Sunday, 4 November 2018

This Old House

Today's post was prompted by a question from a recent visitor who was intrigued to know if our home had any stories to tell. 
When we purchased the house over 20 years ago the seller didn’t really have very much to tell us about it's past.
Over the years I've done the occasional internet search but have yet to find anything relating to the house. 
I did discover in the Rumsey Historical online map collection "The Carte de France 1750"which was published by four generations of the Cassini family from 1750 to 1815, it consists of 185 separate pages joined together to form a physical map measuring 39 feet by 38 feet. 
By zooming in and looking closely I found St Marcouf with a drawing of a church!
Carte de France St Marcouf.
All we really know is that it is a former Presbytere, it's origins date back to circa 1600 and through the ages a succession of priests from the Church of St Marcouf du Rochy have lived here.
The floor of one bedroom in the original part of the building has a handmade terracotta tile floor and we were told that the Bishop of Bayeux slept there whenever his travels brought him this way.
Whilst renovating that room we discovered the numbers "1787" chiselled into the stonework surround of the ancient doorway which leads to the newer 18th c part of the house.
We have over the years made some enquiries into the origins/history of the house and heard from one elderly lady who remembered that during WWII the village children were gathered together for safety and slept on makeshift beds in “la chambre ancient avec le sol en terre cuite ancienne" - the bedroom with the old terracotta floor. 
We've also been told that the house was occupied by Germans soldiers for a period of time and indeed it is well documented that during the weeks following D Day there was much fighting in the area as the Allies pushed inland, from the landing beaches, towards St Lo.
One mystery we have yet to solve is why there is an unmarked grave in the garden? We discovered the base and cross, overgrown with brambles and weeds, whilst clearing flower beds when we first moved here but no-one has been able to tell us who is buried there. One neighbour suggested we excavate the site but we decided to leave whoever is buried there to rest in peace.
Perhaps it was the final resting place of our resident ghost ? 
That's right, we believe that the house is haunted and know when he’s around because we can smell the smoke from his cigarette. Several visitors have been aware of his unseen presence but everyone agrees that he’s a friendly ghost. 
In 2011 I took part in a Room By Room meme that was great fun, click on the link below to see a little bit about how we brought love and life back to This Old House.
I so wish that walls could talk, I would love to hear it's stories.
Joining Angie @ Letting Go of the Bay Leaf
as she hosts Mosaic Monday
for the first time today.

16 comments:

  1. This is fascinating, Maggie. Oh, I'd love to see your fabulous house with all its history and the stories it could tell. It would make a wonderful inspiration for a novel, wouldn't it? I'm intrigued by its mysteries!

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  2. Maggie, this is just so fascinating. I love the history of your home, so much has gone on there and now you are there to protect it all. Thank you for this post it was so fun.

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  3. So much history and loving care. What a great old house!

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  4. What a great post Maggie; such a wonderful place to live .... I have wondered about the history of your home because of the name (I know the definition of presbytere only through reading wonderful novels -- and I agree with the commenter above that your home would make a fine setting for one!) I am sorry to have missed your final hosting of MM last week as I was temporarily away from blogging. Thank you again for doing such a great job for all this time. I'm so glad that Angie volunteered to follow your footsteps and I look forward to seeing your links there!!

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  5. Your house is beautiful, Maggie, and the history behind it makes it all the more interesting. Thanks again for hosting Mosaic Monday for so long and now enjoy your new earned freedom!

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  6. Your house is really charming in the middle of the French countryside! Now that you are a MM retired person, enjoy your freedom :))

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  7. Your house looks wonderful, Maggie, and what a lot of work you've put into it. I went back and read the post you linked to - you lived in a construction zone for a very long time.

    How interesting to find out a little about the history of your home - it's been around for a very long time.

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  8. Looks like an interesting place!

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  9. There would be lots of fascinating history in the old war zones of Europe. I can well believe you have the ghost of a soldier haunting your rooms. How sad that his family don't know where he lies. I am very glad to hear that Mosaic Monday will continue. Many thanks for hosting over the last few years.

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  10. Always interesting to search the history of one's abode, Maggie!

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  11. It's wonderful to find out some of the history of your house. And I love when an old building is given new life and the story continues! It's why I love historical novels that jump back in time and then to present day. I find it fascinating! Happy MM!

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  12. Fascinating story about your house---I love the history
    MB

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  13. Very very interesting home share. Thanks for the back link also.
    Happy Mosaic Monday Maggie

    Much🎶❤🎶love

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  14. Maggie - old houses have charm and ambiance, but as you aptly describe, it often takes a labor of love (and money) to restore them and/or keep them in mint condition. Thanks for sharing a little slice of your country life with MM today! (And thanks again for all the help getting me here!)

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  15. Hi Maggie! Your house is so lovely!

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  16. Hi Maggie, just making my way to visit and find that you are no longer our hostess for Mosaic Monday. My twin sister was in the hospital and I had to take care of her and just stopping by. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful posts and for your lovely works of kindness and encouragement on my blog. I hope that we will still be able to keep up with one another. God Bless you and yours~ Mary

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Thanks for stopping by, your visit just made my day!