The farmhouse was built around 1430 when Henry VI the ‘child king,’ was on the throne in England. We know there was a farm here in 1086 as Huntstile Farm is listed in the Domesday Book when it was farmed by a man known as ‘John the Usher’ …some people have suggested that this IS in fact our very own John, he just keeps on coming back! The house has been added to constantly over the centuries with extensions and renovations. Apart from the Victorian wing and recent necessary renovations, the house has been this way since the late 17th century.
We are reported to have our own lady ghost here, who is a young woman called Susanna – although neither John (who was born here and has lived here all his life) nor Lizzie have ever encountered her! She must be very nice as the whole house has a happy & lovely feel about it.
We have found an assortment of artefacts over the years including shoes, buttons, buckles, coins and a traveller’s diary from 1668, now in the Taunton museum. We also found a quill pen belonging to a Mr Danger, who farmed here in the1800’s. Mr Danger was quite an innovative farmer for his time and, funnily enough, we are now using a very similar organic farm rotation to the one that he implemented back then.
There are lots of interesting original features around the farm. We have the charming Seed Granary (pictured below – photo by Dave Gould) in the garden, which is a wooden store built for keeping the grain in, by perching it atop staddle stones to keep it out of reach from the mice. The original kitchen is now our sitting room & the fireplace (see below) would have housed the range, you can see where the knives were sharpened & on the right there are signs of the use of a dog wheel for turning the spit. The doorways are classically Tudor with their shallow arches and the original panelling in both the Panelled Room and the sitting room is Jacobean quarter-cut oak.
The oak panelling originally came to Huntstile already second-hand, it was bought here as part of one of the wives’ dowry, like winter insulation. There are four different friezes in the Panelled Room upstairs in hte farmhouse and all friezes match in the sitting room. The oak was quarter cut into the trunk to give the ‘flame’ effect in the grain.
We have a stone circle you can walk to up the track opposite the entrance to the farm. It lies at the top of the hill on the end of the Thickets woodland. The views across the surrounding countryside are truly stunning & it is a very peaceful, tranquil space. The stone circle is home-made (by us) from 600-year-old staddle stones & a large chunk of Mendip granite – not an ancient Celtic site, although it has been sanctified by the Druids & we have held hand-fasting ceremonies there. The stone circle lies approx ¾ km (15-20 minutes walk uphill) from the farmhouse . This is willow archway, positioned in the west of the circle and signifying the entrance for ceremonies.
The Seed Granary on the left here, photographed by Dave Gould, is thought to have been first built in the late 1500’s.