Penshurst – A Sea Captain’s Mansion Saved from Ruin

I have a soft spot for Penshurst, the historic house I’m going to share with you today – which was actually one of my very first home tours – in fact I visited it before I’d even clicked ‘publish’ on my first blog post! (Original post here).

When I was a teenager, after school my best friend and I used to walk down to the river, swim at Bicton Baths and then we’d walk home, sometimes taking a different route to look at the beautiful houses by the river. One day in 2000 we chanced upon this huge old Victorian house, which looked much like the below at the time.

It was a wreck then, but there was something about it, sitting proudly on the hill, older than any other house around it – it had a presence. I was enthralled.

ABOVE: Penshurst in 2000.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: A photo of the back of the house, before its renovations.

So were Tim and Frances Brien from the U.K, who first clapped eyes on Penshurst in 2001, a year after I first came across it. The Briens, who own a childcare centre, came across a newspaper ad with a drawing of what the house might have once looked like (see below).

But as they drew up to the house, they realised the drawing was not entirely accurate! Time had weathered the home so much it was a dilapidated ruin. But they were hooked – and they bought it.

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