‘Soul Seeker’ (Local theme)
‘Soul Seeker’ (The author wishes to remain anonymous, explained that ‘after researching Lady Howard’s life I felt that she had been subjected to a hate campaign to blacken her name and achievements.) https://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/lady_how.htm
I have no idea why people are so scared of me. They have transformed me into a phantom to put fear into children’s hearts.
The truth is that I do not ride in a carriage made form the bones of my husbands. A black hound does not ride ahead of my mythical carriage every night from the Gatehouse of my former home, in Tavistock in the County of Devonshire to Okehampton as the church clock strikes midnight. My faithful hound does not have to pick one blade of grass every night from the mound surrounding Okehampton castle until all the grass is gone at which point my soul is supposedly to be freed from its earthly penance.
Why do people imagine I should be punished? I was quite simply a chattel passed from one husband to another because I was an heiress. As a ward of court, I was taken from my mother at the age of nine, because my handsome father’s lunatic attics had resulted in his untimely death. Not, that he didn’t deserve it as he was a murderer.
My first husband was 32 and I Mary Fitz was only 12. My second was Thomas Darcy and I loved him dearly, but Death stole him away. Sir Charles Howard, my third husband died and then I married the father of two of my children Sir Richard Grenville. His constant violent treatment of me and his wicked ways made me leave him.
Perhaps, I might have seemed hard heated. I tried not to be, but Grenville had turned me sour. My heart does grieve for one of my sons who was hanged as a highwayman and of course for turning away my daughter Elizabeth when she came to see me.
When I left Grenville, I returned to Fitzford my family home with George my son, but there was no ‘sable coach, And horse two and four’. Indeed, when I died it was recorded that I had ‘no wheeled conveyance’, no carriage, but just a Sedan-Cahir.
And yet my soul does still roam the streets of Tavistock and what remains of my ancestral home. I am still searching from Walreddon and even along what they now call Old Exeter Road. I know in my heart that one day I will find her. I never got to say goodbye, never felt her arms around me or even saw her after I was taken away from her. My heart still bleeds for the one who, loved me as a person not as a piece of valuable property. One day, even if it takes me till the light of the sun and moon no longer shines, I will find my dear beloved mother and my soul will rest at last in her embrace.