AN HISTORIC building, which underwent a £1m facelift after 100 years of neglect, has been sold off to a mystery buyer.
Ince Manor and neighbouring Monastery Cottages in Marsh Lane, Ince, were due to go under the hammer at auction last week.
The event had been scheduled by Chester auctioneers and estate agents Denton Clark & Co to take place at Rowton Hall Hotel, on Wednesday.
But a spokeswoman for Denton Clark said: 'The manor was withdrawn from auction but sold immediately after.
'We cannot reveal who bought it or for how much, as this was a private treaty.'
The project to restore Ince Manor, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and other sources, was completed in June last year.
The building dates back to the 13th century, and belonged to the Abbey of St Werburgh in Chester.
It is said it was visited by King Edward I in 1277.
The manor lay unoccupied for much of the last century, despite being a Grade I listed ancient monument.
In the 1990s it was placed on English Heritage's at-risk register and bought from its dead owner's estate.
Cheshire County Council then handed it over to Chester Historic Buildings Preservation Trust which, with support from Chester Civic Trust, began the building's transformation in 2001.
Expert craftsmen repaired and reinforced the existing sandstone walls. Lost stone walls have been rebuilt and the window openings repaired.
There is a new roof in the hall and the Victorian barn has been overhauled. Internally, the buildings have been reconstructed as shells.
A new Welsh slate roof was built on Monastery Cottages, a two-storey buttressed sandstone building next to Ince Manor.
Chester City Council has said it is willing to consider a variety of uses for the property.
Surveyors at Denton Clark say Ince Manor is most suited to use as a retail outlet, leisure facility or offices.