Friday, August 28, 2020

Now that we've made our work bags, we've begun to fashion the sewing notions to accompany it.  Our first project was to make a needlebook. We've also indulged in a pretty little origami craft to embellish our journals.   Here is a gallery of our efforts.

Shelli's Needlebook

Amanda's Needlebook

Jane's Needlebook

Pam's Needlebook

Anna's Needlebook

Nickalli's Needlebook

Barbara's Needlebook

Here are our Folded Bodice creations:

Jane's Folded bodices

Shelli's Folded Bodices

Linda's Folded Bodices

Pam's Folded Bodices

Anna's Folded Bodices

Here are our Handmade Buttons:

Pam's Buttons

Jane's Buttons:

Barbara's Buttons: 

Shelli's Buttons:

Anna's Buttons:

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Closer Look into Our Residents' Lives Part 4

           Jane Meryvale

We’ve been exploring the lives of some of the residents of Amberleigh these past few weeks. This week we shall expand a little and have a more in depth look at Miss Jane Meryvale, a particular friend of Lady Elizabeth Marlowe.

Jane Meryvale, a childhood friend of Lady Elizabeth, resides at No. 14 Gracious Street in Bexford with her mother, Mrs. Charis Meryvale. Wealthy in her own right with a sum of £12,000 per year, Jane is an intelligent young woman who is quite happy to follow her own pursuits which, much to her mother’s chagrin, do not include marriage.

The Bluestocking Society is dear to Miss Meryvale's heart. Revelling in the interaction with like-minded women, Jane often attends meetings and organises education for girls and young ladies so they may make more informed decisions about their futures. At present she is busy searching for a meeting place in Cheltenham that may be used so that local woman who cannot get to No. 16 Royal Crescent in Bath easily may meet locally to discuss Bluestocking topics. Miss Meryvale is proud to have partnered with Lady Caroline Farnsworth and Lady Elizabeth Marlowe in founding a new lending library in Bexford which shall open its doors anon and recently offered her expert advice to Dr. Woodforde of Inscombe who has been setting up a school on his estate Greenlea. Jane will ensure the girls on the estate shall be educated along with the boys by supplying the teacher, a Bluestocking colleague. Jane has compiled proper books, slates to write upon and other materials and often confounds Dr. Woodforde when they show up at the estate, causing him to wonder why he had not thought of providing these things.

Of course Jane’s mother, having met Dr. Woodforde, thinks him a perfect husband for her daughter, being educated, wealthy and a handsome young man. However, Jane has been quite frank in apologising for her mother’s matchmaking and informing Dr. Woodforde she does not intend to wed...ever.

Jane’s response to her mother constantly putting Dr. Woodforde in her path has been to pack up and go to Bath, but she cannot stay there forever. How will Jane convince her mother her Bluestocking pursuits fulfil all her needs leaving no room for matrimony? And how will Mrs. Meryvale contrive to overcome this obstacle?

Friday, August 14, 2020



THE HUNTSMAN - RESULTS of Amberleigh Garden Fete


My dear Ladies and Gentlemen of Amberleigh, 

It is with the greatest of pleasure that your own Master of Ceremonies, has the delightful task of relating to you all, Who came Where in the competition of our recent Garden Fete, in July. 

Our long listed selection was greatly supported from all walks of our fair village. Rest assured with such an attendance and participation in each category, I may safely say, and I am sure you will agree - our first "Annual Garden Fete".

 Thanking you very much indeed for your fine entries, so much diversity, the decision was hard come by, but thankfully, attained at last, along with the help of Old Mary's jug of elderflower cordial, Bless you my dear. 

Participation is more important than winning, so may I offer an congratulations to all who entered. May I say to those who missed out on an award this year, keep ones chin up and try again next year! And to those that did win a rosette, show a fine countenance dressed with a dash of grace, me thinks.

And now without further ado, let us view who succeeded as this years champion in each of our categories.  

Best Sewn Item:    Mrs. Leandrea Wallis' ribbon embroidered Letter B

Best loaf of Bread:  Mrs. Marianne Sedgeway's Challah Bread

Best decorated Bonnet: Miss. Jenny Wren

Best Poem:     Mr. Beckett Blackburn

Best Painted or Drawn Image:   Mrs. Hester Hardisty's Fruit Watercolour

Best Cake:   Mrs. Marianne Sedgeway's Strawberry Cheesecake

Best Pie:    Miss. Lavinia Rose Westcott's Rustic Pecan Pie

Cleverest Paper Creation is a two way tie between -

                              Mrs. Maria Medcalf's Garden Happiness Card 

                    &       Mrs. Matilda Cooper's Marbled Paper

Prettiest Pet: Mrs. Hester Hardisty's Cat Willie

Tallest Sunflower: Mrs. Phebe Knowles


We offer our congratulations to you all

 We applaud your efforts and take our hats off to you in celebration.

May we see you all in a twelvemonth at the second Annual Garden Fete!

Your devoted servant,

- Mr. Launcelot W. Penn esq.

 Master of Ceremonies Amberleigh

Friday, August 7, 2020

Featured Resident

 Leandrea Wallis  Written by Nickalli

By now you must have met our dear Leandrea Wallis. You’re sure to find her busy and fluttering about over at the Rose and Crown Inn and Pub. She’s the most charming type of girl. She’s not short but nor is she tall. She’s not thin, but nor is she curvy. She’s of average height and average build, a sturdy girl by sure. Her looks are also very pleasingly average with dark brown eyes and hair that is usually put up for practicality’s sake. But her eyes are often sparkling with mischief and she’s always got some project that she’s working on. She’s not fancy and not one for putting on airs, a good hard-working girl who loves a bit of laughter and fun.

She and her husband, Bryan Wallis, hail from Galloway, Scotland. They moved to Amberleigh a few years back when they heard that the Rose and Crown needed new proprietors. She runs the kitchens and inn and Bryan keeps mostly to the pub and stables. It’s such a lovely place to pass the time, whether just to stop in for an afternoon drink or if you’ve need of a meal and a bed. 

Besides the hard work that is required to keep the Inn running smoothly, Leandrea has several other skills and interests. She is especially talented with embroidery, her favorite being silk ribbon embroidery. She’s not so fair with practical sewing, however. She adores pretty penmanship and journals when time permits. She’s also an accomplished cook and baker and keeps the Inn’s guest and staff well-fed, but she’s an utter tragedy in the garden. Leandrea likes to pass the time in the evening reading and putting up preserves each season. She’s an admitted horrible gossip, but always gives people the benefit of doubt. Her tales of her past guests are always amusing and worth a stop in for afternoon tea and scones when you get a chance.

Leandrea Wallis, nee Bratten, was born in Galloway, Scotland. Her parents, Aibert and Wynfreda Bratten are the proprietors of House O’Hill on the edge of the Galloway forest. She was raised with her two older brothers, Tory and Paden and her younger sister, Katherine. All the children were expected to work hard at the Inn with their parents, learning every aspect of the business from the youngest age. It was a happy childhood, with constant adventures and interesting characters passing through. 

Her father, Aibert, saw the importance of an educated wife. His Wynfreda had such a knack for running the Inn but also of conversing on multiple subjects with the guest that came from all over. So he insisted that all of their children were tutored and educated as well. The girls were schooled right alongside the boys. And there were no chores to be found that could be divided up solely by gender, everyone pitched in where ever it was needed. They were a progressive family to be sure.

One evening a horrendous storm drove a local family to the House O’Hill Inn for shelter and a warm meal. The eldest son of the family was quite taken with young Leandrea and being unhappy with his own job prospects sought employment with Mr. Bratten. Well, Aibert was quite shrewd and able to see where this was headed. He’d caught his daughter’s own not so subtle looks at the boy. So he took the young lad under his employ and was determined to teach him as much about keeping an Inn as his own sons. And so Bryan Wallis began his apprenticeship as an Inn proprietor and the courtship between Bryan and Leandrea began. 

They were wed within the year as Leandrea was already in her 18th year when they met. They kept a residence near the Inn and both continued to be employed there, but were getting restless. A passing guest mentioned over dinner one night that he had just come from the lovely Rose and Crown in Amberleigh and that the gentleman was looking for someone to take over the proprietorship as he and his wife were getting on in years and with no kin of their own. After that, it was as if destiny had taken over. Bryan and Leandrea traveled to Amberleigh to meet with the couple and it was as if this was always meant to be. The transition was seamless and they’ve been here ever since. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Closer Look into Our Residents' Lives, Part 3

We’ve had a glance into the private lives of several of Amberleigh’s residents over the past few weeks. This week we conclude with part three which is Old Mary’s poignant story.

Earlier this year Old Mary was called to London to make her good-byes to her Aunt Olympia, sister to her dear Mama. Aunt Olympia was instrumental in helping a very young Mary to enter into medical school passing for a boy, so eager was she to be a doctor. Her father, a physician himself, would have been scandalized to know his daughter was dressing as a boy but at the same time would have been proud of her hard work and determination in being the best at all she studied. In everything, Mary was the son he had always wished for.

To say good-bye to Aunt Olympia, Aunt Olly as she was affectionately known, was also to say good-bye to the last link to her mother. All the medical training in the world cannot cure old age and so it was with most dear and tender feelings for this woman she said her last farewell.

For Mary, London was a place she thought she should never again return. She had not yet made peace with her former life, nor the loss that accompanied it. Oh, there are many tales of lost love, but perhaps this one differs from those. Old Mary has lived in Amberleigh so long, no one knows she was once the very lovely Miss Pearce or that she was betrothed to a man she adored. Young Mr. Denbigh was as besotted with Mary as she with him and begged her to marry and journey with him to India, where they would make their fortune. But Mary knew she would be a hindrance and that their life together would begin sooner if he went alone. So devoted to one another, the only thing they could give each other before he left was one innocent night of love. Letters to and from India were much delayed in travel, it being a six month journey by ship, and so there was a long silence between the two. After a time, Mary realized she was pregnant; not wanting to bring scandal to her family, Mary wrote to her dear friend Jerusha Penrhose of Wyndham House in Bexford.

Jerusha arranged for Mary to stay in a small cottage in Ead, a nearby village, for her confinement. All the while her family believed she was caring for her sick friend. Mary gave birth to a son, who was the greatest joy of her life; she delighted in being a mother and doted upon this most adored child. A letter arrived one day for Mary urging her to make haste in returning home for her mother was gravely ill. Once again, dear Jerusha had a plan to place the child in a foster home until such time as Mary could return. Jerusha had three children of her own and the addition of Mary’s son would cause talk, something they agreed was not wise so Mary reluctantly left her son in Jerusha’s capable hands and returned home.

Her mother was ill for quite some time but did finally make a recovery. This was a most happy occasion which was interrupted by a letter from India informing Mary that her best beloved had succumbed to malaria. The world stopped that day for Mary. All she had left now was her precious son. Jerusha had been keeping her informed of the baby’s progress but there had been no word for a time. Mary sent yet another letter to Jerusha only to have a reply from her husband informing Mary that Jerusha had been thrown from her horse and killed instantly. Their plans for Mary’s baby were their own and only Jerusha knew the name of the foster parents which left Mary with no means to find her son. Shock, grief and utter disbelief were all she had.

Mrs. Pearce fell ill once again and this time did not recover. It was then Mary made the decision to go to Bexford and try to find her son. Armed with no information and little help from Jerusha’s grief stricken husband who knew very little of his wife’s friends and acquaintances Mary settled at Thistledown Cottage in Amberleigh. Even if she could not be with her son, she could be near him in this small way while she searched.

After so many years, the memories of her own true love still reside in Old Mary’s heart as do those tender emotions for her infant son. How does Old Mary cope with such loss? Will she ever come to terms with life’s perfunctory assignations? Who among us knows what life has in store?   

Foraging with Old Mary

  Hello, My Dears, As you know, I like nothing better than to meander around the Ackley Wood, foraging for herbs and wild flowers to use i...