In the company of Romaine's beau, Jamie Stewart, Barry and I started off in the General's Sitting Room. Barry's impressions in this room were of an all male environment, complete with cigars and cigarettes (but not Robin Grant's) cards being played; late nights; NO WOMEN.
"My God! Definitely no women are allowed in here!"
Sir Charles Grant, the husband of Lady Sibyl and father and mother of Robin, lived in the General's Wing when he was at Pitchford - his wife living in the Orangery. Charlie, an army, huntin', shootin' and fishin' man was definitely known to prefer the company of his male cronies; he thought that the purpose of women was for keeping the house and reproduction only. He did not like the rest of the Hall, in particular the Great Hall, as he considered it was far too female orientated. He disliked having women in his quarters, i.e. the General's Wing, as he felt they were invading his "private place". He liked to isolate himself from everything, including his wife, but he had a social rapport with the males he liked. In the Morning Room, Barry got the impression of meals being served to men only.
Then we moved on to Room J in the General's Wing, the room I used to use for the children's trunks for school. He got a very strong impression that this was the room Robin Grant used to sleep in when he was staying with his Grandmother, Lady Robert Grant, accompanied by his nanny. Barry got a very strong impression that Robin did not want to talk about this room, and that the only person he liked to go in there nowadays was Romaine; apparently he tolerates my presence but Romaine is the "only one he likes to use it". A strong impression of a furry toy lion in the room and when we were in there, of the fact that Robin considered this room to be so special that he demanded us all to "move out".
In the West Wing Passage, Barry again said that there was the Butler/Major Domo who was chivvying lots of young boys, cuffing their ears and ticking them off for "mucking about," and "to get back to work immediately". We then went up into the General's Flat and on the way up the staircase Barry saw the tweedy jacketed man. Nothing seemed to be present in the General's Flat.
Going up the stone staircase towards the Staff Flat there was a strong evidence of young housemaids in a state of high excitement as it was Christmas Day and the young master of the house was expected home any moment as he had just come back from the War. They kept looking out of the window to see whether or not he had arrived. The young maids, running up and down, would have to flatten themselves against the wall when a senior member of the staff was going up or down the staircase, in order to let them go by; there was a feeling of the girls being "desperate to do the right thing".
The "Red Room" (up the stone staircase and to the right, above the Staff Flat). This was where the 'best' young maids lived but it was not necessarily used as a sleeping room - although the one on the left at the top of the staircase was. All the maids were aged between thirteen and eighteen and were good friends, like sisters, in fact; an atmosphere of harmony, gossip and working together; loyalty, obligation, pride in their work and respect for their employers, with a feeling that they were very fortunate to be working for this household. ("Am I working hard and well enough?"). These unmarried maids were honest and were very well behaved and very self-disciplined.
The room in the attics of the Staff Flat above the Kitchen: a quieter Maid's Room, with the impression of a maid who had died of a heart attack in the bottom of a type of bunk bed; she was fairly thin and Barry thinks that maybe she had been suffering from consumption.
Room above Staff Sitting Room. Before the 19th Century it had been a room for women but in the 19th Century it had been a men's bedroom which was less frivolous than when it had been a women's one.
Stairs by Sitting Room end of the Staff Flat. An old man with gnarled hands, struggling up and down; he was better on the flat than on the stairs. Obviously he was beginning to be crippled with arthritis. His 'test' for himself at the end of the day, with his bad right leg, was whether or not he could climb upstairs. He knew that when "the day came" and he was unable to do this, that "his life was nearly finished". In the morning on the way down he would lean against the banister for support.
Staff Sitting Room: Sleeping quarters, but had had many changes over the period. At one time it had been a storage room, full of junk but no food. In the 18th Century there is one man who resents the presence of other people.
Staff Kitchen: Outside the window; lots of trees and bushes; yew bushes in the Churchyard, but not yet trees; completely changed from what it is today. Impression of bare boards; also it had been a storage room with big bags of flour etc., a place of solitude and quiet. A vibration of complete calm. A housekeeper, very wise, who lived here when it was first built (18th Century); (not a nanny) but a person of a very good character with a clear thinking mind. A place which nowadays will give us quiet and solitude.
Staff Flat Spare Room: Very feminine. A woman who was no beauty to look at, but more important she had the most beautiful character, a favourite of all the Staff, charismatic. She lived in the 19th Century - everyone adored her, a good person who controlled everyone by her goodness. Her one regret was that she had never had any children; she was an excellent indirect influence on other people's children. Her personality was so marvellous that as an 'old soul' (as opposed to one of the 'new souls' upstairs) her wish is to "keep the Hall going", as though she cannot "keep it going for much longer", as she wants to move onto the next stage of her spiritual life. She has been one of the 'souls' who has kept Pitchford going. Aged in her early 30s. An incredible person of a special character.
To the astonishment of Jamie and myself, Barry started to cry and he had to keep going out into the corridor. Later I asked him why, and he told us that he had felt that the influence of this woman was so strong that he had become very emotional. He admitted that normally he found it very difficult to show any emotion and was astonished at his reaction and he could not help himself. Knowing Barry as I do I was astonished by his reaction too.
Main Staff Flat Bedroom: A widow, who had had an illegitimate son owing to a love affair when she was a young girl, who had been brought up by someone in Pitchford Village. She did not meet her son again until he was eighteen years old. No one in the Hall knew of this child's existence. This old woman, with grey hair, died here very happy and with the feeling the she had fulfilled her 'duty'. She did not "get on" with the Butler but she did forgive him before she died. The Butler was a difficult man at times and she had spurned his advances, which had not helped their working relationship. She had grey, longish hair, and lived in the 19th Century.
The Staff preferred to walk in the area of the Pitchwell and did not like to walk up by the two Fishponds (Lakes).
All these thoughts were written down by me when Barry, Jamie and I were walking about the part of the Hall I have mentioned above. At no time, sadly, did I get any of these impressions; however, Jamie did.