Author inspired by Aston manor for Christmas-themed novel

Author Judith Grimshaw at Astonbury Manor

Author Judith Grimshaw at Astonbury Manor - Credit: Archant

An author’s Christmas-themed novel with a haunting twist has been inspired by the historic landmark on her dootstep.

Judith Grimshaw has just published the Carol Of The Sword, a tale based in Tudor times and based on the 12 days of the Yuletide feast.

After living in Aston for three years, Judith felt inspired by her surroundings, including Grade I-listed Aston Bury Manor, the woods nearby and the ghost rumoured to have lived there.

The book is set in the 1540s and follows the story of fictional protagonist George Butler, whose real-life father Sir Philip owned Aston Bury Manor.

As a knight loyal to Henry VIII, George is tormented by the guilt he feels over his part in the brutal dissolution of the monasteries, until he meets Elaisse.


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The story unfolds as he tries to reconcile fulfilling his desires and carrying out the wishes of the king during the Reformation.

Judith – who works in Stevenage – wrote the self-published book in three months.

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She said: “I created the main character as a manifestation of what I imagined could be the story behind the knight that haunts the woods of the manor.

“Ideas were playing out in my mind all the time, so once the ideas were there they transferred quite naturally to the page.

“I had to do a lot of research on that period and Christmas traditions and I found learning about the dissolution of the monasteries very interesting.”

Judith has self-published two other books which are also set in the 14th century. both based on the story of Robin Hood.

Marian follows the story from the perspective of Robin’s love interest and the sequel Elva’s Tale takes on the perspective of Robin’s daughter.

All three novels subtly link as George from The Carol Of The Sword finds Elva’s story on a tapestry.

Judith said: “It’s important to write about something that interests you or that you have a passion for.

“When it comes to the research it doesn’t feel like a chore, you really enjoy the process.”

The Carol of the Sword is available to buy on Amazon Kindle for £1.97.

For more information visit www.judithgrimshaw.com.

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