Explore the fascinating world of the Victorian judges at this award-winning historic house.

Museum Celebrates Welsh Government Support

Press Release

The Judge’s Lodging may have seemed a little quiet to outsiders of late. They have been busy planning their new future, as they move towards their charity, The Judge’s Lodging Trust, taking the building over entirely from Powys County Council, its current owners.  It has now received some exciting news to help it on its way – the Welsh Government has shown is support of this immersive award-winning Victorian museum through its new Transition Grant Programme, open to museums, libraries and archives across Wales.

MALD (Museums, Archives, Libraries Division) have chosen the Presteigne historic attraction as one of only four museums they are supporting over the next year in this new capital grant scheme. They are funding £120,000 towards a £146,000 capital project with three aims: Firstly, work will be done to stabilise the roof structure of this Grade 2-star building, with new lead-work, slate repairs and a repainting of its front facade, making the building watertight for the future and sprucing up its appearance to visitors and residents of the town alike. Then a new, enhanced shop and Tourist Information Point, creating a more welcoming and accessible space for everyone. Finally, a new audio system to replace the much-loved, but sadly no longer functioning, walkman system, used to run the popular character-based audio tour for visitors. Recent audience research has shown just how popular this tour is, with characters taken from the real history of the building, such as Mary the Maid, William Luggar the Housekeeper, PC Rogers and prisoner William Morgan, all overseen by Richard Lister Venables, Chairman of the Magistrates, portrayed by the late actor Robert Hardy. A decision has therefore been made to keep it, but provide new technology to access it, and a Welsh version to be worked on to compliment it.

At the helm is Chair, Diane Gwilt, Keeper – Collection Services, National Museum Wales, and Gaby Rivers, the museum’s Manager, who has been a driving force for the museum since it opened to the public in 1997. Says Gaby ‘With the museum reaching its 21st birthday this year, this is terribly exciting news. It really feels like we are starting to forge forwards in our quest to protect this wonderful building and provide an amazing experience for visits’. Joking about the building’s legal past she says ‘we really want to do the museum justice’!

Staff at The Judge’s Lodging cannot pretend that it is all plain sailing, as the local authority move away from supporting the museum, and they are working hard to raise funds to keep the building moving forwards. To this end, they have just opened up a pop-up Welsh Tearoom, with all locally sourced teas, coffees, soft drinks and cakes, all served in vintage china.

A summer trail for families ‘The Judge Wants His Dinner’ is running throughout the school holiday, where participants search for cunningly-hidden ingredients throughout the historic rooms and get themselves a certificate and a mouth-watering recipe sheet at the end.

The museum has an active volunteering programme, run by Volunteer Coordinator, Sue Knox, so if you fancy helping The Judge’s Lodging do pop by, find out more, sign up to be part of the team...or even buy yourself a nice cuppa!

And if you can’t get enough of The Judge’s Lodging, why not watch it this Friday  (August 3rd) on Weatherman Walking, 7.30pm BBC Wales, where you will see the popular Welsh weatherman Derek Brockway visiting the building and giving his verdict!



Forthcoming Events

Strange But True

  • list arrowWould you wee in your dining room?

    Victorian gentlemen did! Some dining rooms (like ours) had a special cupboard to house a chamber pot so all the gentlemen could go for a wee without leaving the table (once the ladies had left the room, of course!).


Historical Handy Hints