Sutcliffe's published works are here listed in three groups:
See also Notes on unpublished manuscripts.
The following list gives the titles, publishers, and dates of first publication of Sutcliffe's books. It is arranged in date order, and is believed to be complete.
If you are interested in buying copies of Sutcliffe's books, a good place to look is the Advanced Book Exchange.
Published under the pseudonym Jocelyn Quilp.
The Baron is a time traveller based in the late eleventh century, and is able to travel forwards and backwards, and to bring to the eleventh century some of the curiosities of other times. The Baron has a lady friend, Lady Meningitis, whom he treats rather badly. As the novel opens, Verdigris has determined to do away with the lady. He decides to use powdered glass, administers it, and rushes away to Sydney, but has to make do with Malta, where he falls in with a group of knights preparing for a crusade. The Lady Meningitis is not poisoned, as poisoning by powdered glass had not been invented in the eleventh century, and she telegraphs to Verdigris in Malta, guessing that he will have gone there. One of Verdigris's new companions is Brandolo, who also has a friend, Lady Gora, who lives in Jerusalem, so the knights decide to rescue the city from the Saracens. Verdigris is wounded, and nursed with much brandy by the Lady Gora, who has transferred her affection from Brandolo, but Lady Meningitis arrives and reclaims her own. Knights and ladies journey to Alexandria, and return from there to London on a P. & O. steamer.
Published under the author's real name.
This was Sutcliffe's first major success as a novelist, a much more substantial work than any he had so far produced. In it, Sutcliffe paints a picture of social life in a small town in the eighteen-eighties and nineties, satirising the self-importance of the upper layers of town society. It is based on Sutcliffe’s memories of Bingley in the eighteen-eighties, and some of the inhabitants of the place recognised themselves in the characters, and were not always pleased by what they read. The principal character is Godfrey Knipe, a rather earnest young clergyman whose life is still driven by the high ideals that he developed at Cambridge. Knipe is appalled at the inanity of his vicar and the worldliness of his bishop. Knipe’s friend is in love with the squire’s daughter, Beatrice, who is perhaps the heroine. She is a girl of spirit, passion and good sense, which is rather surprising considering that her mother is a woman of no feeling at all, and her father loves only his former mistress whom he has not seen for many years. Her lover contrives to be hired as gamekeeper by the squire, but he is shot while trying to arrest poachers. We discover that Beatrice is expecting a child, and then that she and her lover had been married secretly some months before.
This is the first of almost a dozen novels in which Sutcliffe exploits the possibilities of Haworth and its surroundings as a setting for romantic fiction. Sutcliffe, like Hardy before him, invents new names for the places he refers to. Haworth itself becomes Marshcotes, so it is convenient to refer to these novels as the Marshcotes novels.
The time of the novel is not altogether clear from the text, but is some time in the reign of Queen Victoria. The hero is Griff Lomax, a young man just returned from life in London to his family’s house in Marshcotes, where his mother lives alone. He is of an artistic disposition, and likes painting, but is still a true man of the moors, adept at riding, walking, and fighting. His friend Gabriel Hirst is a preacher who is occasionally provoked by the spirit into giving wild and enthusiastic sermons. Lomax’s painterly eye is caught by Kate Strangeways, a woman of sensitivity married to a boorish quarryman, and Lomax’s feelings for her develop from aesthetic admiration of the form into a passionate desire for the substance. Kate gets a divorce, and Lomax marries her, but she dies in childbirth. Gabriel Hirst’s perfectly lawful passion for Greta Rotherson, daughter of the local miller, is somewhat hampered by his excessive religious zeal, of which Greta disapproves. Roddick, a friend of Lomax’s from London, takes a house near Marshcotes, and Lomax discovers that Roddick’s wish to marry a very suitable young lady is thwarted by the existence of a mad wife who is kept some miles away in a house with a nurse. Lomax manages to distract the nurse, and the mad wife succeeds in drinking herself to death. The horror of what he has done comes home to him, and the story ends with his abandoning his friends and civilised life, and taking to the wild places of the surrounding moors.
Sutcliffe's interest in Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, first appears in this novel.
The book describes the struggle between Christopher Ricroft, a young hill farmer, and his neighbours against the lawlessness of the Carlesses, a family or rather a clan of semi-gentry who terrorise the locality. Interwoven with this is the story of Charles Edward’s retreat from Derby, in the course of which he stops at the inn at which a bloody battle between Carlesses and Ricroftites is fought. Though the Carlesses lose this particular battle, they later capture the prince and keep him a captive in their remote valley. Ricroft and his friends help the prince escape, and defeat the Carlesses on their home ground, putting an end to the nuisances. There are some quaint rustic scenes, most notably the musical evening at the inn in which the locals play Corelli’s Notte di Natale and the prince joins in on a borrowed gamba.
One reviewer summed it up as "charming persiflage", and "charming" is a word that occurs in many of the reviews. Freeman's Journal has the best synopsis:
This is a frankly old-fashioned, charming little story, too rarely met with in these modern times. It comes upon the jaded reader like a breath of the country in spring, full of fresh air and sunshine. The book consists of two out-of-door love stories, and it is hard to say which pair of lovers is the more charming. There are entanglements and surprises, excursions and alarms. But the troubles are all of a quasi-comical kind. The reader is under no necessity or temptation to peep prematurely at the last page, for he is quite sure it will come right in the end. So it does in a scene full of lively humour. The right loves are sorted "according to taste", and the chapter closes on perfect happiness. For the reading of a long, lazy, summer day the book is most heartily to be recommended.
A topographical work that explores the country around Haworth, Skipton, and Wharfedale.
Writing about Haworth, Sutcliffe reports the words of a local gamekeeper, whose nesting birds are upset by the constant tramp of visitors. The keeper sees a group of strangers in the distance looking likely to make a nuisance of themselves:
"Now, look ye!" he breaks out. "Can ye tell me what hes brought yond so far across th' moor? Why, nowt no more nor Charlotte Brunte—little Charlotte o' th' Parsonage, as weakly, undersized a piece o' goods as iver I clapped een on. Her write printed books? I'll niver believe it. She got some cleverish sort o' chap to write 'em for her, an' then put her name to 'em for pride; an' that's gospel truth, for I've seen her myseln often, an' it war plain to ony man 'at it took a bigger nor her to mak a printed book."
Another entertaining story from a chapter about Burnsall is the story of the tramp:
He approaches the seat by a zigzag, devious way, and holds out a dirty palm. A dirty halfpenny lies snugly in the palm, and I gaze at him in wonderment. "Mebbe you couldn't sell me a ha'porth o' baccy?" he says gloomily. "Sell you—," I begin. "Ay," he goes on, not heeding the interruption; "it's all th' brass I've getten, an' they willun't sell me no less nor a half-ounce at t' public yonder. Now, don't be hard, master, for I'm itching for a smoke! I met a chap i' t' road just now, an' he says to me, 'It's a day i' a hundred,' says he. 'Mebbe,' says I, 'for them as hes loving friends an' a pipe o' baccy.'" He never varies the even flow of voice, and the halfpenny still looks at me from his extended palm. It is masterly, and I hand him my pouch without protest. "Pocket your halfpenny, and fill up," I mutter. He is an artist. He shows no haste in restoring the coin to the pocket with the gaping seams; nay, he even presses me to accept the money, and withdraws it at last with a regretful air. A silence follows, and he looks up from filling his pipe to find me smiling broadly at him. I think he sees in me the touch of nature that makes us kin, for he, too, lets the half of a smile wrinkle his mouth-corners. "I'll give you a shilling if you'll tell me something," I hazard. "A shilling's a lot o' brass. What is't master?" "I want to know how often that halfpenny has filled your pipe for you. Fairly, now—how often?" "Well—twenty times since yesterday, so far as I can reckon up. But, master," he adds, leaning confidentially towards me as the shilling changes hands, "if iver ye think o' trying that game, keep clear o' Lancashire. I once tried it on a chap fro' Lancashire, an' I lost my ha'penny."
Subititled "The Last Feud of Wayne and Ratcliffe", this novel describes a feud between two moorland families, and how it was settled. It is another Marshcotes novel, perhaps the finest of them all.
This book takes the element of feud found in Ricroft of Withens, and transforms it into a feud between two families, Waynes and Ratcliffes. A strong supernatural element is woven into this book, giving expression to local superstitions about Barguest, a ghostly brown dog whom Sutcliffe makes a familiar spirit of the Waynes and enemy of the Ratcliffes. The time of the story is not stated; it could be anything from the sixteenth century onwards, and this timelessness allows the author to mingle the real and the supernatural in a way that does not strain the reader’s credibility.
At the beginning of the story the feud between Waynes and Ratcliffes, stilled for many years, breaks out when Anthony Wayne is killed by a Ratcliffe who has won the affection of Wayne’s second wife. Wayne’s son Ned earns the nickname of “shameless” by drinking with his cronies while another Wayne avenges his father’s murder. His stepmother, who has lost husband and lover in rapid succession, loses also her wits, and becomes “fairy-kissed”, and an important link between the natural and supernatural worlds. The leader of the Ratcliffes is old Nicholas, the Lean Man of Wildwater, whose granddaughter Janet loves Shameless Wayne, but is loved by her cousin Red Ratcliffe. Nicholas confirms the feud by killing another Wayne and nailing the dead man’s hand over the door of Marsh House, the Waynes’ stronghold. The fortunes of the battle favour first one side and then the other. The climax of the feud is reached when the Ratcliffes announce the death of Nicholas, and invite the Waynes to come in peace to the wake. The Waynes come prepared for treachery, and a fight ensues in which the Lean Man rises from his bier, but not for long. Janet, imprisoned in an upstairs room of Wildwater House, is rescued by Shameless Wayne, who fights with Red Ratcliffe and kills him. There are several rustic characters like the sexton and his wife, and the servants of the gentry. The whole novel is suffused with the brooding presence of Barguest, and the plaintive murmurings of the mad woman, Nell Wayne.
A story of the declining fortunes of landowners and the growth of manufacture.
This is the fourth the Marshcotes novels, and it is a much gentler piece that its predecessor in the series. The story is set in 1825, in which year there was a strike of woolcombers in Bradford and the surrounding area that lasted from June to November, and the strike makes a small contribution to the story. Barbara is the only daughter of Squire Cunliffe. Her childhood sweetheart, Stephen Royd, is in trade as a mill-owner, his father having left him with only a small capital sum. The Royd family acres have been sold to Bancroft, who is anxious to marry Barbara with her father’s encouragement. There is much confusion over money, as the Squire hopes that Bancroft’s money will save the Cunliffes, while Bancroft hopes that Cunliffe’s money will save him. Meanwhile Royd continues in his trade, pitied by Cunliffe and despised by Bancroft, and quietly buys up their mortgages. Royd’s position is precarious because of a depression in trade and threats of woolcombers’ strikes, but his enterprises succeed in the nick of time. He is able to make the Squire a present of his mortgages, and to dispossess Bancroft of the ancestral acres of the Royds, and of the lovely Barbara. Among the minor characters are the poacher Tim o’ Tabs, the Marshcotes village constable William Reddihough, known to all as Billy Puff, and the brutal mill-owner Ephraim Booth.
This is rather a lightweight story about a highwayman from Cumberland who has several improbable adventures involving Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Duke of Cumberland, and King George II. The story is set in 1745. A bit of a pot-boiler.
The story is set in 1745, and Maurice Anstruther tells of his adventures with Bonnie Prince Charlie on the prince's travels from Dunblane to Congleton in Staffordshire. Anstruther is the hero of several fictitious adventures with and around the prince. There are several cases of mistaken identity with men disguised as women and vice versa. Another pot-boiler.
A story of a young bachelor living in the country, and how he fell in love with his neighbour's daughter.
The bachelor of the title is a young man, certainly not more than twenty-five, an orphan living on a small estate of twenty acres, the remnant of something larger. He has the services of a housekeeper, the redoubtable Mrs Styles, and her husband, known as Tom Lad, both of them old retainers from his parents’ time. The bachelor tells the story of his life in the country, jotting his thoughts down on paper under the lime tress in the garden, mowing his few meadows, tramping the countryside with an old neighbour, and gardening with the help of Tom Lad. Occasionally he is visited by Cathy, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the squire, whose portrait appeared as the frontispiece to the book. In the end Cathy and the bachelor get engaged, and nobody is surprised, much to the amazement of the innocent bachelor, who thought their courtship had been a well-kept secret!
This is a sequel to A Man of the Moors. Griff Lomax now lives in a hut on the edge of the moors where he works alone reclaiming fields from the bracken and the heather. This work had been undertaken as a penance for his part in the death of Roddick’s wife. Griff is loved by Hester Royd, daughter of a neighbouring farmer, but he does not return her feeling. In the middle of winter he discovers a woman and her child in a snow-drift, and takes them back to his hut. The child is dead, but he nurses the woman back to life. She is the niece of Squire Daneholme, a friend of Griff’s father’s. Having made a rash marriage, she was driven out by her in-laws after her husband drank himself to death. The main theme of the story is Griff’s rehabilitation effected in part by his incessant labour, his response to the distress of his neighbours, and eventually his love for the woman he has saved.
A sequel to Shameless Wayne.
The victory of the Waynes over the Ratcliffes at the end of Shameless Wayne was not complete, as the chivalrous Waynes, though slaughtering the Ratcliffes to a man, spared the women. Some of the many Ratcliffe women gathered for the Lean Man’s wake were with child, and a new race of Ratcliffes springs up to redress the defeat of the old. The chief of these is another Red Ratcliffe, brought up by two old servants of the Ratcliffes in Black House, guarded by bogs impassable to those who do not know the secret ways. Red Ratcliffe learns to use the Ratcliffes’ two-handed axe and puts paid to several Waynes with it, retreating to Black House after each sortie. On one such occasion three young Waynes follow him to the edge of the bog, but cannot find the way, and one of them drowns in the bog. The twenty-odd years since the fight at Wildwater have not dealt well with the Waynes; they have become lazy, and less chivalrous. Ned Wayne’s marriage to Janet Ratcliffe has not been a great success. The other Waynes are apt to blame Janet’s being a Ratcliffe for any misfortune they encounter, and they encounter plenty. In particular Janet and Ned have only one son, a rather shy and sickly child, a dreamer rather than a doer. As the Waynes stumble around in disarray, Red Ratcliffe gathers together the Ratcliffe forces, and the Ratcliffes and Waynes meet to do battle. However, natural forces conspire to prevent it. A terrible rain-storm causes a great bog high on the moor to burst down its wall of peat, and the resulting flow of mud threatens to sweep away the combatants. Marsh House itself is engulfed, and the Waynes and Ratcliffes are forced to make a peace of exhaustion.
This is a sequel to A Bachelor in Arcady. The bachelor and Cathy are now married, but life seems to go on much as before, apart from a brief passage of arms between Cathy and Mrs Styles in which the latter is quite overcome by the charm of the former. The story closes when we learn that Cathy is expecting their first child.
This is another Marshcotes novel. The Oldfield family of Oldfield Hall have fallen on hard times—too much hunting and entertaining of all and sundry and not enough old-fashioned rent-collecting. As the old squire lies dying, he cautions his son Nicholas to abandon his love for Alison Blake, and to marry money in order to rescue the family’s ailing fortunes. Oldfield’s principal creditor is Murgatroyd, who has designs on Alison, and is reluctantly encouraged by Alison’s father. In spite of many forebodings, Nicholas and Alison marry secretly, and travel separately to Dene, a distant hamlet, to live together there. Nicholas returns to Oldfield Hall to celebrate Christmas, and learns from an eccentric hermit, Christopher Hirst, who also holds many Oldfield mortgages, that he intends them to be Alison’s wedding present. Nicholas returns to Alison with the good news, only to find that she has run away, travelling northwards, and all his attempts to find her come to nothing. Alison has a daughter while staying in a remote farm-house, but the little girl dies when only a few days old. Alison is very ill, but recovers, and returns to Oldfield to be reunited with Nicholas.
Priscilla is the only daughter of John Hirst, a widower, and lives with her father at a farm called The Good Intent, and this circumstance gives the novel its title. However Priscilla is not the principal character. The action centres on Reuben Gaunt, a yeoman farmer, who has just returned to his home in the village of Garth after an absence of five years. His earlier passion for the forthright and self-willed Peggy Mathewson still smoulders. Gaunt proposes to Priscilla, and is accepted. Priscilla catches a glimpse of Gaunt’s farewell to Peggy, and promptly disengages herself. Gaunt now renews his acquaintance with Peggy, and after winning the fell race at Linsall, persuades her to marry him. Peggy dies of the fever that is sweeping the countryside, and Gaunt is left to comfort and support Peggy’s mother, a person every bit as forceful as her daughter. Gaunt establishes a reputation for courage and hard work which he has not had before, and Priscilla agrees once more to become his wife.
Among the minor characters of note is Billy the Fool, a retarded youth. The simple-minded were often regarded as being in possession of special virtues, and were believed to have been kissed at birth by the fairies, who deprived them of their wits. The ‘fairy-kissed’ and other benign social misfits occur in several of Sutcliffe’s novels — Nell Wayne, the mad woman in Shameless Wayne was the first in a long line.
A tale of the rescue of Mary Queen of Scots from Bolton Castle, and the abortive Rising of the North under the Earls of Westmorland and Northumberland.
The book is subtitled “A Tale of the Rising Brooks”, and Sutcliffe dedicated it to his mother. The rising brooks of the subtitle are the spirit of revolt among the Catholic gentry of the northern counties in the autumn of 1569—the Rising of the North. The story is mainly concerned with the fortunes of the Norton family of Rylstone, north of Skipton, their long-standing feud with the Cliffords of Skipton, and their part in the abortive attempt by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland to put Mary Stuart on the throne in place of Elizabeth. It includes the historical rescue of Mary from Bolton Castle in Wensleydale, but it stretches historical fact to make Mary’s freedom last half a day instead of half an hour. The indecision of the hapless Earls in spite of, or perhaps because of, the enthusiasm of the gentry is well portrayed, and Sutcliffe makes the reader wish that history might have been different.
In this novel Sutcliffe attempted a more-or-less contemporary story. References to railways, motor cars, and the tube in London mean that the time of the story cannot be earlier than 1900. Phyllis Dene, an orphan of 18 years, having been brought up by her aunt in West Kensington, is taken by her bachelor uncle to stay at his newly-purchased property near Leyton in Yorkshire. Phyllis learns to ride, and makes a good start in the society of local gentry and their wives. She meets Ralph Gwynn and his cousin Agnes Gathorne while sheltering from a storm. Agnes is keen to marry Ralph, and she uses her blandishments and gossip to persuade Ralph, and society, that she has a right to be asked. Phyllis catches pneumonia, and while she is still weak and convalescent, she is persuaded by Agnes that Agnes and Ralph are engaged. Phyllis soon decides to return to her aunt’s house in London. Her uncle Saul manages to get the truth of the matter out of Agnes, and persuades Phyllis to return to Yorkshire, bringing her aunt with her. Saul uses his wealth to buy up mortgages on the Gwynn properties, and makes a wedding present of them to Ralph and Phyllis.
Another Bonnie Prince Charlie story. It covers the march to Derby, the retreat, Culloden, and the prince's escape to France.
A group of Lancashire gentlemen and some of their tenants join the Jacobite march southwards towards London, where the prince hopes to wrest the throne from the House of Hanover. Their leader is Sir Jasper Royd of Windyhough, which is set somewhere near Colne not far from the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire. Royd is ardent for the Stuart cause, and irked by the attitudes of some of the Scottish chieftains, particularly Murray, who is constantly advising retreat. After the meeting of the chiefs of the clans at Derby, the prince is reluctantly forced to turn back, and on the journey northward, Royd decoys a troop of Hanoverian horsemen towards Windyhough to distract them from pursuit of the prince. Royd is wounded, and takes refuge in a farmhouse, while the troopers rush on to Windyhough, which is guarded by his eldest son Rupert. Rupert, a shy scholar and an uncertain horseman, has been left behind to look after his mother and Nance Demayne, daughter of a neighbour. He defends the house with the help of the ladies and two retainers for two sleepless nights and days, until the Hanoverians burn down the door. The defenders are saved in the nick of time by a group of neighbours, who, being indifferent to the Stuart cause, had stayed at home. Rupert and his father now join the remnants of the prince’s army as it struggles towards Carlisle and Scotland, and he becomes a messenger for the prince, carrying dispatches to the prince’s supporters. He witnesses the horrors of Culloden, and accompanies the prince northwards to Skye, and to the ship that takes him to France. Lady Royd and Nance Demayne travel to Edinburgh, and there they help Jacobites to escape to France. Eventually they too leave Scotland with Rupert, looking forward to the next attempt to rescue the throne of the two kingdoms from the hated Hanoverians.
The subtitle, “A Wayfaring Story”, is not very relevant to the action. The story, which is not very exciting, is told in the first person by Jack Leger. Leger is a young landowner, perhaps in his early thirties, and his words are addressed to various other characters: his aunt, Miss Leger; his neighbour, Anthony; and Anthony’s new wife. The style is rather like that of the Arcady books, but there is a bit more plot to this one. Leger’s long-standing friendship with Anthony is disturbed when the latter marries a lady from the Scottish highlands. Leger holds himself aloof from them, but the lady gradually wins his confidence, and encourages him to take an interest in politics, first on the County Council, and later in Parliament. Leger begins to fall in love with her himself, and, feeling that this could lead to difficulties, he lets his house and moves to a flat in Westminster with his aunt-housekeeper. Travel in the colonies punctuates work in the House of Commons.
This is a Jacobite novel, and it describes the retreat of Charles Edward’s broken army through Lancashire and Westmorland. The principal characters are Jonathan Standish and Miss Linstoke. Having helped Miss Linstoke to elope, Standish rescues her from Beau Mauleverer, who is a man of ill repute. Standish helps to rescue Charles Edward from a tight spot on his retreat northwards, and helps the Prince in other ways, including an impersonation. Miss Linstoke and her father Judge Linstoke are also on the Prince’s side.
This is another Marshcotes novel. Like Mistress Barbara Cunliffe, it is concerned with the relation of the landed gentry to trade, but it takes a more relaxed attitude. The Holts, heirs by marriage to the Waynes who feuded with the Ratcliffes, live at Marsh House, and are, predictably enough, deep in debt. Attempts by the loathsome mill-owner Phineas Olroyd to buy a choice piece of Holt land for a mill are rejected, even though the immense sum that Olroyd offers would solve pressing financial problems. Instead, Roger Holt decide to build a mill there himself, and with the help of friends makes it a model of good sense and industry, defending it against a rabble of strikers. The defence of the mill is reminiscent of a similar incident in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley.
A romance of the Great War.
This is the only novel of Sutcliffe’s about World War I. The story is set in 1914 and 1915. The château of the title belongs to Madame, a refugee from Alsace whose family had fled from German rule in 1871. Her great friend the Curé is also from Alsace. Alison, a young Englishwoman from Sussex, perhaps a relative of Madame’s, is her guest. Alison is being wooed by Madame’s nephew, Raoul Dubois, a lieutenant in the French army, and by Captain Norton in the British army. Madame and Alison visit Sussex with Norton for the funeral of an elderly English relative, and return to Picardy just before the outbreak of war. Captain Norton, Lieutenant Dubois, the Curé, and several young men of the district go off to war; some are killed, some return wounded. Stories of miraculous happenings are reported. Norton is invalided out of the army, but poor Dubois is killed. The Curé returns from the front seriously ill, and Madame is reunited with her friend.
This is a story of the English civil war, and gives an account of the contribution of the Metcalf family to King Charles I’s cause. It includes accounts of the sieges of Knaresborough, York, and Lathom House in Lancashire, and of the battle of Marston Moor. The Metcalfs of Nappa Hall in Wensleydale are remarkable for their number, size, and for their white horses from which the novel takes its title.
The story of the battle of Flodden and the death of James IV of Scotland.
In this novel Sutcliffe went back to the battle of Flodden for his subject. Flodden was fought in 1513 between English forces led by the Earl of Surrey and Scottish forces led by the King of Scots, James IV. James’s brother-in-law, Henry VIII of England, was away at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and James thought it a good time to do a bit of marauding, but the English forces, which included a strong contingent from the Craven district, defeated the Scots, and James was killed. One might have thought that Sutcliffe, who was very fond of the Stuarts, would have had lacked enthusiasm for the task of describing the defeat of a Stuart at the hands of the men of Craven, but this is not the case.
The hero of the story is Sylvester Demaine, a yeoman farmer of Barden in Wharfedale, who loves Joyce Percival, only daughter of Sir John Percival of Percival Hall. Sir John is not in favour of the match, because Sylvester is only a yeoman, and Sir John challenges him to prove himself in battle against the Scots. On a sheep-buying expedition to Wooller in Northumberland, Demaine meets the outlaw John Heron, and is involved in a skirmish with Scottish raiders. Back in Barden, Demaine learns that an army is being gathered to march against the Scots, and he rouses the men of Wharfedale, especially the men of Thorpe (a favourite spot of Sutcliffe’s), to join the expedition. The northern contingents are led by Tunstall and Stanley from Lancashire and Clifford and Sir John Percival from Yorkshire amongst others. They join forces with the Earl of Surrey’s troops from the south and march through Durham into Northumberland. James gathers his forces in Edinburgh, and despite a prophecy that he is going to meet his death, marches south to Ford on the river Till, and entrenches his army on Flodden Hill. The lord of Ford castle is a prisoner in Scotland, and his lady has no choice but to entertain the royal guest. The Scots’ position appears impregnable, but the Scottish army consists of men of many clans whose pride is more in their clan that in their country. The English cross the Till, and the Scottish troop from the stronghold of Merse are cut off from their base across the border. The battle is fiercely fought, but the Scots’ advantage of position is lost when the men of Merse, having broken the English right wing, ride off to Merse with their plunder. James is killed, and Demaine earns a knighthood, thus removing the obstacle to his marrying Joyce. The ballad “The Flowers of the Forest” is composed by young Scot who had witnessed the horrors of the battle.
This novel is set in the late eighteenth century in the area around Beamsley in Wharfedale. Dick Mortimer fights a duel for the honour of Janet Lister. He leaves his opponent severely wounded, and is pursued by the dying man’s friends, who organise a hunt for him. The affair polarises local feeling through the whole of Wharfedale, and leads to a revival of the ancient feud between supporters of Norton and Clifford portrayed in Pam the Fiddler. Mortimer and Lister, Janet’s father, represent the Norton faction, and the losing duellist and his supporters represent the Clifford faction. The local doctor, Lascelles, manages to remain neutral, and is called upon by both sides to dress their wounds. When the forces of law and order attempt to enforce good behaviour, both sides conspire to make fools of them. They are led the whole length of the dale in pursuit of a great battle between Norton and Clifford until they find themselves at a cock fight on the summit of Pen-y-ghent.
The story is set in the village of Cringle Dene, where the Holts, descendants of the Cunliffes, live in a house called Moorseats. The nearby town of Consett (not the Consett in Durham) is a centre of trade. Here the mill owner Murgatroyd employs children under unspeakable conditions. Squire Holt’s sons are twins; Jasper, the elder, is the more thoughtful, while Dick, his younger brother, has a wild gipsy streak in his make-up. Langcotes, the house across the valley from Moorseats, is rented by a newcomer, Royd, who has a wife and young daughter Hazel. As the boys come of age their father dies, and Jasper inherits the estate. He and Royd meet the reformer Richard Oastler, and make journeys to gather evidence in support of his attempts to reform the system of child labour. They travel to London, and make a profound impression on a meeting of MPs organised by Oastler. Meanwhile Dick Holt seduces Jess Nutter, the daughter of a local farmer, and when he gets into trouble on a poaching trip with some of his cronies, he leaves Cringle Dene in a hurry and travels abroad. Jess tells Jasper that she is expecting Dick’s child, and his attention to her welfare is misinterpreted by the local gossips. When Jess dies shortly after giving birth to her son, Jasper is reputed to be the father, and he feels that he cannot with honour continue to pursue Hazel. Like Griff Lomax in Through Sorrow’s Gates, he takes to hard physical work to purify himself, and sets out to reclaim the intake of Lonesome Heights which his father had allowed to revert to moorland. Dick returns from his travels hoping to marry Jess, and clears his brother’s name. Oastler’s bill is passed, and Jasper and Hazel are brought together once more.
The principal character is Nicholas Wayne, a descendant of the Waynes who feuded with the Ratcliffes, and the book contains several allusions to events described in Shameless Wayne and Red o’ the Feud. Nicholas travels to a town in Lancashire to bring home Nell Considine, the niece of his neighbour Considine of White Lea. On the return journey Nell is thrown from her horse, and her life is saved by the nursing of Nancy o’ Faa’s, a tinker girl who loves Wayne, though she knows that her love can never be returned. Nancy herself is loved by her cousin Ben o’ Faa’s, for whom she feels no affection. Wayne and Nell Considine are clearly intended for each other, though their courtship makes little progress in spite of encouragement from Mrs Considine. Wayne is an orphan cared for by his crusty housekeeper Tabitha, and he goes to Langstroth Fair to buy a horse for Nell. There he is attacked and wounded by Ben o’ Faa’s, and is in his turn nursed back to life by Nancy. Nicholas and Nell are finally married, while poor Nancy, returning from nursing a child through pneumonia, succumbs herself and dies in the snow.
There are also allusions to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, particularly the aspects recorded in Ricroft of Withens. The time of the novel is said to be about a hundred years after the rebellion, about 1845, while the feud of Waynes and Ratcliffes is spoken of a being in the remote past.
The novel takes its name from the home of Christopher Wade (Kit), the young squire who is secretly courting Barbara Ford. He discovers a body in the snow, and is wrongly suspected of murder, as the body is believed to be that of Ned Fielding, a poacher and Kit’s enemy. Kit is put to the shame of an inquest, though the verdict is “found dead”, because Barabara’s father Michael Ford gives evidence that Kit was with his daughter at the time the man was believed to have died. The local doctor, Thwaite, knows that the body is that of Ned’s brother Michael who died a week earlier, since he sent two men the rob the grave, but their horse bolted and they lost the body. Thwaite is not anxious to reveal what he knows if it can be avoided. Kit feels the need of cleansing, and works at intake, recovering fields that his forebears let go back to moorland. Kit overstretches himself, and can barely make his way to the Fords’ house through a snowstorm. He has to stay there for several weeks to recover. The doctor meanwhile is busy about the moor treating sickness and trying to find a cure for the white sickness (tuberculosis), but is himself taken ill. Ned Fielding’s ghost is seen by several people, but Kit discovers that it is the real Ned. Ned plans to incriminate the doctor over the grave-robbing, and before emigrating with the money inherited from his brother Michael he tells the parish constable about it. The parish constable is Pybus, fat, foolish, and the butt of many jokes. He is too well known for his tall stories, and Kit and the doctor have no trouble in ridiculing the story.
A story with a Cornish setting.
This is a story of one man, Rolf Heseltine, and two women, Elvie Blake and Thora Tempest. It is told against a background of a feud between the Thews and the Heseltines. The time of the story is not stated, but the feud had its origins about 1653, and its most recent outbreak was two generations before the time of the story. The Thews are lowlanders, living together in a village, and Elvie Blake’s mother was a Thew. The Heseltines, led by Rolf’s grandmother are moor folk. The Tempests, Thora and her father, live between. Thora is a hard, proud character, who has inherited a fiery disposition from her mother, who was a gypsy. She is keen to see the feud renewed, and keen to see Rolf take a prominent and bloody part in it. Her father, on the other hand, is peace-loving, and his family have always tried remain neutral in the recurring conflict.
A children's book.
This novel describes a feud between Dick Hardcastle of Logie and the shiftless inhabitants of a settlement called Garsykes, known as the Lost Folk. The men of Garsykes are inflamed against Hardcastle by Nita, a basket-maker who had hoped to be Mistress of Logie. Hardcastle broke with her some years before the story begins, but she has taken it hard. A Scots pedlar, Donald, and his daughter Causleen are forced to take shelter at Logie, as Donald is taken ill. Donald is not very happy to accept the hospitality of a house that still has a pike used against the Scots at Flodden, but he has no choice. The men of Garsykes try to steal sheep from Hardcastle and his shepherd, but they are put to flight with the help of Storm, a sheepdog turned sheep-killer, who lives half wild on the moors. When the men of Garsykes come to set fire to Logie, Donald helps to defend the place, and uses the hated pike himself to good purpose. Nita tricks Hardcastle and Causleen into going into a limestone cave, and they are trapped there by the Lost Folk. Storm defends them from an attack, but is wounded and dies. As Hardcastle and Causleen find a way out of the cave the roof collapses, and the Lost Folk think that they are dead. They escape to Logie, then marry in Skipton, and return to show themselves to the unbelieving Nita. The plague is brought to Garsykes, and its inhabitants are wiped out.
There is something reminiscent of Ricroft of Withens in this story, but it is not so long, and not so compelling. The Lost Folk are poor things compared with the boisterous Carlesses, and there is no Bonnie Prince Charlie to liven things up. The time of the story is described as being ten generations after Flodden, so at 25 years to the generation that would come to 1763. The Wharfe flows under the bridge at Logie, and the Strid is not far away; Skipton and back is less than a day’s journey. All this points to middle Wharfedale in the region of Barden and Apletreewick.
Guy Thorold returns to the moors of Wharfedale seeking revenge against his father’s enemy Simon Glayde. Glayde is deep in debt to Heriot of Windylaws. Heriot wishes to marry Glayde’s stepdaughter Greta, but when she is faced with a choice between marrying Heriot and being turned out of her home, she prefers the latter. With Glayde’s daughter Laura she wanders the moors and forests, making for her Aunt Constantine’s house, Gable Hill. They are helped on their way by Thorold, whom Greta affects to dislike. The three of them get lost in the forest, where they are pursued by the Potters, low-caste gypsies, who want to take the women into their camp and make wives of them. The women are saved first by the woodmen of the forest, and later by an itinerant fiddler Jake o’ the Fairs. Thorold is imprisoned by the Potters, but released by Robina, a young woman whose mother had been a true Romany. Greta and Laura continue on their way to Gable Hill. They are followed by the Potters, and by Thorold and Robina. The Potters set fire to the heather on the moor, hoping to confuse their prey, but they two women arrive safely at Gable Hill, only to find Aunt Constantine dead. Thorold thinks himself well-enough revenged on Glayde, and reestablishes himself as a gentleman-farmer, while Greta falls in love with him.
Roger Scroope is a young man, owner of Storriths, a fine house somewhere in the moorland of the north of England, and in love with Jess Blamire, sister of a neighbour. Peter Daunt, nicknamed Wee Daunt, is a dwarf, son of Eliza Daunt, a woman who seems to bear no one any good will. Scroope's neighbour Stephen Elliot believes that Scroope's father seduced Elliot's daughter, who died in childbirth. With the help of Eliza Daunt, Elliot discovers that the couple were secretly married, that the child, rightful owner of Storriths, survived, and that it is Peter Daunt. Scroope withdraws from Storriths to Gayle, a house of his late mother's, and the faithless Jess marries Daunt and bears him a son. Scroope's life is further disturbed by the arrival of a mysterious lady, Auriol Clare, who comes to live in a cottage in a deserted village near Gayle. Adrain Clare, her shiftless husband who deserted her after two hours of marriage, appears to claim her, but is frightened off by Scroope who supsects rightly that Clare has a criminal past, and is afraid of being found by the police. Clare reappears from time to time, and on one occasion he is reponsible for an accident that results in the death of Daunt's son. Finally Daunt catches up with him, and puruses him into the Lanty Water, a moorland tarn that is the subject of dreadful legends, and they both drown. Scroope can resume his occupation of Storriths, and marry Auriol.
The story concerns two courtships, and these are studied in parallel in the book. (Sutcliffe would have called them love affairs, but the phrase can no longer mean what it meant to him.) One of these courtships began, and was concluded, forty years before the time of the action of the book. Mrs Holt was born among the travelling people of the fairgrounds of the Pennine dales, and had inherited enough of the second sight from her forebears to tell fortunes in the fairground. She fell in love with Netherby, a gentleman, and he with her, but they were separated for a time. She believed that he had abandoned her, and she married instead a yeoman farmer called Holt. Mrs Holt’s granddaughter, Dallas, is attracted to Dick Norland, also a gentleman, and their courtship is brought near to a similar disaster. Though the country of the dales and the weather are important features in the book, they are dealt with in a much more restrained and artistic manner that in the earlier novels.
A book about the Yorkshire Dales. Illustrations by Reginald Smith, a watercolour artist. Issued in three editions:
Number 1 of the limited edition was given by Halliwell Sutcliffe's widow Mabel to Queen Mary when she visited Percival Hall near Linton in 1933. Halliwell Sutcliffe's grandson, David Sutcliffe, still has number 2. The popular edition is still in print.
Another story of a feud between two families, Strangs and Kendricks.
A murder mystery.
Detective fiction with a contemporary setting. The Times Literary Supplement (4 June 1931) reviewed the book as follows:
Bramfield is a gloomy Midland town where unemployment is rife, and most of the millowners are living on their overdrafts. Inspector Bantock therefore has a great deal of unrest and latent Communism to guard against. To make matters more difficult for him a young woman is murdered in a fiendish manner, and weeks pass without the police being able to make any progress in their investigations. This failure is utilized by mob orators to undermine public confidence, and the development of the story concerns itself both with the steady growth of lawlessness and with the Inspector's unremitting efforts to solve the murder mystery. Suspicion falls on one Roger Carrick, who appears to have fled the country. Evidence is accumulated and the case against him seems complete when he reports to the police, explains his movements, and establishes his innocence beyond all doubt. Indirectly, however, this Roger Carrick puts Bantock on the right scent. Although depressing in theme and atmosphere, the book keeps a steady grip on the reader's interest and sympathies.
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Copyright © 2002, 2003 John B. Wordsworth
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Last updated on 9 June 2003.