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The image of the book cover of A Nun's Grave Book by Alan K Leicester, published by Leonie Press

A Nun's Grave:
A Novel set in the
Vale Royal of England.

Written by Alan K Leicester

ISBN: 978-1-901253-08-5
(Old ISBN: 1 901253 08 2)

144 pages, paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
Published by Léonie Press, July 1998.
Reprinted February 1999, January 2005

Price: £ 7.99 UK Postage and Packing:

e-Book versions
Kindle format ISBN: 978-1-909727-07-6
Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B00IU69K2U
Click here to buy from Amazon

About the Book

Near to the village of Whitegate, in Cheshire, England, stands a rambling, red sandstone building on the site where the great Abbey of Vale Royal stood during the 13th and 14th centuries. This abbey, founded in 1277 by King Edward I, was in its time the largest and finest Cistercian abbey church in the country.

Sadly, the Abbey was demolished more than 400 years ago with the dissolution of the monasteries and many of the materials were used to build a grand house for one of King Henry VIII's favourite courtiers. It was extended and altered over the years according to the architectural fashions of the day and the whims of its wealthy owners.

The current building has had a variety of uses since it ceased being a country house, latterly as offices and a children's home, and work is currently under way on the site to develop luxury housing and a golf course complex.

For many years within the former abbey grounds, and only a few yards from the existing building, stood a large stone monument known locally as "The Nun's Grave". It bore an inscription which read: "IDA MARIAN GODMAN, Ye Nun of St. Mary's Convent, Cestr."

Why, wondered the author, had a nun been buried some 18 miles away from her convent at Chester, within the boundaries of what had been an exclusively male and strictly celibate establishment?

This was a question which had perplexed him since, as a young man, he had fished the nearby River Weaver and had been frightened out of his wits by a ghostly experience there.

In "A Nun's Grave" he offers his explanation, mixing historical facts and imagination, and manipulating a few dates and their sequence.

He weaves his story together on two time-scales: the 14th century, when life is hard and brutal for those who face the Black Death and live in fear of the marauding Welsh bandits who terrorise the Cheshire borderlands, and the 20th century, when a young couple buy a house on the abbey site and, ignoring advice to "leave well alone", are dragged under the influence of the tragic and manipulative Ida.

"I must stress however that it is a work of fiction and that although the locations exist the characters - and what happens to them - are my own invention," says Alan.

The cover illustration - repeated inside - and a map of Cheshire are drawn by Patricia Kelsall.

About the Author

Alan K Leicester

Alan K Leicester was born in Northwich in 1941 and has lived and worked all his life in the area. He is a family man and grandfather and is now semi-retired.

For years he has enjoyed writing short poems and anecdotes, mostly of a humorous nature, for friends and colleagues, but he has always harboured a desire to produce something more serious. "A Nun's Grave" is the fulfilment of that desire.

It is his first and, he says, maybe his only, novel and reflects some of his experiences in the beautiful Cheshire countryside, in particular the area around Vale Royal Abbey and the River Weaver where he indulges in his favourite pastime of angling.


A gripping first book - Northwich Chronicle

Fascinating - could be turned into a TV series - superb story - BBC Radio Stoke

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