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Joyful Times at Ebor House – Pt. 4 in the Ebor House series

You don’t really own an old house: you take care of it for the next generation.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Room over kitchen

That’s what Ron has done. And as we walked through the rooms of his home, I felt his deep connection to it.

Blog Photo - Ebor House curved staircase

Blog Photo - Ebor House Daughter's Bedroom

“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.

Blog Photo - Ebor House ron sits on table

“The house is very nurturing. Not just for me, but also my friends who visit. It’s a very nurturing home.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Ron pats Bebo

“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….

Blog Photo - Bond Head Kids cherry-picking at Newcstle

Adults picking raspberries a bit more intently….

Blog Photo - Bond Head people Raspberry picking

A family member trying to teach the pet dog new tricks.

check credit for this photo
B & W Photos from the Jack Gordon and Cecil Carveth collections, Newcastle Village and District Historical Society

And I imagine wedding parties.

A newspaper story about a wedding at Ebor House in the 1890’s said:

Blog Photo - Ebor House Front 2

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.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living room reverse

“… 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).”

Blog Photo - Ebor House dining Room4

And another story about another Farncomb wedding:

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Church Entrance

“….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.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance lookign to lawn 3

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.

A Good Home, Book launch

A Different Kind of Book Launch at St. Thomas’


Everyone who’s read my book knows about St. Thomas’ Anglican in Brooklin, Ontario – the tiny, old, white board-and-batten church with the fascinating history and the big heart.

Just how big a heart, our family found out in the years after the car accident that changed our lives. Soup, prayers,  encouragement – and a helping hand up the steps – are just some of the ways the people of this parish showed us their love and support.

And when the stories I’d been writing about “home” for 20+ years were turned into a book, that same little church (by now a bigger church) came out swinging on my behalf yet again.Book launch Cynthia reads - audience listens Yes, the good people at St. Thomas’ Anglican threw a fabulous launch for my book at an elegant event that drew nearly 80 people on the Saturday morning of a long weekend.

I was nervous! These are people who’ve helped me through some very rough times, and I didn’t want to embarrass them in what would be my first appearance since the release of the book.Book launch standing ovation

Was it rough in parts? Oh, yes. If you’ve read my book, you may already know why speaking in public scares me, and if you haven’t yet, I won’t spoil the book for you. But the St. Thomas’ audience couldn’t have been more supportive and responsive.Book launch Cynthia reads and smiles closeup

Parts of the book are very funny, and the audience howled with laughter, repeatedly.  When I said my faith gets shaky at times, no-one threw anything at me (smile) – in fact, some people nodded encouragingly. And when I broke down in tears, they quietly waited me out.  Then, the next morning, several people turned up in church with very red eyes – turned out they stayed awake all night reading the book. I  blurted: “I’m so sorry!” And then realized: what a compliment! Every author loves to hear that their readers “just couldn’t put down the book.”

My editor and publisher Don Bastion, of BPS Books had such kind words for me. He was patient and supportive throughout  the process; from manuscript to book.

Huge thanks go to Rev. Claire Wade, the event organizers and the entire congregation of St. Thomas’ for their great support. You’re remarkable people who live your faith through your actions, and I love you.

Book launch - stack of books

Book launch Don spekas and rev claire and CR look on

Book launch cynthia and rev claire

Book launch signing with Joanne and Tony