The book of the ceil­ing

This England - - Editors Letter -

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.

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