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Sloley is a tiny village which lies five miles south of North Walsham.

In May 1933 Sylvia Townsend Warner and her partner Valentine Ackland were driving around Norfolk when they discovered Frankfort Manor (now known as Old Sloley Hall) up a quiet lane. The house, which has a thatched roof and a Dutch gable, was for rent and the two literary ladies leased it until November 1934.

Sloley Old Hall

Sloley Old Hall

Sloley Village Sign

Sloley Village Sign

The house and gardens provided them with the perfect rural location in which to write and potter about. Warner's The Cat's Cradle Book (1960) was inspired by a family of cats that lived in the hall's outbuildings. The book is a collection of short stories seen from a cat's point of view.

In her autobiography For Sylvia Valentine Ackland describes the house's attractions as follows:

At Frankfort Manor, then, we lived in a kind of solemn, fairy story splendour. The first spring and summer brought nothing but miraculous days. Every day a fresh discovery; one day I found white currents....another day we met a hedgehog walking up the drive, another day I was picking green peas into a colander and saw the earth near my feet heaving and a mole emerged and I caught it instantly in the colander and carried it in to Sylvia and set it down beside her typewriter on her table.

See also Oby, Salthouse and Winterton.

Sylvia Townsend Warner

More photographs of Sloley





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