Our house is not very grand or posh but it is very, very old. We know from maps that it pre-dates the Napoleonic era and was probably built during the1700’s. It probably started off as a modest stone dwelling and has been added to over the years. We know the stones used for the original roof were re-used to build the top storey before the roof was rebuilt using clay tiles. The pigeonnier tower was added at a later date.
|Arched entrance to the old forge (now guest bedroom)|
The building was in a derelict state before restoration began in the 1980’s. The ground floor was used as a forge with a big open fireplace. We still have the giant bellows. All the living, cooking and sleeping areas were on the middle floor, with another large inglenook fireplace. The top floor was just an attic room used for storing tack.
A large barn still stands that once housed the horses and cattle. An open grange for carts and farm equipment now acts as covered parking for cars and a ping pong table. The old piggery completes the quadrangle.
|Surf boards stacked up behind the old cattle stalls in the barn|
Today it is a comfortable home. We have tried to retain as many rustic, original features as we could. Someone once said that the insensitive restoration of ancient buildings is like removing an old master from the Louvre, scrubbing the canvas clean and re-hanging the picture with a factory produced print in the original frame. But a house is for living in, it is not a museum piece. The rough stone internal walls remain. A wood burner has replaced the open fire, internal walls have been removed to give it an open plan feel, and the top floor has been converted to provide bedroom space. Our bathroom is in the pigeonnier. (The owls live in the attic above the bath.)
In winter it can feel a bit cold and draughty but during a hot summer the thick stone walls and cool terracotta floors provide welcome relief from the heat.