My family have roots in Devon, so in a way, it was a bit like coming home. My Grandmother grew up in India, but was originally from Devon, where her family had been farmers on the eastern slopes of Dartmoor. The house we moved to in 1976 was not a farm though, but rather, an Elizabethan manor house on the outskirts of Torbay, called Blagdon Manor.
As a bit of a nerdy child (although for that I make no apologies!), I had always been fascinated by history, the more ancient the better, and now I found myself surrounded by more history than I could ever have hoped for. And I was living right inside it!
This, of course, was all in the days before the internet, but I managed to do a bit of research and discovered that the building of Blagdon Manor had previously been called Blagdon Barton, and had its origins in the 1400's. The present building, dated 1567 (there is a date stone over the front entrance) had been built by George Kirkham. The Kirkhams had inherited the estate from Sir Robert le Deneis in the late 1200's and held it until the 1630's when Sir William Kirkham died, and the manor and estate passed by marriage to the Blounts of Ugbrooke House.
I had moved to this amazing place at the age of 12, from a small house in a London suburb. What an adventure! You can imagine the effect such a change would have on me.
There was a great hall and a minstrel gallery, huge fireplaces and plenty of land to run riot in. And of course there were the obligatory ghosts (one apparently of a murdered maid, although I suspect all old manors have one of these don't they?)
The Great Hall
Rather than being frightened by the prospect of living in a haunted house, I relished it and a fascination with all things other-worldly developed...
The minstrel gallery
But that's another story.
Even now, over 30 years later I live in an old haunted house. A bit more modest maybe, just a little thatched cottage in west Devon built around 1650. But of course, once again full of history!