Wolsey and Merrill Jameson first met in their student years at Queen’s University Belfast; Wolsey was studying engineering, while Merrill was also immersed in her studies.
After graduating, the young couple lived in Northern Ireland, before their careers saw them moving across the Irish Sea to Great Britain, which included stints living and working across England. Wolsey worked as a mechanical engineer with Unilever and Merrill as a teacher. Over the years the couple have lived in Hampshire and Yorkshire before moving to Bath and finally to Wiltshire, which eventually led them to Castle Village.
The Jameson’s came across Castle Village online four years ago, but they wanted to avoid the thought they were moving into a retirement home. So, the idea was put on hold.
But it wasn’t too long before Castle Village reappeared on the horizon. After seeing a selection of Castle Village properties appear on Rightmove, Mr and Mrs Jameson went on to view a number of retirement properties in the Berkhamsted area.
However, it was the stunning rural location and beautifully landscaped grounds of Castle Village that won the couple over, with Mr Jameson describing them as an “absolute delight”.
Family is home
Mr and Mrs Jameson have two daughters and six grandchildren and it was the pull of the family that was the catalyst to move. With one daughter in Tring and the other in Little Brick Hill, they are now both less than an hour away.
“We had wanted to live closer to our daughters for some time and had been discussing a move for many years, but the dilemma was when to make the move, and where to go. Moving is very stressful and we wanted to do it while we were young and able to do so,” said Mrs Jameson.
Once the decision had been made to move, it happened very quickly. The couples’ house sold very quickly and they moved into their home at Castle Village only six months after they had attended an open day.
Mr and Mrs Jameson took their time to consider all of their options, comparing living in an independent apartment in Berkhamsted with purchasing a property in a retirement village, such as Castle Village.
The fact that local people had moved into the village was a big deciding factor for the Jamesons. They felt reassured by the fact that locals wouldn’t have moved into the village if it had had a bad reputation.
“The leasehold didn’t put us off at all. We travel a lot, so it’s a plus for us to be able to ‘lock up and leave’ and feel secure. At first, the service charge seems high, but when you look into it further, you can see everything that is included in it. It’s an investment really, everything you pay for, you reap a reward,” said Mr Jameson.
While Wolsey and Merrill don’t currently require any care, they recognise that it may become something they need in the future and they agreed it was reassuring to know it’s available should they need it.
“You can be involved as much or as little as you like” Merrill explains, “a lot of the residents have active lives outside of the village. It’s also reassuring to know that if any of the residents did find themselves on their own, we would still be able to live comfortably and have the village community around us.”
As they had hoped, Wolsey and Merrill see a lot more of their family since making the move to Castle Village. Their grandchildren visit frequently, often coming for dinner, or using their home as a peaceful spot to revise for their school exams.
The Jamesons have also made use of the “cost-effective” on-site guest suites with friends and family staying a number of times since they moved in December 2017.
The Jamesons added that the local area and Castle Village have made a real impact on them: “Castle Village and Berkhamsted is a delightful area to live in. It’s a real market town and the walks from the village are wonderful. The transport links are fantastic too; London is only 30 minutes by train. We often visit London to see exhibitions and being so close means we don’t need to stay over.”
Mr and Mrs Jameson also have some favourite local spots that they frequent, such as visiting the local art deco cinema and have fallen in love with the local café culture and all of the tempting places to eat.
While the Jamesons enjoy exploring the surrounding areas and venturing further afield, they have also immersed themselves in life at Castle Village. They are involved with the regular village coffee mornings and Merrill is part of the gardening group.
Another element of village life that they lavish with praise is the Resident’s Association.
“The Resident’s Association is so important because it’s taken seriously and it’s an open line of communication between management and residents. The rules and regulations make living in a shared environment great.”
Mr and Mrs Jameson urged anyone thinking about moving to a retirement village to do it while you can still thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle.