Mother Leakey and the Bishop by Peter Marshall
A Ghost Story

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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.

About Peter Marshall

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Peter Marshall has written widely on cultural and intellectual history. He is the author of numerous books, including The Philosopher's Stone, William Godwin, and Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. He lives in England.
Published February 22, 2007 by OUP Oxford. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Travel, Religion & Spirituality, Horror. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mother Leakey and the Bishop

Project MUSE

Marshall traces the recurrence of accounts of Mother Leakey and the bishop both together and separately, from their appearance in the sensational and providential press of Grub Street in the early eighteenth century, through rebirth of Atherton's downfall when Percy Jocelyn, the bishop of Clogher...

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Project MUSE

In a frank and welcome acknowledgment Marshall recognized that his narrative was itself a creative act: it was "his story" of the story of Mother Leakey and the bishop.

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