Former solicitor explores "appalling miscarriage of justice" in his new book
Former Chichester and Bognor Regis solicitor Terry Stanton tackles 'one of the most appalling and gripping miscarriages of justice in English history and its aftermath' in his new novel.
Terry, who now lives in Australia but is a regular visitor to his old county, particularly South Harting, tells the tale of Thomas Wentworth, an obscure Yorkshire gentleman who rose to be Charles 1’s most important minister and Earl of Strafford.
Deliver Me From Evil is available via Amazon at Amazon.co.uk/Deliver-me-Evil-Terry-Stanton/dp/0648002144 and the CreateSpace website.
“If you enjoyed Hilary Mantels Wolf Hall and Alison Weir’s Innocent Traitor or The Lady Elizabeth, this novel is for you,” Terry said.
“The story starts with Thomas Wentworth’s birth in 1593, and moving swiftly through his childhood and education, it deals with his marriage to his first wife, Margaret, his second to Arabella, their children, and his third wife Elizabeth. His mistress, Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, is prominent.
“His parliamentary career is exciting and his development as a Baron and then a Viscount in the Upper House more so, being a vital part of what led to the Civil War. In 1633 he is appointed by Charles to be Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, which he rules as a King.
“The characters are real people: Charles, Buckingham, Laud and other ‘great ones’ of those times. Strafford was a complex and talented man, obsessed with doing the right thing, yet often led astray by his own ambition. His convictions make many enemies among the corrupt and those like John Pym who wished to transfer the Monarch’s power to themselves. Strafford acquires more enemies by championing the poor against the rich.”
Terry added: “I became fascinated by history at school. I had a very inspiring teacher called Johnny Walker. He taught 17th-century English and European history for the A Levels. That was in 1959-61. I was fascinated by the story of the Earl of Strafford. There was an excellent biography by C V Wedgewood written about 30 years before, which I read. Just after I had taken the exams she published a new version which showed him in a somewhat different light.
“I started this as a play about twenty years ago, but had no idea how to get it performed, and no one will publish a play unless it has been staged professionally, though one publisher was interested in it if I could get it produced. Four years ago I decided to do it as a novel which would tell Strafford’s entire life story, and that is what the book does. It took a very large amount of research, which I have done myself, as only famous authors can afford to employ people to do it for them!
“I was born in 1943 and grew up in Fulham and went to Grammar School in Battersea. After A Levels I went straight into articles with a solicitor in Gray’ Inn, qualified in 1966 aged 22, and became a partner. I lived in Fulham until I was 28 when I moved with my wife and baby son to Northamptonshire, where I worked in a solicitors office for about 18 months. My wife left me for a friend of mine, and left the boy, Tim, with me. The senior partner at the job was horrid, so I got a job at the Chichester District Council advising mainly on legal aspects of planning, and doing other litigation. I bought a house round the corner from my parents in Selsey. That was 1974. They had moved there from London in 1961.
“I stayed with the Council for about 18 months, where I met Christine, and then joined Wintle & Co Solicitors in Bognor Regis. I married Christine in 1975 and we had Katherine in 1976 and Sam in 1978. Chris brought Tim up, and she must be the best step-mother ever. It has been a very happy marriage and the partnership at Wintle & Co was equally good. I mainly did Legal Aid work as I liked helping poorer people with real problems rather than the rich whose problems are usually just financial and greed.”
Terry retired in 2005: “Two weeks later we got on the plane to Australia as all three children had emigrated there. We come back to Sussex pretty well every year for a few weeks.”
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