History Podcasts

The Merchant’s House

The Merchant’s House

The Merchant’s House is a restoration of a 17th century silk merchant’s house – now a Grade II structure located in the centre of Marlborough’s historic High Street.

History of The Merchant’s House

One of the earliest Civil War battles took place in Marlborough in 1642. Eleven years later, The Merchant’s House was built by Thomas Bayly following the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653 that destroyed the majority of the medieval and tudor town.

Thomas Bayly was a prosperous silk merchant and prominent citizen of Marlborough (twice its Mayor) and lived in the house with his wife, 9 children and servants, as well as running his business from there. Bayly lived in the house during a time of great change both locally and nationally in a century when a modern capitalist Britain with a maturing political life was emerging.

The house was improved and extended until 1700, then later sub-divided and sublet, with around two-thirds of the property becoming a printer and stationer business. This was ultimately purchased by W H Smith in 1926.

The Merchant’s House today

The House is being restored by a charitable trust and presents a rare opportunity to view a 17th century house, providing an insight into the lifestyle and interests of a middle-class family of the time. Many splendours are being revealed as the conservation progresses including fabric, and original 300 year old wall paintings currently unknown elsewhere in the UK.

Behind The Merchant’s House is a garden which has been modelled on the formal designs of the late 17th century. All plants have been carefully researched and were grown in the UK before 1700 including a small orchard and herb garden.

Tours of the house and gardens are available by a specialist volunteer guide, and take about an hour.

Getting to The Merchant’s House

The Merchant’s House is located at what is now 132/3 High Street in Marlborough, 75 miles from London and 30 miles from Bath. If travelling here by car, from London take M4, leave at junction 14, and take the A4 for Marlborough – if approaching from the West, take the M4, leave at junction 15, then take the A346 for Marlborough. The Merchant’s House is on the North Side of the High Street, approximately 100 yards from the Town Hall.

Entrance to the House is through the Merchant’s House Shop. The House has disabled access via a stairlift from the ground floor to the first floor which allows access to the principal rooms.


Merchant's House Museum

The Merchant's House Museum, known formerly as the Old Merchant's House and as the Seabury Tredwell House, is the only nineteenth-century family home in New York City preserved intact — both inside and out. Built "on speculation" in 1832 by Joseph Brewster, a hatter by trade, it is located at 29 East Fourth Street, between Lafayette Street and the Bowery in Manhattan. It became a museum in 1936, founded by George Chapman, a cousin of the family who once lived there.

The House was among the first 20 buildings designated in 1965 under the City's new landmarks law. It is the only historic house museum in the Greenwich Village/Soho/NoHo neighborhoods.


Contents

13th to 15th centuries Edit

The Medieval Merchant's House was built in about 1290 on French Street, Southampton, [2] then a major port and a large provincial town with a population of around 5,000, grown rich from the trade with England's continental possessions in Europe. [3] The area of Southampton around French Street had been re-planned earlier in the century, reducing the numbers of farm animals kept in and around the houses, driving poorer merchants and craftsmen into the less desirable northern half of the city, and creating a quarter of large, impressive houses, often built in stone with tiled roofs. [4] The original house was designed for use by John Fortin, a prosperous wine merchant, with a vaulted cellar for holding stock, a shop at the front of the property and accommodation for the family much of it was built in stone, but it featured a timber front, a fashionable design for the period. [5] At least 60 other houses similar to the Medieval Merchant's House were built in Southampton at around the same time. [2]

By the 1330s, Southampton's prosperity was in a slow decline. In 1338 there was a successful French attack on the town, during which various buildings were burned and castle was damaged. [6] The house may have been one of those damaged in the raid, as the south-western corner of the building collapsed around that time and had to be quickly rebuilt other alterations, including the addition of a fireplace, may have been carried out at the same time. [2] Southampton's economy collapsed in the aftermath of the attacks and never fully recovered. [7] The character of French Street began to change, as many houses were sub-divided or redeveloped to fit in more buildings. [8] The Medieval Merchant's House ceased to be used by major merchants and by 1392 appears to have been rented out to tenants by Thomas Fryke and John Barflet, the latter a descendant of John Fortin, for whom the house was originally built. [8]

During the 15th century the economy of Southampton improved as a result of the Italian wool trade and the presence of many foreign merchants. [9] The Medieval Merchant's House was acquired by a sequence of established Southampton merchants, but it remained intact as a detached dwelling, unlike many other properties in the neighbourhood that were combined to form the larger homes that became more fashionable in the late 15th century. [9] In the middle of the 16th century, however, Southampton's economy collapsed once again as trade with Italy declined, taking with it the prosperity of French Street. [9] A new parlour was installed in the house, and a floor was added halfway across the open hall to produce additional sleeping space. [2]

16th to 20th centuries Edit

The house was transformed into three cottages during the 17th century, which involved a new door and additional fireplaces being added. [2] The economy and status of Southampton did not begin to improve until the 18th century, when it became a noted cultural centre. [10] In 1780 the three cottages were converted back into a single building, owned by a Mrs Collins as a lodging house for actors. [2] During the Victorian era Southampton saw a huge expansion of its maritime docks and the construction of a new railway line. [10] The Medieval Merchant's House was converted again, and had become a beer-shop by 1883, and a popular public house called the Bull's Head. [2]

Late 20th and 21st centuries Edit

When the Second World War broke out in 1939 the house was being used as a brothel. [2] In 1940 Southampton was heavily targeted during the Blitz. German bombs seriously damaged the house, revealing its medieval interior, [11] and as a result Southampton City Council bought the property. In 1972 it was passed to the Secretary of State for the Environment, before being placed into the care of English Heritage in 1984. [2]

The decision was taken to restore the Medieval Merchant's House as a tourist attraction, and the necessary work was carried out between 1983 and 1985. [11] Academic Raphael Samuel has noted that the restoration was heavily influenced by the late-20th-century tradition of living history, in which "reinterpretation" gives way to "retrofitting". [12] The process was also constrained by the damage that had occurred to the post-medieval parts of the building during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following archaeological investigations, the house was restored as closely as possible to its medieval condition, removing later material. Where the original medieval parts of the house had been lost, the work was based on archaeological reinterpretation. [13] The finished house was fitted with replica late-13th-century and 14th-century furniture, and the uniform for the English Heritage staff running the house was originally medieval in design. [12]

The Medieval Merchant's House on 58 French Street remains a tourist attraction and is a Grade I listed building and scheduled monument. [14]

The Medieval Merchant's House today faces onto French Street and combines walls built of Bembridge and Purbeck stone with a timber frontage. [15] The layout of the house follows a medieval right-angle, narrow plan design, in that the hall stretches away from the street to conserve frontage, and there is no internal courtyard built into the design. [16] Architecturally the house is important because, as historian Glyn Coppack highlights, it is "the only building of its type to survive substantially as first built". [1]

At the front of the house, on the ground floor, is a reconstructed medieval shop front, from where the owner would have conducted his mercantile business. [17] Behind this is the central hall, originally designed with an open hearth in the middle, but now fitted with a 14th-century Flemish chimney, plastered so as to resemble brickwork. [18] A hallway runs along one side of the hall hallways were a traditional feature of the period, although the fashion was eventually abandoned because of the difficulty of lighting them effectively. [19] At the rear of the property is an inner private room, with a decorative ceiling. [20] Beneath the house is an undercroft, or cellar, designed to store barrels of wine at a constant temperature the brick floor is 18th-century in origin, however. [21] This is an architectural feature found in several other English coastal and river medieval towns, including Winchester and London. [22]

On the first floor the house is split into east and west bedchambers, linked across the central hall by a gallery. [23] The east bedchamber is at the front of the house, and projects out into the street—this was a feature used to add space to houses, and is also seen in properties in Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury and York. [24] Some of the makers' marks of the original builders can still be seen on the timbers in the room. [25] The west bedchamber more closely resembles its 19th-century appearance rather than the medieval, as the Victorian-era ceiling has been left in place. [26] The roof of the house is an identical replacement for the medieval original, tiled with Cornish slate. [27]


Merchants House Museum

HERITAGE RATING:

HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: The best-preserved 16th-century dwelling in Plymouth

Tucked away from the bustle of modern Plymouth down a quiet side street is this attractive timber-framed house, probably built in the early 16th century and remodelled a century later. While we do not know exactly when the house was built, we know a lot about its first recorded owner, a privateer named William Parker.

Parker was that Elizabethan phenomenon, a respectable merchant and pirate, successfully combining a career as a merchant with privateering and civic government. Parker was a close friend of Plymouth's most famous privateer, Sir Francis Drake, and served as Lord Mayor of Plymouth from 1601-1602.

He served under Drake in 1588 in the fight against the Spanish Armada, and probably commanded a victualling ship named the Mary Rose (not the famous vessel built by Henry VII but another of the same name).

He launched raids against the Spanish in the Caribbean, but his big break came in 1601 when he captured a pair of treasure ships laden with 10,000 gold ducats. On his return to Plymouth, he was elected Lord Mayor, and he used the profits from his ventures to remodel an older house on this site into a fashionable timber-framed house suitable for a respected gentleman of the town.

He helped promote the Plymouth Company to colonise North America and took an active interest in the Virginia Colony. He died in 1618 on a voyage to the East Indies.

Parker's heirs lived here from 1617-1632, then it passed to Abraham Rowe, another successful merchant. In 1651 the house was purchased by Justinian Beard, ord Mayor of Plymouth on 2 occasions.

It was occupied by the Beele family until 1707, then by the Martyn family until 1807. In 1807 the building was extended to the rear (towards Finewell Street) and the front section used as a shop. In the 1960s it was used as a tex office then restored by the City Council and turned into a museum of local heritage, focussing on life in Plymouth over time.

Merchant's House is the finest surviving example of an Elizabethan house in Plymouth. There are seven rooms, and each room is themed to represent a distinct time period in Plymouth's history. Themes cover such topics as transport, commerce, and WWII, with a room set aside to recreate the Blitz experience. One of the rooms has been turned into a replica Victorian schoolroom.

Highlights of the historic objects on display include a 17th-century carved mantelpiece, a Victorian dollhouse, and a collection of 19th-century shop signs made with real gold paint. See objects connected with the justice system, like manacles used to detain prisoners and a ducking stool. The front room, where the family would entertain important guests, still features its huge original fireplace.

Merchant's House is a delight, a wonderful opportunity to look back at Plymouth's history in a house full of character. There is a very reasonable entrance fee, and discounts for children, seniors, and students.

UPDATE

The museum has been closed [temporarily, we hope] by the Plymouth City Council so that it can undergo extensive repair and restoration work. Please DO NOT make plans to visit! Of course, you can still enjoy viewing the exquisite building's timber-framed exterior at any time!

More Photos

Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.

About Merchants House
Address: 33 St Andrew's Street, Plymouth, Devon, England, PL1 2AX
Attraction Type: Museum
Email: [email protected]
Location map
OS: SX479542
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express

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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS

Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest


The History of the Merchant’s House & Store

Our Georgian terrace townhouse is located overlooking The Market Square, in the heart of Ireland’s finest planned 19th century town.

The house was built and leased in 1811 from John Ormsby Vandeleur by a milling merchant, Bartholomew Glynn. It was his home and business until his death in 1856. The House witnessed his family’s joy of family births and even a wedding during their near half century of tenure. On his passing it was leased until 1890. It was at this point that the house that remains today was fashioned in essence it was Victorianised with a bar and grocery store installed on the ground floor.

After the 1890 ‘refurbishment’ the Glynns then leased the property to the Clancy family who ran the newly installed bar and grocery store. Their cousin, a Kilrush born General Sir Thomas Kelly Kenny, was apparently a close friend of Edward VII and George V. We are unsure whether Sir Thomas brought his buddies to Kilrush or The Merchant’s House!

After the Clancys’ tenure the Ryan family took up residence in November 1901. Two generations of Ryans lived here until 1939. The family ran a very popular establishment – continuing to operate the bar and grocery store through nearly forty years of huge social and political changes they started their tenure as subjects of Edward VII and left as citizens of the Irish Free State having witnessing a World War and the start of a second World War they left us with some wonderful photos and a incredible social history. One Ryan resident, Katherine Ryan (later Kelly), (daughter of Thomas and Kathleen) was an opera singer who travelled the world. On her return home, she would on occasion, throw open the large sash windows of the first floor drawing room and sing arias to the crowd assembled in The Market Square below. Kilrush has a well established musical tradition from opera to choral to traditional music.

In 1939, for the first time in its 138 years, the building was sold, passing from the Glynn family to the McDermott family. The musical heritage of Kilrush, along with the building’s bar and grocery trade, was continued by the McDermotts. Their son, Joseph McDermott, who is a retired international golfer based in the USA, along with his sister Mary grew up in the house during the 1940s and 1950s. It was during their tenure that the Dubliners played a session in the back bar in August 1963. After 79 years serving the public the bar and grocery store were closed in 1968.

With the sale of its liquor license shortly after the pub never reopened. The house was sold a number of times before we, the Gleeson family, acquired it in 1989. Untouched by the 20th century, it was like stepping back in time.

It remained unoccupied until 2010 when the rebirth and the restoration to save this unique and historic house commenced. The result was a transformation into two heritage holiday homes conserving the past while discreetly installing 21st century comforts.


The Merchant's House Marlborough

HERITAGE RATING:

HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 17th century Panelled Chamber

In 1653 a devastating fire swept through the market town of Marlborough. In the aftermath of the fire, a wealthy silk merchant named Thomas Bayly began to build an impressive timber and brick house at the end of Marlborough's long High Street.

Over the next five decades, Bayly and his descendants created a richly decorated house, with colourful wall paintings, panelled rooms, and an impressive oak staircase.

Bayly's home has been restored by a local charitable trust and offers visitors a wonderfully evocative glimpse into the world of a prosperous merchant family.

The House

Eight major rooms are on display to visitors, with the highlight perhaps being the Panelled Chamber. This room was built during Cromwell's Commonwealth, between 1653-1656, and the oak-panelled chamber is almost completely untouched since it was built. The large oriel window has an unusual 17th-century stained-glass panel in the shape of a sundial.

The Dining Room has a striking decorative scheme of vertical stripes running from floor to ceiling. The design dates to 1665 but was hidden under later wall-coverings for centuries and was only revealed in 1991. The design is probably based on silk wall hangings that Thomas Bayly imported from the Netherlands.

The centrepiece of the house is the oak staircase, a beautiful example of woodwork from the Restoration period. The staircase walls have a painted pattern resembling balustrades. This is one of the few examples of painted balustrading in England.

The kitchen is one of the most recently restored rooms in the house. On display is a hand-written family recipe book, which includes such delicacies as fricassee and fritters. There are two family bedchambers, one located above the kitchen, making it the warmest bedchamber in the house. There is also a smaller servant's bedchamber under the eaves.

The interior is furnished with period furniture, ceramics, domestic implements, musical instruments, and art. The house is decorated to show how a typical family at the time would have lived, worked, worshipped, and entertained themselves.

There is also a large collection of historic artefacts associated with Marlborough, from medieval to the present time, as well as old photographs of Marlborough and the surrounding area. One highlight is a copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563.

The Garden

Behind the house is a garden designed in the style of a traditional 17th-century townhouse garden. We know from documentary evidence that the Bayly's maintained a garden, though its location is not certain. The design is historically accurate, reflecting what a wealthy Puritan family would have had in their garden. It is on three levels, with a paved terrace at the bottom, rising to a formal parterre, and at the top is a herb garden and an orchard growing old varieties of fruit.

A 17th-century garden was meant to be functional as well as attractive, and this example features plants grown for medicinal use such as hyssop and lavender. There is also a traditional skep for keeping bees, though to keep visitors safe no bees are kept!

The Merchant&rsquos House Trust also maintains a library of books and other documents relating to 17th-century town life, the silk trade, needlework, wall paintings, and historic oak furniture. The library is open to the public by arrangement.

The Merchants House is also a venue for musical performances, usually held in the historic Panelled Room. If you attend a performance you may well be following in the footsteps of 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys, who visited Marlborough on 15 June 1668 and heard a musical recital at an unnamed venue. Given that the Bayly's were a leading family and known to be interested in entertaining and music, it is perfectly plausible that Pepys heard the recital in the very same room of Bayly's house.

The Merchants House is open seasonally for regular guided tours, or by arrangement at other times if a guide is available.

We visited on a sunny day in August, just in time for one of the four tours that day. Our guide was excellent, full of information about the house and the objects we could see in the historic rooms.

The tour begins in the Panelled Chamber. This is a beautiful example of a panelled Jacobean room, with period furniture including an original Glastonbury Chair. This type of folding chair was made to take on travels. There are apparently only 10 or so original Glastonbury Chairs in England, so the Merchants House example is a real treasure. Near the chair is a sideboard decorated with superbly detailed carvings.

The tour took in several bedchambers furnished with 17th and 18th-century furniture. The guide speculated that one of the bedchambers might have been used for weaving, as it was illuminated by windows on two sides.

The highlight of the rooms on view for the tour is the Dining Room. The painted walls with their vivid stripes are stunning. Look for Elizabethan coasters with painted rhymes they are like a 16th-century version of a Christmas cracker.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the house and highly recommend a visit. It is an exceptional example of a 17th-century townhouse.

More Photos

Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.

About The Merchant's House Marlborough
Address: 132 High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, SN8 1HN
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Website: The Merchant's House Marlborough
Location map
OS: SU188692
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express

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Historic Time Periods:

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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS

Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest


The rebirth of a Merchant's House

In 1991, following an initiative by the newly-formed Merchant’s House Trust, Marlborough Town Council purchased the freehold of no. 132 and leased it to the Trust at a peppercorn rent, a continuing contribution from the Town Council which is gratefully acknowledged. Since 1991 the Trust has been actively engaged in the conservation, restoration and furnishing of this remarkable building.

Many original features survive. These include a largely unaltered room system, panelling, a grand oak staircase and stone chimney-pieces. What makes the building exceptional was the discovery in the 1990s of the polychrome wall paintings comprising fictive balustrading on the walls of the grand staircase and a richly coloured striped wall design which is thought to be unique in this country. This is all the more remarkable in a house occupied by the “middling sort”, a social stratum with which many people can identify, and especially unusual in a high street house of a prosperous market town with the never-ending commercial pressure to be updated or even completely redeveloped because of its valuable location. The quality of the building was recognised by its inclusion in Simon Jenkins’ England’s 1000 Best Houses (2003).


Merchant's House Museum

The Merchant’s House – Manhattan’s First Landmark – Has Been Fighting for Its Survival … for Nine Years!

As if 2020 wasn’t difficult enough for our dear Merchant’s House, the developer filed an application in early December for a new building next door at 27 East 4th Street, one that is TALLER and MORE MASSIVE than the original proposed hotel!

Irreversible damage from the construction is guaranteed and the risk of collapse of our fragile 189-year-old landmark building is even higher.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended and testified at the LPC hearing on January 12. The hearing, which lasted three hours, saw testimony from over 40 individuals, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman (on behalf of NYS Assemblymember Deborah Glick, too), City Council member Carlina Rivera, and representatives from Community Board 2, the NYC Parks Department, the Historic House Trust, and many others.

Over 520 letters in opposition were submitted, and our petition had more than 12,000 signatures (now almost 15,000!). As has been the case at dozens of hearings over the last nine years, not a single person spoke in favor of the proposed development.

At a meeting on February 2, the Landmarks Preservation Commission declined to vote, instead requesting the developers and their consultants work with the Merchant’s House, the Parks Department, and the Historic House Trust to develop a more comprehensive protection plan for our exterior and interior landmark building should the construction be allowed to proceed.

Although we still have a long fight ahead of us, we are heartened that the Commissioners are taking seriously the very real threat of irreparable damage to the Merchant’s House, not only structural, i.e, possible collapse, but also to our original 1832 decorative plaster, considered by many experts to be the finest extant.

Our friends at Village Preservation‘s website has more information about the application: click here!

How You Can Help!

Sign Our PETITION — Click here. The petition has almost 15,000 signatures!
(Please DO NOT donate via change.org — donations made from the petition site do not go to the Merchant’s House! Click here to donate or scroll down to the bottom of this page!)

SPREAD the Word! Ask your friends and colleagues to help. Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

Here’s Why the LPC Must DENY the Developer’s Application.

(scroll down for more details)

1. The Landmarks Preservation Commission Has an Obligation to the People of New York to Preserve Historic Properties and Districts throughout the City.
The LPC’s mission is “to protect the special places and buildings that bring the City’s remarkable history and heritage to life, thus preserving them for future generations.” The Merchant’s House – Manhattan’s very first landmark – is among its most significant. Its very survival is at stake.

2. Irreversible Damage to the Irreplaceable Merchant’s House from Construction Is Guaranteed – and Could Be Catastrophic

3. Construction Would Force the Merchant’s House Museum to Close to the Public for 18-24 Months, to Safeguard the Collection and Secure the Building – at a Cost of $5 Million

4. The Developer has Two Open Applications for Construction on the Same Lot

5. The Proposed Building Is Inappropriate for the Noho Historic District
_______________

The Landmarks Preservation Commission Has an Obligation to the People of New York to Preserve Historic Properties and Districts throughout the City.
The LPC’s mission is “to protect the special places and buildings that bring the City’s remarkable history and heritage to life, thus preserving them for future generations.”

The Merchant’s House is a federal, state, and city landmark. It was the first building designated at the first meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965 and is one of only 120 buildings that have interior and exterior landmark designation. Its cultural and architectural significance is undisputed in the history of the city of New York.

At the dozens of public hearings that have been held since 2012, not a single person has spoken in favor of the project. It is the duty of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to vote NO to this proposal. The very survival of the Merchant’s House is at stake.

Irreversible Damage to the Irreplaceable Merchant’s House from Construction Is Guaranteed – and Could Be Catastrophic.
According to multiple studies undertaken by several of the city’s top engineering firms, construction next door is absolutely guaranteed to cause irreversible damage – possibly catastrophic, causing complete collapse – to our 1832 landmark building. And we know from experience: the museum has a decades-long history of damage from construction at adjoining and nearby properties, making the building that much more vulnerable.

At particular risk is the museum’s original 1832 plaster work – the ornamental elements (considered by experts to be the “finest surviving” from the period) as well as the plaster walls and ceilings. Engineering studies show that the vibrations from adjacent demolition, excavation, and construction is likely to cause the fragile 189-year-old plaster to crumble. Vibration can also cause the nails that fasten the ceiling laths to the framing to “back out,” causing catastrophic failure of the ceiling support system.

The new proposed building is taller and more massive than the developer’s previously submitted plan to construct a multi-story hotel. It would rise to a height of 94′ 5″ with an elevator bulkhead that adds another approximately 20 feet it also extends deeper into the lot. Due to the increased height and bulk of the planned new building, it poses an even greater riskof collapse to Merchant’s House.

Even the most advanced, state-of-the-art monitoring systems can only track the damage – after the damage has been done.

Construction Would Force the Merchant’s House Museum to Close to the Public for 18-24 Months, to Safeguard the Collection and Secure the Building – at a Cost of $5 Million.
The Merchant’s House Museum is bound by its mission and the public trust to preserve and protect its landmark building and original collection. Even if the Merchant’s House could survive excavation and construction next door (which is far from certain), the Museum would be forced to close to the public for at least 18-24 months.

Given the dire threat to the stability of the building structure, the museum would have to take steps to safeguard its collection of 3,000 objects from damage. Safeguarding the collection requires moving the entire collection off-site until the stability of the structure can be assured.

With the collection offsite, measures to secure and protect the building could be taken, including critical building repairs and erecting padded scaffolding to secure and cushion the interior plaster walls, ceilings, and decorative elements. Merchant’s House staff would have to secure office space to conduct museum operations.

The cost to the museum of packing, moving, and storing the collection off-site stabilizing the plaster walls, ceilings, and ornamental plaster work critical pre-construction building repairs and the lost revenue due to the closure is estimated at nearly $5 million – funds the museum does not have.

The Developer Has Two Open Applications for Construction on the Same Lot.
In 2018, the developer applied for a series of special permits (“spot zoning”) in order to build the proposed eight-story hotel. In September 2018, after a seven-month public review process, the City Council voted unanimously to REJECT the developers’ application.

In January 2019, the developer filed a lawsuit to overturn the City Council’s decision. Representatives from the City, including Council Member Carlina Rivera, assured us that the City is standing behind the City Council’s decision in support of the Merchant’s House. This lawsuit is still pending, which means the developer currently has TWO open applications for construction on the same lot. The developer should not be permitted to submit a new application until the lawsuit has been settled.

The Proposed Building Is Inappropriate for the Noho Historic District
The planned building would hulk over the Merchant’s House by approximately three stories, plus a separate penthouse, causing the streetscape to lack continuity. The exorbitant height of the planned building would result in an awkward mid-block transition, disrupting the look of the historic district. In addition, the floor to ceiling heights for the planned building do not conform to either of the adjacent buildings, resulting in a degenerative hodgepodge rather than a uniform streetscape.

Please DONATE to the Legal Fund to Save the Merchant’s House!

We Can’t Do It without YOU!

In the past two years alone, the Museum has spent more than $275,000 on legal fees and engineering studies. The developer’s new proposed building poses an even higher risk of catastrophic damage to the Merchant’s House.

We can’t save the Merchant’s House without your help! Please consider a donation. Any amount will make a difference.

#SaveTheMerchantsHouse #ManhattansFirstLandmark #DefeatTheDevelopers #StopTheMadness #DontMessWithGertrude

THANK YOU!

“If the Merchant’s House can’t be protected, no landmark is safe.
No historic district is safe. No natural resource is safe. No community or neighborhood is safe.”
Michael Hiller, land use, zoning, and preservation lawyer

“In my estimation, the Merchant’s House is without a doubt
the most important historic house in this city, and
it’s now probably the most endangered one.”
Michael Devonshire, Architectural preservationist and
Commissioner, Landmarks Preservation Commission


The Old Merchant’s House

Image Source: Built Manhattan

Forget Christmas and New Year’s – the best holiday to celebrate in New York is Halloween. The city’s famous Village Halloween Parade is highly anticipated by locals and tourists alike. This year will mark the epic event’s 42 nd anniversary. But what’s so great about the Big Apple is that you never have to wait until October 31 st to see some ghosts. At the Old Merchant’s House, anyone can encounter spirits year-round.

The Old Merchant’s House, also known as the Seabury Tredwell House, is located between Lafayette Street and the Bowery. It was built in 1832 by Joseph Brewster, a famous hat maker who ran two very successful shops on Broadway. Brewster thus could afford a home of extreme lavishness. The Old Merchant’s House is a stellar example of transitional Greek Revival architecture. Its four floors are connected by a long, wooden staircase. At its inception, all of the house’s rooms were equipped with the best, mid-19 th century furnishings. These included marbled fireplaces, mahogany beds, Grecian couches, Dutch ovens, huge gas chandeliers, even a concert piano. The house’s hallways were also magnificently decorated. They were lit by lead-glass fanlights and carpeted with geometrically-patterned rugs. Only the servants’ quarters were simply designed and less ornate.

The inside of the house is beautifully designed and furnished.

As the house passed through the Tredwell family, it underwent several changes. New portions, equipped with dumbwaiters, were added to the original structure, for instance. The third floor was also augmented to include more bedrooms. This isn’t a huge surprise since the Tredwell clan included eight children.

Today, the Old Merchant’s House operates as a museum that boasts an impressive collection of the lavish possessions of the Tredwell family. Objects range from works of art to sewing accessories, from family photographs to costumes, from unfinished quilts to greeting cards. The museum is run by The Trustees of the Old Merchant’s House of New York, Incorporated. Since acquiring the property in 1936, the organization has worked hard to keep its original splendor well intact. The Old Merchant’s House became recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and then a New York City interior landmark in 1981.

Those invited to the house by the Tredwell clan experienced luxury at its finest. They would first pass through a set of double doors, which led into a gilded parlor. During the mansion’s heydays, this beautiful room hosted many weddings, social gatherings, and memorial services. Today, reenactments of traditional mid-19 th century funerals are held there every October. It “is dressed in accordance with the standards of Victorian high mourning: windows shuttered, curtains drawn, wall portraits and mirrors wrapped in black crepe.” 1 Though these funerals may be fake, the ghosts at the house certainly aren’t!

A funeral outside the house.

The second and third floors were dedicated to the house’s bedrooms. Bedrooms were painted in oyster white and many had their own fireplaces. Since the Old Merchant’s House had its own coal room (located in the basement), guests never had to worry about staying warm. The basement also included a dining room, a pantry, and two closets. It was where the Tredwells entertained guests and hosted feasts.

The house is located on East 4 th Street, and its bright red color makes it stand out from surrounding buildings. It has a slated gable roof and a small garden in its backyard. Everything about the Old Merchant’s House communicates extravagance. Thus, when Seabury Tredwell purchased the property from Brewster in 1835, it cost him $18,000 2 , a price considered to be very high at the time.

The eye-catching exterior facade of the house.

Tredwell was a successful hardware merchant from Long Island. When he and his wife, Eliza Parker, moved into the Old Merchant’s House, they had their seventh child, Sarah. Their last child, Gertrude, was born five years later. She was the last of the Tredwell’s to live in the mansion and is its most famous ghost.

Gertrude’s story is a very sad one. She became estranged from her father because he refused to let her marry a young doctor she had fallen in love with. She died a spinster, at the age of ninety-three, “in the same room in the same bed in which she had been born.” 3 Her spirit is said to still watch over the building 4 . In one instance, back in 1933, Gertrude’s ghost “came rushing out the front door” 5 to shoo away a group of children playing on the lawn. She and her dead siblings have since become well-recognized by locals. One woman claims to have had a full conversation with Samuel Tredwell, before realizing he was a ghost. No wonder the Old Merchant’s House was once dubbed “Manhattan’s most haunted house” 6 by The New York Times.

A photograph of a young Gertrude Tredwell.

Other spooky things have been reported at the Old Merchant’s House. Visitors have seen objects move on their own in the kitchen, for instance, and smelled tobacco in Seabury’s bedroom. Ghost hunters have also picked up strong EVP readings in the servants’ quarters. The mansion’s first floor, front parlor is especially paranormally active. Phantom notes are often heard from its piano, snores from its Grecian sofa.

After Gertrude passed away, the Old Merchant’s House was acquired by a grand-nephew of the Tredwell family, named George Chapman. Before Gertrude died, she had been struggling financially and had arranged for the house to be auctioned off in order to pay off her debts. Chapman managed to step in and save the house from being sold. As its new owner, he decided to transform the building into a museum. The Merchant’s House Museum has drawn in flocks of tourists since it opened its doors on May 7, 1936. Then, after George Chapman died, the Decorators Club of New York City took over and continued to restore the property. They struggled especially in 1968 because the building became significantly ruined by water damage. An acclaimed architect from New York University, Joseph Roberto, was hired to help with all the repairs. Thanks to his advisory, the Old Merchant’s House began to slowly gain back its original opulence.

Welcome to the Old Merchant’s House, where you’ll find opulence in every room.

But it was only in recent years that the Merchant’s House Museum began to embrace is a high level of hauntedness. “We’ve found that by not ignoring [this] part of the museum, we’re able to introduce it to new audiences that may not be as interested in a historic house museum without the paranormal angle,” 7 said curator Emily Wright in July.

“It’s safe to say that each year we average roughly a half-dozen documented reports of occurrences to staff, workers, or visitors,” 8 continues Anthony Bellov, a museum board member. Indeed, strange, unexplainable things happen often at the Old Merchant’s House. Every employee has at least one spooky story to share with visitors. Andrea Janes, who once volunteered at the museum, would “get the feeling that someone was looking over her shoulder at the book she was reading. She also felt someone brush her arm and move past her while training for a tour. ‘I’ve had moments that have caught me off guard in the house [and] I’m not a particularly psychic person,’ Janes says. ‘A lot of the staff members are downright skeptical, but even they have to admit there’s something going on.’” 9

One of the bedrooms in the house.

One of the most frequently seen apparitions at the Old Merchant’s House is that of a woman wearing a brown dress, who is probably one of the Tredwells’ six daughters. A lady in a long, black gown has also been spotted at the house. But even if visitors don’t see the Tredwell girls, they certainly can sense them. Weird feelings, the awareness of being watched, a sudden chill – these are commonly experienced at the Old Merchant’s House.

The Merchant’s House Museum lets visitors conduct self-guided tours on the property. They do provide a useful guidebook, though. It gives an overview of the house’s history and rehashes some of its most chilling tales. So famous is the mansion’s haunting that many tourists bring ghost detecting devices with them. Kelly Conaboy of Gawker.com opted to also use “two ghost hunting iPhone applications: ‘Ghost Hunter M2’and ‘iEMF. ’” 10 Though she did not pick up much while in the garden, she got several readings when she was in Seabury’s bedroom.

In 2011, a team of ghost hunters from Sturges Paranormal investigated the house. They collected a bunch of evidence there, including a photograph of a shadowy figure 11 in a mirror. As for EVPs, they got several readings. One was recorded in Seabury’s bedroom. “The first clip you will hear John Galvin ask a question with no response. The second clip you hear the same question but you will hear what sounds like bells ringing right after John asks his question.” 12 Another was documented in the front parlor. A conversation between psychic Cathy Towle, a museum board member, and a Sturges Paranormal member is joined by a ghost “using some salty language.” 13

Sturges Paranormal captured a shadowy reflection in a mirror.

Though you can visit it year-round, October is definitely the best time to stop by the Old Merchant’s House. The museum offers “spirited” 14 events during the month. These include lectures, reenactments, and scary candlelit tours. Whether you’re a trained medium, a paranormal expert, or a ghost hunting newbie, you’ll certainly have a memorable time at the Old Merchant’s House!

Works Cited

1. Beyer, Gregory. “The Funeral Looms, and Nary a Coffin in Sight.” The New York Times. 7 October 2007. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 1.

2. Designation List 151 LP-1244. Landmarks Preservation Commission. 22 December 1981. Web. 25 October 2015. Page 1.

3. Designation List 151 LP-1244. Landmarks Preservation Commission. 22 December 1981. Web. 25 October 2015. Page 2.

4. “Our Ghosts.” Ghosts – Merchant’s House Museum. Merchant’s House Museum, 2013. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 1.

5. Stiffler, Scott. “My Night in a Haunted (Merchant’s) House.” Notebook – Vol. 20, No. 43. October 20-26, 2010. Downtown Express. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 5.

6. “Our Ghosts.” Ghosts – Merchant’s House Museum. Merchant’s House Museum, 2013. Web. 25 October 2015.

7. Conaboy, Kelly. “Specter Detector: Looking for Ghosts in New York’s Most Haunted Building.” Gawker.com. 9 July 1015. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 37.

8. Stiffler, Scott. “Haunted by Houses.” Chelsea Now. 21 October 2015. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 7.

9. Deliso, Meredith. “The spookiest spots in NYC, according to the experts.” AM New York. 25 October 2015. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 3.

10. Conaboy, Kelly. “Specter Detector: Looking for Ghosts in New York’s Most Haunted Building.” Gawker.com. 9 July 1015. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 6.

11. Photos. Collected Data. Sturges Paranormal, 2008. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 6.

12. Audio. Collected Data. Sturges Paranormal, 2008. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 6.

13. Audio. Collected Data. Sturges Paranormal, 2008. Web. 25 October 2015. Para. 9.

14. “Spirited” October Events. Calendar – Merchant’s House Museum. Merchant’s House Museum, 2013. Web. 25 October 2015.


The Merchant's House

Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson investigates the death of a young woman linked to a missing child case on his first day after being transferred from London to Tradmouth in South Devon. Meanwhile, his friend Neil Watson finds a dead woman in an archaeological excavation. The woman died several centuries ago and it seems that she was murdered. Oddly enough seems it to be strange similarities with the two cases.

I read and loved The Death Season, book 19 in this series at the beginning of this Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson investigates the death of a young woman linked to a missing child case on his first day after being transferred from London to Tradmouth in South Devon. Meanwhile, his friend Neil Watson finds a dead woman in an archaeological excavation. The woman died several centuries ago and it seems that she was murdered. Oddly enough seems it to be strange similarities with the two cases.

I read and loved The Death Season, book 19 in this series at the beginning of this year. And, so I decided to buy the first book in the series to get to know Wesley Peterson and the rest of the characters in the book from the beginning.

The crime in this book was not as complicated as it was in The Death Season, it was easy to figure out how it all had happened. I prefer to read a story with a lot of twist in it. Reading a book and guessing correctly most of what will happen is just not that fun.

What made this story a bit better is that Wesley Peterson also has a degree in archaeology and while he and his colleagues are trying to solve the death of a young woman is he and his friend Neil who is working as an archaeology trying to find out who killed a young woman several centuries ago. I like the fact that Kate Ellis both writes about modern crime and at the same time her books with Wesley Peterson also have some archaeology in it.

This book may not have been as good as The Death Season, but I will continue to read the series! . more

It&aposs rare for me to finish a book in just one sitting nowadays when I&aposm so busy but I managed it with this one. And now I&aposm desperate to get my hands on the next in the series!

This story is a wonderful blend of modern crime/thriller/mystery and historical conspiracy. And it works so so well.

I couldn&apost stop turning the pages, reading on. Something about this book just hooked me.

I loved that there was a historical aspect to it. This detective was more than just crime-orientated, he has outside int It's rare for me to finish a book in just one sitting nowadays when I'm so busy but I managed it with this one. And now I'm desperate to get my hands on the next in the series!

This story is a wonderful blend of modern crime/thriller/mystery and historical conspiracy. And it works so so well.

I couldn't stop turning the pages, reading on. Something about this book just hooked me.

I loved that there was a historical aspect to it. This detective was more than just crime-orientated, he has outside interests and it was a refreshing depth of character to read during my crime binge. And I loved the way his archaeological background related to the story itself and eventually led to its resolve. It made the whole story refreshing and quite addictive.

The characters are strong and I love Rachel's feminist grumbles. It adds an extra layer to her and makes her one of my favourite characters. Why should she get the tea just because she's female? . more

I can&apost believe I didn&apost find this series sooner. It&aposs excellent! 3.5 Stars.

I can't believe I didn't find this series sooner. It's excellent! . more

First Sentence: The child flung his tricycle aside and toddled, laughing, toward the basking cat.

A university graduate in archeology and the first black police officer in Tradmouth, DS Wesley Peterson begins his first day at work with a murder. The body of a young woman has been found off a cliff path, the damage to her face rendering her unrecognizable. Wesley’s university friend, Neill, is heading a team of archeologists on the site of a 17th century merchant’s house in town when the skeleton First Sentence: The child flung his tricycle aside and toddled, laughing, toward the basking cat.

A university graduate in archeology and the first black police officer in Tradmouth, DS Wesley Peterson begins his first day at work with a murder. The body of a young woman has been found off a cliff path, the damage to her face rendering her unrecognizable. Wesley’s university friend, Neill, is heading a team of archeologists on the site of a 17th century merchant’s house in town when the skeleton of a child is found. A fellow officer is dealing with the mother of a missing toddler who is adamant her son is still alive in spite of a lack of clues. Can a clue from the past solve a crime in the present?

To find a book which is a skillful combination of archeology and police procedure is definitely in my ‘happy-reader’ zone. Ms. Ellis does just that and much more. Although the locations are fictional, I was ready to pack my back and go. Those who are familiar would know the differences, but for those who don’t the locations are visual and real.

Not only is there a nice introduction to Wesley, but to all the book’s major characters. One thing particularly refreshing is that the police officers all like one another and work as a team. There is an odd man out, but you don’t feel he’ll be there long. It’s not just the primary characters Ms. Ellis brings to life, but the secondary characters as well. I never had to question who a character was or why there were there.

It can be a tricky business, bringing together four plot lines, but it works. The information from the 17th century is provided in diary excerpts as chapter headings, while fascinating, does not intrude on the present-day investigations. The dig at the merchant’s house plays to Wesley’s background and as an escape from issues at home.

The kidnapping is being primarily investigated by another team, and the murdered girl is Wesley’s primary investigation. Yet Ms. Ellis cleverly designates Wesley as the hub which brings together the various spokes of the wheel in a way I didn’t predict until it was revealed.

“The Merchant’s House” is a very good police procedural in which the plot unfolds not by flash, but bit-by-bit, following the clues. It is filled with great characters, dialogue, humour, and a plot that kept me reading. Happily there are many more books ahead in this series.

THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE (Pol Proc-Wesley Peterson-England-Cont) – VG
Ellis, Kate – 1st in series
Piatkus, ©1998, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0749904542

. more

I enjoyed the parallels between a murder mystery in the past with one in the present. The author did a fine job of incorporating both worlds into the storyline without confusing the reader.

I always enjoy a good archaeology tale and this one did not disappoint. However, the subject matter was something I had no interest in so could not get emotionally involved in the story.

However, I have the next in the series waiting for me and will look forward to reading it.

Our book group had a good and thoughtful discussion of this book even though we all liked it.

This book is about a black policeman, married to a white wife, who has newly arrived to a small English town in Devon. He finds an old friend there doing a archaeological dig at a 17th century home. Wesley, the detective, is working on a case of a body of a woman whose face is unrecognizable, and is found under a bush. Two sets of bones are found in the basement home of the archaeological dig. Each chap Our book group had a good and thoughtful discussion of this book even though we all liked it.

This book is about a black policeman, married to a white wife, who has newly arrived to a small English town in Devon. He finds an old friend there doing a archaeological dig at a 17th century home. Wesley, the detective, is working on a case of a body of a woman whose face is unrecognizable, and is found under a bush. Two sets of bones are found in the basement home of the archaeological dig. Each chapter begins with a few paragraphs from the journal of the owner of the home. By the end of the novel, one discovers many similarities between these two stories, as well as the situation between Wesley and his wife. Mothers, non mothers, and children are a focus these tales.

We were pleased to know that there are many more books in this series. . more

Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson is a new addition to the Tradmouth police force, a recent transplant from London. Before he can even settle in at his desk, the body of a young woman is found in the countryside. With no identification on her and no report of a missing person matching her description, the police have a puzzle to solve. While the murder investigation gets underway, another group of officers are investigating the kidnapping of a two year old boy from outside his family&aposs cottage. Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson is a new addition to the Tradmouth police force, a recent transplant from London. Before he can even settle in at his desk, the body of a young woman is found in the countryside. With no identification on her and no report of a missing person matching her description, the police have a puzzle to solve. While the murder investigation gets underway, another group of officers are investigating the kidnapping of a two year old boy from outside his family's cottage. Life isn't as quiet as Wesley expected.

The parallel story line to the murder investigation is a historical mystery. Wesley's friend, Neil, is working on an archaeological dig in an old merchant's house. When they get to the cellar, they find the skeleton of a baby. Kate Ellis does a good job of keeping both plot threads moving along without impacting the flow.

The Merchant's House is the first in a series of 19 books. I read a later entry in the series and decided to start back at the beginning. History combined with mystery is a good fit for me. I'm happy to have another series to explore.

This book has a whole lot of my reading catnip: British village police procedural, archaeology, race and gender issues, and a little bit of history thrown in. Sound like a lot? It&aposs deftly handled in a very good story.

Wesley Peterson has recently transferred to London to a more rural village. At the same time, his friend from University is conducting a dig in the village at the house of a once prosperous merchant family. The people at the dig discover two bodies from the 1600s, a young woman an This book has a whole lot of my reading catnip: British village police procedural, archaeology, race and gender issues, and a little bit of history thrown in. Sound like a lot? It's deftly handled in a very good story.

Wesley Peterson has recently transferred to London to a more rural village. At the same time, his friend from University is conducting a dig in the village at the house of a once prosperous merchant family. The people at the dig discover two bodies from the 1600s, a young woman and a baby buried in the cellar. At the same time, a young woman is found brutally murdered on one of the cliffs, her face completely obliterated. With a dearth of clues, the archaeologists and the detectives follow meager clues until they find their answers.

This is really well-down with a lot of parallels between the contemporary murder and the historical one. Richly written, the story is compelling and interesting. . more

A decent if not particularly memorable police procedural
The first in a series.

Very likeable characters, good interactions between them, several threads to the story. There is the case of a woman found bashed to death, a missing toddler and an archaeological mystery.

I liked that the characters had lives outside of work with interests in hobbies.

A few minor quibbles. There are a couple of instances where the detectives seemed to take information given to them and not check it properly. Also found A decent if not particularly memorable police procedural
The first in a series.

Very likeable characters, good interactions between them, several threads to the story. There is the case of a woman found bashed to death, a missing toddler and an archaeological mystery.

I liked that the characters had lives outside of work with interests in hobbies.

A few minor quibbles. There are a couple of instances where the detectives seemed to take information given to them and not check it properly. Also found that seemingly unrelated threads all dovetailed neatly into a resolution. Just a little too neat perhaps.

These could be flaws of a first novel. That aside the book was enjoyable enough.

This is the first of the DS Wesley Peterson series - I&aposd read lots of others before finding this one! Wesley has just arrived from London to take up a post in the fictional South Devon town of Tradmouth. A West Indian, with a white wife, supply-teacher Pam, he meets with little racism - in fact it&aposs almost as if the token amount hinted at is there simply for effect, as it is quickly dismissed.

At the police station, he meets gruff DI Gerry Heffernan - who emerges from his office "like a bear waki This is the first of the DS Wesley Peterson series - I'd read lots of others before finding this one! Wesley has just arrived from London to take up a post in the fictional South Devon town of Tradmouth. A West Indian, with a white wife, supply-teacher Pam, he meets with little racism - in fact it's almost as if the token amount hinted at is there simply for effect, as it is quickly dismissed.

At the police station, he meets gruff DI Gerry Heffernan - who emerges from his office "like a bear waking up from hibernation" - with whom he will form a good relationship. The others are pretty peripheral at this point they are developed gradually. He must go to work immediately - the disfigured body of a young woman is discovered on a cliff path and other officers are busy trying to find a missing boy. Meanwhile, Wesley's old friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, has unearthed the 400-year-old skeletons of a murdered young woman and a child. Wesley has a degree in archaeology, so is fascinated by this discovery in the basement of a 17th century merchant's house, but must tear himself away and get on with the contemporary murder.

Wesley's personal life is pretty fraught, too: his wife, Pam, has been trying, unsuccessfully, to have a baby, which causes considerable tension at home.

Each chapter is prefaced by a quotation from a journal kept by the 17th century merchant, which gradually reveals a tale of forbidden lust and its drastic consequences. The plot is somewhat involved, but all the loose ends are tied up eventually. The themes of sexual obsession and thwarted, frustrated motherhood run through the novel - and the outcomes, both historical and contemporary, seem like a morality tale: "the wages of sin is death"! The journal itself is finally discovered in the home of a descendant of the original merchant, who is not really interested in his ancestor. It ends up in an exhibition at a museum.

Although I've always liked the characters in the Peterson series, I must say I find Wesley a most unusual copper. He is a university graduate, for starters, good-looking, polite, well-groomed and somewhat squeamish! It is hard to imagine him dealing with hardened villains, yet he comes from London and the Met. The others - Heffernan, DCs Rachel Tracey and the sleazy Steve Carstairs - are much more realistic, at least for me. But these are minor quibbles - I really loved The Merchant's House and will have to double-check to see if I've missed any other Peterson titles. . more

Picked this up on a whim because it had a Tudor style building on the front cover. I&aposll try more by this author.

Set in the 1990s, it&aposs a mystery with a police detective who has just relocated from London to Tradmouth in Cornwall. He worries about settling in, in part because he&aposs black, but with a few exceptions, his fellow police officers are good people, with a couple of nicely drawn characters.

The mystery kicks off with two separate events: the kidnapping of a two year old boy, and several da Picked this up on a whim because it had a Tudor style building on the front cover. I'll try more by this author.

Set in the 1990s, it's a mystery with a police detective who has just relocated from London to Tradmouth in Cornwall. He worries about settling in, in part because he's black, but with a few exceptions, his fellow police officers are good people, with a couple of nicely drawn characters.

The mystery kicks off with two separate events: the kidnapping of a two year old boy, and several days later, the discovery of a young women, dead on a scenic walking path, with her face so damaged that she can't be identified .

There are many twists and turns in the plot (which I won't describe). In addition, each chapter starts with an extract from a 200 year old diary, detailing a very religious merchant's attraction to a new maid in the household.


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