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The house was built for two spinster cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter. It is a Grade I listed building as are the adjacent Point-In-View chapel, school and almshouses together with a manse which were also built by the cousins. The Parminter family, which could be traced back in North Devon as far back ashad acquired considerable wealth as merchants.
Jane was the daughter of Barnstaple wine merchant John Parminter who had a business in Lisbonwhere she was born in On her father's death inshe decided to embark on the Grand Tour accompanied by her invalid sister Elizabeth, her younger orphaned cousin, and a female friend from London. The two cousins became greatly attached to each other and in decided to set up home together in Devon. They negotiated the purchase of 15 acres 6. Once their house had been built they lived secluded and somewhat eccentric lives for many years until when Miss Jane died.
The house was completed in aboutand its de is supposedly based on the Basilica of San Vitale. It consisted of 20 rooms, the ground floor ones radiating out from a The lower ground floor housed a wine cellar, strong room and kitchen and an upper octagonal gallery housed an intricate hand-crafted frieze.
Between the main rooms were triangular-shaped closets with diamond shaped windows. Much of the internal decoration was produced by the two cousins, whose handicraft skills were excellent. The house also contained many of the objets d'artMarried ladies in Exmouth al shells, which the cousins brought back from their European Tour. The terms of Mary's will specified that the property could be inherited only by "unmarried kinswomen".
This condition held firm until in the house was transferred to the Reverend Oswald Reichel, a brother of one of the former occupants. These included the construction of a water tower and laundry room, the installation of a bathroom and central heatingthe construction of upstairs bedrooms with dormer windows, the fitting of first-floor windows, a heavy pulley dumb-waiter and speaking tubesthe replacement of the original thatch with roof tiles and the addition of an external catwalk.
Since taking ownership, conservation measures by The National Trust have included removal of all but one of the very large central heating radiators installed by Reichel, restoration of the wall coverings from a deep red to the original pale green and rigging of the delicate Shell Gallery on the uppermost storey of the house with a CCTV system to allow observation without risk of damage.
The original kitchen and strong room on the lower ground floor now function as a modern kitchen and tea-room. Family tradition maintains that the house was deed by Miss Jane herself. It is more likely, however, that the plans were drawn up by "a Mr. Lowder" mentioned by a 19th-century writer. Commander Lowder, however, had a son, also named John — who practised as a gentleman architect in Bath. Although only 17 years of age when A La Ronde was built, it is entirely feasible that the younger Lowder deed the house.
In he went on to de the unusual Bath and District National School demolisheda sided building with wedge-shaped classrooms. A La Ronde may reasonably be interpreted as an early prototype for the much larger later project. Although regular attendants at the Glenorchy Chapel in Exmouth, as the two ladies got older they found Married ladies in Exmouth al journey to worship increasingly difficult.
They therefore decided to commission a chapel on their own estate. Although Miss Jane died inand was buried beneath the chapel, the work continued and the buildings were completed later that year. Inside the chapel are the words "Some point in view — We all pursue". Surrounding the chapel was a small school for six girls and almshouses for four maiden ladies of at least 50 years of age.
There was also accommodation for a minister. The two ladies took a keen interest in the conversion of Jews to Christianity. The deeds for the almshouses expressly stated that any Jewess who had embraced Christianity would have preference over all others as a candidate for a place. The story of the oaks planted on the estate being protected by a will drawn up by the Parminter cousins stating that the oaks shall remain standing until Israel returns and is restored to the land of promise is, sadly, apocryphal but undoubtedly reflects the idea, common at the time, that the timber from the trees would be used to build the ships for the return to the promised land.
When Miss Mary died inshe too was buried beneath the chapel. Regular services are still held at the chapel and a Chaplain still lives in the Manse. Baptisms and weddings also remain part of the pattern of life at Point-in-View. There are also weekly classes based on old traditional art and craft techniques.
These classes contribute to 'Parminter Art' a living art museum situated in the Chapel. The school closed in The chapel is open most days and welcomes visitors. At one time, the Trustees met annually and received one guinea for their attendance, as laid down by the Parminters.
These days, the site is managed by the Trustees of the Mary Parminter Charity who meet a great deal more often and receive no payment! Listed Building — Grade I. National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 February Authority control. United States. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes file.
Download as PDF Printable version. Wikimedia Commons. SY National Trust. Location of A La Ronde in Devon. Wikimedia Commons has media related to A La Ronde.Married ladies in Exmouth al
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