Millslade really is an impressive building, sitting in its large all round expanse of grass with a silver birch of particularly pleasing shape softening the lines of the property. One villager told us that Millslade was always seen as ‘the property’ in Brendon, which made me feel rather proud! John Mill Chanter, a bewhiskered vicar of Ilfracombe for fifty-one years in the mid to late 19th century, admired Millslade so much on one of his ‘wanderings’ around North Devon, he bought it. My favourite quote from his book of reminiscences of these wanderings is, ‘Here is the Rockford Inn….. but you must not linger here….. and an eager longing comes over you for tea, an armchair, and Millslade.’ I completely agree with the implication that Millslade is a welcoming refuge, where one can find warm hospitality and refreshment.
When you first walk in you are struck by a rather grand hallway with a sweeping staircase that runs around three walls. The guests dining room is the only room that retains the Victorian stucco work and has a rather stately feel. In contrast, the lounge is more countryfied, begging you to curl up with a book and a glass in front of the wood burner; an atmosphere of bonhomie that will be further enhanced by phase two of Millslade refurbishment. But I am getting ahead of myself at this point when I haven’t even mentioned phase one of our intended refurbishment.
John Mill Chanter never talks about his ‘chamber’, contenting himself instead with the warmth of the reception that Millslade offers. While the grand Victorian hotels offered bedrooms of sumptuous luxury, most residences concentrated on impressing visitors with their reception rooms while their bedrooms were altogether more prosaic. Millslade was no different to this and in the intervening years, various refurbishments had removed fireplaces (alas), added artex ceilings (alas) and put in saniflo toilets (further alas). Drastic action was needed therefore to bring the bedrooms to a standard we wanted to offer to our guests and that Millslade deserves. Major refurbishment was needed!