Our Story Revisited

Many of you will know the story of Sitting Spiritually, but thanks to the rapid spread of Social Media, we now have many new followers and customers who have asked us to tell our story….

In 2004, Martin Young felt he would like to open his newly created garden near Lyme Regis,  under the National Garden Scheme. He remembers the day the inspector came to visit, clutching her Yellow Book and clipboard full of the necessary criteria, “It's perfect but our members like to sit down and contemplate the garden, the planting and the view” the inspector explained, “but you have no seating so I'm afraid we can't include you this year unless you can sort this out in the next few weeks.”

Martin had always loved the type of evocative solid wooden swing seats he had seen in American films and he saw this as an excuse to buy one, but as he began to do his research— through retailers and online— he quickly realised that he simply wasn't going to find that classic garden swing seat he wanted and was astonished at the lack of choice, 'I must have sat on at least 20 seats and looked at the same amount again online' he laughs, 'but they were all horrible; flimsy and badly made from foreign hardwoods or clunky metal or plastic ones, they didn't meet my expectations at all.'


In frustration, Martin turned to the home of the garden swing seat, the USA, and sent for some wooden  swing seat plans he found on the internet.  After they’d arrived and he’d begun to unfold them, Martin could see immediately that this was what he had been looking for all along. With a few aesthetic tweaks, and using the carpentry skills his father had insisted upon, this was clearly something he could make himself.

Martin will never forget his father’s words to him when he was a young lad, as he persuaded him to do a Carpentry Apprenticeship “It’s like swimming Martin, you’ve always got it to fall back on and you never know when you might need it”.

Martin cleared a space in his garage, bought some local Devon Oak and began work.  So the first of Martin’s wooden swing seats was created and can still be seen in the Sitting Spiritually Garden today. Two  months later the NGS inspector returned to see the swing seat in situ and announced that they would be delighted to add Bramble Hayes to their list of gardens to visit.

The very first Sitting Spiritually Swing Seat
The very first Sitting Spiritually Swing Seat


The rest, as they say, is history - those first visitors poured in to the garden and admired the garden swing seat so much that six of them commissioned Martin to make a wooden swing seat for them that Summer. It seemed he wasn't the only one with dreams of beautifully made garden swing seats. To his joy, he realised he had the beginnings of a new business, so Sitting Spiritually was born. Whilst Martin is still very hands on, he no longer makes the swing seats himself, there is a loyal team of six local joiners who create them, all from their workshops within a ten mile radius of Sitting Spiritually HQ.

Celebrating its 14th Birthday in 2018, not to mention its 1640th plus Commission, Sitting Spiritually has gone from strength to strength. In 2012 Sitting Spiritually were extremely proud to become the only bespoke swing and bench Makers Licensed by The RHS.

The garden, with many swing seats in it, can still be visited by appointment and in 2018 we are delighted to be hosting three special Open Weekends so like those early visitors many years ago, do pop along and try out a good old fashioned wooden garden swing seat for yourself, many of the team will be on hand to meet you.

Celia & Martin Young in the Sitting Spiritually Garden
Celia & Martin Young in the Sitting Spiritually Garden

Posted by Siobhan on February 13th 2018

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