Monday, 11 August 2014

Town tours in Budleigh and Brewster


Thinking about the tour of Budleigh Salterton for the Literary Festival that I’m running on 19 September I noticed that our sister-town of Brewster, Massachusetts, has scheduled something similar - but five times bigger. Well, that’s America for you!

Actually, all that’s happening is that the Brewster Historical Society is inviting visitors to a ‘Sea Captain’s Tour and Tea’, highlighting 30 historical sites and homes in the Cape Cod town.  But the event takes place five times during the holiday season, and you can enjoy luncheon as an extra, provided by the Candleberry Inn. There are two remaining dates: Thursday 14 August and Thursday 18 September.  

One other big thing about the ‘Sea Captain’s Tour’ is that it is scripted by author Sally Gunning, and based on her acclaimed historical novel The Widow’s War, first published in 2006.  

Sally Gunning and her husband moved to Brewster some years ago, and found a natural involvement in the town’s Historical Society. “I soon became engrossed in the town’s history and found that it was, in fact my family history,” she writes. “My fourteen-greats-grandfather Thomas Prence, later governor of the colony, first bought land from the Sauquatuckett Indians to erect a grist mill along the powerful Satucket River. The town of Brewster received its name from another ancestor, William Brewster, a religious elder in the original Plymouth colony.”

The Widow’s War is set in Satucket Village of 1761, in what is today’s Brewster. It tells the story of Lyddie Berry, struck down by a series of personal misfortunes when her husband is drowned at sea and she finds that he property and rights are legally in the hands of her nearest male relative, her hated son-in-law. How she challenges the customs and the society of her time makes for a very readable story about injustices of the past, all supported by a formidable depth of historical research.

You can read more about Sally Gunning at her website

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