The Smuggling Vicar of Gorleston
Here I am, talking about the subject of eighteenth and nineteenth century smuggling again!
Have you read my most recent release, The Comtesse of Midnight, in the Storm & Shelter Bluestocking Belles and Friend Collection? If so, you know that I touched on the free trade of Suffolk. And in both of my books, The Counterfeit Lady and Haunting Miss Fenwick, Yorkshire smuggling is part of the plot.
The hero and heroine in my current work-in-progress won’t be smugglers, but they will be making a side trip to Norfolk, and someone is going to keep a yacht. While researching Norfolk, I remembered the website Smuggler’s Britain. I came across the story of a smuggling vicar there:
The Romance of Smuggling, by the Reverend Forbes Phillips writing as Atholl Forbes, describes his vicarage and one of his predecessors:
Beneath my feet as I write are large and roomy cellars, once used for the storage of imported goods, and until a few years ago a subterranean passage connected these with a landing stage by the waterside; and let the full truth be told, the designer of all was the vicar of the parish.
Our Fictional Vicar
I couldn’t help but contrast the smuggling vicar with Barnaby Somerville, Jude Knight’s heroic vicar in A Dream Come True, her contribution to the Storm & Shelter Collection.
Here’s the blurb for A Dream Come True:
The tempest that batters Barnaby Somerville’s village is the latest but not the least of his challenges.
Vicar to a remote parish, he stretches his tiny stipend to adopt his orphaned niece and nephew and his time to offer medical care as well as spiritual. A wife is a dream he cannot afford.
But the storm sweeps into his life a surprising temptation—a charming young woman who lavishes her gentle care upon his wards—and him.
God knows, he will forever be richer for having known her, even if he must let her go.
Isn’t that lovely? Barney would serve all of his flock, even the smugglers, but I can’t imagine him ever taking part in criminal activities! He’s really a delightful hero.
For more on the subject of smuggling in our fictional era, read the discussion generated by the research for Storm & Shelter in my blog post on Smuggling Spirits.
Blurb for Storm & Shelter:
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.
Blurb for The Comtesse of Midnight:
A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay rescues a French lady smuggler from the surf during a devastating storm, and takes shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects his companion knows the woman he’s seeking, the one who holds the secret to his identity.
Marielle Plessiers may dress like a boy and go out with the local free traders, but she’s really the Comtesse de Fontenay. She trades in spirits, not secrets, but the information she holds will change Malcolm Comyn’s life forever.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kgRmLG
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3lZYHja
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-shelter-bluestocking-belles/1137958115
Google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Grace_Burrowes_Storm_and_Shelter?id=TNMhEAAAQBAJ