This post features some famous historical women in Pagham-on-Sea! I’ll do three of my favourites who deserve short stories/novellas/novels of their own.
These three are all 19-20thCs.
Eglantine Valmai Pritchard (1895-1993)
Miss Pritchard was born in Llanfairfechan, Wales, and moved to Pagham-on-Sea to be near to brother as he convalesced after the Great War.
Her boarding-school friend and life-long companion, Miss Adeline “Della” Troy (1895-1987), moved into a small house with her, where Miss Pritchard proved a formidable force in the community. Taking the supernaturals and paranormals in her stride, she developed her own innate powers from an above-average Spiritualist/Medium to one of the most powerful hedge witches Pagham-on-Sea has ever seen. She was capable of challenging the three [“married”] Pendle sisters, Beverley Wend, Olive Shaw and Eileen Foreman, on their own turf, and of protecting others against their Weird powers.
Miss Pritchard is best known for her tweeds, her motorcycle and side-car, and her daring capture of a German spy in 1941. Not so widely known are her other feats, including dealing with werewolves with PTSD, and putting a protection spell on Fairwood House in 1958 preventing the Pendles from accessing the eldritch hearthstone in its kitchen.
She was an inspiration to her great-niece Linda and great-great-niece, who bears her name but prefers Tina. Bisexual Tina found a lot of confidence in her sexuality through stories of Great-Aunt Eglantine and Della, as well as body confidence. The Pritchard women were always big-boned and heavier, with slow metabolism. Tina Harris learned to model herself on a woman who was both an unstoppable force and an immoveable object, and through her, learned to find herself.
She has her own mood board on Pinterest!
Ann Pendle née Youngblood (1851-1952)
Ann Youngblood married Thomas Pendle in 1867 aged 16, and they had two sons who died as infants (Thomas and William) and three surviving daughters, Beverley, Olive and Eileen. Thomas’s younger brother, William, had only one child, a son named Richard (known as Dick or Dicky), in 1879. Dick was the first only child in the Pendle clan for three generations, and he had the rare gift of farsight.
Ann was already skilled in various forms of witchcraft, and Thomas Pendle was himself a skilled witch. The Pendles had practiced their arts in their old cottage, where the hearthstone had been the site of their spells and rituals. When the Sauvants knocked down the old cottage and built a new one for their tenants in the woodland, the Pendles expected the new cottage to come with the old stones. What actually happened was that the old cottage was recycled into Fairwood House’s new extension, and the Pendles had their ‘new’ cottage built from other recycled stone, from another tenant’s cottage which was torn down after their eviction. The Pendles lost access to their hearthstone which became the hearthstone of Fairwood’s new kitchen.
Ann went into service at Fairwood House and set about driving the other staff out of the kitchen so that she could use the Pendle Stone for her own purposes. She secured positions in the house for her daughters, so that Beverley, Olive and Eileen could learn how to use the Stone too.
Ann Pendle concentrated on her daughters’ education and was strict about degrees of consanguinity: when she realised that RIchard Pendle was sweet on her youngest daughter, Eileen, she put her foot down and forbade them from seeing each other. Richard refused to share his farsight with the family as a result, and Eileen’s rift with her mother never truly healed.
Sylvia-Marie Buskerville (1868-1911)
The Buskervilles of Buskerville Hall were rooted in Sussex, and the original hall was north of Piddingdene, up on the East Sussex Weald. Distantly related to the Baskervilles, this branch of the family went with an alternative spelling of the surname after one of their number received a werewolf bite and the other branches of the family wanted nothing to do with them.
Sir Arthur got the idea for his famous Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, from a terrifying encounter with this lycanthropic family. Sylvia-Marie, incurably criminally insane, trained as a surgeon in London while disguised as a man, even though women had been practising as women since 1849. Sylvia-Marie’s masculine disguise was less a statement of identity and more a practical consideration, since she liked to stalk and kill people as both a human and a wolf. Her activities in Whitechapel in 1888 were the last straw for her father, who paid a great deal of money to have it covered up and suspicion thrown upon other (male) suspects. He brought her back home and incarcerated her.
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