Discovering the Setting for The Governess of Highland Hall

by | Jul 23, 2013 | My Books | 12 comments

Early in 2012 when I started working on ideas for The Governess of Highland Hall, I wanted to find an English country estate for my setting. I am a visual person, and finding images for my characters and setting brings the story to life for me. I loved visiting Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed, and I wanted to find an estate that gave a similar impression but was unique. After a short search online, I discovered Tyntesfield, and I was delighted when I followed several more links to other images and articles. It was the perfect inspiration for the Ramsey family’s Highland Hall.

Tyntesfield is a beautiful Victorian Gothic Revival house and estate near Wraxall, North Somerset, England. The house is a Grade I listed building and now is owned by the National Trust of England.

The house is named after the Tynte baronets, who had owned estates in the area since about 1500. The location was formerly a 16th-century hunting lodge, which was used as a farmhouse until the early 19th century. In the 1830s a Georgian mansion was built on the site, and it was bought by William Gibbs, an English businessman, who made his fortune by importing guano (bird droppings) from South America that was used to make fertilizer. Gibbs became the wealthest non-noble in England for a time. Gibbs had a beautiful chapel added in the 1870s. The Gibbs family owned the house until the death of Richard Gibbs in 2001.

Tyntesfield was acquired by the National Trust in June 2002 after a fundraising campaign to prevent it being sold to private interests and to ensure it would be open to the public. The house was opened to visitors for the first time just 10 weeks after the acquisition, and over 189,000 people visited Tynestesfield in 2012. I hope to visit Tyntesfield in person next spring.

Several of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall are set in the great hall, the gallery, and the nursery. So I thought you would like a peek at those areas of the house.

Julia, Andrew, and Millie spend a lot of time in the nursery.

Julia, Andrew, and Millie spend a lot of time in the nursery.

What do you think it would be like to live in a house like this?

Would you like a sneak peek at the first chapter?

Still eager for more? Here is my Pinterest board with lots more photos.




  1. Terri Gillespie

    Beautiful! It sure makes sense that families require so many servants. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Janella

    It’s been a dream of mine to visit England and I would love to visit places just like this. The grounds and garden must be very impressive.

  3. Anne Payne

    GORGEOUS!!! Love that nursery 🙂 Now I can picture it in my head as I read the book. I would want to live there, not work there 😉

  4. Carrie Turansky

    Thanks, Anne, Janella, and Terri! I agree, it would be a beautiful place to live, but you would need a huge staff to take care of it. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Carrie Pagels

    It is so wonderful finding a fabulous setting for books! So glad you discovered this great place! Looking forward to your newest book, Carrie! Blessings!

  6. Scott Turansky

    I would like to go there as long as we go together.

  7. Debbie Lester

    I received your book, The Governess of Highland Hall from Blogging for Books and just finished it. I wanted more! I see in your “work in progress” that you are writing another book, it sounds like a Book 2 for this one. I sure hope so, because I didn’t want this book to end.

  8. Lisa Harness

    The more I read the blogs of different writers the more absorbed I get into their books. Definitely on my TBR stack. Thanks for opportunity to win

  9. Alice C.

    Oh my! Breathtaking pictures. I <3 the marble fireplace in the great hall.

    • Carrie Turansky

      Hi Alice, Tyntesfield is so lovely! Yes, each fireplace is a work of art!

  10. Chris

    Wow! What detail . . . the woodwork, walls, floors I couldn’t figure out where to look first! Thank you for sharing. I have read all of your Love Inspired books/Novellas and can not wait to read “The Governess of Highland Hall!” I am now a huge fan of Downton Abby too! Blessings!

  11. Chris

    Had to add . . .I will be looking at the beautiful Pinterest board for many months to come!!! Thanks!!


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