Gavin Plumley considered himself a distinctly urban being… until he met his rural husband, Alastair. Together, they bought Stepps House – a three-storey building in Pembridge, Herefordshire. But then came the inevitable question from an insurance salesman: ‘How old is it?’ With ancient beams crossing the ceiling, the date they’d been given of 1800 seemed out by centuries. As he traced Stepps House through various eras, he saw the picture of a past emerge that resonates powerfully with our present. Plumley is a cultural historian who grew up in Wales. He talks to writer and broadcaster Horatio Clare, author of Running for the Hills.