I spent most of yesterday visiting Traquair, the oldest continually occupied house in Scotland. The highlight of my visit was the two resident King Charles' spaniels, a delightful puppy fix. It boggles the mind to think that a house has been lived in for almost 1000 years, and this one is noteable in that for most of that time it was by two branches of one family. Pretty cool to have the ancestors looking down from their portraits during lunch.
One family story involved an escape from the Tower of London, in which the wife visited daily with a servant wearing a hooded cloak, and one day had the servant switch places with the imprisoned husband. The story includes the wife's return later to extricate the servant, but I wonder if that isn't a modern fabrication to make us feel less badly about the servant's sacrifice. I found myself awake at 2am, wondering whether that story wasn't the inspiration for Barty Crouch, Jr's escape from Azkahban.