A former castle known as “the Welsh Downton” has been bought by a local businessman.

The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, paid £1.5 million for Westbury Castle – better known as Talacre Abbey – at Gronant, near Prestatyn.

The property went under the hammer at an auction in the Intercontinental Hotel in London on the instructions of receivers Allsop LLP.

In 2013 the mansion, which has been converted into a wedding venue and apartments, was on the market for £5million.

A mansion was first built on the site in the 16th century and the current Gothic-style property was built in the 1820s, when it was part of the Mostyn estate.

It was occupied by the Mostyn family until 1920 when two baronets died in quick succession.

It then became a Benedictine abbey and nuns remained there until the end of the last century when it became a family home.

The sale included a 12-bedroom house, a wing containing nine apartments, four of which are occupied, a chapel and belltower.

The buildings surround an enclosed courtyard and the grounds extend to 3.6 acres.

The guide price was £1.5 - £2 million but Alastair Stewart of auctioneers Strutt and Parker said it was difficult to assess the level of interest in advance because it was such a unique property.

It is understood that there were three bidders interested in acquiring the property, and Mr Stewart said afterwards: “All I can say is that it was bought by a nearby owner.

“Considering it’s currently used for residential and holiday letting, I would’ve thought that will continue.”