Engrossingly fusing domestic history, memoir and art, Gavin Plumley’s A Home for All Seasons tells the fascinating story of a couple’s journey of discovering the full past of their ancient Herefordshire house.
Gavin Plumley considered himself a distinctly urban being until he met his rural husband, Alastair. Together, they bought Stepps House – a three-storey building in Pembridge, Herefordshire – on love at first sight. But then came the inevitable question from an insurance salesman: ‘How old is it?’ With ancient beams crossing the ceiling, the date they’d been given of 1800 seemed out by centuries.
As Gavin traced Stepps House through various hands and eras, he saw the picture of a past emerge that resonates powerfully with our present. A hybrid work of domestic history and European art, of memoir and landscape, A Home for All Seasons is both grand in its sweep and intimate in its account of life on the edge of England.
What starts out as a straightforward house history morphs into something else, a wide-ranging meditation on place and past, taking in climate change, rural depopulation, the Reformation and folklore . . . A gentle, reflective book. Plumley is at his best when describing the things he loves: his husband, his new home, its history. Adrian Tinniswood, Literary Review