An old county jail that now houses seven flats could be your next renovation project

A night in a jail cell or a stretch locked up at Her Majesty’s pleasure is not an experience that surely anyone would look forward to.

But maybe if the building in question is a slice of Welsh property history and an opportunity to secure ownership of seven homes, then the chance to explore this jail is an experience wrapped in excitement.

At the end of a quiet residential street the robust jail lurks behind a thick hedge and is, at first glance, not an obvious former clink.

From the outside the unique site is definitely visually arresting and tempts you to discover more.

On foot, you are greeted with a fancy stone gatehouse that includes distinctive carved detailing, although this is not part of the sale but the way to walk to the main jail behind.

The large jail then rises up to block the horizon and, although only a portion of what was once standing, is still an imposing structure.

There are cell bars still in place on some of the windows and the thick, almost ominous walls remind you that this was a place where people once approached with stomach-wrenching dread.

According to website British Listed Buildings the county jail was built between 1830-1832 at a cost of around £10,000, on land bought from Lord Powis in 1827.

The website states that the jail was designed to a standardised plan, in the shape of a cross, with the governor’s house at the centre, overlooking four prisoner wings.

There is said to have been a felons’ yard and a vagrants’ yard, with the walls measuring up to 20 feet high.

The jail had six wards, each with airing yards, in two of which was the treadmill and engine house to pump the water supply.

The site had an infirmary and chapel and an entrance lodge where it is said that executions took place on its roof.

In 1866 the new, fancy stone gatehouse was added to the site. This is a separate property and not included in the sale of the jail, but it is the unique way you walk to the prison behind – through the archway.

Large sections of the site have sadly not survived. The jail closed in 1878 and was sold to a local wine merchant for £1,450 who then demolished much of the site and sold the stone.

The site gained a Grade II listing from Cadw in 1982, amended in 2005, for ‘its special historic interest as the surviving portion of an earlier 19th century county gaol’.

Inside, some original features such as an old cell block wall, cantilevered stone staircase with iron balusters, moulded cornicing, multi-paned sash windows and some vaulted ceilings remain, although the windows still sporting their iron prison bars are arguably the best find.

The remains of the building were carved up into seven flats by a housing association, a mix of one and two bed units that are now ready for a schedule of renovation and an interior design refresh.

Sean Roper, of Newport based Paul Fosh Auctions who are selling the building, says: “The old jail, in the ancient border town of Montgomery (Trefaldwyn), Powys is a unique and quirky historic building.

“It will, I would think, appeal to a new owner looking for something that is completely out of the ordinary, different to anything else on the market.

“The jail is being sold by its private owner, and is steeped in history. It retains intriguing indications of its past use as a jail with, for example, the high walls of a former cell block of the former custodial centre forming part of the building.

“This sort of Grade II listed property in its wonderful location close to various areas of natural beauty, the Snowdonia national park is not far from the property, doesn’t come up very often so I’m confident it will create a great deal of interest.

“I would think that the property, right in the middle of Wales but close to the border with England about a mile away, could well appeal to someone from the Midlands, places like Birmingham or Coventry that sort of area, as the road connections to that area are very good.

“The new owner will most probably be keen to put their own stamp on this wonderful historic property.

“It could also be used as an unusual Airbnb property or with some investment renovated into a complex of luxury apartments as it’s in such an idyllic, breath-taking location close to Offa’s Dyke.

“It’s a bit of a blank canvas really.”

The picture that is painted from the property’s past is one of torment and despair and even death.

But the future for the jail will hopefully see it transformed into luxury homes where you’ll be happy to be locked up at night.

Subject to planning consent, the property could be a spectacular family home or a mix of a home and holiday let business.

The building is going under the hammer with Paul Fosh Auctions at a guide price of £210,000.

The auction will be online on the Paul Fosh website between Tuesday, December 7 and Thursday, December 9. Call the auction house on 01633 254044 or joint selling agent Hunters on 01597 825644 to find out more.


[from Wales Online]