“Simple Abundance” Author Sarah Ban Breathnach Selling Stone Cottage in the English Countryside

by hookedonhouses on March 16, 2012

Sarah Ban Breathnach's English cottage Newton's Chapel

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!


Here’s what she told me about 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.” :-)

The former owner still keeps an eye on the property:

Here’s how Sarah said she ended up buying the property and moving to England:

“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.”

A British newspaper once dubbed the successful author “the Isaac Newton of the simplicity movement,” so it seemed serendipitous when she ended up living here.

Although it was a private chapel when Newton’s family lived on the property, it was converted years ago to a tiny cottage.

Love seeing the old hardware on the doors:

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!)

Love this pair of old windowseats:

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.

Click here to see more Cottages, including…

Fig-Tree-Cottage 325


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Gary March 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

I think any successful writer would gladly buy this chapel for her parents in appreciation for their creative support over the years. To sit and pray, meditate and write where Newton did would be heavenly.

hookedonhouses March 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

Good luck with that! ;-)

Patience March 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

It’s lovely. I especially like the window seats, but I hope I don’t sound too cranky when I say that I’m itching to tear out the valance in the kitchen.

hookedonhouses March 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

That’s an easy fix, at least!

Holley June 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I completely agree about the valance, but even so, it is lovely. I would love to have that kitchen.

Sarah @ housecrazy March 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

I LOVE it! What a treasure! This cottage is like a fairy-tale come true! I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Ranell Morris March 16, 2012 at 8:22 am

I am enchanted with the chapel!!! The stone gets me everytime and the history in it makes makes my heart skip. I can hear my sainted father now “If God wanted you to live in England, you would have been born there!!!
Thanks for sharing Julia, you always brighten my day!!!

Lisa Smith March 16, 2012 at 8:24 am

Such a fun post! I want to escape right now! I especially like the above comment, by Gary!!!! He must be a very proud papa! :)

Julie @ The Family CEO March 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

How wonderful and perfect is that? Someone will be a very lucky buyer.

Karena March 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

A very special property and now added to the provenance the fact that Sarah lived there! I remember when Simple Abundance came out; I gave a copy to all of my friends!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Lori March 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

Such a cute home. I love seeing homes from readers! They are the best!

Any chance Gary is your dad? lol

~ Lori

Black Eyed Susans Kitchen March 16, 2012 at 9:40 am

What a wonderful place…thanks Julia!

Spring March 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

Ohhhhhhhh…. And it’s within my budget, too! If only the commute to Seattle wasn’t so terrible. I love this. *sniff*

*goes back to trolling local real estate*

Kelly March 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

I think this is my favorite house you’ve ever featured. How neat!

Linzy March 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

I love when you post cottages. I know that they can’t ALL be cottages… but wouldn’t the world be kind of awesome?

hookedonhouses March 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

I agree, it would be! :-)

Maggy March 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

What a quaint respite that home must be! “Enchanting” is the word that keeps swirling inside my head. Many thanks to you and Sarah Ban Breathnach for sharing her amazing home with us.

ShabbyChick March 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

How adorable!!

Jane March 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Love it! I’d buy it for the hardware alone.

Christine March 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

As a fan of historic fiction, I can just imagine how this home will ‘speak’ to the perfect new stewards. To live in such an historic structure would be a privilege.
I love your blog for the constant stream of visual intrigue, varied locations and most interesting property owners!
xo, Chris

Kelly D March 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Wow, I can’t imagine living in something so historic and so old! Living in something so beautiful, I can’t believe anyone would have a bad day waking up to a place such as this. :)

Mrs. Pear Tree March 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I. Want. This. Home!!!!!!!!! Match that reasonable price with my long-time dream to transplant myself and my family to a little country cottage in England and it seems like a match made in heaven! Of course, there is my weakness with maths. Alas, I have a hunch Sir Isaac would not approve! But I will pine away a little bit….

polly dove March 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Oh this was so fun for me to see! I am currently reading her book, Romancing the Ordinary now and LOVE it!!! LOVE her! How fun! (It certainly would be an awesome vacation spot wouldn’t it?!)

Jodi from New Jersey March 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

All I can say is that this post touched me to the core. Maybe it’s your connection with her, or the whole magnitude and reach of the internet/ blogging world. Blows my mind. Doesn’t hurt that I am totally in love with that cottage and the tree bench. Love!!

Kim March 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

What a charming cozy cottage. It’s a perfect place to relax and get away from the world.

CottageGirl March 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Honestly Sarah changed my life! What a charming place to write in your graditude journal!

Brandy March 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I am in love! Now if only I had the cash and the ability to up and leave for England. I’d be there tomorrow!

Amy @ The Button Casa March 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm

What a sweet cottage, I’m so glad she let you know about it. I can’t imagine moving to England but I suppose a girl can dream…

kathie March 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I am so thrilled to have seen this story! I have read Sarah’s books and feel like I know the cottage after reading about when she moved in. She has been an inspiration to me over the years.

laney March 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

…oh my…fully furnished?…i think not…the books are all gone…

Carrie March 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Love it!! I have her Simple Abundance book on my dresser.

carol March 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I would love to look head on at the colorful artwork over the sofa.

She obviously is ready to move out or already has because I noticed all the bookshelves were empty – how sad.

Wish I was already retired and we could rent it for a year.

Parnassus March 17, 2012 at 3:32 am

I agree with Patience that some of the ‘cuteness’ in the house need to be exorcised. I guess I’m the kind of person who would like a restoration that emphasized history rather than charm. That’s one of the great things about England; there is so much history everywhere, and so many buildings connected with important people and events. By the way, Breathnach didn’t say what variety of apple tree it was.
–Road to Parnassus

The Little Red Shop March 17, 2012 at 4:05 am

Did you squeal a little (or a lot) when she contacted you? What a special treat, the cottage looks lovely.

: )

Julie M.

Christina from Dallas March 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

What a beautiful cottage. I just love the word “cottage” too!

Mary March 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

LOOKS SO lovely – back to my roots!!! Such a beautiful garden:)
Mary x

Carolyn March 17, 2012 at 10:30 am

Having read several of Sarah’s books, I was thrilled when she bought Newton’s Chapel and felt she was living my dream. My heart sank when I read in her latest book how she had to sell. How could you part with your dream? Turns out the fairy tale dealt her a rotten apple with her British husband. I had always wanted to see pictures of the cottage, and I’m so glad you posted this. It looks very much like I’d pictured it. Though it seems very bare now, stripped of her precious books and with little furniture, I can easily imagine it filled with life and warmth again. I think I would keep it rather spare and unfussy (banish the out-of-date checked valance, balloon shades and bed treatment), but have plenty of books to feed the life of the mind and spirit inherent in the bones of this place. I’d love to sit on that bench under the tree or in one of those window seats, and I’d love to see the apple tree and roses in bloom. Love those concrete apples, too! Sigh.

debbie bailey March 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

When I was reading in Sarah’s book about her buying the cottage, I groaned inwardly with longing. I would LOVE to have an English cottage, but mine would have a thatched roof. I’ve determined that if I can’t move to England, then I’m going to make my own cottage as Englishy as possible.

Frances Schultz March 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Julia, this is a brilliant post and epitomizes why so many people love your blog! Brava, Frances

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... March 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

What a great place!

Wendy March 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Perfect.

Janice Mahon March 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Oh my goodness! At first glance, I thought of the country house in Howard’s End, the big tree in the yard with the pigs teeth in the bark. I am not familiar with her works, think I’ll head over to Amazon to check it out. Wow, so very very British. Thank you.

HollyM March 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I’m glad it is hers to sell and that she did not lose it in her divorce from the **** that she had married. It was up in the air at the time she wrote her Peace and Plenty book (which I have). As an avid Victoria reader (who has saved every issue), I was enthralled with this cottage when it appeared in their pages. Considering how darn expensive real estate is on the other side of the pond, this seems like a steal for the lucky person who can snatch it up.

Nigel March 21, 2012 at 6:57 am

It´s lovely to see that an old cottage like that has survived the test of time, in fact it looks very well looked after. Im glad to see that it is still being used as these old English cottages look so gorgous especially in the sprintime sun.

I´m suprised in some ways though the English Heritage hadn´t snapped it up and made it a monument.

Ruthie Chong June 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Aloha,

I dream of a little cottage somewhere in the U.S. and I’m ready to move into it as soon as I find it. I just don’t know how to find one. If you can put me in touch with anyone selling a charming little cottage, please do so. Or, send me any links that you might have to connect me with cottages.

I would be so thankful and grateful!

Mahalo from Honolulu,
Ruthie

hookedonhouses June 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Ruthie! You can see all of the cottages I’ve featured over the years here:

http://hookedonhouses.net/cottages/

Not sure which ones are still on the market, but you can check them out. Good luck!

Elizabeth Bedell April 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

I love that Sarah lived there. That’s the most important fact for
Me. I am reading her new book Peace and Plenty because I too am in a financial rebuilt at 56. Thanks to Sarah I have the courage to follow her lead!

Shari April 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm

This is my favorite of the cottages listed here. It’s very warm and cozy. Also, I love the history of this home. Who couldn’t enjoy living here?

Lara Newton July 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm

This purchase is on my to do list. He supposedly is in my genealogy. Where is the exact location?

hookedonhouses July 25, 2013 at 8:26 am

Lincolnshire. I’m not sure if it’s still for sale or not. Follow the link to her website for more information!

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