Mother Leakey and the Bishop: A Ghost Story

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OUP Oxford, Oct 9, 2008 - History - 352 pages
2 Reviews
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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lamour - LibraryThing

Ghost Story may be the sub-title but this book is more about British History, politics and religion in the 17th and 18th Century England & Ireland. The history revolves around the checkered career of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EnglishPatient - LibraryThing

This is a work of substantial scholarship that wears its learning delightfully lightly; provided, that is, you skip the 50 pages of endnotes. Marshall takes us on a mystery tour through that 'other ... Read full review


Note to Readers
List of Illustrations
Cast of Characters
PrologueA Haunting in Minehead
1The World of the Leakeys
2The Leakeys Other World
5The Penitent Death of a Woeful Sinner
INTERLUDEIn a London Coffee House
7The Narratives of the Reverend John Quick
History and Folklore
EpilogueMother Leakeys Parlour
Bibliography of Sources Cited

INTERLUDEA Hanging in Dublin
3The Devil Let Loose off his Chain
4The Shameful End of Bishop Atherton

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About the author (2008)

Peter Marshall is Professor of History at the University of Warwick, with a particular interest in the study of religious belief and practice in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England and the cultural impact of the English Reformation. He has published widely in the field, including a survey of the period, Reformation England 1480-1642, and The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation, also published by Oxford University Press.

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