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Mother Leakey and the Bishop

A Ghost Story

Mother Leakey and the Bishop
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US$ 20.99
Halloween 1636: sightings of the ghost of an old woman begin to be reported in the small English coastal town of Minehead, and a royal commission is sent to investigate. December 1640: a disgraced Protestant bishop is hanged in the Irish capital, Dublin, after being convicted of an 'unspeakable' crime. In this remarkable piece of historical detective work, Peter Marshall sets out to uncover the intriguing links between these two seemingly unconnected events. - ;Halloween 1636: sightings of the ghost of an old woman begin to be reported in the small English coastal town of Minehead, and a royal commission is sent to investigate. December 1640: a disgraced Protestant bishop is hanged in the Irish capital, Dublin, after being convicted of an 'unspeakable' crime.

In this remarkable piece of historical detective work, Peter Marshall sets out to uncover the intriguing links between these two seemingly unconnected events.

The result is a compelling tale of dark family secrets, of efforts to suppress them, and of the ways in which they finally come to light. It is also the story of a shocking seventeenth-century Church scandal which cast its shadow over religion and politics in Britain and Ireland for the best part of three centuries, drawing in a host of well known and not-so-well-known characters along the way, including Jonathan Swift, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Walter Scott.

A fascinating story in its own right, Mother Leakey and the Bishop is also a sparkling demonstration of how the telling of stories is central to the way we remember the past, and can become part of the fabric of history itself. - ;A valuable contribution to the micro-histories of the early modern world. There is much for general readers to enjoy and scholars to admire...the details is so skilfully handled as to be unerringly involving and illuminating. - Malcolm Gaskell, TLS;Peter Marshall... is a beautiful writer and his book is a shining example of how narrative history can be used to illustrate a complicated subject such as 17th century religious belief...a remarkable piece of detective work. - John Coulter, Tribune;Marshall brings a formidable hinterland of learning to these stories, but he wears this lightly... A thought-provoking and enjoyable read. - Jeremy Gregory, Church Times;More sheer entertainment value than any other history book you'll ever read...If you have the slightest inclination to find history interesting, you really can't help but love Peter Marshall's book. - Lucy Wooding, Literary Review;Shrewdly calibrated, abundantly entertaining. - Jonathan Keates, Spectator;Marshall's way with witty modern parallels is just one of the delights of this book. - Jonathan Sale, The Independent;[A] beautifully intelligent book...It is an ugly story, of course, but Marshall's way of telling it makes it irresistible. - John Carey, Sunday Times (Culture);Interesting, absorbing and written in an engaging style. - Fortean Times;Marshall's splendidly written book is a model of how history should be written and practiced - William Gibson, Archives

Oxford University Press, UK; February 2007
352 pages; ISBN 9780191579929
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