The Judge's Lodging Trust

The Judge's Lodging Trust

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  • Museums / heritage

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The Judge's Lodging exists to interpret and preserve the history of Radnorshire's late-Georgian courthouse and associated Judge's Lodgings Hall, providing visitors with a portrayal of an authentic period courthouse and a working Victorian house. Designed by Shrewsbury architect Edward Haycock and constructed between 1826-29 to house the Radnorshire Assize Court and Judge's Lodging, its significance is recognised by its Grade II* listing, awarded in November 1950. The house retains many of its original furnishings; it was painstakingly restored (lit throughout with a combination of oil and gas lighting) and opened as a museum and visitor attraction in 1997. Through period rooms, exhibitions and events, the Victorian lodging and Courtroom provide an authentic 'hands-on exploration of law and order in 19th century society. The period rooms incorporate parts of the Presteigne Community Collection. This was gifted to The Judge's Lodgings when it opened, but has its origins in the former Presteigne & District Museum which was started in 1981 by local volunteers and was wound up in 1998.


An Accredited Museum, The Judge's Lodging attracts c. 5,000 visitors a year and plays an essential part in the economic prosperity of Presteigne being the town's principal visitor attraction. Originally substantially funded by Powys County Council, since 2016 the museum has been operated by The Judge's Lodging Trust. We currently employ one full-time and up to four seasonal part-time staff. The staff are supported by a team of volunteers who work across all aspects of the business.  

A visit to the building offers an unusual journey back in time. Taken back to 1870, visitors are able to make themselves at home, lie on the beds, or read the Judge's books. Below stairs there are kitchens where you can pump water, servants’ sleeping quarters and workrooms, and prisoners' cells. The self-directed audio tour, available in English and Welsh, ends in the courtroom and is included in the ticket price. The Judge's Lodging has won awards from Hudson's Heritage (2014 Best Hidden Gem), Interpret Britain, Good Guide to Britain, Best of British, TripAdvisor (Award of Excellence 2019) and, more recently, as a finalist in the ‘Best Day Out' category of the Welsh Hospitality Awards in 2018 and 2019, on the latter occasion receiving a ‘highly recommended' commendation. 

The museum operates a successful educational programme for schools with specific activities targeted at KS 1-3. Our ‘hands-on’ policy creates an interactive and dynamic environment in which daily life, and law and order in Victorian Britain can be explored. We have held a Sandford Award for Heritage Education for 21 years. 849 children visited on educational trips in 2019, before the impact of the pandemic curtailed school trips.  We also provide tailored tours for Further Education (FE) and leisure groups.   

The museum has an annual programme of community exhibitions and provides activities and trails for children throughout the year. The building is increasingly used for ‘non museum’ functions, including the installation of the High Sheriff of Powys, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, private functions, and filming.

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