What seems like a very distant 50 years ago, a young boy stood for the very first time at the south-facing bedroom window of the Priston Mill farmhouse, gazing in wonder at the bucolic scene spread before him like a banquet, drinking in the sights and sounds of what was a busy farm way back then. He was there as a guest of Peter Hopwood, a school chum from Taunton School where they were both boarding, and invited for the short Easter hols as his own parents lived on the other side of the world, in Iran.
Today, that same boy, now an ageing man, stands again at that very same window, looking out over fields of harvested gold as if Priston were a time-machine – a Tardis capable of compressing half a century into two delicious moments.
The surrounding fields appear to be quite the same in this charming, rustic corner of Somerset, little-changed down the centuries and so very far from the hustle and bustle of the neighbouring towns which lie at the distant end of a meandering maze of country lanes and bye-roads dotted with sleepy hamlets, church spires and patchwork fields.
Bath and Bristol are both nearby but might easily lie hundreds of miles away from this enchanted countryside cocoon. And yet, on closer inspection, much has changed because, today, Priston is now one of the most sought-after wedding venues in the area offering both civil ceremonies and wedding receptions.
The herds of dairy cattle and arable pursuits of yesteryear have long given way to a highly efficient infrastructure for hosting weddings in what has remained one of the most beautiful settings imaginable – the very same one that stole the heart of that young boy all those years ago.
The historic water mill has been refurbished, its olde worlde charm now the backdrop for stylish weddings where guests can enjoy a full range of modern amenities and of course the mill’s manicured gardens, recreation area for children, pergola & pagoda – all fringed by a gurgling stream and framed by the timeless beauty of the countryside. On the other side of the gardens, the old Tythe Barn has magically risen like a new Phoenix, casting a spell that marries the rustic charm and beauty of a bygone era with the ability to cater for around 160 guests in a refined, elegant ambiance.
As I turn away from my time-warp window, I can’t help reflecting on all the magic that has been woven here since I was that young lad still in school and on the way that Priston Mill has embraced a wonderful new future while at the same time remaining faithful to its past.
I am convinced this is the secret of its success and I have a sneaky suspicion that the young boy standing beside me at the window, on the far side of time, might agree.
Glynn Burridge Author, Freelance, Copywriter, Seychelles Tourism Board Consultant