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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Castle auction seeks foreign bids
Laugharne Castle
The castle ownership is in title only
Auctioneers are offering a west Wales castle with a difference for sale in the summer.

Despite it being a ruin, they are hoping Laugharne Castle will fetch up to 1m when it goes under the hammer.

The castle comes complete with a nine-bedroom Georgian house which is now being run as a bed and breakfast.

As well as having breathtaking views of the Taf estuary, it also has the cachet of being in the village made famous by poet Dylan Thomas.

But, according to estate agent Nicolas Rees, the castle. which opens to tourists during the summer, has none of the problems which traditionally accompany ownership.

Brown's Hotel
Browns Hotel was the favourite watering hole of Dylan Thomas
"The castle comes in title only - it's leased in perpetuity to Cadw, the Welsh heritage body, who are responsible for maintaining it.," said Mr Rees.

"We shall be marketing it everywhere - including the New York Times, because obviously there is a lot of interest in castle sales which are very rare indeed."

The 13th Century castle has been in the same Ravenscroft Starke family since 1740, but is now being sold to settle a family trust, said Mr Rees.

Its literary connections are not just with Dylan Thomas, who lived at the Boathouse, and drank at Browns Hotel, which is also going under the hammer later this month, and is understood to have attracted interest from James Bond star Pierce Brosnan.

Author Richard Hughes, who wrote A High Wind in Jamaica, penned his second novel while staying in the Castle House, while painter Augustus John was also a frequent visitor.

"It comes with a very large three-storey Grade 11* listed house with fine reception rooms."

Mr Rees, who last year auctioned Cardigan Castle for 500,000, said they were expecting bids of anywhere up to 1m for this latest sale.

The castle is being auctioned at 1400 BST on 12 June at the Royal Ivy Bush in Carmarthen.

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