A Grade II-listed building on Stevenage High Street which was once home to NatWest’s Old Town branch will be sold at auction next month.

The Comet: Henry Trigg's coffinHenry Trigg's coffin (Image: Archant)

Auctioneers Lambert Smith Hampton have the property listed for an auction in London’s Piccadilly with a guide price of £175,000.

NatWest closed the branch in October last year after a slump in footfall. Branch transactions had fallen by more than a third since 2010 as customers migrated to online and mobile transactions.

The two-storey Tudor-style period building, which includes a self-contained flat upstairs, is advertised as suiting an investor or developer.

The sale includes a car park for about six cars and an outbuilding known as Trigg’s Barn.

The Comet: NatWest branch in Stevenage Old Town is going up for auction next monthNatWest branch in Stevenage Old Town is going up for auction next month (Image: Archant)

Henry Trigg, a wealthy grocer, lived in Stevenage in the early 18th century and was a warden at St Nicholas Church.

Legend has it that one night he disturbed body snatchers in the graveyard. It prompted Henry to leave all his wealth to his brother, the Rev Thomas Trigg, on the condition he kept his body protected in the roof of his home.

True to his word, following Henry’s death in 1724 his brother placed his sealed coffin on full view in the rafters of the barn.

The building later became a pub – the Old Castle Inn – but the coffin remained in place.

In 1999, when NatWest took on the building, the bank demanded the removal of Henry’s bones, but the empty coffin remained in place and a blue plaque has been erected to commemorate the story.

A former NatWest worker said: “I hope the building is put to good use and Henry isn’t too upset.”

The former Barclays bank site on the opposite side of the High Street closed in 2010, with Lloyds the only bank still in operation in Stevenage Old Town – although it’s not open every day of the week.

The Bank Lounge Bar opened in place of Barclays in December 2012 but has since closed. Despite attempts to contact the current owner, it is not known what the future holds for the building.