Essex author sells home and writing studio

An author with 102 books to her name has reluctantly decided to leave the property where she has lived and worked for over 35 years.

Pamela Westland has owned Spices in Rotten End, near Shalford, since 1977. She has written many of her published titles in the 15th century Granary in the grounds of her 14th century grade-II* listed home.

Her first book A Taste of the Country was published in 1976. Since then she has written books about cookery, wild flowers, flower arranging, fund raising and garden visiting.

She said: “When people discover that you write books, they immediately assume that you write novels. But I only write practical books – I’ve never had an original idea in my life!”

When Pamela arrived in Rotten End, the Granary was an unsuitable place to work – very cold, without any insulation, and with the ground floor open to the lane. Since then she has had the building converted into a magnificent two-bedroom studio with a fully functioning kitchen to one side of the first floor living area, making it ideal for guest or extended family staying.

“When I was looking for somewhere to live all those years ago, I asked the estate agent for a 14th Century property no more than six miles from Great Bardfield where I used to live – with brick floors, a separate building that I could use as an office, and a stream running through the garden. When he asked me what I would settle for instead, I simply replied ‘exactly that’.

“Two months later he telephoned and said ‘we’ve found just the property for you. Except that it doesn’t have one stream in the garden - it has two!’”

The main house has a farmhouse kitchen and a further three bedrooms. There are delightful gardens of 0.6-acre and wonderful views all in an idyllic, unoverlooked setting, just a couple of miles from village shops and five miles from town.

Pamela adds: “This house has such a lovely atmosphere. The fabulous brick floors with their random mixture of reds and yellows have become gloriously convoluted through hundreds of years of use. One of the sitting rooms has beautifully moulded and carved ceiling timbers, and the vaulted master bedroom suite provides a real ‘wow’ factor!

“Everyone who comes here says that it’s like putting on a comfortable old coat that makes you immediately feel at home.”

Spices is on the market with Mullucks Wells in Great Dunmow for £795,000.