Farewell to Knightstone

Hunt meet at Knightstone Manor in March 2009
One of the rare days, when the ground was covered in snow

After 23 years we are saying farewell to Knightstone. But a piece of our hearts and souls will always remain here. Eric has known no other home than Knightstone. And neither Jennifer, Mikee or I have ever lived for such a long time at the same home. It is full of memories. Of friends visiting us. Of the laughter of children. Of Chucky, our old Newfoundland, who loved the rare occasions of snow and is now buried on the grounds. I pray he will have some more snow covering him this coming winter.

It is full of history. Built in 1380 and the walls still carrying the memories of history going back 650 years. Here the Bishop of Exeter consecrated the chapel in 1381. And in the 16th century Knightstone belonged to the Grey family, but when Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days, was executed the property reverted for a short while to the Crown before it came into the possession of William Sherman, who modernised the property in the 1560s. Our fireplace still has his and his wife’s initials engraved together with the year, 1567.

But it has more than history. It lives today in today’s times. We built a new stable block and an annex in 2011 with a sedum roof and underfloor heating. In the breakfast room Jennifer has been tutoring both Mikee and Eric and in the kitchen nearby, Jennifer has presented more gourmet meals than many Michelin starred restaurants. It has welcomed our friends and given us an opportunity to meet and become part of the local community.

But everything has its time. Mikee is finishing university this coming spring, and Eric will next year be in sixth form at a boarding school in Wales. It is difficult to grasp, but Jennifer and I will for long periods be alone. We have decided to downsize. We have been looking hard and long for a new property. We thought we had found one, but the survey came out negatively, so we decided to wait a little. We have now found another, but until we have exchanged contract, we will not know for sure.

So we decided to move temporarily to the tiny apartment that we have got close to Eric’s school, so we wouldn’t disrupt Eric’s last year at Exeter School. Now the three of us will live there until Christmas, when hopefully we will be ready to move into a new house. But that is another and future story.

During this intermediary period, everything is quite chaotic and disorganised. My photo computers and hard drives are packed down, and I will not publish any photos on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t expect any new images until earliest February. I will close down my Instagram account, Knightstone Manor, but I will in due course publish again here on Facebook. During Christmas we will spend time with old friends in Oman (and in due course I will publish some photos from that event as well.

Below I publish on a post today and another tomorrow a few of our photos of Knightstone with our family and friends.

The entrance to the Manor with wildflowers planted at one side
Walking up the entrance between the yew hedges protecting the formal gardens
The ducks loved the stream – and we their company
The parkland has been used for all kinds of fun
The wild flower meadow was a field for cows and horses, when I bought Knightstone. We have reintroduced medieval trees and sown wild flowers to recreate the feeling of an old meadow, inspired by very old photographs of this part of Knightstone.
Our local friends came for a picnic, while a jazz orchestra entertained
Christmas Party in the drawing room
A magician entertained the children in the Great Hall
The Great Hall at Christmas time. The fireplace in the background was build by William Sherman in 1567, after the Grey family was executed. The Great Hall has always been the centre of the living in the Manor.
The Great Hall with a smaller Christmas Tree
The drawing room at Christmas time
Eric’s first ride (with Michael Moore at a hunt)
The hedges in the front garden
The park in snow. The path to the right brings you to the wildflower meadow and continues all the way to Ottery St Mary.

7 thoughts on “Farewell to Knightstone

  1. Such a beautiful property – I will miss visiting it vicariously through your stories and pictures.

    Yet I do understand, there is a time and and end for all things too.

    I wish you and your family all the best in all you do as you continue your adventures through this life.

      1. Thank you so much for all the lovely photographs and for sharing your beautiful home so generously.

        I will.never forget the
        Christmas carols at Knightstone which were so magical and I’m sure will be much missed by many.

  2. Jan-Eric, I hope you find the property you are looking for, and thanks for keeping Knightstone alive and vibrant. As the “Copleston” historian, I have kept a watchful eye on our ancestors once grand home and enjoyed your posts. I had intended to contact you to visit, so that I could get a closer look and a photo of the Coat of Arms above the door, but alas that ship sailed! Do you know who the new owner is, that I may contact? All the best in your new venture. Paul C.

    1. Dear Paul,

      Thank you. I am sure you can still visit. Knightstone has been welcoming friends for 650 years, and I am sure it will not stop now. It has been a wonderful place for our family.

      All the Best to you as well

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