So reads the heading on the back cover of Gerald Mothershaw’s latest addition to his personal archive of the history of the area. His new book, The Parish of Hodnet, features the lives some of the distinguished people of Hodnet who lived between 818 AD and the present. It has just been published and is on sale at £9.99, with the profits from it sale being donated to St Luke’s parish church in Hodnet.
Gerald says “I suppose it’s rounding off the history of Hodnet” adding, “I thought I would write about some of the notable people of the village.” On the back of the book he states, “I have always been very interested In local history but a tremendous amount of Hodnet’s early history was lost by the Roundheads In 1644 when they destroyed all the Parish Registers and records in the Rector’s library.” His hope is that readers will find the book interesting and that it will bring back happy memories to older readers.
Hodnet residents from the past who feature in the book include:
The Unknown Visitor, Elizabeth Vernon, Richard Heber, Bishop Reginald Heber, Mary Cholmondeley, Dr. Waiter Hall M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P., Brigadier Algernon George William Heber-Percy, Rev. J. H. Parsons M.C., Rev. S. Parkinson B.O., F.P.H. (Eng), Eva Starkey and Alwlne Joan Franke.
The first chapter is a story reported in 1839, about a wealthy and mysterious visitor to the village who married a local girl. Another recalls the brief life of Elizabeth Vernon who married Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, to whom Shakepeare dedicated his poem The Rape of Lucrece. Reginald Heber (1783 – 1826) was the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and is now remembered chiefly as a hymn-writer – his works include “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” and “From Greenland’s icy mountains”. A chapter contributed by Eva Starkey features an account of childhood in the village between the wars.
This is the tenth book written by Gerald who is now 76, of which all but one have been on various aspects of the history of the parish – the odd one out gave insights into “My Successful Methods for Growing Exhibition Vegetables”. Over the years he estimates he has raised over £20,000 for charities and good causes through the sale of his books. This latest one can be purchased from Hodnet Post Office, Hart to Hart in Stafford St., Market Drayton and the publishers YouCaxton Publishing, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury.
Gerald has no plans to retire from writing. He says he is planing a book which will explain why the location of Hodnet was chosen as a settlement when people settled in the vicinity for the first time, and will develop the account through to the present.