Isolated farmhouse was built in the late nineteenth century. It was originally used as a retreat for priests from the Brompton Oratory in London, hence the name. It is probably not the sort of place that would be associated with heavy metal music.
However, it was this farmhouse that the band Deep Purple chose to rent in 1970, in order to work on their fifth studio album, Fireball.
For Deep Purple, this was the start of probably their most creative period. Deep Purple In Rock had been released in June, 1970, and work began on Fireball in September. Having started work on the album in London, the band (Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, and Ritchie Blackmore) relocated themselves to the Hermitage in the middle of December.
Several songs from the album are thought to have been written and first played at the Hermitage. Roger Glover later confirmed that the song Strange Kind of Woman (bizarrely omitted from the album but released as a single) was also written here. He describes the period at The Hermitage as
“a mad time . . . lots of hauntings, goings-on, and seances . . . a great period in Purple’s history”.
As well as the seances, and occasional violence, the band also spent much time at the local pub, The Welcombe Inn which, sadly, has since closed.