RESEARCH: Once Upon a Time Part 5

I’m glad you’re here for our tour of the grounds and outbuildings near the mansion.

My family and I had picnics near this round pond, which was part of a priory in the 17th century. I heard many local tales about an 18th century woman who saved a child from drowning in the pond. Later the woman was convicted of crimes and transported to Australia. Hmm! I wonder why I was already interested in rule breakers when I was a child.

© 2009 Paranoid from Suffolk

This 17th century ice house is near the round pond. It was built from brick and covered with an earth mound. The interior is about 30 feet deep. Whenever the pond froze, workers would cut blocks of ice and pack them into the vaulted space between layers of straw. Even in the hottest weather, the melted snow cooled the wine and kept the food fresh. How are we supposed to get a better look when the entrance is locked?

I enjoy coming here on a weekday, because the park is not crowded. The place is my kingdom. Sorry, it’s the princess in me.

I should have warned you. This park, which is located in the middle of a neighborhood near the center of town, is about 83 acres or 33 Hectares. It’s not the 100 acre woods of Christopher Robin, but you can get lost. That’s not good, because it gets dark early in this part of the world and the gates are locked in the evening. Thank goodness the hero of my next manuscript knows how to pick a lock.

It’s a sunny October morning, not night, in this photo. We’re deep in the Wildlife Reserve. I played in the thick brambles and pretended I was Maid Marian hiding with Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.

Unfortunately this area is no longer home to spotted deer; but over 100 species of birds, plants, and animals can be found here now. Oh yes, and an occasional princess.

I’m sorry this photo is dark. I still don’t know the history of the small cottage near the center of the photo. Maybe the caretaker lived here. Wouldn’t it be a fantastic place for a historical romance author / princess to live and write humorous novels about heroes and heroines who circumvent the laws and rules of Society in Victorian England? If only I knew someone like that. And had the key.

It would take several days to explore everything. There are several outbuildings, tennis courts, a croquet lawn, and a bowling green in the park. This building is an art gallery, which was added to the rear of the mansion. You might want to view the paintings by two of my favorite British landscape painters, Thomas Gainesborough and John Constable.

Thanks for joining me. This visit is the last part of the Once Upon a Time series. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the places, which inspired my passions for writing, research, and England. In the future, the majority of posts in this category will include research directly related to my current manuscript(s).

© 2012 All rights to change my mind are reserved.


  1. Hi Jillian,
    I love the photos! I look forward to learning more as you research. I find researching is my favorite part of writing historical fiction.


    • Hi, Haley!

      Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad you loved the photos. I love researching, too, and have to set limits by using a timer. When the alarm goes off, my dust bunnies are almost as annoyed as I am.


  2. A great finale! Loved all the pictures.

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