A married vicar with a passion for a young single woman, a bitter publican, a Peeping Tom, a resentful church warden: our human frailties are still much as they always have been.
Over three hundred years ago, the Reverend Robert Foulkes arrived as the new incumbent at the wealthy parish of Stanton Lacy, Shropshire. Charismatic, 'exceedingly followed and admired', he set off a chain of events which led to his hanging at Tyburn in 1679.
What irrational impulse could have brought a man of the Church to such a squalid end? Historian Peter Klein has pieced together remarkable documentary evidence which shows a village seething with jealousies, covetousness and sexual intrigue. Their eloquent new vicar was the catalyst for the moving and powerful tragedy that followed.
Awaiting execution, in Newgate gaol, Foulkes wrote his confessional pamphlet, An Alarme for Sinners, which was an immediate C17th best-seller.
Today the ancient church of Stanton Lacy still stands and there inscribed on a wall plaque, along with other less notorious vicars, is the name of Reverend Robert Foulkes and the dates he served there. In this remarkable book, Peter Klein unfolds the full story of Robert Foulkes for the first time.
From the scaffold, Foulkes addressed the crowd: 'You may in me see what sin is, and what it will end in.'
A true story "more real than any historical novel - more moving, more evocative, more human." John Fowles
Author: Peter Klein
ISBN: 978 1 873674 71 0
Published: September 2005
No. of pages: 192
16 black & white photographs
2 black & white paintings
23 black & white illustrations
3 maps or charts
Reviewed by Brian Viner of The Independent in September 2005
'Klein has uncovered a cracking story and tells it brilliantly. It is a heck of a story, and whether you live in these remote parts or not, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.'
Reviewed by Michael Baws of Ludlow Advertiser in September 2005
'A sure-fire winner.'
Reviewed in Shropshire Archeological Magaz in September 2005
'Peter Klein has discovered a good story in the ecclesiastical records and he tells it well, bringing to life... local intrigues and sexual misdemeanours in the parish. The endnotes are models of their kind. Peter Klein has found the most notorious Vicar of this parish, and all students of local history will enjoy this lively account.'
Reviewed in Leominster Advertiser in September 2005
'Mr Klein has pieced together remarkable documentary evidence.'
Reviewed in Church Times in November 2005
'The story of this benighted clergyman in its most compelling and complete form to date.'
Reviewed in County Times in December 2005
'This story reads like a Sunday tabloid editor's dream.'
Reviewed in Country and Border Life in December 2005
'A great one for gossips.'