Letter: Wreck of house in a "heritage trap"

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The Independent Online
From Mrs Barbara Macdonald

Sir: I was absolutely appalled to read Marianne Macdonald's article "House caught in the heritage trap" (17 March) about the listed house Torilla.

Torilla was commissioned by my mother, designed and built by F. R. S. Yorke, for me and my little family, in 1934. It was specifically designed by Mr Yorke as a complete contrast to my mother's house next door. Her house, Great Nast Hyde, is an Elizabethan house of outstanding beauty that could not be imitated, and on the other side, the houses were quite ordinary 20th-century dwellings of no architectural value.

We lived in Torilla for five years before the war, and it was lovely. We left, in 1939, to join my husband in New Zealand; and later my mother moved from her much larger house to live in Torilla, where she was very happy until German raids on Hatfield aerodrome became too hazardous. Torilla was then taken over by - I think - the RAF, on a lease. When they vacated it, my mother sold it for £6,000.

The new owner, Amerigo Brusini, may have had ideas of building a house for himself after demolishing Torilla, but he would be hard put to find an architect to design something that would not clash with Great Nast Hyde, which is so close by. I'm only terribly sorry that this lovely house has been reduced to a pathetic looking wreck.

Yours faithfully,


Moretonhamstead, Devon

20 March