Books delve into secret pasts of Barnstaple and Bideford

Peter Christie, pictured with a copy of his new book revealing some lesser-known facts about Bidefor

Peter Christie, pictured with a copy of his new book revealing some lesser-known facts about Bideford. Picture: Jasmyne Jeffery - Credit: Archant

Buried Native Americans and post boys getting knocked off their horses are among the tales uncovered in a new series of books about local history.

Secret Bideford and Secret Barnstaple are the latest editions in the ‘Secret’ local series from Amberley Publishing, which follows on from the ‘Through Time’ collection of 2013.

In Secret Bideford, two-times Mayor of Bideford and humanities lecturer at Petroc College Peter Christie takes readers on a journey of ‘secret’ Bideford, and reveals the story behind the topless mermaid in Rope Walk and a detailed walk-through of the pannier market’s past, among others.

He said: “The book allowed me to bring together lots of very odd stories that I’d been aware of for a long time but had never got round to writing up.”

It’s Peter’s 25th book; his first was released in 1985. He will be one of the authors at this year’s Appledore Book Festival on October 4.


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In Secret Barnstaple, former Barnstaple Heritage centre manager Denise Holton, and heritage centre volunteer Elizabeth Hammett, partnered up to go behind the façade of the familiar to uncover Barnstaple’s untold secrets.

The books are available in local bookshops and Kindle and iBook formats for £14.99.

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