Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Counting House Knockers

Just 100 yards from where I am currently working is a hostelry called "The Counting House". It was built in 1893, on top of the foundations of a 2000-year-old Roman basilica, as Prescott's Bank. My work colleagues and I love the sumptuous interior. However, this story involves the exterior of the building. 

I was walking past on my morning commute (hence semi-darkness in photos) when I spotted that the front door of the Counting House has two lion's head knockers, absolutely identical to those I have recently installed on the front door of the castle. A few yards further on, the service door for the Counting House sported a letter box of almost identical design to the one I had just installed on a side door of the castle. 

What an amazing coincidence! Presumably the brass fittings at the Counting House were from the same company, so inadvertently I had bought coordinated fittings from the same company but in separate purchases. My two lion's heads were bought in two separate purchases as well, and I was delighted to get a matching pair. I never thought this would happen. I can also now date my fittings to 1893, a bit later than the castle (1860) but within the correct period ballpark.

Lion's head knockers are in essence portal lions in microcosm: those grand statues of lions either side of the entrance ways to ancient cities. There was originally a lion's head bell pull on the front door of Balintore Castle, long since gone but visible in old photos in this blog, which was no doubt inspired by the first owner's name of Lyon.

The morale of this story is that the almost instinctual choices we make in aesthetics, but also in other matters, hold strong truths and patterns that we may not even be aware of. Until that is, we are walking around the streets of London and spot things that are strangely familiar.  :-)

the Counting House on my morning commute

lion's head knockers at the Counting House
lion's head knockers at Balintore Castle

letter box at the Counting House

letter box at Balintore Castle


  1. Fabulous when things come together. More blessings to you and the castle, David.

    1. Thanks for your kind sentiments! In the long haul of the restoration (11 years and counting and not a single finished room) little victories - let getting a matching knocker - are essential to hold insanity at bay.

    2. It is a huge structure, a castle. You are doing fine, David. We, your fans, appreciate what you do.