out front door to Ave Maria Lane. At the end of this short alley, turn right and you will see our garden gate with a ‘Disabled Access’ sign – it’s not locked, so just come in and use our lift. Alternatively, you may be able to find a space to park in the Harper’s Lane itself.

If you would like any help from the staff, please just ask and if you are visiting alone, you are welcome to call us beforehand so we can make sure we are available show you the way.

The period rooms of the building are on three floors. For visitors with restricted mobility, access is regrettably to the ground floor only. Here you will be able to visit the displays on the local area, the police and court collection, the huge courtroom itself and the Judge’s dining and drawing rooms.

Disabled parking: There are several disabled parking places around the town. The closest is at the top of Broad Street, approximately 50 yards from the front entrance.
Date information added or updated:
Entry ID No: