Three old houses that inspired the settings and parts of the plot of Treacle Moon: House No.1 is Chastleton House

I have to be quite careful with this, in that I do not want to giveaway any spoilers as Treacle Moon is not out yet. But I want to share some of the houses that inspired me to think about the lifestyle of one of the characters. I shall not say which character, because that may giveaway a plot line 😀 .

Having heard about the houses, though, you will be able to spot the connections to reality when you read the book.

The first house that began firing my imagination is Chastleton House . Chastleton House is situated in a very quiet, tiny, sleepy little village nestled amongst the Cotswolds hills and it has a rare and particular charm.

The National Trust only took over ownership in 1991, and when they took over the management of the property, they discovered a 400 year old time capsule.

The property does not belong to a stately family, it is basically a very grand Jacobean farm house. The family member who built the property was a wool merchant, and he had his eyes on progression. He built a huge country house between 1607 and 1612 to display his wealth and status in the hope that, as it had for many others, it would draw some recognition his way and he would acquire a title. He did not succeed in winning a title although the family mixed in such circles.

Then, later during the 1600s family members held noted positions in the Royalist army. They were so close to Charles I they have his bible in the house, as well as other memorabilia of that time that helps to teach children about Charles I’s martyrdom. But yet again, they did not receive any formal recognition for their service and dedication.

But at the end of the 1600s the family became impoverished. Yet their loss, is today’s gain. Most stately homes have had their Jacobean characters hidden behind Georgian facades, knocked down or stripped away. The Georgians were the most prolific for changing their homes; putting on new fronts, ripping off panelling and papering the walls instead. Taking out roofs and adding ornately decorated ceilings. I love the Georgian decors, and this is what I usually picture and describe in my books, but this house, with its lost-in-time charm, was something that captured my imagination in a different way.

It is so Miss Havisham. Yet, not.

All the rooms are as they were 400 years before, because no one has been able to afford redecoration. The furniture was bought 400 years ago, because the rooms are so large no one has been able to afford replacements. Even down to ornaments, dinning room chairs and wine glasses. You can imagine the cobwebs sweeping over the dining room table.

But, as I said, it does not really fit Miss Havisham, because it seems a loved and valued place. A home. A house that could speak a million stories if it could talk. Everything that is 400 years old has been used and treasured for 400 years.

The last family member to own it until 1991, was a spinster. She lived in the huge house alone, and her world had narrowed down to only a few rooms. With 15 cats for company, who kept the mice and rats under control. She lived her life tucked up under blankets in the huge house because she could not afford to heat the rooms. But she was still happy and proud of her family house.

So proud she gave it to the National Trust charity to preserve it.

IMG_1071One of the most special rooms in the house, though, is the long hall in the attic, that was used for exercise. I have often seen this in properties remodelled into a portrait gallery by the Georgian relative, and I have included such halls in other books. But this hall is in a farmhouse! Middle-class country families are not normally so extravagant with living space and the money it would have cost in the additional building of the space is exceptional for a merchant.

So, to me, Chastleton immediately became both a place and a way of life that I wanted to capture for a character in some way.  You will of course find out my twist on this in Treacle Moon…

I will tell you about the second house next week.


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The Truth by Jane Lark ~ a free book exclusive to my blog ~ part forty-two

The Truth

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 ,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,34,35,36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41




Emerald hurried into the room and closed the door then turned to face Rita who was fully clothed and sitting silently on her bunk. She had put out Emerald’s clothes.

“Miss,” Rita stood up. “Is this wise? Your mother would–”

“My mother is dead,” Emerald answered in blunt denial, a cold pain breathing through her chest. “She is not here to care. Now help me dress. I am late for breakfast.”

As was Richard. The thought brought a smile back to her lips and warmed her inside.

Emerald stood still as Rita pulled tight the laces of her corset and then tied the tapes of her petticoats’. Her body ached from the delicious test of endurance Richard had challenged her with last night. He had displayed a new vitality and he’d seemed so desperate. She could not deny how good it felt to be able to make a powerful man like him desperate for her.

When she left the cabin in Mr Bishop’s company, her hand on his arm, she was smiling broadly, she could not help it. She was living in a dream. The memory of her argument with Richard only made her wish to smile more as she thought of its wicked conclusions.

Mr Bishop held open the day cabin door and she very nearly asked him what had happened about the French ship, when she walked past, only catching her tongue at the last moment when she remembered she should not know. But she had already taken the breath to speak and then stopped. He smiled in an odd way, but then a frown immediately furrowed his brow. He’d been silent as they crossed the deck. She supposed if he suspected, he would disapprove, as Rita who was walking behind them did.

Emerald had a feeling that she blushed. There was only Dr Steel in the room. “Are the others not eating?”

“Mr Pritchard is at the helm and Mr Farrow is with him. Mr Swallow is resting.” It was Dr Steel who answered as he stood.

Rita sat in a chair across the room and Mr Bishop walked ahead of Emerald to withdraw a chair at the table for her. Emerald sat opposite Dr Steel, and felt as though she faced a judge in a court room. But Dr Steel could not know. Mr Bishop would not dare defy Richard and speak even if he had guessed. This was Richard’s ship.

Dr Steel offered her the basket of fresh bread. She still did not want to speak to him. She had not forgiven him for not speaking up about her mother’s illness. Her smile was wiped away.

She accepted some bread and reached for jam. They had cured ham too, which they’d brought aboard in Gibraltar and oranges, with strong coffee or hot chocolate. As she helped herself, Dr Steel asked, “How are you?” His voice formally polite.

“As well as I might be when my mother died unexpectedly a little more than fortnight ago.”

“Am I never to be forgiven, Miss Martin,” he challenged quietly as Emerald took a slice of ham from a plate Mr Bishop held for her.

She looked directly at Dr Steel. “I should not think so. You cannot change the fact you did not tell me and I cannot change the fact my mother is dead and I had no chance to say goodbye. I must endure my pain. You may endure my lack of forgiveness.”

Dr Steel smiled, but it was only an acknowledgement that her jab had cut him as intended. “I am sorry my decision caused you such distress. Yet forgiven or not, if you need to talk to anyone, I am willing to listen.”

She frowned at him. Listen to what? She did not answer.

“Will you sit on the deck this morning?” Mr Bishop’s tone was curt, when normally he was always so pleasant.

She was sure she was blushing again when she looked at him. “Yes, please. I know it is getting colder and soon it will be too cold to do so.”

“Would you like a companion?” His tone was still terse.

The pitch in his voice brought a sense of uncertainty. She wished to ask if he knew about her and Richard and if so would he speak of it? If he would then she would beg him not to. She did not want Richard judged badly because of her. But she could not say anything because what if Mr Bishop had not guessed.

“I would be grateful, if you may spare the time?” Her gaze dropped from his and she focused on her food.

“I may. I know you prefer not to be alone.” There was a change to his voice, it held sincerity and it drew her eyes to look back at him.

He smiled.

She smiled too, remembering how in the beginning she had wanted Richard to be more like him. But she had never been attracted to Mr Bishop, he was kind and polite but he had no spark. It was Richard’s fire which ignited her.

The door into the day cabin from the deck opened. She looked across to see Richard enter accompanied by Mr Swallow.

Mr Bishop stood.

“Sit, Mr Bishop.” It was Mr Swallow who made the direction.

“Gentlemen, Miss Martin,” Richard said in greeting. He bowed his head formally towards her. Her smile became broader again, parting her lips . Less than an hour ago they had been in his bed, wrapped up in each other. She felt another blush and caught the movement of a twist in his lips that implied a smile. She looked away once more, at her food. But when he walked past she distinctly felt the tip of one of his fingers brush across her back.

“What are your plans today, Miss Martin?” he asked when he was seated as he began filling his plate.

She glanced at Richard, very aware of Mr Bishop watching them, and she could not seem to stop blushing. “I have agreed to sit with Mr Bishop on the deck this morning.”

“Then I shall entertain you this afternoon.”

He had not spent time with her for days to avoid suspicion. “Thank you.” She glanced at Mr Bishop and met a look of what seemed to be sympathy. Why? She frowned. Oh. But Richard was probably playing games and facing Mr Bishop’s suspicion head-on denying fear of any speculation. Richard Farrow at his most venomous. But then Mr Bishop would be foolish to speak out. She would not fear it either.

When they had finished breakfast they all stood. “Miss Martin,” Mr Bishop, lifted his arm. She looked back at Richard. He bowed his head then smiled slightly.

“Might I have a word with you later, Captain?” Mr Bishop asked as her hand rested on his arm.

Mr Swallow’s eyebrow’s lifted. “Of course, look me out when you have finished keeping Miss Martin company.”

“Thank you, sir.”

As Mr Bishop walked her from the room, with Rita following, Emerald glanced back again. Richard was talking to Mr Swallow but he saw her look and smiled at her over Mr Swallow’s shoulder, a lightness rising in his eyes. It was the greatest acknowledgement she would receive before his crew.

To be continued…

The Marlow Intrigues: Perfect for lovers of period drama, like Victoria and Poldark.


The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel #5.5

The Persuasive Love of a Libertine #5.75  now included in Jealous Love, (or free if you can persuade Amazon to price match with Kobo ebooks) 😉

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6 

The Reckless Love of an Heir #7

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come  :-) 


Go to the index


  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired  The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2, A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3  The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark