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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
1m haunted house for sale
Sker House
Some 1.2m has been spent restoring Sker House
A 12th Century mansion known as one of the most haunted places in Wales is on sale for just under 1m.

Sker House in Porthcawl had fallen into a severe state of disrepair but a 14-year restoration programme has returned it to its former glory.

The grade one listed mansion has already attracted plenty of interest, despite a 950,000 price tag.

But as a condition of some of the funding, any buyer would have to be prepared to open up the house to the public by prior arrangement for 28 days per annum for the next 10 years.

Specially invited members of the public - including potential buyers - have been offered a chance to look around the newly-renovated building on Friday and Sunday.

Funded through grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies, the house, which has a fascinating history, has been rescued from ruin at a cost of 1.2m.

It was quite a frightening place because it is on such an isolated spot and was on the verge of collapse
Michael Davies, architect

The 800-year-old mansion was immortalised in the novel The Maid of Sker by Victorian author R D Blackmore, who also penned Lorna Doone.

It was based on the tale of Elizabeth Williams, who died of a broken heart after being locked in a room in the house by her father to prevent her from marrying her lover.

Sker House before the restoration (Pic courtesy of Davies Sutton Architecture)
The house was a ruin before the work began
Her spirit is said to haunt Sker, and so is the captain of a ship which was wrecked on Sker Point.

The house is known for its vivid and violent past. This included 16th Century carnage against Catholics, upon whose faith the house was founded.

Michael Davies, the architect responsible for designing the restoration plans, said he was thrilled with the final result.

"It has been my life for the past 14 years and I am very pleased with it," he said.

"It has been an excellent conservation project.

"When I first saw it was a ruin - it was so derelict.

It is a magnificent building and the restoration has been fantastic
Francesca Tanguy, Cooke and Arkwright

"It was quite a frightening place because it is on such an isolated spot and was on the verge of collapse, but it looks fantastic now," he added.

Old picture of Sker House
The mansion had been home to many people down the centuries
The last person to live in Sker, Gaina Morgan, who was born in the house and brought up there until 1977, when it became uninhabitable, is also pleased.

'Important landmark'

"I think it is great the house has been done up - it is really nice," she said.

"It doesn't look like how I remember it but it looks good and it is an important landmark," she said.

Francesca Tanguy, from agents Cooke and Arkwright who are managing the sale said that she didn't think the five-bed property, which boasts a great hall, would be on the market for long.

"It is a magnificent building and the restoration has been fantastic," she said.

"It could easily be a manageable family home or even a small hotel because of the potential with the outbuildings around it being converted," she said.

The money from the sale of the house would be used by the Buildings At Risk Trust to restore other properties.


SEE ALSO:
Ghosts 'all in the mind'
21 May 03  |  Science/Nature
'Haunted lane' opens to the public
12 Apr 03  |  Scotland
Haunted house to get makeover
10 Feb 03  |  Scotland


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