The farmhouse of Bartons End, in the Weald of Kent, was built in 1555. Its first inhabitants were not the young newly married couple for whom it was built, but a number of varieties of woodboring insects, brought in with the timbers. Their descendant The farmhouse of Bartons End, in the Weald of Kent, was built in 1555. Its first inhabitants were not the young newly married couple for whom it was built, but a number of varieties of woodboring insects, brought in with the timbers. Their descendants are still in the house to this day.
The kinds and numbers of creatures who lived at Bartons End over the centuries of the house's existence have varied with the personalities and circumstances of the humans who shared the house with them. An animal-loving seventeenth-century child increased the census considerably with her unusual pets, notably a bat named Mr. Milton. One owner's fondness for wine brought new life to the cellar. Human decisions to replace the thatch roof with tile and to install plumbing and central heating caused the hasty exodus of some creatures and a great influx of others.
George Ordish vividly describes the interaction of living things over eighteen generations of humans at Bartons End with up to four thousand generations of some of the non-human residents. Within one Kentish farmhouse we see in fascinating miniature the struggle of all living things to adapt and survive.
First published in 1960, The Living House was described by The Economist as: 'This enchanting and almost unclassifiable book is about men, women and children, mice, weevils, dogs, lice, bats, house-martins, domestic architecture, social history and evolution . . . The result is as entirely delightful as it is instructive.'
George Ordish has now revised the book for this illustrated edition as a companion to his recently published new book, The Living Garden which dealt with the plants, flowers, mammals, birds and insects in the garden at Bartons End. ...Continua Nascondi