1. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Moving into a chapel converted twenty years ago...

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Noya Desherbanté, Dec 11, 2010.

    My MC buys and moves into a small fourteenth-century chapel in a tiny westcountry village, which has been empty ever since its conversion in the late 1980's. Having absolutely no idea about converting a chapel, and only a pinch more about moving house in general, I was hoping someone would be able to give me some very general points? I've looked into all the legal processes, but still need to know about:

    • Would there be a telephone socket installed/ready to plug in a telephone?
    • Would the water be connected, and if not how would she go about getting water into the taps, and how long would it take?
    • Ditto for electricity?
    • After the diocese (?) effectively gave up the chapel to be converted into a house (I know a little about this from research), what would happen to the graves? If it helps, there is a conversion a couple of miles from me which still has graves, in their own little enclosure surrounded by a stone wall.

    After the chapel was converted, no one lived there and it was left completely empty. I have her walking in and there's dead leaves on the floor, general mustiness, but nothing in disrepair. Anything else you have to add would be hugely appreciated; thank you from an inexperienced fictional property buyer!! :D
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it was a good quality conversion, sympathetic to the building etc it should just need a clean up.

    After 20 years there will be a phone socket. However BT will take weeks to reconnect it (about 3). Electricity will need replacing at very least checking - chances are pipework and boiler will also need replacing.

    I don't know about the graves and should lol - chances are they will have been fenced off and retained - I think public access needs to be granted. However I am in Scotland and rules have changed. At very least you will probably have restrictions on the deeds about how you can dig and where. (Have a friend who can't dig because of a monks burial ground at edge of her garden).
     
  3. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Ah, three weeks is a good long time for my MC to get uncomfortable without any Internet... :p I'll have her check the pipes and boiler too.

    As for the graves - couldn't have imagined a better reply, thank you, it's great when stuff you write already fits into the facts! How interesting about your friend, I would love to have that at the bottom of my garden!! :D

    About the water/electricity again - do you think after a period of the house not being in use these would have been 'switched off'? As in, when she turned the taps nothing came out? And would she have to contact the company saying she was living there to get them to turn each back on and bill her?? :)
     
  4. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    If the building was in use up to the 1980s, it likely (not necessarily though) had electricity, phone, maybe plumbing.

    Being boarded up for a quarter century, there's every chance that the various utilities have gone bad though, and will need to be replaced. However, if it was closed up as it should and a caretaker (even an informal one) checked up every now and then, then all should be in order. In other words, you could probably have this work and that not work as needed for your story.

    "...do you think after a period of the house not being in use these would have been 'switched off'..."

    They should have been switched off the moment they knew the building would not have been in use for a long period. If not, the electric company would have switched the electrical off the moment the bills stopped being paid. Regarding the water, if your setting gets cold winters, and if the water was not drained from the pipes (and the building left unheated), there is every chance that pipes would have burst, flodding basements and ruining wood/plaster walls when the pipes thaw the next day/week/month. That's a common occurance in cottage country.

    Actually, it'll be a lot like cottage country. We have many cabins that were built 50, 60, 70 years ago without any utitilities. Then, along the way the kids or grandchildren got the cottage and added them. Another generation passes and people move out of state - the cottage is boarded and abandoned. Some fall into disrepair, others have a local who looks after them and could be re-opened without much trouble.

    -Frank
     
  5. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Frank - excellent about the bills, just what I needed to know. :) The converter of the chapel would have known it wouldn't be in use for a good twenty years yet, so I reckon now the electricity and water would have been switched off and maybe drained... even so, the chapel is in a soggy area so I think a few damp cracks in the plaster would be a good detail to add. Thanks so much. :D
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't need a home telephone to gain access to the internet - I use a Mobile Broadband Dongle. You get them from any good mobile phone shop and you can use them straight away.
     
  7. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...You don't need a home telephone to gain access to the internet..."

    LOL - we live in a cell-phone dead zone. A couple miles in any direction for that matter! It's either phone lines (just upgraded for DSL, yea!) or satellite.

    I don't know where Noya plans on setting her story, exactly, but there are still large swaths of countryside without wireless access.

    Actually, I was thinking. Decades old phone lines may have some cross-talk issues. Even dial-up may pose problematic. Or not. Or, have problems that are easily solved. Noya can pretty much decide on how much difficulty she wants the MC to have and justify it.

    -Frank
     
  8. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    It would suit me great, because my MC's village (in the westcountry of England) is very rural, and she can't easily get into town to buy a dongle, plus setting up the Internet herself is a major independent milestone for her. :) Thanks for all your help everyone!!
     

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