Restoring Thomas Grove
The farmhouse stopped being part of a working farm in the 1980s, when what had then become the Grove Farm land was incorporated with the neighbouring sheep farm. The farm outbuildings were sold, and the farmhouse became a private house with gardens and small barn, re-named Fellside, and run as a bed and breakfast and more recently a holiday let in the two parts that we have maintained.
Working with excellent local builders and craftsmen, we have removed some 20th century additions, added some new 21st century facilities and comforts, and recycled interesting existing fixtures and fittings wherever possible. We exposed beautiful layers of original limewash under the newer wallpaper and original 18th century oak floors under the bedroom carpets, rebuilt kitchens and bathrooms, sorted out the plumbing, wiring and central heating, and opened up fireplaces for wood burning stoves.
Materials and finishes throughout are full of evidence of the past lives of the farmhouse. The ground floor is a mix of remarkable black Brathay slate flagstones of unusual size and quality (possibly 16th or 17th century and salvaged, we think, from one of several local chapels that were demolished in the latter half of the 19th century) and pit sawn oak floorboards salvaged from a number of demolished buildings around the country and re-laid to match the oak floors in the upper rooms. Many of the walls, particularly in the bedrooms, are left with the original limewash finish that has a wonderfully rich, layered patina. The ceiling in the stair landing and front bedroom has been left unplastered to reveal the texture of the old rough timber joists and attic boarding.
In 2014, we got permission to rename the house Thomas Grove House to return to its historic name within the village.