You don’t really own an old house: you take care of it for the next generation.
That’s what Ron has done. And as we walked through the rooms of his home, I felt his deep connection to it.
“I ‘get’ the house,” he said. “And I also feel a connection with the family who lived here.”
“What’s the spirit of this home like?” I asked.
“The house is very nurturing. Not just for me, but also my friends who visit. It’s a very nurturing home.”
“But there were also tragedies”, I said. “Doesn’t that affect the house’s vibe?”
Ron replied: “Most old houses have seen tragedy. But this was also a very happy home. Over the years there were births, christenings, weddings, dinner parties, children playing, picnics on the lawns… And I feel that joy here.”
Acres of land surrounded the Farncomb family home. Fruit, berries and vegetables grew in their garden in the early to mid-1900’s.
I imagine summer days at Ebor House. Children sent to pick cherries and having fun doing it….
Adults picking raspberries a bit more intently….
A family member trying to teach the pet dog new tricks.
And I imagine wedding parties.
A newspaper story about a wedding at Ebor House in the 1890’s said:
“After the service, which was performed by the rector, the Rev. Canon Farncomb, the wedding party were entertained at a dejeuner given by the bride’s sister, Mrs. Alfred Farncomb, wife of Newcastle’s popular physician.
“… The bride was a picture in her traveling costume of broadcloth, the chapeau stitched and trimmed with grey wings and tie to match. The wedding presents were costly and numerous. A great deal of silver came from friends in England.
“Among the gifts was a massive loving cup, lined with gold, upon which was engraved the family crest, it being an heirloom for many generations; a solid silver teapot, tables, dessert and tea spoons, a silver soup tureen from Dr. and Mrs. Tom Farncomb (Trenton) , a handsome china dinner set from Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Farncomb (Newcastle).”
And another story about another Farncomb wedding:
“….There were vases of pink and white carnations and antirrhinum on the altar and the coloured rays of the afternoon sun streaming through the stained glass windows of nave and chancel made the scene one of entrancing loveliness. ….
…The bride, given in marriage by her uncle… wore a princess dress of white satin brocaded with lilies of the valley in velvet. She wore a long net veil and carried a bouquet of white lilies and carnations. She wore a gold locket, a gift of the groom….
A reception was held at Ebor House, ancestral home of the bride’s maternal forbears.”
Faith and family were important to the Farncombs. Church was a family-affair. Frederick and Jane’s son John was the rector at St. George’s, Alfred taught Sunday school, and Alfred’s wife Hannah was the church organist.
But no family is immune to tragedy. Despite all the success and influence, all the joyful family events, all the involvement with their church, the Farncombs also experienced heartbreaking sorrow.
Click here for Part 5: An event that tested even the strongest faith.
47 thoughts on “Joyful Times at Ebor House – Pt. 4 in the Ebor House series”
Love the house and the stories you’re telling! Hugs and blessings, N 🙂
Thank you, Natalie.
Your words are music to my ears.
That goes for me too. Can’t wait for the next blog in this series. Don’t keep us in suspense too long
Hah! I’ll do my best to hurry up. I’m so glad you like the series, Gail. thanks very much.
Old homes/estates… they’re a labor of love yet so many have been faithfully and beautifully renovated or restored. And the stories kept in tact and shared with future generations. Enjoyable series!
I am so glad that you’re enjoying the series. That feedback really matters to me because it’s the first time I’m writing a series like this, spread over such a short space of time.
It’s a lovely format! More, please.
Thank you, ma’am. Your wish is my command.
That first sentence really hit home with me. I grew up in this house and it’s true, we are taking care of it and keeping it for our children to hopefully build a second house on the land and live their days out here with their children. I am almost afraid to read the next part of the story as I can feel so much through your writing…but I will as it’s fascinating to learn about!
You’re astute, you are. You’ve picked up that I am trying to find the right words and the right way to speak about what comes next.Tough times.
But it is a positive and hopeful story in the end, so hang on to that thought, do!
I like what appears to be the old surface of the front door, and the driveway with grass growing up between the stones. Simple… Perhaps you will begin writing in installments like the Victorian novelists?
Me too, Aggie.
You bring up an interesting point: the Victorian serial story. They were very popular at one time. Writing in this way calls for a certain discipline – not sure I’m disciplined enough! Thanks for following the series, Aggie. It makes me happy to see that you and others are following.
One of the great tragedies of our modern times is the myth that tragedy is something apart from life, something that appears on the TV screen; something that happens to everyone else but us. This was not the experience of our ancestors. Tragedy was the silent presence at every family table. It was not celebrated but it was acknowledged. One of our notable houses in Christchurch was built on tragedy and its foundation remains strong. http://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/pears/
True, Gallivanta. Almost every family was touched by tragedy in older days. Didn’t make it any less painful, but it was such a regular occurrence.
The story of Jane, John and their family is very interesting and thank you for the link. Such fortitude.
and all this makes me wonder about the generations who lvied with such hardship and tragedy: did all that make them stronger than us today?
For some, it did make them stronger, I think. For some others, especially the mothers, I think they died early from broken hearts. And others carried on, dying little deaths as each year went by. http://helenlowe.info/blog/2013/09/03/tuesday-poem-ellens-vigil-by-lorna-staveley-anker/
“Dying little deaths as each year went by” is an apt description for so many. That poem is powerful. Such a skill: to distill so much into so few words.
It haunts me, especially just now as we remember our family members heading off to WW1, some to come home and some not.
Such a terrible time, that was.
And to think we’re still having wars today.
Sort of makes it even worse. 😦 Well, that’s enough from glum chum. I am off to bed. Cat has been fed. 😀
A lovely story about a beautiful house. We are only caretakers of our houses as we are of the bit of land we look after. My house is over 500 years old so I feel very much that I am just a temporary custodian. I love to try an imagine all the people who lived here before and what their lives were like.
500 years old! My goodness.I know there are many old houses in Britain, but even there 500 years old would be somewhat unusual – or would it?
I like your term: “temporary custodian”. It also puts us humans in our place quite nicely.
No, it’ s not very unusual, specially in this part of Suffolk, there are plenty of Tudor houses built when Henry viii was on the throne.
It makes me wonder how one sees the world differently – living in the presence of all that history. Here in southern Ontario, there are whole communities that are made up of heritage homes – going back to the 1700’s (Quebec has much older homes). But outside of those communities, very old homes are relatively unusual. So I always find the fact of British houses going back several hundred years to be quite remarkable.
Very enjoyable series of posts and so well researched. You are a true, talented journalist and story-teller.
Hi Clare: Don’t know about that last part (big smile) – but I gratefully accept the compliment!
The secretary of the Newcastle Historical society has been most helpful, as has Ron, of course!
I am so wrapped up in this story…loving it! Can’t wait for the next chapter!
Thanks for the encouragement, Rose. Glad you like it.
Interesting writing. As the story unfolds, I am reminded of the literature classics of the Bronte family. The pictures of the home have given us a glimpse of its former glory.
Well, with a compliment like that, my head could swell quite dangerously….
I’m glad you’re liking the series, and hanging in with Ron and the Farncombs and Ebor House.
🙂 I enjoy literature. Keep on writing.
Thanks for the support. I’ll keep at it.
Very beautiful home, love all the rooms and architecture and your stories too! 🙂
Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your reply. Wishing you a good day on the mountain.
I have to admit to not liking old houses b/c I seem to feel their energy–and it’s not always good. But the lines on that staircase? Gorgeous!
Some people don’t like old houses, for that reason, and also because of the traditional layouts that they find restricting.
I think one’s reaction to an old house is like viewing art: there’s what the artist brings to the picture, and what the beholder brings to the picture.
I think we bring our ghosts with us wherever we go.
Just keeps getting better and better. I am a little anxious about the tragedy you mentioned. Of course, most old homes have shared family sadness as well as joy. I personally believe the joy outweighs the sadness in a home. Just as long as there has been joy of course. I visited an old home once that seemed pure evil. Made the hair on my arms stand up just entering the place and going upstairs was a horrible experience. Not one I’d care to repeat. I’m truly looking forward to your continuing story, Cynthia. 🙂
This is great encouragement and I am grateful for it.
It’s great to know the history of a house. It makes for an interesting story.
Thank you! Glad to hear that you like it.
What a gorgeous home and some great stories too.
So kind of you to reply, Angie. Thank you.
Cynthia, you asked me to comment on 4 & 5. This sounds to me like a wonderful family, like all others, with wonderful memories and some awful tragedies. This is life. The threads that make up the tapestry of our lives is so interesting to me. You have done a wonderful job telling us of this colorful family.
Thanks, Levi, for taking the time to comment.
I felt exactly the same about being custodians for the next generation about our Lindum House in Nottinghamshire – named for the Latin name for nearby Lincoln. Now I’m off to the next instalment