The English Manor House

by JL Beeken on 1-01-2011

After 12 hours of searching, I found the manor house. And for only one reason. I still don’t recognize the street names. The house had a name of its own although I’ve forgotten that, too.

I wouldn’t have recognized the property except for the retaining wall running up the side of the driveway.

English Manor House

As soon as I saw it I knew I was home.

The rest of it is altered beyond recognition. The house is not that house. The terraced gardens with wide rock steps and secret places to sit and places to hide are gone.

On one side of the garden were brick steps going down to a gate and the street. That land’s been excavated and leveled to make room for a large driveway. A garage has been built beneath the house, as well as a second house! (That’s the house viewed from the driveway; not the old house. No wonder I didn’t recognize it.) What’s left for garden are two small patches of green with a trampoline on one instead of a pond. (Seen in aerial view.)

There’s something terribly odd about the vertical stripes. They don’t fit and they weren’t there before.

Tall hedges and rock walls around the property have been replaced with brick posts and a rock facade. There are traffic lights on the corner that weren’t there 50 years ago. There are metallic railings around the curb to keep people from running into cars. The large house on the opposite corner has been replaced by a featureless apartment block.

If I look close I can see remnants of what was once a stately manor house with gardens befitting. I wonder if the stables are still there, alongside the house next door. Certainly there are no horses grazing on pasture land.

The old people are gone now; the end of an era of seances and men who wore white shirts and bow-ties in broad daylight. All vanished in the English fog.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Wendt 1-01-2011 at 5:58 PM

Very interesting search for the old house. I love finding the old houses or homesteads of my family and ancestors. I spent a week a couple years ago driving all around central Los Angeles, trying to find the houses at the addresses I had for my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Some were gone, some are there and recognizable and some are hard to figure out. The freeways have been built over some of the properties. I used Google’s street view, quite a bit, but it doesn’t necessarily get you to the exact spot you need to find. And sometimes the addresses and street names have changed. I think you can learn alot and have a “feel for their lives” when you see the old homes. Good work. Aloha, Donna Hague Wendt

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JL 1-01-2011 at 6:39 PM

Just the other day I was searching for a house in North Carolina. I found it by comparing Google’s street view with a photo that showed the unusual shape of the roof next door and the old windows that had since been replaced with smaller ones but still left the old framing clear to see.

My 80+ year old mother insisted it couldn’t be the house because when she lived there it was a duplex and now it had only one front door. That was pretty easy to get around since above the door was a row of small windows wider than the one door that would have fit perfectly over two doors. As she thought about it, it became clear that someone had since purchased the house and turned it into a single family dwelling. Regardless, the house next door had already proved the point.

Then we spent a few grueling hours looking at a house with a very distinctive chimney surrounded by 3 windows that perfectly matched photos taken on her Xteenth birthday. She insisted this could not be the house because it was a bungalow in 1940 and the road was in the wrong place. I drove up and down the street six times looking for another chimney like that.

Not to be defeated, the road was not a road, it was a driveway, (two cars parked side by side) and it was clear from aerial view that the original house had been built onto – front, back, other side and attic. In the meantime someone moved the driveway. It can happen!

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Yvonne 1-01-2011 at 7:30 PM

I love this story. Isn’t it peculiar how our brains work? We have a vision of a memory, and we can’t stop the search until we find it. I love that about genealogists…good private detectives!

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Jasia 1-04-2011 at 6:26 AM

It’s a lovely house!

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JL 1-04-2011 at 3:54 PM

It’s a stupendous house. Or was. The aerial view just about knocked me off my chair. The size of it dwarfs everything for miles. The “normal” house next door looks like a shed in comparison. I can’t believe they bull-dozed the garden and built another house in front of it. I guess that’s to match the vertical pseudo-Tudor stripes on the roof; another indication of questionable taste.

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