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The Devil Comes to Dartmoor: The Haunting True Story of Mary Howard, Devon's Demon Bride Paperback – 1 Oct 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752461117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752461113
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 1.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"No matter where your interests lie, be it Dartmoor, history, romance or ghostly legends, they will be more than catered for within the pages"
--legendarydartmoor.co.uk November 2011

"the author's previous work as a playwright and scriptwriter ensures a great piece of storytelling" --"Your Family Tree" February 2012

From the Author

Sir Richard Grenville arrived in Devon in 1628, determined to be the richest man in England by any means necessary. He did it all - he married for money, murdered and kidnapped and exterminated for money; he was a war profiteer and an outrageous thief who killed anyone who stood in his way. He was brought up on the heroic tales of his grandfather and namesake, an Elizabethan privateer. Sir Richard wanted to be a great man like his grandfather, but the 1600s proved to be a very different age, where Englishmen fought amongst themselves over issues of sovereignty and social mobility, culminating in a devastating Civil War. Meanwhile, Sir Richard still craved only gold; it was money he knew would give him status, and as a General fighting for the King, he would besiege Plymouth and bring Devon to its knees to claim his fortune.

His wife Mary Howard still haunts the old roads of Dartmoor, a ghostly figure in a spectral coach rattling past the notorious gaol at Lydford; a demon bride luring unsuspecting travellers to their deaths. Her coach, it is said, was made by Satan himself, from the bones of her victims, four blazing skulls at its corners, a demonic dog with fiery eyes running alongside. Condemned to ride, night after night, it was Mary Howard who brought Sir Richard Grenville to Devon, who escaped his brutal fists and destroyed his fortunes as she fled into the night, so initiating decades of his violent retribution. To recover his money and property, Sir Richard Grenville kidnapped men for ransom, killed his fellow officers and hanged men with his own hands.

One man would finally defeat Richard Grenville and pay the ultimate price. Of humble origins, George Cutteford worked as a customs officer in Plymouth before finding employment as land agent for the wealthy heiress Mary Howard. Cutteford was her trusted friend and her lover, an illicit liaison that brought great prosperity to his puritan family, but then Mary chose to marry the dashing Sir Richard Grenville. From the outset, Cutteford saw Grenville for what he was, and set about destroying Grenville's claim over Mary's estates, but Grenville's friendship with King Charles I gave him the upper hand. Promoted to General in the King's Army on the outbreak of Civil War, Grenville seized his opportunity to have Cutteford's family thrown out of their estates, and Cutteford tortured and imprisoned in Lydford Gaol.

However, Mary Howard and George Cutteford had a secret that would bring an end to Grenville's reign of terror, that would bring men together from opposing sides of the war to conspire against Grenville and allow a boy with no name to become the wealthiest man in Devon.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While the book is ostensibly about unpicking the truth behind the ghostly legend of Mary Howard “Devon’s Demon Bride”, as a British civil wars buff I became much more interested once the story began to edge into the 1640s and the dirty dealings of her husband and Royalist commander Sir Richard Grenville. Nevertheless this is a great tale no matter which of these two characters takes your interest most. SPOILERS NEXT – in a nutshell the book’s conclusion is Mary isn’t, and wasn’t, a demon but Richard very much was a wretch….
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Format: Paperback
Fantastic read about about true life dramas.
Very interesting and factual about how the mighty lived many centuries ago.
Great to put the facts and story behind local folklore and to be able to put stories of life times to the Artwork at Tavistock town hall.
I have for many years wondered who the gentry in the paintings were and what their importance to Tavistock was.
Great amount of research done to find so much heritage and history in one little book.
Fantastic read for anyone interested in history and the civil war.
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Format: Paperback
This is the story of Mary Howard and how she probably didn't murder ALL of her four husbands...just some of them. I am a big fan of books that deliberately go out of their way to highlight people who don't get a lot written about them (do we NEED more books on Hitler or Henry VIII?).

Mary is a great story full of plague, scheming and lace. While the documentation on Mary can't sustain an entire book, all the back story, setting and other swirling affairs of England in the 17th century merely add to the body count and it's quite remarkable how many aristocrats seemed to have serious gambling and drinking problems- seriously, it seems to have been endemic.

Mary is even now alleged to be a ghost haunting the area of Tavistock in a spectral carriage and after reading this book you can see why this, initially obscure, aristocratic lady ended up finding a rather sinister niche in local history.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Really interesting book, full of historical facts about the fascinating families that lived in Devon. I live in Plymouth and found the account of the war between the Royalist and Roundheads. Thumping good read......
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this after reading Daphne Du Maurier The King's General...... can recommend both. The book is well researched and written and was an amazing price. One for keeping
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