Thursday, 11 August 2016

Truth or Mythology? Robin Hood and Holy Relics in Yorkshire #Kindle #UrbanFantasy

My name is Mike Evers and I live in the small West Yorkshire town of Mirfield.  Last year I put together three novellas (or long short stories) into a trilogy called The Hopfield Tales. These were inspired and based upon some interesting facts that I'd unearthed about my home town. You see, I'm not originally from this area, but grew up in South Wales, spending quite a few years living in various parts of the UK (and Poland). Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I did a teacher training course in Huddersfield and ended up settling down in Mirfield in 2005.  I quickly took a shine to the town and during my many rambles hither and thither I discovered a few things, and soon decided that I just had to write about them. 'Hopfield' is an amalgamation of Mirfield and a neighbouring settlement called Hopton.

But what are the facts and where is the fiction?

Well of course, the books are works of fiction - unless you really do believe in the spirit of Robin Hood, for instance.  However, there is more than just a grain of truth behind them, too.  So, without further ado, let's have a look.

The Spirit Archer

This story is about a boy called Jamie who chances upon the grave of Robin Hood and forms a friendship with the legendary English outlaw.

Spirit Archer Facts

  • Robin Hood's grave is in Kirklees Priory, near Mirfield.  While many may question the existence of the outlaw - he is, after all, one of Britain's most enduring legends - the story of Robin being murdered in Kirklees goes back at least 500 years.  It is mentioned in the old English ballad A Gest of Robyn Hode. 
  • The inscription in the book is the actual one on Robin Hood's grave. The description of the burial site is as accurate as possible.  This grave was built in Victorian times, as the then landowner was quite taken with the legend so decided to build this memorial. He also added the inscription. 
  • During my research I discovered that there was a prioress called 'Marion'.  The usual name, 'Maid Marian', is not used in my story for the sake of genuine historical authenticity. Scan the image below for Marion Pinkerly. The time period in the book remains true to this precise period.

  • Jamie's street, Nook Lane, is called Nab Lane in real life.  The Nook Lane chip shop is actually Nab Lane Fisheries.

  • The public house, 'The Laughing Nun' was the Three Nuns in real life. The pub is located quite near to Robin Hood's grave and gets its name from its connections with the former Kirklees Priory. Rumours about the nuns would probably make another story, so there you go!
          *The pub is now a Miller and Carter steakhouse and has changed its facade.


Campaign of the Gods

This story involves Norse gods playing a fabulous board game in Asgard (a bit similar to Risk), which unlocks events in present day Hopfield,  and a gives hapless local policeman a very BAD DAY when Vikings and creatures from the Norse underworld run amok.

Campaign of the Gods Facts

  • The Hopfield Stone in the book is actually the Mirfield Stone.  This wonderful artefact is from after the Viking period, believed to be from the late 11th Century. It is, however, a worthy objective in the game Campaign of the Gods


  • In fact, the final battle takes place in the grounds of St Mary's Churchwhich is where the stone is located. It's a great location, don't you think?

  • Again, many locations in the book are from Mirfield and Hopton.  Here is the local cricket ground where the dramatic first confrontation takes place. In the background is some of the woodland where the time-transported armies arrive.


 Mark of the Legion

In Mark of the Legion a modern-day monk meets an old man as part of a friendship programme, who claims to have had a past life in the Roman IX Legion. But, what is real, and what isn't?

Mark of the Legion Facts

  • The monastery is real and is actually Mirfield's Community of the Resurrection. Furthermore, the care home (The Autumn Leaves Care Home) Brother Bentham visits is real, too, and is across the road, just like in the book.  I live quite near to the monastery, and walk past it quite often.  In the book I've tried to make the location and characters as authentic as possible. Within reason, of course.

  • Incredibly, the Holy Relic mentioned in the book is actually real!!!  The Community of the Resurrection does indeed have a fragment of the cross Jesus was crucified upon.  It is a gift from the Orthodox Patriarch (just like in the novella). You can make your own mind up about the provenance, but it's a great coup for Mirfield nonetheless.  I was told this intriguing revelation by a monk during a monastery open day. I just had to write it into a story.

Anyway, just about all of the locations in the three stories are real, and are a tribute to Mirfield and Hopton.  I hope you consider reading them. The trilogy is now available on Kindle at the lower price of $0.99.

You can find out more about me here:  Mike Evers - author profile.

All the best!


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