I f you lived through the 1990s, then you probably remember Sarah Ban Breathnach’s bestselling book with the pink cover called Simple Abundance, and you may even still have a copy sitting on a bookshelf somewhere. I do!
I found it very romantic when she bought Newton’s Chapel as her “writing sanctuary”–a 900-year old stone cottage in Lincolnshire that once belonged to Sir Isaac Newton. Who wouldn’t want to write in an historic cottage in the English countryside? So imagine my surprise when I got an email from Sarah herself this week telling me she’s selling it!
“I love your blog and wonder if you’d be so kind to let your readers know that my English writer’s sanctuary, which was Sir Isaac Newton’s private chapel, is now for sale.
“It’s adorable. Parts of it include a 12th-century intact Norman Arch in the sitting room. It’s got two bedrooms with en suite bathroom at either end of the Chapel, 2 fireplaces, a romantic garden bench around an old apple tree (no, not the one, but enough to give doses of enchantment!)
“Offers begin at $550,000 US. It can come furnished so all you need to do is turn the key and begin your English idyll.”
Sounds good to me! Maybe it could be my “blogging sanctuary.”
“I was in the airport in London, picked up the paper, and found the ad for the little cottage in Lincolnshire. My attention was caught, as I’ve always loved Isaac Newton. I just couldn’t forget the house, named Newton’s Chapel, with 900 years of history attached to it, so I went to see it a few weeks later and bought it the next day.”
Simple Abundance was kind of written in blog form before anyone knew what a blog was. You read a new installment each day of the year in which she told stories from her life and inspired her readers to try new things, like keeping a Gratitude Journal. Remember those? Even Oprah had one!
Years ago I took my mom to a Simple Abundance Retreat that was sponsored by a local Bed & Breakfast for Mother’s Day (Sarah wasn’t there–it was just inspired by her book). We had a great time drinking specialty teas, getting manicures, and listening to speakers talk about simplifying our lives. (Remember that, Mom? I could go for another retreat like that right now!)
John Conduitt, who was Newton’s assistant, described the “apple event” when he wrote about the mathematician’s life and mentioned the property in Lincolnshire:
“In the year 1666 he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire. Whilst he was pensively meandering in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from a tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought.”
The cottage was featured in the December 2002 issue of Victoria magazine, all decked out for Christmas:
Her most recent book is Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity.
Thanks to Sarah for telling me about this special property! You can see more photos of the cottage and learn more about it on the Simple Abundance website. The author’s photograph was taken by Vicki Couchman for USA Today. Victoria photos by David Montgomery.