English Cottages Rock!

So much of the time, our Regency stories evolve in the settings of the elegant mansions, grand townhouses and large country estates of the rich aristocrats who people the stories. There’s good reason for that, for certainly the elegance helps the romance! But lately I’ve been on a “cottage kick”.

There are two reasons for this (besides just that English cottages can be so adorable) One is that my current WIP has my high-born hero stranded in a very small and lowly village (at Christmas, no less) which is all farms and small village houses except for the local manor and the vicarage, of course. The other is rocks. Yes, I said rocks.

In view of the current fad for painted rock “fairy houses” that people are putting in their gardens, I agreed to paint some for my church’s Holiday Bazaar in December. Do you know how hard it is to find good rocks with a shape that lends itself to becoming a cottage? Even for fairies?

My tendency is to go for thatched roofs and the often-crooked charm that comes from centuries of standing in a lovely English garden. I’d show you some of mine if any were finished yet!! LOL. But I have collected a lot of cottage pictures to inspire my efforts, and I thought I’d share some.

I’m not going to turn this into a research post or talk about how very different in style and materials the cottages can be in every different area of Great Britain. There is no such thing as a “definitive” English cottage style unless you consider the “picturesque” revival movement that began towards the end of the Regency period. At that point, architects including Nash pondered what elements made up “cottage style” and purposely designed new homes to capture that charm. I just thought it would be fun to share a little overview!

This is a short post (having some health issues, sorry!!) YOUR turn! How romanticized is my view? Which cottages do you like best?  One of these is NOT in the U.K. –I wonder if you can spot the “fake”? Are you into any of the current painted rocks trends? (Fairy houses being only one of many going around.) Finally, a lovely rock house (painted by someone else).

If/after someone guesses the “fake”, I’ll post in the comments where some of these are to be found! Or perhaps you’ll recognize some of them!







About Gail Eastwood

Gail Eastwood is the author of seven Regencies that were originally published by Signet/Penguin. After taking ten years off for family matters, she has wobbled between contemporary romantic suspense and more Regency stories, wondering what century she's really in and trying to work the rust off her writing skills. Her backlist is gradually coming out in ebook format, and some are now available in new print editions as well. She is working on the start of a Regency-set series and other new projects. Stay tuned!
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11 Responses to English Cottages Rock!

  1. I will guess that the round one is in France and not in the UK … but who knows??

  2. Susan in AZ says:

    I vote that the cylinder with the cone roof is not in the UK.

  3. Katie says:

    I’ll guess the one that looks like it’s on the coast with the diamond windows!

  4. I agree with Susan. I think the cylinder one is the fake, but that may be too obvious. As Mr. Ferris the Younger said in Sense and Sensibility “I am inordinately fond of the cottage!”

    Alas my artistic talents are limited to writing and music. No self-respecting fairy would be caught dead in a rock cottage I painted!

  5. Thanks for jumping in, ladies!! Good sports. I’ll give some help. I agree the round one looks French, but it is actually located in Gloucestershire. (I love its arched windows and doorway.) That remarkable “beach house” (someone on FB guessed it might be the fake one, also) is actually a locally famous sight/site in Pembrokeshire, called “Shell Cottage”. Amazing, isn’t it? So, that eliminates two of the candidates. Anyone else have a guess?

  6. Elena Greene says:

    What a fun post, Gail! I love a cottage and have written a few into my stories. As for the “fake”, maybe it’s the one at the very bottom, LOL? Actually I would guess it’s one of the very convincing thatched cottages. Maybe the one next to the round tower one? It seems like a near-perfect reproduction but doesn’t seem as much as if it’s part of a village as the others. I could be wrong.

  7. Good guesses, Elena! But actually both of them are in England. The “ochre” colored thatched one that looks so perfect is in Somerset, and the lovely mill house is somewhere in England, I’m not sure the exact location. It looks so perfect, too! Like a “model” –but if you look close you can see there’s a rowboat, and a couple of people in the picture! Makes me think of The Wind in the Willows, that one does. 🙂

  8. Okay, here’s the answer!! It’s the white one with the wooden picket fence (and maybe wooden shingle roof?) I thought all that wood might give it away. Nary a stone in sight!! It’s a lovely English-style cottage that I adore, but it is located in the USA –in Carmel, California!!! 🙂

  9. Susan in AZ says:

    Thanks for the quiz, Gail! I’d love to stay in any one of these cottages.

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