The story of three executed Bideford ‘witches’ is the inspiration behind a new adventure novel from a local author.

Hugo and the Bird: The Witches’ Inheritance is the third mystery-adventure novel for children and young adults by Bideford author Jeff Mills.

The story is inspired by the trials of Bideford women Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susannah Edward, who in 1682 were some of the last people to be executed for witchcraft.

The Witches’ Inheritance picks up the story of their children, who are out for revenge on those responsible for the executions and their descendents. For Hugo Bennett, that includes him and his family.

Aided by his friend Bird, a strange magical animal, Hugo faces a race against time to save himself and his family from becoming the witches’ next victims.

Hugo and the Bird: The Witches' Inheritance is the third book in the series.Hugo and the Bird: The Witches' Inheritance is the third book in the series.

Jeff, who is a retired dentist, said: “When my two children were very young, I used to make up stories about a small boy, who I named as Hugo, a witch and a strange magical bird who was loosely based on the appearance of Big Bird from Sesame Street. As they grew up, they would occasionally remind me of the stories.

“While walking through my hometown of Bideford one day, I noticed on the wall of the library, a plaque commemorating the execution of three women, known as the Three Witches of Bideford, who were hanged in Exeter in 1682.

“This gave me the idea for this particular story. Readers will be able to recognise some of the places mentioned in the book.”

Published by Matador, Hugo and the Bird: The Witches’ Inheritance is the third in the Hugo and the Bird series.

Jeff Mills.Jeff Mills.