Friday, September 6, 2013

THE SPREAD EAGLE -- As It Exists In Our Modern World

Hello fans of GREEN DARKNESS--

This is part II in our Q & A e-interviews with the managers of locales mentioned in Anya Seton's novel GREEN DARKNESS.

Edward James, General Manager at The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa, kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

Q: How many visitors come to The Spread Eagle in a year?

A: At least 30,000.

Q: Of those, how many make mention of their being there because of the novel GREEN DARKNESS and/or its author Anya Seton?

A: A low proportion sadly but it is not a question we normally pose. [We learned that, unlike Cowdray Castle, there isn't a gift shop at The Spread Eagle, so they don't sell copies of GREEN DARKNESS to their visitors/customers.]

Q: Are any of those visitors doing a tour of the other locales mentioned in the novel? Is The Spread Eagle listed on any official tours of locations in GREEN DARKNESS, the novel? Does The Spread Eagle do any tie-in connections to Ightham Mote?

A: I have never pursued this form of interest, as I have failed to make good connection with any interested parties. It is a shame. [Perhaps this Q & A session will increase the interaction between neighboring GREEN DARKNESS locales or spur the formation of clubs to develop such tour connections.]

Q: The outside of the building appears to have the charm of yesteryear, how has the interior changed? How much of it is still authentic from the Tudor period? How old is the building?

A: The building is listed [with The National Trust] and therefore we have not been able to change it too much, but we have all the modern conveniences inside so one could say it has changed massively.  The White Room where Anya Seton stayed has remained as is, although since the building's conception, enormous changes have occurred in that particular room.  The oldest part of the building is the lounge bar and the Queens suite and this has remained relatively untouched, leaving it true to its Tudor origins of c.1430.

Q: When did it change from Tavern to Hotel Spa? Which was it when author Anya Seton was there? How has it changed much since?

A: The exact date of the designation change is unknown, but probably pre 1793. The two buildings were joined in about 1840 when it became a hotel.  Though it was an Inn (as opposed to a Tavern) for much of that time, this was where wealthy individuals would stay overnight.  The Spa was built in 1997.  It was only a hotel when Anya Seton wrote her book.  There have been lots of cosmetic changes, but most bits are still here and intact.

Q: Are there artifacts from past centuries displayed around The Spread Eagle?

A: There are many all around the hotel that have historical interest. [Edward advises us that unfortunately he cannot provide any more details about these artifacts.]

Q: Have any ghosts have been recorded as residing at The Spread Eagle? Any suggestions as to who they might have been while they were alive?

A: There are many ghosts that apparently move around the hotel. There are suggestions as to who they are, but I cannot name them, sadly.  Their pictures are hung around the property.

Q: Please give us your official website so GREEN DARKNESS fans who cannot get to England can take a virtual tour of this majestic estate.


The official website has some stunning photos of The Spread Eagle. Do check it out.

Check back here for part III of the series -- a Q & A for Ightham Mote!

Keep spreading the word of this blog. It gives us more ammunition to promote our screenplay adaptation to prospective producers.

Until next time--
Marla & Angela


  1. I visited the Spread Eagle in 1985 specifically because I'm a long-time fan of Green Darkness - STILL after all these years my favorite book. I've bought many copies to give away to friends. Sadly I circumstances have kept me from a return visit to the UK so this was my only visit to the Spread Eagle, but I do treasure my memories and photos of that visit. As I recall, the front desk staff at that time was somewhat ignorant of the book and it's mention of local locales, though I did climb St. Anne's hill to the ruins of the old chapel, crossed the Rother and saw the ruins of Cowdray. I didn't get to Ightham Mote, but hope to at some point if I can afford to travel to England again. Pity the Spread Eagle doesn't sell copies of the book - it would be a wonderful way for more people to become enthralled with Ms. Seton's (in my opinion, BEST...) work.

    1. Hi, Ayla:
      Thanks for your comment. It is our sincere hope that pointing out the Green Darkness connection to the managers of the Spread Eagle will stir the interest of their patrons and the entire community, resulting in enough interest to help us get this film MADE! It's been an uphill battle.
      We are doing everything we can conceive of to make that film a reality.
      Wish us luck! If you know any producers or folks with deep pockets, please send them to us! :)