The Watermeadow Mystery: The Secret Treasure at Hawton was published by Austin Macauley in June, 2018 and is available from booksellers and in Southwell and Newark libraries. The cover (inset)
is from a painting by Ann Sowerby. Copies may be available in the church once lockdown is over; no charge but donations to church funds welcome.This is both an historical and a murder mystery involving King James and the 1948 Australian cricket team
amongst others. it will not take readers much effort to identify many of the congreagation, whom it must be stressed have very little part to play in the nefarious plot. But whether you will be able to find the clues in the church that will guide you to the
treasure is quite another matter.
We are still interested in getting the historical connections accurate. The Reverend Francis Clarke, Rector of Hawton Church in 1603, is a key person, as well as a forgotten hero, in the mystery, and if any of his descendants
can make contact with us it would be helpful. We also would like more information about the Reverend Robert Washington, who was Rector of Hawton when the church had to close down temporarily in 1879. Other characters in the mystery whose descendants
may be able to help us include Alderman Henry Webster of Newark, Sir David Murray of Gospertie (King James' financial adviser), and the owners of Hawton Grange in the 17th century. This would help the unravelling of a convoluted story, a story
grounded in fact as well as fiction. There has been some notion of making a film of the Mystery. As a preliminary, a grant has now been awarded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund (September, 2021) to perform two radio plays based on the novel
- King James' Journey to London and The Watermeadow Conundrum. The first outdoor scenes, of King James travelling south from Newark and allowing a pickpocket to be hanged without trial, and his coronation in July, 1603, are being recorded
at 12 noon on Saturday, 23rd October at the Poplars in Hawton. Lunch will be served in Hawton Church afterwards.
Auditions have now been completed for the actors in the two radio plays and recording will take place between January and June, 2022. Once
the plays are on air or in other outlets we hope there will be more visitors to the church to explore its history even further.
Poleaxed , another novel set in 1967, was written before the COVID pandemic but covers the same territory
that all of us are going through at present - anxiety, foreboding, isolation, quarantine, illness and death - but ends on an optimistic note, as, in the end, all pandemics do. We need to remind ourselves that the Great Plague of 1666 was followed by the biggest
expansion of commerce, reconstruction, science and material progress in our country's history. This book was published in October 2020 and focuses on the town of Medenby, which has to be completely cut off from the rest of the world to control the epidemic.
It will not be difficult for readers to identify Medenby as Newark. There is a sombre funeral described as one of the chapters - the church where it takes place is clearly identifiable.