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my hISTOry...

Market House Barn and Retreat, Pembridge, Herefordshire.  Boutique self-catering for couples and their dogs.

I moved to Pembridge in 2018. After 11 years in New York, and over 30 years away from the UK in Asia and the Middle East, this was quite a culture shock! I'd been a DJ in five-star hotels, played in front of sheikhs and glitterati, hosted an alternative music radio programme in Hong Kong for a decade, moved to New York as an overseas correspondent, and then addressed my gender dysphoria - something I wrote about in my 'Tea and Transition' autobiography, published  in 2015. So, change was not alien to me but coming to Pembridge was the biggest move yet. I wanted to be closer to family, to my roots, and I easily fell in love with the history and feel of Herefordshire.  

...and THE BARN

The main house - currently Market House, though it has gone through several names over the years  - goes back to the early 1500s, and the attached barn probably the 1600s or 1700s though its hard to date the barn accurately. The previous owners of Market House had taken it from a largely derelict property in 2002 but there was still much to be done. As a Grade 2* listed building all renovations had to be in keeping and approved. The barn, meanwhile, had deteriorated into little more than a dilapidated shed after decades of neglect. Having decided in 2020 that it could make an ideal holiday cottage plus home office for me, the process of taking it there was arduous. As anyone who has renovated an old building will attest, costs overrun and timescales double. Add the construction problems post-COVID and this became even worse. Also, having started we found the structure was close to collapse and apart from a few walls at the far end, very little could be salvaged. Work continued (very carefully!) and over two and a half years the re-born barn took on a whole new life. Now complete, its footprint is the same as before, and all the bricks used are from the old building.  This new barn should now last a few more hundred years, and I'm delighted and proud to be able to share this space with you. 

Nicola Chase, July 2023    

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