Converted courthouse goes up for sale

Still has original witness boxes


The huge living room

Those with a criminal past might find one house on the market in Norfolk a little uncomfortable: it was once a county court.

Built in 1850, the Old Courthouse in the town of Downham Market later became a magistrates' court but heard its last case in 1992.

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The Grade II listed Italianate building fell into disrepair, until its present owners bought it in 1998.

They've since restored it - and the next-door police house - into an elegant four-bedroom home
It's now on the market for £650,000 with agent Fine & Country.

The elegant garden

The most striking feature of the house is the enormous double-height reception room. This still contains the original witness boxes and journalist box, moved from their original location to create a balcony currently used as a study.

"It has drop-down desk tops within it which have been written on by numerous EDP and Lynn journalists over the years," say the owners.

"You can just imagine the boredom of someone who inscribed 'I was not born here, but I may die here' or 'Limbo must be like this'."

Other original features include panelling, cornices and ceiling roses.

The farmhouse kitchen

The house is entered via a dramatic octagonal hall, with a circular glazed cupola above. It still holds the benches used by people waiting to go into court.

There's a cosy sitting room and four bedrooms - two ensuite - as well as a family bathroom and ground floor shower room and a large kitchen with a range cooker.

View of the living room

Outside, the gardens are a particular feature, with a formal Italianate design, three small courtyards and parking for five cars.

"Looking back now it is easy to forget how much work was done," say the owners. "Converting and living in the Courthouse has been an adventure and it has certainly provided us with lots of wonderful memories."

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