Why “Family at Fishponds”? Well, the house is called Fishponds Cottage. It’s a complicated building with a long and chequered history. The estate agent’s description makes it sounds idyllic.
“Fishponds Cottage is situated on a country lane with equestrian facilities in beautiful grounds of 15 acres. This beamed 13 th century cottage has been substantially extended by the current owner over a number of years resulting in a combination of period features and modern family accommodation. To the rear the land gently slopes away with stunning views over the Stour Valley.”
The reality however was a little overwhelming when we walked through the door on that first day. Without the furniture hiding the multitude of sins, and with the time to look, I mean really look without the agent peering over our shoulders, Fishponds seemed like an enormous challenge, and for a few brief moments, I thought we’d made a huge mistake.
But despite the ancient curtains, filthy carpets and overwhelming smell of dog, the house had a good feel. It was a happy place, and the potential soon became clear again. We could sort this out and make a lovely home.
And it got me thinking.
I read a novel last summer by Kate Morton called “The Distant Hours”. It’s a gothic novel about family secrets, an old castle, mysterious deaths and madness. But there was one quote that really stuck in my mind;
“The ancient walls sing the distant hours.”
And it suddenly seems quite relevant. What secrets does Fishponds Cottage hold? Why was it built? Who lived here? What stories could these walls tell about the last 800 years?
I want to find out and am hoping to do some research to discover the answer to these questions. How and when is another matter.
My mum is doing some work with an organisation which tracks ancient buildings in Essex. Can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called. But I bet they would be able to help. Would you like me to ask for their details and put you in touch with their contact??
Hi Becky. That would be amazing – thank you. I think I’ve exhausted all the basic “google” searches and am at a bit of a dead end so any help would be much appreciated. x