There is of course no conclusion to the history of an old house (until it is finally demolished – which hopefully in the case of The Vine is far off) – and that is its charm. Although, as we said at the beginning of this little monograph, no complete history of the house and its inhabitants can be put forward (and, in parts of what has been said, there has been a fair amount of supposition), two things strike one about the episodes that we have been able to trace.
Firstly how much, and relatively continuous, information there is about a house which has never, after all, been a “stately home” or contained anyone famous.
Secondly, how long many of the families that lived there continued in occupation – the Careles family from probably the mid 16th century (perhaps much earlier) to the early 17th century, the Norburys from early to mid 17th century, the Hopkins family from mid 17th century to early 18th century, the Edwards/Smith/Mason dynasty from mid 18th century to 1867, the Parker family from 1868 to 1900 and Zimmerman father and son from 1901 to 1963. Just six families over 450 years: impressive when one considers that there have been five families in the house in the forty years since 1963!
Although the written traces left by these seven families are sadly meagre and mostly impersonal (a few deeds, entries in the Parish Register, some memorials and, latterly, some fading photographs), their real legacy is the house and surrounding gardens and fields that they tended, improved and passed on. A legacy we would do well to honour.
“They reap not where they laboured;
We reap what they have sown;
Our harvest may be garnered
By ages yet unknown”