Council looks at selling ‘haunted’ Llantwit Major Castle

Old Place is rumoured to be the home of the ghost of a Dutch sailor (Photo: Vale of Glamorgan Council)

A council is once again looking to sell a ‘haunted’ castle it owns which was previously withdrawn from auction in 2006.

A report by Vale of Glamorgan council has sought to outline planning restrictions on the 16th century ruin of Llantwit Major castle, also known as the Old Place.

The council passed a motion in 2005 and 2006 to sell the ruin, which is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain but a planned auction of the mansion was halted when Cadw, the organisation which overseas the protection of ancient monuments in Wales, stepped in and called for a detailed study of the building and site.

Now the council is again looking to sell the property and has been outlining guide planning information for prospective developers in conjunction with Cadw.

But it’s not a restoration project for the faint-hearted; the three-storey mansion is currently roofless, has no vehicle access and, according to local legend, is home to the ghost of a 17th century Dutch sailor.

See pictures of the Old Place mansion

The grade-II listed castle was built in 1596 by Griffith Williams of Candleston for his son-in-law Edmund Van but fell into disuse as a house some time in the 18th century before falling into ruin.

Old Place also lies within a conservation area as well as being listed but the council report has outlined the possibility of normal guidelines for conversion to residential us being waived for a single dwelling:

“The Council wishes to encourage repair and reuse of the building; dependent on the quality of proposals it may be prepared to consider relinquishing its normal stance relating to planning policy in terms of residential use. However, because of the difficulties of:

  • – obtaining vehicular access into the site,
  • – The need to protect the upstanding remains
  • – The limited area available for parking

“The Council considers that the building is only capable of a single residential occupancy, although secondary, subservient accommodation (e.g. relating to accommodation for elderly parents, office use/home working) or annexes could apply.

“Due to its location within a substandard highway layout it is considered that any vehicle access at this location is only suitable for a single residential property.”

The castle is protected by law and its owner would need to consult with Cadw before selling the building.

Rob Thomas, the Vale’s head of planning and transportation said: “The council is seeking to dispose of the premises as it is considered that this is the most beneficial way to ensure its long term retention and re-use.

“A brief has been prepared to guide potential purchasers as to what use the site can be put to.

“It is premature to consider the issue of price as this is a matter that will need to be considered once the site is marketed.”

The sale of the ruin will be discussed by the Vale council’s cabinet before any further decision about the property’s use is made.