Aunt Susan makes a brief appearance in Barefoot on the Cobbles. She was the first member of Polly’s family to move from rural North Devon to Bideford and was an inspiration to her nieces, making them aware that there was life beyond their birthplace. She was born about 1834, the daughter of Zechariah and Sally Found. Susan’s great grandfather was a foundling, hence the surname. He had been abandoned in the porch of Morwenstow Church more than a century before Susan’s birth. Time had done nothing to diminish the rumour that all the Founds were gypsies and the Found children were still snubbed in the neighbourhood. Susan spent her childhood in a cottage in the woods above Bucks Mills, which compounded the stories. Susan went into service in Parkham. Here she met Joseph Prance, a fisherman and they married in 1855. At first they lived with Joseph’s father in Peppercombe. In the 1870s, Joseph came ashore and together they ran a fishmonger’s shop in Mill Street, Bideford.
Despite having had eight children of her own, in 1890, Susan took in four grandchildren, following her eldest daughter’s death. Her, niece Lydia, was also living with the Prances. In later life, Susan lost her hearing. She went to live with her youngest daughter and her family in Bideford and died in 1924.
‘Aunt Susan greeted Polly warmly. ‘You’ll have to shout,’ she said, as Polly thanked her for letting her visit, ‘I’m a bit deaf now’.
Certainly her aunt had aged in the few years since Polly had last seen her. Apart from her own brood of girls, Aunt Susan was now custodian of two young grandchildren, following the recent death of Polly’s cousin.’
Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.