A remarkable opportunity has come up to purchase one of the most important houses in Wales that has visited by the great and the good, including Edward Vll, Edward VIII and political heavyweights Sir Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin and William Gladstone.
Trawsgoed, which is also known as Crosswood Park, is Grade II* listed and was formerly the seat of the Earls of Lisburne and the centre of a 40,000 acre estate. Its gardens and grounds are considered valuable enough to be Grade II listed.
After centuries in private hands, Trawsgoed and its surrounding parkland was acquired by the government in 1947 and used as the headquarters of the Welsh Office Agricultural Department until 1996.
In the past 20 years, it has undergone partial renovation including the restoration of the roof and partial timber treatment.
It is now being sold in lots, although there would be a chance for an enterprising buyer to purchase most or all of them and create a single stunning dwelling that could be used as a private residence or for a commercial venture.
The present house has developed since the 17th century and was a seat of the Vaughan family, later to become Earls of Lisburne.
The site is actually much older and traditionally was a grange of Strata Florida Abbey, a former Cistercian abbey.
In the mid-19th century there were lavish improvements to the principal rooms, especially the stunning baroque library with ornate guilt and plastered dome ceiling. Commissioned in 1832, it is the best example of an Empire-style salon in the county.
In 1891 the house was greatly enlarged to the north including extensive service accommodation.
An undated estimate from around 1900 refers to a decorative scheme carried out by Maples & Co, one of the leading interior designers of the period, including further embellishment of the library.
It was leased to the Government just after the war, apparently in lieu of death duties. The fact it was occupied by the Welsh Agriculture Advisory Service reflected the fact that the estate had been pioneering farming methods since the early 19th century .
Trawsgoed is approached through gates with a white lodge cottage and up a long driveway bordered by limes, arriving at the front of the impressive front facade.
The early house to the south is three storeys high with nine bays to the front. A raised pediment contains a painted coat of arms.
There is a central Ionic porch with panelled double doors.
At the back of the house, the central five bays have wrought-iron balconies.
Despite being split up into offices and labs during its occupation by the agricultural service, it still has many fine interior features and the current owners have gone through a long process of restoring much of the rich architectural detail.
The entrance hall has a 19th century marbled chimneypiece with tiled fireplace and a corridor to the main rooms including the 18th century former drawing room and library.
The latter is the finest surviving room. It is expensively furnished and brightly painted and gilded in an Empire style, characteristic of Maples’ work.
The ceiling to the centre is gilded and festooned with a brass chandelier and a circular plaster border surrounded by painted anthemions and arabesques with heraldic panels to the corners and cornice painted with fleur-de-lys and putti. An Empire-style marbled chimneypiece bears a coat of arms to the centre.
To the east of the library is the earliest part of the house which includes a late 17th century dog-leg staircase.
The staircase in the 1891 part of the house is made up from reused parts of a stair brought from London but believed to have come from abroad. The flight and landing is well lit from above by a sizeable sky light.
One of the first floor rooms reuses a sub-medieval fireplace with carvings and unusual pilasters with trumpets and mermaids.
A first floor room overlooking the gardens is one that the Prince of Wales stayed in during the 1920s. The present owners have a letter from the Royal archives at Windsor Castle confirming his visit. The fireplace is commemoratively decorated with a painted Fleur de Lys.
The owners have painstakingly restored the state rooms. The work has been done by traditional craftsmen with over 80 tons of lime plaster used to date.
Many of the materials required to complete the renovations are already in place.
Permission has been granted to improve the mansion’s range of accommodation, including for an extension to be built suitable for an indoor swimming pool and garden room. Once it has been completed, Trawsgoed could become a high end destination hotel, wedding venue or conference centre.
Further parts of the Victorian wing of Trawsgoed which are currently converted into grand apartments are available by separate negotiation. These could be a potential source of income.
The 15 acres of gardens are impressive enough that they could be opened to the public.
There is a mature arboretum of specimen trees and in the spring the gardens are ablaze with colour from mature rhododendron, bluebells and azalea.
Beyond the formal garden and its grand fountain is a series of wooded walkways leading to hidden areas. The owners have created a secret romantic rhododendron maze. There is also a Japanese-style summer house and a hard tennis court.
Trawsgoed is located in the unspoilt Ystwyth Valley, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, between the Cambrian Mountains and the spectacular Ceredigion Coast with wooded valleys descending to hidden coves and wonderful beaches.
It has easy access to the red brick university town of Aberystwyth (8 miles) with the largest arts centre in Wales and a good range of shops and restaurants.
The area is particularly popular for holidaying with excellent walking, bird watching, fishing, shooting, golf, riding and sailing all available.
The lots are for sale from £164,950 to £525,000. For details contact the vendor on 07730 922935 or 07500 506070.