Welcome to one of our new houses – the Old Rectory, Pyworthy, in Devon. It’s owned by Tony Langham and his wife, Plym Peters. Tony will be writing a few Blogs for us, on what it’s like to have a party house (all the secrets!) – here’s his introduction to his lovely rectory. Thank you, Tony.
My wife and I bought the Old Rectory, with its grounds and other buildings, thirty-four years ago. It’s in a beautiful location, no neighbours to disturb, in ten acres of ancient woodlands. We work as translators, and for most of the early years we translated, and also had language schools in the summer for foreign students learning English. When all of our children had grown up, we decided that we would use the buildings for family holiday lets. As time went on, this developed and we arranged parties, events and weddings. A few years ago we were voted no. 2 party venue by The Observer, and last year we hosted nine weddings, which were pretty special.
As there are several buildings, we are able to accommodate quite a lot of people (about 32). The Rectory itself is a very handsome building architecturally and it’s Grade II listed. The front part of it is Georgian (1832), but the back part is much older, dating back to the 13th century. We think that the other two main buildings, the Coach House and the former village hall, also date from 1832.(There’s a set of old photographs from the 1920s on our facebook page.)
It was a bit of luck getting the former village hall, because this is a big barn which we use for the wedding ceremonies, but it’s also got great acoustics and we’ve had lots of concerts in it, ranging from string quartets to loud rock bands. There’s also a stage, and we’ve put on quite a few plays, both semi-professional productions from touring companies, but also the plays that children have made up while they’ve stayed here. (We’ve also got a big dressing up box for that.)
Location-wise, we’re 20 minutes from the sea, so it’s very convenient for surfers. But it’s also great for walking. The Southwest Coastal Path is very beautiful, and Dartmoor’s not that far away. We’re right on the border with Cornwall, and it’s easy to get to picturesque places like Padstow and Port Isaac.
I think the best thing about having the Rectory is its versatility – it means we get all kinds of guests, adding their tiny part to the house’s history. For families, it’s a perfect place – the kind of house that makes memories. And there’s a great atmosphere for weddings and parties. Some families come back year after year; its great to share our love of the place with them.
Thirty four years is a long time to spend renovating a place, and the Old Rectory is more than a holiday house, it’s our home: we’re just sharing it with people who will appreciate it like we do.