Inspiration of the Week: centuries of history set in stone
This week we set sail across the Solent to visit Gotten Manor on the Isle of Wight. Currently for sale with Inigo, it’s an ancient farmhouse whose history can be felt in its very fabric
Life is, thankfully, rather different on the Isle of Wight to how it was in 1086, but one spot we know hasn’t changed all that much. Yes, it might have windows and central heating now – and some nice interior touches too – but Gotten Manor, currently on the market with Inigo, has existed in some shape or form on this sheltered site on the Isle of Wight since the Domesday Book. And while it’s infinitely more comfortable than when William the Conqueror’s surveyors came knocking, the house wears its heritage beautifully. You won’t find much retrofitted plasterboard in evidence here.
People say they wish walls could talk, but the truth is, they do. You just need to learn how to listen. Those of Gotten Manor are full of stories once you tune in. Throughout, bare stone – in the porch, above fireplaces, in bedrooms – and long and limber timber beams tell tales of the house’s roots, first as an early Jutish settlement and later as a Medieval farmstead. Broad lintels and time-trodden flagstones serve as tangible reminders of the building’s hardworking agricultural past. When history like this is on show so heroically and is framed so finely, it is hard not to engage.
One thing that makes this possible is the current owners’ sensitive management, restoration and decoration of such an enchanting home. We’re enamoured by the quiet calm of the limewashes used to luminous effect throughout the house, while subdued prints and natural-feeling fabrics in subtle hues lend texture without noise. We take our hats off to their responsive handling of its spaces, which allows for a new set of stories to unfold within its walls.
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