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An Honourable Estate: The legend of Mab's Cross [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Ashworth
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 376 pages
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Book Description

England 1315...

The rain is torrential. Famine and unrest spread across the country and when Sir William Bradshaigh joins Adam Banastre’s rebellion against their overlord, the Earl of Lancaster, things do not go to plan. Sir William is lucky to escape with his life after a battle at Preston and, as a wanted man, has no choice but to become an outlaw. Meanwhile, the lands at Haigh are forfeit to the king and are given to Sir Peter Lymesey for a year and a day, and Lady Mabel Bradshaigh must make a hard choice if she is to protect her inheritance and herself.

Product Description

About the Author

I've been a published writer since I sold my first short story to Pony Annual in my teens. My first historical novel The de Lacy Inheritance was published by Myrmidon Books in June 2010. My second novel, An Honourable Estate, based on the legend of Mab's Cross, is available as an ebook and a paperback, along with its very own short ebook prequel The Lady of Haigh. My third novel, By Loyalty Bound, which tells the story of the mistress of Richard III was published in July 2013 by Pen and Sword Fiction. You can find out more about me, my books and my research on my website at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 735 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Publisher: AWES Books (12 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008DV4F86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I've been a published writer since I sold my first short story to Pony Annual in my teens. Since then my work has been published in a wide variety of magazines including Lancashire Magazine, Lancashire Life, The Lady, My Weekly, People's Friend and Take a Break Fiction Feast.

I have written three local interest books:
Champion Lancastrians
Tales of Old Lancashire
Lancashire - Who Lies Beneath?

My first historical novel The de Lacy Inheritance was published by Myrmidon Books in June 2010 and has been followed by:
An Honourable Estate, along with its short prequel The Lady of Haigh.
By Loyalty Bound, which tells the story of the mistress of Richard III.
Favoured Beyond Fortune, which tells the story of Alicia de Lacy, set in the reign of Edward II.
The Circle of Fortune, which continues Alicia's story and her fight for her lands and castles.
Many Kinds of Silence, which traces the lost years of William Shakespeare and his relationship with his patron Ferdinando Stanley.

You can find out more about me, my books and my research on my website at

You can find my author page on Facebook at:

and follow me on Twitter: @elizashworth

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Medieval Legend Brought to Life 3 Aug. 2012
Elizabeth Ashworth's novel follows William Bradshaw's involvement in the Banastre Rebellion and begins during the disastrously wet summer of 1315, while the country is still suffering the after effects of Bannockburn the year before. William Bradshaw, [or Bradshaigh] went off to fight the `holy wars' and was gone for ten years. In his absence, and not knowing whether he was alive or dead, Lady Mabel married a Welsh knight. William, however returned, hunted down the newcomer, and killed him at Newton Park, where supposedly, a red stone still marks the spot of the murder.

I was only two chapters into this novel when I felt compelled to look up the Mab's Cross connection on which this novel is loosely based. William forgave his wife, but her confessor insisted that as a penance for her unintentional bigamy, she should go bare-footed and bare-legged to a cross near Wigan from her home, the Haigh, once every week, as long as she lived, to weep and pray for pardon.

With crops rotting in the fields and many animals struck down with disease, the country was in the grip of widespread famine, where the price of food was crippling, but the corrupt tax collectors persisted in fleecing the landowners.

Adam Banastre, a minor Lancastrian lord, organises a rebellion against his overlord, Robert Holland, who was secretary to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. Armed with written approval from their king, Adam and William join this rebellion, which takes the form of a raiding party across Lancashire where they seized food and livestock. Edmund de Neville, the Deputy Sheriff of Lancashire, and Sir Robert de Holland defeated the rebels at Deepdale in Preston. William flees into the hills where he has no choice but to live as an outlaw.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Honourable Estate 10 Jun. 2013
The book is well written and easy to read. The historical background accurate but not well integrated into the story, rather like separate chunks from a history book. I found it unsatisfactory on background detail, lots of descriptions of the bad weather but little about the setting, little period feel. Where is the Hall, what did it look like, similarly the churches. Why does Lady Mable only have 1 maid of all work? Distances are odd and places vague. Why did they not deal with Ratcliffe immediately instead of going to collect a posse? The fighting scenes are well done but we don't know what the characters look like e.g. how old is Mab? I found the story hard to believe. Why does William never make any attempt to come home or even send a message to Mab for years when he is quite openly hanging around Chorleigh a few miles away? If he loves her surely his first thought would be for her wellbeing. I didn't find any attempt to get inside the characters and make their motivations believable. An interesting take on a local legend but not enough thought given to its development or creating period detail.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging characters and great storyline 30 Dec. 2012
By Sian
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Historical fiction is not my usual genre, however I really enjoyed this book. Mab was an amazing character who I really engaged with, feeling her joys and pains. This is a good read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honourable Estate by Elizabeth Ashworth 8 Aug. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having previously read and been inspired by Elizabeth Ashworth's historical novel, The de Lacy Inheritance, I was looking forward to the publication of An Honourable Estate. As soon as the paperback edition was available, I ordered a copy.

Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop till I'd come to the end. I can truthfully say it is the most gripping book I have read for a long time. Although I found some scenes - like where the small boy, Dicken, was severely punished by Lord Peter Lymesey for eating a morsel of bread that had been thrown away - highly disturbing, the book was compelling and beautifully written. The whole story was deeply moving and thought-provoking and gave a great picture of the history of the period.

I like the way the story begins, as it ends, with the penitential walk by Mabel de Haigh to the stone cross in the market place. Between the Prologue and the final chapter we follow the story that led up to that walk.

Elizabeth gives us a lot of background information and it is obvious that she has researched her subject thoroughly. It has made me want to do some further reading about the history of the period to refresh my knowledge of the Battle of Bannockburn and of the reign of Edward 11 and of his war with his barons over the death of his cousin, Piers Gaveston, events mentioned in the novel.

What I liked, too, was the skilful way we were taken from Lady Mabel's environment to Sir William's. We knew he wasn't dead but she didn't.

This is a tale that I know I will re-read. Meanwhile, some of my friends have asked if I will lend them my copy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sir Read-A-Lot's Review 21 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
England, 1315.
The farmers and villeins of Northern England are starving to death. After a year of bad weather, a bitterly cold winter and a soaking wet summer has decimated crops leaving them destitute. Lord William & Lady Mabel Bradshaigh are sympathetic to the dire position their tenants are in and do all they can to ease their plight. Bradshaigh's overlord, The Earl of Lancaster, is not so kind and demands his full levy of tax and tribute each quarter, regardless of the suffering it causes. William is persuaded to join forces with some of his fellow lords to overthrow Lancaster but the insurrection is short-lived and William is forced to go into hiding.
His lands are forfeited for a year and a day and Mabel is forced to endure the brutal Sir Peter Lymesey, a favoured knight of the Earl. His uncouth personality is barely tolerable, but when he viciously attacks his young, half-starved squire for stealing an unwanted chunk of bread Mabel makes a stand.
As the year progresses, Mabel is made to believe her husband is dead and encouraged to marry the Sherriff appointed to oversee her estate, Sir Edmund Neville . Her position is dire, her grief all consuming and the responsibility to protect her staff and tenants is a heavy cross to bear. She must draw on all her strength to survive and secure her daughter's future.

Elizabeth Ashworth certainly knows her history. A proud Lancastrian, she has written some non-fiction history books focusing on her native County and this novel is extensively and impressively researched. The legend of Mab's Cross is the inspiration for this tale and she weaves a plausible story around the skeleton of facts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Really liked this book
I found An Honourable Estate to be a fascinating, enjoyable and at times heart-wrenching read.
Published 3 months ago by LK Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good story got to read all the her books
Published 4 months ago by summer
2.0 out of 5 stars Historical Novel
Interesting but a bit slow
Published 5 months ago by Bunty
4.0 out of 5 stars it gave a feel of what it would have been like to have been alive as a...
This was an enjoyable story with a sad/happy ending. it gave a feel of what it would have been like to have been alive as a woman at that time.
Published 6 months ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling story of a strong Lady trying to keep her land and estate...
The story continues of The Lady of Haigh and how she held her estate during the absence of her husband and tried to survive after being told he was killed only to find out he was... Read more
Published 7 months ago by dee43
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite excellent. The story combines one of the possible legends ...
Quite excellent. The story combines one of the possible legends of Mabel Bradshaw with a gentle and compelling love story, The historical facts have been well researched, and this... Read more
Published 10 months ago by K.E.C
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth reading
I loved the way the author developed the characters from the first book. It gave insight as to how hard it was for women to survive when men went away to fight
Published 12 months ago by Patricia Douglas
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honourable Estate
I highly recommend this book. Well thought out and likeable characters. Well researched story line. 5 stars! Looking forward to reading the prequel
Published on 24 Mar. 2013 by Rudesing
4.0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Story
An Honourable Estate is a captivating tale inspired by the legend of Mab's Cross and based on the story of Sir William Bradshaigh and Lady Mabel Bradshaigh of Haigh, and their... Read more
Published on 13 Sept. 2012 by Starbright
4.0 out of 5 stars An Honourable Estate
1315. England is in the grip of the Great Famine. Torrential rains have fallen through all of 1314 and show no signs of abatement. Read more
Published on 8 Sept. 2012 by Darlene Elizabeth Williams
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