Glen Ellen Farm
Then & Now
Glen Ellen Farm is truly a unique experience, nestled on 30 acres of sprawling hills and stream fed meadows, surrounded by horse farms. This masterfully restored 1850's Greek Revival manor was once the home of Lady Ellen Thompson, presumed ghostwriter of the romance novel, Lorna Doone. The three spacious verandas promise to uplift and inspire guests with beautiful vistas. At Glen Ellen Farm we provide the perfect balance of sophisticated charm and rustic elegance. A beautiful new country event venue with a one-of-a-kind setting for your unforgettable life event.
Today Glen Ellen Farm is an outdoor, tented facility incorporating the use of the old barn ruin and a ceremony site near the stone springhouse and spring-fed pond, where visitors can relax immersed in the breathtaking beauty of the great outdoors and the historic estate.
In 2000, the current owner undertook an extensive renovation project and discovered the true -and very unique- nature of the house. The builder and original owner of the house was John Brown, who was noted as the civil engineer supervisor on the Old Main Line of the B&O Railroad. During the 1830's, the railways were modernizing, replacing the wooden stringer rails with iron rails. He used the discarded rails for the rafters and joists in the framing of the house in the 1850's. "No one knew that they were used to that extent in this house," ...so the research began by contacting the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.
A small accounting in 'The Story of a Country Village', a history of Ijamsville written by Judge Charles Moylan in 1951, reveals "one can still see the track marks, cut by the wheels of the first cars, in the timbers of the stringers in the basement cellar." No one knew that the entire house was built out of the stringers until the renovation took the house literally back to the rafters and the B&O Museum staff verified that the entire house was built out of the 'extremely rare' rail stringers and spikes
In 1874, Professor Herbert Thompson and his wife Ellen purchased the Brown property. Together they set up a private school, Glenellen Academy, in the manor house in 1878, and named it in honor of his wife, Lady Ellen, and the glen near which the house was built. Professor Thompson had attended King's College in London and was a graduate of Cambridge. Lady Ellen was a niece of the treasurer of the Bank of England. She was a poet and author of note and taught music at the Academy. Grades taught included elementary to the highest scientific subjects at a tuition cost of $100 per year. Peak enrollment was about forty and, including the summer sessions, the Academy was open practically all of the year. The couple ran the Glenellen Academy until about 1888, but even after its official closure continued to give special instructions and engage in considerable tutoring. The two owned Glenellen for over 30 years
Dr. George H. Riggs, who attended Glenellen for about six years, refers to Prof. Thompson as "a most thorough and able teacher." He credits Lady Ellen Thompson with being the collaborator and ghost writer, if not the real author, of Lorna Doone, the famous novel by Richard Dodderidge Blackmore. He declares Lady Ellen openly claimed to be the author and that she had her relative Blackmore publish it under his own name.