This is a Story About Girl Power Before Girl Power Even Existed

This is a wacky 16-sided house the overlooks the sea called A La Ronde.

And this is Mary Parminter, the wacky woman who built it over two hundred years ago.  I like her, a lot.  Because when her dad died and she inherited his big fat business fortune, she didn't just sit around waiting for suitors with $$$ in their eyes to put a fancy ring on her rich little finger.  (Or I guess since this is England they would have £££ in their eyes but that just throws off my groove completely.)

Instead, she packed up her stuff and marched off to Europe, taking her sister and two girlfriends with her.  And the four girls toured Europe for 10 years, because why not?

That is girl power I tell you.  Especially in the 1700s, that took some serious bravado.

When the girls came back from Europe, two of them decided to build their dream house by the sea, all on their own.  And they wanted it to have 16 sides and diamond-shaped windows, because why not?  And they covered the upper level of the house with seashells in intricate designs, and made friezes out of feathers in the living room.

And they lived there as happy spinsters in their own quirky world surrounded by all the strange things they'd collected on their travels, while all the other girls in this Jane-Austen era were doing the whole must-visit-miss-so-and-so-for-tea-and-oh-simply-must-find-a-suitable-husband shtick.

And they read a lot of books and kept them in wedges between rooms.  And they were so far outside the box of normality that people laughed and pitied and worried and mocked.  But Mary stuck to her guns.  And when she died, she stated in her will that down through the centuries, the house could only be inherited by a woman.

Take that, social norms.  I love this woman.

1 comment:

Super L said...

Woah, that is awesome! How funny and cool and inspiring! Man I wanna go there.