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.
William Symonds was the Rector of Pendock in Worcestershire in the 1880s and wrote almost fifty articles and books on a wide variety of subjects including geology, natural science, and antiquities.
He is best known for his historical novels of Malvern Chase and Hanley Castle. Each providing a graphic account of the great civil wars in English history when Lancastrians did battle with Yorkists and Cavaliers fought Roundheads.
See also Hanley Castle