Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
During WWII, thousands of England’s country houses
were requisitioned by the government or lent by their owners for use as barracks,
homes for evacuees, schools, hospitals, storage locations for artwork, military
headquarters and training facilities, and even prisoner-of-war camps. Unfortunately,
the occupation of these manors came at great sacrifice. A huge number of them
were significantly damaged by their wartime occupants, and more than one
thousand of these ancestral homes had to be demolished due to irreparable devastation.
I discovered the fate of these homes during my
research for A Doctor in the House, a
story about an American Army doctor who meets her match when she arrives in
England at an earl’s requisitioned home to set up a convalescent hospital. This
novelette will be part of a Christmas collection published by CelebrateLit
Publishing in Autumn 2017.
Hatfield House, located about fifteen miles north of
London in Hertfordshire, was one such country home that was used as a military
hospital, as it had been during WWI. A Jacobean house that was completed in
1611 by Robert Cecil, the first Earl of Salisbury, it was originally a royal palace
for James I. Because it was intended for the entertainment of the king and his
court, the ornate rooms and galleries were massive, perfect for use as dormitory-style
The country homes were also excellent locations to “heal
the soul” as well as the body, because of their ability to maintain most of
their architectural structure, interior décor, and manicured gardens. The tranquil
beauty of the house and landscaping was meant to play a large part in the
healing process, evidenced by a wonderful photo of nurses guiding their patients
through one of Hatfield House’s hedge mazes in John Martin Robinson’s book Requisitioned.
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
The manor was offered in both wars by the same owner,
James Gascoyne-Cecil, the Fourth Marquess of Salisbury. Seventy-eight years old
when WWII broke out in 1939, he was the prime minister’s oldest son and had a successful
political career in his own right. In use by the Royal Army Medical Corps from
September 2, 1939 through 1945, Hatfield House was only twenty minutes from
Kings Cross Station. In preparation, the furniture was removed from the main
rooms and stored, and the floors were covered with linoleum to protect the
wood. Paintings, tapestries, armor, and wall paneling were all left intact, no
doubt appreciated by the British soldiers and German POWs who were treated
A freelance writer for over ten years, Linda
Shenton Matchett is the author of several romance novellas available through Amazon. Her story “A Love Not Forgotten” is part of the Let Love Spring collection from CelebrateLit Publishing. Under Fire, the first book in her trilogy about WWII war correspondent/amateur
sleuth Ruth Brown will be released on July 25, 2017 by eLectio Publishing.
Visit Linda at www.LindaShentonMatchett.com.