This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
For many generations, Gypsies have been welcome on Chesteen land.
It isn’t easy being a Gypsie in this modern era, in fact it has never been easy.
Their nomadic lifestyle and all the legends that have built up around them has made it hard for them to live their lives peacefully.
Chesteen land is a sanctuary. A place of welcome and safety. The family will not tolerate any harassment by the locals or the police, and the Chesteen family has the clout to back it up.
Chesteen Pies have been the districts biggest employer for more than a century.
Their pies are extremely popular right across the country and although the contents of their pies are just the usual good quality beef and gravy, the difference comes from the crust.
Their competitors think that it is just a marketing ploy but there really is a secret ingredient.
It was decided long ago, by the company founder Brenton Chesteen, that the secret should not be written down for fear that it might fall into the wrong hands.
Only two members of the family hold the secret in any one generation.
It is handed down, quite often on a death-bed, to the eldest in the family.
The secret is currently held by two eldest daughters.
This may seem a bit dramatic and a little unnecessary but the family thinks otherwise, and with good reason.
Large multinational companies have been trying to gobble up this family company almost from the time it came into existence.
The founder of the company was kidnapped not long after sales of Chesteen pies began to boom. They tortured him over several days but he would not give up the secret. He barely escaped with his life and only after a band of wandering Gypsies came to his rescue.
His family honour his memory and his rescuers by giving all Gypsies free access to their land.
The main gate leading to the estate has a sign that reads, ‘Gratitude knows not the passage of time.’