Although we encounter Eliza Wakely through the conversations of others, rather than meeting her in person, she is another mother and provides a contrast to Polly’s brand of parenting. Eliza was born into the Found family of Peppercombe in 1831. She married Mr Wakely in 1860 and had six daughters and one son. In fact, the 1911 census suggests that there was another child, who presumably died young but there is no birth or death registration, either before or after the marriage, to confirm this.
The references to Eliza’s family being gypsies, which appear more than once in Barefoot on the Cobbles, are based on fact and also survive in the oral tradition of the family. In 1719, Eliza’s great grandfather was found (hence the surname) in a shippen on the farm of Robert Brookes at Wolley near Morwenstow. It is not clear why he was thought to have been left there by gypsies but the rumour persisted. Eliza died in 1917.
‘As soon as Polly’s first pains started, Eliza Wakely would put aside her reluctance to leave Peppercombe and come to oversee the birth of her first grandchild.’
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. Kindle editions can be pre-ordered for the UK and also on Amazon.com.