Claudine and Robin Cecil’s brick and timber cottage is situated on a twisting East Sussex lane. It sits almost in the centre of an unspoilt valley, surrounded by farmland and small copses of oak and beech. Birdsong and the hum of bees collecting spring nectar are the most noticeable sounds here, for hardly any cars seem to pass through.

The house is around 300 years old and the kitchen was once a scullery and shed. Oil lanterns and iron game hangers are suspended from the exposed beams. Under the floor is a 30ft well

The house is around 300 years old and the kitchen was once a scullery and shed. Oil lanterns and iron game hangers are suspended from the exposed beams. Under the floor is a 30ft well

Through the doorway is the old kitchen that has now become a kind of anteroom

Through the doorway is the old kitchen that has now become a kind of anteroom

A long set of drawers fills the length of one wall in the front parlour. “There are 84 drawers, I think they’re from an old ironmonger’s and yes, I have filled them all. I collect all sorts of things, pine cones, shells, skulls and rosehips, anything that I think is interesting I suppose.” There are several guitars waiting to be played and a Windsor chair by the fire

A long set of drawers fills the length of one wall in the front parlour. “There are 84 drawers, I think they’re from an old ironmonger’s and yes, I have filled them all. I collect all sorts of things, pine cones, shells, skulls and rosehips, anything that I think is interesting I suppose.” There are several guitars waiting to be played and a Windsor chair by the fire

In one corner of the front parlour, by the sofa, is a large piece of gnarled driftwood that she found on the beach at Lyme Regis when she was 18 and has kept ever since

In one corner of the front parlour, by the sofa, is a large piece of gnarled driftwood that she found on the beach at Lyme Regis when she was 18 and has kept ever since

The square room at the top of the stairs is used as a dressing room and a sort of props cupboard. There are Viking leather pouches, drenching horns and Claudine’s Hunter’s Moon Morris Side costume hangs from a beam

The square room at the top of the stairs is used as a dressing room and a sort of props cupboard. There are Viking leather pouches, drenching horns and Claudine’s Hunter’s Moon Morris Side costume hangs from a beam

Claudine and Robin’s daughter’s room is filled with photographs, keepsakes and trinkets, some made specially for her by Claudine

Claudine and Robin’s daughter’s room is filled with photographs, keepsakes and trinkets, some made specially for her by Claudine

The first floor acts as a wonderful prop cupboard. Costumes and jackets hang from hooks and doors

The first floor acts as a wonderful prop cupboard. Costumes and jackets hang from hooks and doors

The beautiful garden on a sunny April afternoon. Two blue and white painted wooden studios occupy one end. The larger of the two is full of Claudine’s 400 moulds that she uses, whilst the other building houses the completed pots

The beautiful garden on a sunny April afternoon. Two blue and white painted wooden studios occupy one end. The larger of the two is full of Claudine’s 400 moulds that she uses, whilst the other building houses the completed pots

Claudine’s studio shed is home to her workbench and a potter’s wheel, so she can throw, cast, or hand build her pots, tiles and plaques

Claudine’s studio shed is home to her workbench and a potter’s wheel, so she can throw, cast, or hand build her pots, tiles and plaques

The shed next door is also used by fellow potter Mark Smith, who sells some of his work here too

The shed next door is also used by fellow potter Mark Smith, who sells some of his work here too

A stream gently meanders through the extensive garden, flanked by glorious daffodils in bloom

A stream gently meanders through the extensive garden, flanked by glorious daffodils in bloom

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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