“At Rokeby, where the road branches off from Skillion Hill, through Glebe Farm on its way to Cambridge,” wrote Mabel Hookey in a small limited edition book published over 40 years ago, “there is an old cottage, once the home of Dr and Mrs Desailly.
“It was built in 1826, by William Hance and was one of the early landmarks of the locality.
“There was a certain cachet about the Desaillys, and a hint of strangeness as of exotic birds blown from their course by adverse winds.
“It was whispered that Dr Desailly’s English practice had been at the court of George IV, and that his beautiful wife had been a Lady in Waiting to Queen Caroline.
“What were they doing in this antipodean outpost? They held no official position, nor were they of the free settlers who were beginning to trickle into the colony.
“They did not swell the ranks of those unfortunates [convicts] who had left their country for their country’s good, nor were they political exiles.
“A vessel under special charter brought them to Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania], and they always had plenty of money, derived from a mysterious pension, paid regularly and with great secrecy.”
I know the Desailly’s secret and I’ve written a fun and entertaining and revealing book about it.
It’s got everything it needs to be a blockbuster: romance, history, the paranormal, says Writer’s Digest.