“Oh my, I think I may have dug up an old cannon ball!” was the yell from my Mother to my Father. This happened quite often as a) my Mum is an avid gardener; and b) the house I grew up in was over 450 years old. It was a frightening revelation the other day, as I realized that since I was now over 50; the house I grew up in must also now be over 500 years old! I grew up in a little village called Kettlesing, North Yorkshire.
Our ‘hobby’ farm was called Staupes Farm, which apparently means ‘cows up to their knees in muck”. Fabulous area to be a child, and wonderful history not only in the stones of the farm, but also in the items that we kept digging up.
Relics included a cannon ball, and a beautiful old brass ball that the local historians decided could be an ancient French Boule.
Upon a little research, rumour has it that our farm could have been built from the stones of an old hunting lodge that belonged to John ‘o’ Gaunt… This chap was the 1st Duke of Lancaster 1340 -1399. My sister always used to say that he had an affair with one of King Henry VIII’s wives named Catherine; however he must have been quite old to do this as Henry VIII was born in 1491! It turns out that John ‘O’ Gaunt’s legitimate heirs included King Henry IV, V and VI! The Royal family today are also heirs.
Back to growing up… A couple of miles from our farm was a fairly good ruin in the middle of a field with sheep grazing. This according to the village gossip; had been John O Gaunt’s castle. Remains of the kitchen house, odd walls, what looked like the dungeon and an old wine cellar were great places to play. I think it was my sister’s 16th birthday and somebody had the brilliant idea of holding a celebration at midnight at the castle…. Now that was a fairly scary evening.
Hard to leave history like that, however, we are lucky on the Cape to go back a few hundred years. Currently I have a listing in West Dennis that was built sometime around 1785 by Major Obed Baxter. In 1830 it became a Methodist Meeting House and named Christian Hill. Descendants of Major Baxter lived in the house for over a century. The original root cellar in the old house is rumored to have been part of the Underground Railroad! In 1924 it became a lodge for $15 a week in the summer. In 1980 it became a Bed and Breakfast.
Built the year of my sister’s birth are 2 fabulous coastal style cottages in Brewster. North of 6a, with deeded association beach rights; they are perfect summer homes to create memories and your own fabulous history in.
How about building your own family castle? I have 2 superb parcels of land for sale in Brewster. Almost a half acre in the center of the village for $180k… fabulous location for village life, strolling to the beach.
And then a 1.5 acre parcel in West Brewster that has been in the same family for over 100 years! Now that is Cape Cod history.
Chatham… If you were a King or Queen these days looking for a perfect retreat, then you could choose 85 Watch Hill Way; set on a knoll with incredible 360 degree views of water, outer beach, town and all the local boating traffic. Large enough for multiple heirs, this home is built like a castle.