The Welsh mansion that sold for £1

Only six days into 2017 and the year’s best property bargain may already be in the bag, as a Welsh mansion has sold for just £1.

First opened in 1829 as both a courtroom and an accommodation for judges, the building was home to such trials as local duck thief William Morgan.

At the time, the property cost around £7,000 to build. Since then, though, the mansion has grown in value and, remaining almost unchanged in 190 years, is today worth millions: the £7,000 would barely cover the cost of restoring one of its carpets, let alone the restoration of its two cells included in the building, furnished, naturally, with straw mattress and privy.

Nonetheless, Shire Hall, which sits in Presteigne, Pows, Mid Wales, has been sold for a minute fraction of that price: the whole thing has been bought for just £1.

The lucky new owner is not an investor or wealthy buyer planning to turn it into a luxury home, though: the building was sold by Powys county council to the Judge’s Lodging Trust charity. Transformed back to its mid-Victorian appearance, from the carefully sampled replica wallpaper to the yellow ochre exterior, it has already been used for 20 years as a museum that attracts 11,000 visitors a year, but the Trust aims to boost that figure by developing the property as a tourist attraction.

“The transfer to the trust will ensure the future of the museum in the long term,” a council spokesman told Wales Online.

Local businessman Tom Evans added: “It’s one of the finest buildings in mid Wales and it’s great news that it has its future secured. For £1 it must be the bargain of the century so far.”