Castle Lodge has been on the market for a number of years and now a campaign group has launched an appeal to raise £500,000 to buy the property and ensure it remains available to history buffs and the people of the town.
It is famous for being the residence of Catherine while she was married to Prince Arthur – Henry VIII’s brother who died of TB. She later went on to marry Henry VIII becoming the first of his six wives.
It has been owned by an elderly gentleman since the 1980s but he is now struggling with its upkeep and, since his wife died, lives in one room of the Tudor mansion.
The National Heritage Club has stepped into the breach and hopes to raise the money to allow it to keep the 24-roomed house for the future.
Nick Warburton, operations director from the club said: “It is an iconic building. It attracts a huge amount of attention and it is wonderful.”
The property has one of the largest collections of oak panelling in England and parts date from the early 13th century. It was rebuilt in 1580.
In Tudor times it was the home of Elizabeth I’s Master of Requests and was once used as a prison.
Mr Warburton said: “I have lived in Ludlow since the 1980s and the club wants to ensure it remains not only for the people of the town but also for those from further afield and overseas.
“I met with a house owner, who is in a difficult situation. It is a house I know well and have seen for most of my life. To be asked to come up with a solution was an opportunity that I could not refuse as I felt sure I could create the right outcome. Our fears are that it will be claimed by the Crown due to the current owner’s situation or grabbed by a mortgage company. This can not be allowed to happen.
“Once purchased and with a little work, we can then let people enjoy the beautiful rooms and history.
“We need to raise funds of £500,000 or more and start phase one of our plan as soon as possible.
“This involves the purchase of the property from the elderly owner for £400,000, making necessary repairs to the roof to ensure the timber structure is safe from water damage, and the winter and preserve the timbers for the future. This will cost £10,000.We want to ensure that the property is safe from any fire risks through installation of extinguishers and start a marketing strategy and fund our perks for the donors, so that the property can be enjoyed by visitors to the house.”
“Myself and my associates within the team have such passion for these houses as well as having all the right experience to ensure repairs are done correctly. We can then operate The Lodge as a successful business. We have spoken with local authorities who love our vision in taking care of this listed building and they are very much in support of us, even expressing their want of us specifically owning and operating it.”