From the Back Cover
Malvern Chase was first published in 1880 and its popularity was such that six editions were printed within ten years. Although William Symonds subtitled it as an `autobiographical' account of the Wars of the Roses, it is in reality a superb historical reconstruction supported by much documentary evidence. The medieval romance not only satisfied the Victorian liking for all things gothic, whether in architecture, furniture, or painting, but, as a story of masculine derring-do, feminine fidelity, and ghostly portent, it also followed the literary fashion of the time. The author's descriptions of the Malvern Hills and the Vale of the Severn, at a time when they consisted of forest, heath, and marsh, paint an appealing picture that provokes a yearning for those less crowded times, even if life was much more uncertain. The populist support for the Witchfinder to sniff out those experimenting with herbal remedies has a resonance with a latter-day suspicion of scientific research. The book has been out of print for many years and this new edition revives for a twenty-first century reader its effective characterisation, breadth of scholarship, and lively narrative.