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More than a Pause
I have just finished reading Disordered Land, and wondered if Thornside was Askrigg, and if Richard Metcalfe was based on a historical figure or purely fictional, as the Metcalfes of Nappa close to the area described in the novel, were fighting for the King. Not that it would be unusual during the Civil War for familys split loyalties.
You obviously know the Yorkshire Dales very well! Yes, Thornside is based on Askrigg, though the people I have pictured living there are all entirely imaginary. In particular I have imagined a Puritan minister, helping to create a Parliamentary enclave in a largely Royalist area. I used plausibly local names for my characters – hence Richard Metcalfe – but none of them is based on any historical figure. The only ‘real’ people are the obvious ones – Prince Rupert, Sir Thomas Fairfax etc. – whom I have shown taking part in the events in which they were actually involved. I like recreating history as I believe it happened – but also enjoy the freedom of seeing how my own characters lived out their lives during these troubled times.
Incidentally, eighteenth century Thornside also makes an appearance in ‘A High and Lonely Road’, and the Northumberland house I’ve called Blackheugh (with its resident Milburn family) reappears in ‘Candle in the Dark’, 150 or so years later. Not that there’s any good reason for doing this – I just enjoy inventing the connections.
Thank you so much for your reply. I do know the Dales well as I live in Wensleydale so some of the placenames and surnames were very familiar. I enjoyed the book very much and will be reading your other books too.
Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the book.
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