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Great Staughton and its people by Anthony Withers, Chapter 10

2000 Years of English History.

This book is about the remarkable people from this modest Huntingdonshire village who, over thepast two millennia of England’s history, exercised power and influence both locally and on the national stage. The book gives a detailed biography of each of these characters, setting their lives in the wider context of English history from the time of the Romans to the present day.

Why is this not a proper book?

Several people have posed this question so I’ll try to answer. Firstly, local history books written by amateurs are not big sellers and reputable publishers (I am in touch with one such) are reluctant to invest in printing and marketing. However, if the author subsidises the set up costs, such a publisher will design, typeset and print a limited quantity of the book which the author (me in this case) is then responsible for marketing and selling. So money is a consideration. Secondly, the book is not quite complete. Several illustrations are missing, notably the will of Ælfhelm Polga (in the British Library) and a portrait of Sir James Dyer. The National Portrait Gallery has three, none of which is on display. Also, sketch maps of the village and the Town would be useful. I’m addressing all these issues at the moment so I’ll let you know how I get on.

An introduction to Chapter 10: 'Pray For The Good Astate Of Olyver Leder'

It is a fair assumption that very few people, apart from professional historians, will have heard of Oliver Leder, which is rather a pity because he lived through some of the most interesting and turbulent years in England’s history. He was a backroom boy, albeit an influential one, during the time when Henry VIII was engaged in two divorce petitions, firstly from the Church of Rome, and secondly from Catherine of Aragon. At a time when Henry was wielding the axe on many of his advisers, Leder managed to keep his head, unlike his patrons Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell. It was Oliver Leder who built Place House. His memorial can be seen carved on the screen at the west end of the nave in the Church of St Andrew.

Feedback is welcome:

NEXT WEEK: Chapter 11: '… that famous and most reverend judge ...'

The next chapter of the book will be uploaded to the website on Monday October 24

Click the PDF below to read Chapter 10.

Chapter 10
Download PDF • 134KB

For further information on this book and to read the rest, visit:

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