A FEISTY grandmother staged a three day sit-in at a troubled Grade I-listed mansion near Bridgwater to fend off bank bailiffs.

Stubborn Stella Bond, 78, refused to let security staff take control of the £3million Halswell House at Goathurst, which is owned by her son Grahame.

Mrs Bond occupied the popular wedding venue’s wood-panelled library and insisted she would only budge if Citi Private Banking provided evidence that it had the legal right to take possession.

The bank eventually withdrew its officials – giving property tycoon Mr Bond more time to negotiate with the banks.

Stella said: “I would have left the house if I had been shown paperwork which proved that they had the right to take possession but there was none and that is not right. “It was very difficult but I had to do it.

I stayed in the library for three days while the security remained in the hallway.” Mr Bond bought the mansion for almost £2million in 2004 and spent £800,000 restoring it as an upmarket wedding venue but the business ran into financial difficulties and insolvency specialists Moorfields have appointed Robert Rick and Simon Thomas as joint fixed charge receivers.

The 17-bedroom property is temporarily closed as a wedding venue.

The spectacle earlier this month began when an official arrived at the property and as Mr Bond wasn't home he was greeted by Mrs Bond, who lives in a converted stable block on the estate.

Mr Bond said: “She was part of the company in the 1990s and only retired five years ago. You try to keep financial difficulties from your mother but she said ‘no’, she wants to be involved and she has found this quiet strength to absolutely take my case. “We have had some real difficulties but Halswell is only closed temporarily.”

Citi Private Banking declined to comment on the incident.