Stoneleigh has been the Peacock family home from around 1949. When my Mum and Dad got married in Keld they came to live here. My parents Edna Scott and William Peacock were both local people. Mum was from Keld from quite a large family and lived there until the war. She joined up and went around the country cooking in the WAFS. She said it was the best time of her life, meeting people and seeing different parts of the country. After the war she came home and went to cook for the boys boarding school in Richmond. Dad also went to war and did not have such a good time. War took him abroad where due to a bad heart his war was cut short. His father was the local butcher and owned Stoneleigh. Dad started a taxi service, first using his car and then, when he got a mini bus, he started taking the local kids to school, first when they went to Reeth and then to Richmond.
The house when Mum and Dad got married was a very small two bedroom house. There was no bathroom and the toilet was at the bottom of the garden. Dad started to extend the property, but could only do it after work and at weekends and also when they could afford. As kids we can only remember the house always being ripped apart. The first extension made it a three bedroom house with a bathroom. After that he made it a four bedroom house. He virtually took all the walls down and rebuilt it. We never moved out and in that time mum had us three kids. Michael the oldest, Maurice and me, Sheila. We never had our own bedrooms, we just used to all sleep in the same room, it was warmer that way as half the time there would be a wall down somewhere. He always said he was going to turn our garage into a flat (now East Lea) but never did. After dad died Michael and l bought the building next to our sitting room. It had been a cow house beionging to my Dads brother. We added a kitchen and another bedroom so Mum and Michael could let it to visitors. The sitting room had once been our original living room.
Back in the lead mining days the cow house had belonged to the local cobbler. He lived upstairs with his family and had his animals below. Houses in those days were very small. Our garage (now East Lea) had been two small single storey houses with horse hair and ling in the walls .They also had under floor heating coming from a central fire. Michael believed they would be one of the first houses in the village. One old man in the village said he could remember them being salt houses.
I am very much like my Dad, always wanting to make the house better and bigger. Michael and I turned Dads' old garage into a house now East Lea. I've then had to build a new garage behind the house after marrying Dave, who is also from a local family, his father came from Gunnerside, he was brought up in Reeth. We sold East Lea in 2003 and bought the local pub The Farmers Arms. It was always mine and Michaels dream, Dave also wanted a change of career. We had worked there when we were growing up on a part time basis. We all really enjoyed a new challenge, but in 2007 my brother Michael died suddenly and it was never the same again. The spark had gone. We sold the pub two years later and moved back into Stoneleigh.
Dave and I have not sat still, we have done yet another extension to the main part of Stoneleigh, hoping to do Bed and Breakfast. We have made three ensuite bedrooms for Bed and Breakfast, two ensuite bedrooms are above the garage. We say this is the last time we are doing major building work. Friends and family say watch this space!