I’ve been delving, as I often do, into the branch of my family that came from Devon, and while mulling over lists of Devon parishes, I couldn’t help but think that they could surely provide an entire cast list for a new novel. I don’t know what exactly will happen in the novel, but I do have the characters.
Peter and Mary Tavy –newcomers to the district from the Big City, who don’t fully understand rural ways.
Martin Hoe is the village postman. His brother Morte is the undertaker.
Stockleigh Pomeroy, retired brigadier and his wife Berry, stalwart of the W.I.
Marian Leigh runs the post office
Brampford Speke: the schoolmaster, who lusts after Penny Cross, a dressmaker
George Nympton is the local blacksmith, Drew Steignton runs the garage, and Clay Hanger is an odd-job man.
Sampford Peverell is the squire up in the big house, and Cheriton Fitzpaine is, of course, his wicked nephew, who has seduced housemaid Rose Ash, much to the fury of Bratton Fleming, her gamekeeper sweetheart.
Heanton Punchardon is the wild-eyed Methodist lay-preacher who seriously annoys the bee-keeping Reverend Churston Ferrers.
Tamerton Foliot is understood to be a writer of obscure Lawrentian novels that no-one has read.
Holcombe Burnell is an avid birdwatcher, slightly suspiciously wandering the moors.
Broadwood Kelly is an itinerant tinker, usually drunk.
And the eccentric lady in the cottage by the river, who is guaranteed to rescue and nurse any injured wildlife, is, of course, known locally as Ottery St.Mary.
There are so many more. Jacob Stowe, Crwys Morchard, Peter Marsland, Brad Stone, Milton Damerel and his brother Syd – any suggestions?