After their mother's marriage the family decided to sell the Wigwam. The three eldest sons had their own homes in Paignton and no longer used the Wigwam as a holiday home it was still occupied by a caretaker and his staff.

When the brothers received their inheritance, they had a good spend though they had never been short of money before. Mortimer at 29 had spent the interest on his inheritance and was down to the capital.

The trustees of the estate were advised of the families decision and preparations went ahead for a sale by auction. Then Paris decided to buy the shares of his brothers and sisters in the Wigwam. That was in 1893.

It had cost Isaac Singer £100,000 to have the Wigwam, Pavilion, Gardenique, banqueting hall and the conservatory built. When Paris was 11 years old, the trustees bought in his name, the Redcliffe Towers Estate which had been built just above the shore line of Preston Beach. Land had also been bought between Oldway Road (the old road) and the inland village of Marldon, so the Fernham Estate covered an area of 81 acres, from Marldon to Preston sea front.

In 1904 Isabella died, she was 62 years old. Paris then started his alterations of the Wigwam which his father had built for his wife in 1875 into his own dream home, Oldway Mansion.

Paris was very fond of his mother and while she was alive he would never have altered her home, but he did plan for the future. He travelled in France buying the plans for the staircase and the sketches of a historic ceiling which were once in the Palace of Versailles.

He bought marble statues, ornate mirrors, chandeliers and paintings. Everything was ready for the work to start on three sides of the building, but the West Side of the Wigwam was left as it was in memory of his father, Isaac Merritt Singer.

© copyright Dorothy Atkinson

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