The book of the ceiling
When Pamela Holmes was on her way back to London on New Year’s Day 2011, after celebrating the New Year with friends, she was urged to pop into St Mary’s.
“I was in two minds as I just wanted to get home,” she says.
She went in and paid her £1 and that was it.
Her quest to find out more about it and the rector’s wife led to the British Library, where she unearthed a few more fragments of the story. This led to more research, more visits to the church, two weeks living at Laundry Cottage to imagine what life would have been like in 1848 and a meeting with Felicity Griffin, who was a vicar’s daughter living at the rectory and who has written the 36-page guide to the church.
There is little in the way of actual hard facts about their lives. If Mildred or William kept a diary, they have been lost in the mists of time and no picture of Mildred exists.
Mildred’s story has now been brought to life in Pamela’s first novel, “The Huntingfield Paintress”, which was published to great acclaim. It’s about 40 per cent fact and 60 per cent fiction and imagines the life of the rector’s wife as she goes about her duties before embarking on her quest to transform the ceiling of the church.
Poignant, uplifting and a pacy read, it’s a great embellishment to a fascinating story.
“The Huntingfield Paintress” is available on Amazon.