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The Prior's Hill Chronicles - Barrie Mahoney

'Writing Inspired by an Island in the Atlantic'

The Prior's Hill Chronicles

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During the 1980’s, Prior’s Hill is a typical and traditional village set in a remote part of England. At the heart of the village, is a school built in the reign of Queen Victoria, a church that has existed for hundreds of years, and a manor house that demonstrates its owners’ power and control over the village community, as well as a pub, which serves as a social centre for the villagers to relax, gossip and find escape from their hard working lives.

However, this picturesque English village is hiding secrets that would shock any likely tourists visiting this picture postcard scene. So what is happening behind the closed doors of this idyllic setting? A community that has remained the same over many years with little that has threatened to change its facade of respectability and tradition.

The processes of change begin when the Governors of the village school need to appoint a new head teacher. They need to comply with the wishes of those that live in the manor house and the Rector of the church, as well as gain the support of the parents and villagers without making changes that could disrupt the tightly organised and traditional routines of Prior’s Hill. However, secrets cannot remain hidden when someone asks too many questions.

James Young is appointed to be the new head teacher of Prior’s Hill School, and is initially welcomed as a hard working professional who understands the learning needs of young children, but making changes leads to disturbing the delicate balance of tradition and customs. James starts to ask difficult questions and challenges accepted views of what is happening in the village, but he also has secrets of his own that must remain hidden.

Mysterious and strange events unfold around the school and village of Prior’s Hill that cannot be explained, and threats are revealed to significant people in the community that could lead to murder. Is James emotionally stable enough to solve the crisis when others have such confidence in him, or will his personal happiness be destroyed by the complex politics of the village, and events that cannot be explained.

The Prior’s Hill Chronicles explores the journeys taken by people through life and how their lives are like pieces of a jigsaw that take time to fit together to make the whole picture. The secrets that many people keep can change the picture of their lives through the spiritual threads of others that attach to them as they pass through life. These threads have a positive or negative impact upon their lives, and threats to reveal their secrets and those of others can destroy lives, as well as communities.

Prejudice, injustice and hatred are not apparent on postcards of traditional English villages, but jealousy and greed are strong human characteristics that feed on revenge and money and hide behind closed doors; that is until someone asks some difficult questions.