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A Little about West Manse ....

West Manse was built  around 1844 as the home for the minister of the United Free Church which was established following the Disruption of 1843.  The photo above is thought to have been taken in 1865 and shows the West Manse in the foreground with the Free Kirk,  the church school and schoolmaster’s house behind it.  Whilst the church and school buildings are now ruinous, the Manse itself  looks remarkably unchanged. The house has a modest but interesting history that more than anything reflects the social and  religious changes of the last two centuries - more about that when you get here….

This slightly quirky house is large enough to give everyone the space they need, small enough to be cosy and has thick walls in all the right places to give amazing sound proofing.  We have spent the last two years renovating, modernising, decorating and landscaping - but have tried hard to maintain the original character.  We also try to be ‘Greenish’, so most of the household waste is recycled, we use energy saving bulbs wherever possible and all the heating and hot water are produced by Fritz - a 47Kw carbon neutral, wood pellet boiler.

The garden covers just over an acre and creeps into the adjacent wood.  The large pond is fed by a burn and was originally built to stock trout.  Today it attracts newts, frogs, damsel and dragonflies.  The birds are all you could wish for in a woodland garden; great, coal and blue tits; siskins, goldfinches, greater spotted woodpeckers, chaffinches and greenfinches all nest around the garden and the woods and are constantly on the bird feeders. Bats flit through the air during the summer evenings, foxes and deer are occasionally seen passing by, whilst badgers and pine martens live in the adjoining woodland and drop by for their peanut butter supper.  There are plenty of seating areas around the garden, a hammock under the trees to unwind in and a croquet set if you’re feeling aggressive!

... and Chris & Pete

We moved to West Manse in 2009 after living on Eday, one of the outer north isles of Orkney for 45 years between us.  In Orkney we farmed 200 acres with sheep and cattle, ran a cafe  and  B&B during the summer months and worked at the harbour where Pete was piermaster for many years.  When the children grew up and moved away,  we made the difficult decision to move back to mainland Britain.  However as soon as we saw  West Manse we were smitten - and the difficult decision was not that hard after all!

We are both quite practical people - very much jeans and comfortable shoes folk. Most of the work on our home we have done ourselves - which is why it seems to have taken so long!  We are both voracious readers and also share a keen interest in archaeology.   Pete, a civil engineer in his former life, is also interested in landscape archaeology, vernacular buildings and place-name etymology.  Chris has sewn and quilted  for over 30 years and loves cooking.  She ran her own small textile business for 20 years, designs the odd web site,  makes soap and is currently learning to make stained and leaded glass panels for some of the many doors here.  We would both like to make more time for walking - and for writing the books we have inside our heads!

We have one dog - Findlay is a rather cute 8 year old Border terrier X who lives solely for the attention and fuss of humans but also knows his place - he is not allowed in the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms or on sofas. He is however an opportunist - but we try to keep him in check!  

West Manse, Deskford, Cullen,  AB56 5YJ  Scotland

Tel 01542 842778