A woman who was locked in a legal battle with her ex-lover over a £1.7 million estate has been awarded £700,000 by the High Court.
Penelope Van Laethem spent 12 years and more than £100,000 of her money renovating 16th Century Caradoc Court with her ex-boyfriend Kim Brooker.
The couple bought the ruin, which had been destroyed by fire, but she never put her name on the deeds.
Mrs Van Laethem planned to spend the rest of her life with Mr Brooker in the Elizabethan house near Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire.
But two years ago her dreams lay in tatters after Mr Brooker met another woman and their relationship ended.
Since then, Mrs Van Laethem, now 63, has been fighting a legal battle in the High Court to get half her share of the mansion and 18 acres of grounds worth £1.15 million, and a development plot on the site valued at £550,000.
At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lawrence Collins ordered Mr Brooker to pay his ex-partner £420,000. She has already received £280,000 from Mr Brooker from the sale of a smaller house he had bought in her name.
He was also ordered to pay £90,000 towards Mrs Van Laethem's legal costs.
Yesterday, Mrs Van Laethem, who lives in a rented house in Minehead, Somerset, said: "It is reasonable judgment but if he sells the house he will get much more because it is valued at £1.7 million. I think he should have to leave the house, it's not fair."
Twice-divorced Mrs Van Laethem said she now had to move all her belongings out of Caradoc Court by August 6.
The mother-of-three said: "I loved that house and it was a part of my life and I thought I would die there.
"I will keep in touch with my friends in the village but they all thought I would get 50 per cent of the house."
Mrs Van Laethem, who was described by the judge as "plainly unsophisticated in finance, property dealings, and company matters," also said her plight should serve as a warning to anyone in a similar situation.
"I would advise women to be very cautious, do not believe anything and get everything written down in front of a solicitor. My name wasn't on the deeds, if it had been I would have got 50 per cent like a wife," she said.
"I had no idea that he was going to off and leave me, which he has, I have had to fight for what's mine." Mrs Van Laethem's Oxford-based solicitors said the case was a wake-up call for co-habiting couples.
Charles Graham, from Blake Lapthorn Linnell, said: "This case highlights the need for a clear law to deal with co-habitation and disputes, as there is for married couples who split up.
"This case relied on property law. Unless this is tackled, there is a danger of the Chancery Court in London, which deals mainly with commercial cases, being used as a 'Family Court for the unmarried'.
"It is also a stark reminder that unmarried couples need to better protect themselves by setting up co-habitation agreements, for example.
"Those who hope that a concept of 'common law' wife or husband will entitle them to an automatic share of joint belongings will be bitterly disappointed as there is no such thing."
Mr Brooker, now 48, continues to live at Caradoc Court with his American wife Anna and their son.
In a statement issued through Rickerbys Solicitors, he said: "I have been trying to resolve this matter for more than four years and I am delighted that it is now over. I can now enjoy the family home, that I have spent almost the past ten years restoring, with my wife and son."