6.11.19 – ‘The Curate and the King’s Coin’ – an academic review


Our contact with history professor Paul Ward happily continues with this review from a member of his staff at Edge Hill University.

The Seventeenth century is often a fertile ground for our imaginations and mining historical tidbits. That may be why the new book by John Cross is so engrossing and informative. It is entitled ‘The Curate and the King’s Coin’ and is a narrative of the misdemeanours of The Reverend Edmund Robinson, his arrest and execution. Cross’ book is a charming portrait of early modern English history and is peppered with local anecdotes, maps and paraphernalia. However, Cross’ book is much more and using primary records it reveals a hidden aspect of seventeenth-century life.

It is the kind of England very familiar to this reviewer, where kings, queens and great battles are absent, or bystanders. Cross, tantalisingly, exposes this England through his intrepid investigation of local history. His results may at first reveal a patchwork, but once reassembled we get a new narrative – not only of rural Yorkshire, but of England itself. The potency of Cross’ book is the reason why independent publishers such as Shalliley Books are at the dynamic end of publishing. This is the type of book which would be unlikely to be commissioned by a major mainstream publisher, and if they did, it would lose its niche-local charm.

Dr Onyeka Nubia, Visiting Research Fellow, Edge Hill University, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield, Director of Studies, Narrative Eye.

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