The History of Sitting Spiritually

In 2004, Martin Young felt he would like to open his newly created garden 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 what 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 swing seat, the USA and sent for some 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. With a few aesthetic tweaks, and using the Carpentry skills his father had insisted upon him, this was 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 that 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.' He cleared a space in his garage, bought some local Devon Oak and began work.

So the first of Martin's swing seats was created and can still be seen in the Sitting Spiritually Garden today. Two months later the 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.

Come & see for yourself how the Sitting Spiritually garden has evolved over the years at our Open Weekends in May, we'd love to see you there.

The first Sitting Spiritually Swing Seat, still in the garden to this day
The first Sitting Spiritually Swing Seat, still in the garden to this day

The rest, as they say, is history...

Sitting Spiritually was born - those first visitors poured in to the garden and admired the swing seat so much that six of them commissioned Martin to make a swing seat for them that Summer. It seemed he wasn't the only one with dreams of beautifully made swing seats. To his joy, he realised he had the beginnings of a new business, so Sitting Spiritually was born and  in 2012 Sitting Spiritually were extremely proud to become the only bespoke swing and bench Makers Licensed by The RHS. 

Cathy Snow, Licensing Manager, RHS, says:

“The breathtaking designs that Sitting Spiritually has produced are a constant delight. Its RHS licensed range has always exceeded our expectations.”

Read more about the Evolution of an RHS Licensee here.

The company has gone from strength to strength and whilst Martin now no longer makes the swing seats himself, they have a team of five craftsmen working with them, all based within a five mile radius of Sitting Spiritually HQ.

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

Posted by Siobhan on March 21st 2019


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