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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Castle sold to mystery buyer
Laugharne Castle
The castle was being sold to settle a family trust
A west Wales castle with links to Dylan Thomas has been sold to a Welshman for an undisclosed sum.

Laugharne Castle, along with a nine-bedroom Georgian house, was put up for sale at an auction on Saturday.

It had been thought it might fetch in the region of 1m.

But when bids reached just 675,000 - below the reserve price - it was withdrawn by the vendors.

A spokeswoman from the auctioneers confirmed that a private sale was agreed later.

The buyer was not Neil Morrissey. The buyer isn't from Laugharne and he isn't famous, but he is a Welshman
Spokeswoman, Fred Rees Auctioneers

There had been speculation that TV star Neil Morrissey - who already owns a hotel and two pubs in Laugharne, including Browns Hotel where Dylan Thomas used to drink - was interested in the castle.

But a spokeswoman for Fred Rees Estate Agents confirmed that the Men Behaving Badly actor had not bought the property.

"The buyer was not Neil Morrissey. The buyer isn't from Laugharne and he isn't famous, but he is a Welshman," she said.

She said that a number of people had turned up to watch the auction which started at 1400 BST on Saturday.

"The property was withdrawn from the auction at 675,000 but has since been bought through a private sale," she said.

She said contracts had been signed within two hours of the auction taking place but refused to say how much the castle went for.

Literary connections

With breath-taking views of the Taf estuary, a guide price of 750,000 had been placed on the lot, which had attracted international interest.

The castle, which opens to tourists during the summer, has none of the problems which traditionally accompany ownership because it is maintained by Welsh heritage body, Cadw.

The 13th Century castle has been in the Ravenscroft Starke family since 1740, but was put up for sale to settle a family trust.

The building's literary connections are not just with Dylan Thomas, who lived at the nearby Boathouse.

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.

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