We went to Staffordshire today, and happened to drive a bit off-satnav to see where we’d end up. The Squeeze spotted a garden centre and turned in, because he thought I might like to have a look there. It was Doveleys Garden Centre, just outside Rocester. (Hands up everyone who wants to add a “H” to that name!)
It also has a manor house, and you could walk the grounds, said the sign. Ach, a manor house. Can’t pass by something like that! As the building itself says, it was built in 1875, so it’s Victorian, and MAN is it gloomy! I couldn’t help but think of Borley Rectory, actually. Then again, a lot of Victorian buildings would probably make me think of Borley, seeing as how it’s a place I find particularly intriguing, and love to read about.
According to a sign in one of the windows, it’s being refurbished, so “no trespassing”. According to the Internets, it’s been under refurbishment since the summer of 2008, if not before. Such a shame that big ol’ house being there, looking all amazing (and haunted) and no one living there. Maybe the weather didn’t help. Overcast, chilly, November, not great.
Over the window on the right of the porch is a text in latin:
NISI DOMINUS CUSTODIERIT DOMUM
FRUSTRA VIGILAT QUI CUSTODIT EAM
It had to be googled. Means “Unless the Lord guard the house, in vain do they watch who guard it” which goes so well with the whole theme of DOOM AND GLOOM. If the house wasn’t so beautiful, it would probably give me the willies. Sounds perfect for some kind of haunted house type story! The house that God forgot … Has been empty for years, someone buys it to refurbish it, but so many things happen – as if it was cursed … Ahh, inspirational!
There is very little info to be had about the place. The only real info I’ve found has been from Rosie at a blog called Corners of my Mind, in the posts entitled The Old House and More about the ‘Old House’. Interesting reading!
We didn’t pick anything up from the garden centre – except for me taking a photo of a label on a shrub, as I’ve been wondering what a shrub I pruned earlier this year is, and found a baby one there, all labelled up. Japanese Spindle, brilliant. Now that I know what it is, I can actually make wands out of the twigs I saved! 🙂 (Yeah, I have a thing about knowing what woods I use. Trees are amazing! That “ugly tree” people speak of? I have never seen an ugly tree – they’re all beautiful to me. Aww.)
We popped to the restaurant bit, though, and had a coffee and some cake. Must say they do some lovely ones there. I had a piece of carrot cake with cinnamon icing. The cake was moist and dense and wasn’t spoiled by things like raisins or walnuts, hooray! Even though I’m not a fan of icing, I didn’t actually mind this one. It wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as it normally is, and the bit of cinnamon in there worked really well. The Squeeze enjoyed his lemon curd cake too.
So yeah. Now I just need to plonk some characters into a manor house that looks like that, and we’re rockin’. Just hope they actually do refurbish it and finish it – would love to see the inside. Provided it was open to the public, that is.
Here are all the photos I took: