The Houses That Inspired the Inheritance

December 11th, 2008

House interior

I think there’s a house at the heart of every family – whether it’s small or grand, a holiday home or a stately pile. I’ve met families whose houses dominate their lives, while to others, the family home is the ultimate sanctuary, however ordinary it might seem.

The houses in Faversham, where I live, have visible layers of history – you can almost hear the footsteps of those who lived here before. From Medieval times to the Georgian era, this was a prosperous market town and port, and there are lots of houses with Tudor, Medieval or Jacobean backs and smart Georgian fronts, added on by newly wealthy merchants. From the Industrial Revolution onwards, however, the wealth moved into the cities and up North, and Faversham missed out on the Victorian and Edwardian building spree around Britain.

Houses were added onto, rather than replaced, an outstanding example of which is Provender, which started as a hall house built for the Black Prince’s chief archer in 1342 and was then added to approximately every hundred years for seven centuries. Currently being restored by Princess Olga Romanoff, whose family home it has been for four generations, it is, along with other local houses, the inspiration for Lorenden, the family home in The Inheritance.

My own house has its layers too. Built in 1781, it was renovated in 1840 and 1920, when the widowed Kate Neame and her unmarried 19 year old daughter, Dorothy, changed two bedrooms into a double drawing room, needing more reception rooms and fewer bedrooms. Just after the 1914-18 War, they had obviously lost their men, like millions of other women, and clearly never expected to marry or re-marry. But maybe one of them did, because fifteen years later, the division was put up again between the two rooms, when the Finn family took the house and needed the bedrooms. I would love to hear more about what happened to Kate and Dorothy – if you know, email me.

VISIT THE HOUSES

If you love historic houses and want to see the houses Lorenden was based on, then visit Faversham on one of its Open House weekends in July (see www.faversham.org). We often have our own house open that weekend, so come and say hello. There are also some great walks round the countryside, with some good pubs to visit – you can find details on the website.

Princess Olga Romanoff also offers tours of Provender and its ongoing renovations for groups of 15 people or more at 10.00 a head. Write to Princess Olga Romanoff, Provender, Provender Lane, Norton, Nr Faversham, Kent ME13 OST.

4 Comments already, do join in...

  1. elizabeth farley Says:

    October 16th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I am just finishing The Inheritance and I have to say what a brilliant book this is – I stumbled upon it when looking for a specific book in the bookshop and liked the sound of it and I am not disappointed at all. It has held me throughout the story, sometimes even making me cry. I am going out to look for Sisters in Law and shall definately keep my eye open for anything else you write – keep up the good work I am thrilled to have found you.

  2. julie jones Says:

    December 31st, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I have just read Inheritance over the xmas hols and enjoyed it so much that I couldnt put it down. It was a fanastic story of families (mine’s a nightmare) and horses – which I love -also I thought that Savannah’s problems were dealt with beautifully and thoughtfully – although in real life problems aren’t always solved so easily! It was a brilliant book – as we have problems in our family I don’t think that I can bear to read Sisters in Law at this moment – hoping you will write further books!

  3. Deb Addison Says:

    January 19th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    What a book! Thank you so much! It was one of those rare finds where you are desperate to finish it but really don’t want it to end! I had read Sisters In Law and loved that book so much that I had to find out what other books you had written – I can honestly say both of your books are two of the best I have ever read – your characters are so well described they become so real in your head – can’t wait for the next one!!!

  4. Suzanna Day Says:

    February 11th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    What an enjoyable book. Thank you so much, haven’t read a book in a while, and to find one that was so gripping and pleasing in every way possible is so satisfying that I will continue reading. You wrote about so many delicate subjects, and all dealt with brilliantly. Can’t wait to read ‘Sisters in law’ – thank you again for such a good read!

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