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.
At first site this grand gloomy looking building could make you feel that you have the wrong place. But once inside you couldn't be more wrong. I did the tour of the Judge's Lodging just as a normal visitor would. Despite its harsh look at criminal proceedings, and the people involved with handing out some very harsh sentences, I can quite honestly say I wanted to go round again and again and again. I was absolutely fascinated with it all and the electronic guided tour really helps paint how life would have been for both the people who judged many poor souls but also the poor souls themselves. This attraction is right up there onmy list off attractions I just cannot wait to go back to.