Mother Leakey and the Bish

Mother Leakey and the Bish : A Ghost Story

3.7 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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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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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 136.65 x 198.12 x 24.89mm | 461g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 17 black and white halftones
  • 0199273715
  • 9780199273713
  • 2,252,039

Table of contents

Prologue: A Haunting in Minehead; 1. The World of the Leakeys; 2. The Leakeys' Other World; Interlude: A Hanging in Dublin; 3. The Devil Let Loose Off his Chain; 4. The Shameful End of Bishop Atherton; 5. The Penitent Death of a Woeful Sinner; Interlude: In a London Coffee House; 6. Athenianism; 7. The Narratives of the Reverend John Quick; 8. Atherton and Leakey; History and Folklore; Epilogue: Mother Leakey's Parlour; Cast of Characters; Further Reading
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Review quote

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
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Rating details

40 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 18% (7)
4 45% (18)
3 28% (11)
2 10% (4)
1 0% (0)
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