What is Footsteps about?
When Ellie stays with Gran for the summer, she hears footsteps in the night. But the only other person in the house is Gran and Ellie knows the footsteps are not hers. Six-months previously, her cousin Sol also heard the footsteps in Gran's house. But Ellie can't discuss them with Sol – he died in a car crash within weeks of hearing them.
Ellie soon uncovers an old legend associated with the house: anyone who hears them dies within the month. Ellie tries to talk to Gran about her discoveries but Gran doesn't take her seriously.
I've decided to jot down some additional things that might or might not find their way into this story:
Belongs to rich distant cousin who has asked Gran to house-sit it for a year or two, while rich relative is abroad.
Has been rebuilt and modified over the centuries
Suffered a serious fire in the past
Has a 16th century tower (like Canon's Ashby)
Has topiary in the shape of chess pieces in the gardens
Has a large pond
Has a chapel or has the parish church next door (like Canon's Ashby or Broughton Castle). (Ellie may hear bells in the night)
Has a cat that "know's" when something bad is about to happen.
Photos of historic houses and gardens
These may serve me as "models" for aspects of the house and garden in Footsteps
The church next to Canon's Ashby
Oldway Mansion (Paignton)
Lytes Carey Manor
After seeing the fantastic sculpture garden at Burghley House in Lincolnshire - some photos below - I am considering adding one to Gran's house. I am thinking of a scene for Footsteps where a innocent and pleasant sculpture park becomes loaded with menace...
Other significant items
18th or 19th century automata. Perhaps there is a small collection in the house or attic or there is one particular piece that is sinister or creepy?
A rocking horse that rocks by itself?
Sounds (musical instrument?), smells (leather, polish, ether, antiseptic), a face at the window? Voices on the wind.
A sundial with an apt motto
The church and churchyard
There are some key scenes in Footsteps involving the church and churchyard in Ashbey House. The inspiration for this setting comes from Cowden in Sussex where these pictures were taken.
The gardens of Nymans, Handcross, West Sussex
Used for some of the gardens at Asbey Hall
More garden pictures including those used as the model used for hedges and pond at Ashby House
Stamford Military Hospital
From April 1917 to January 1919, Dunham Massey Hall in Cheshire became the Stamford Military Hospital. It was intended for soldiers whose injuries, whilst not life threatening, were of sufficient gravity to require medical care. In 2014, the National Trust who owns Dunham Massey converted part of it back to Stamford Military Hospital. We visited in early November 2014.