Millions of Words, Thousands of People, Hundreds of Books ~ Our History
Millions of Words, Thousands of People, Hundreds of Books ~ Our History
Hobnob Press
HobnobPress

Somerset ~ recent titles

Dissenters: Conscience and Corruption in 17th-century Frome, a novel by Liz Hutchinson

In the 1660s English society experiences religious, social and industrial upheavals. Throughout the land, thousands of Puritan clergy are expelled from their churches and homes, dissenting congregations suffer repression by the magistrates and meet illegally. In Frome, Somerset, a family is impoverished and drawn into a smuggling gang. The changing times offer new opportunities – some less reputable than others – and violence is often the first response to those who enforce the law. The town’s flourishing woollen industry allows some to build fortunes, especially the more unscrupulous developers. But for others, the threat of poverty, starvation or the gallows is always present . . .

May 2020, 274pp, paperback, £10.95, ISBN 978-906978-83-9.

The Price of Bread, by Crysse Morrison

Frome-based novelist, poet and blogger Crysse Morrison takes us back fifty years to a world far-removed from the Somerset of her previous Hobnob title, the acclaimed Frome Unzipped. In her novel it’s the winter of 1970 and Northern Ireland is smouldering with the unresolved hostilities of its ancient sectarian tribes, with Belfast a hotbed for trouble. In the heart of the city, Lee and her partner and friends ignore sectarian labels, and Lee still trusts in her hippy mantra ‘all you need is love’ –  but the streets are increasingly dangerous, especially with two young children and more immediate challenges like how to beat the cold and the rising price of bread. When threats are scrawled on their back wall, and as sandbags and barricades block the streets, ‘love’ is becoming a precious and elusive commodity…

July 2020, 200pp, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-906978-85-3.

Frome Unzipped, from Prehistory to Post-Punk, by Crysse Morrison

Frome has not always been as highly admired as it is today. Developing initially in Selwood forest as a trading place, the settlement was soon renowned for vigorous resistance to rulers and controllers of every kind. Proclaiming against the catholic king in 1685, dissenting from state-organised church services, opposing mechanisation of its industry – the people of Frome have their own way of doing things. This independent spirit has in the 21st Century led to a spectacular renaissance in trade and creativity and even local organisation. Can it last? Will Frome take another step in a constitutionalised Frexit . . . ? Frome Unzipped offers the full background from an egalitarian perspective, in what author Crysse Morrison calls ‘a parkour ride’ through history: ‘a bit like street-theatre, with a narrative arc showing how we came to be the way we are today. Themes constantly re-emerge but the main one is the people.’ July 2018, 248 pages, colour illustrations, paperback, £12.50, ISBN 978-1-906978-55-6.

Flesh and Bones, of Frome Selwood and Wessex, by Annette Burkitt

It is the year 934. A winter court of King Athelstan of Wessex is being held at Frome in Somerset, a market town in the forest of Selwood. The church of St John the Baptist, the Saxon monastery founded by St Aldhelm and the nearby royal palace are the settings for the court’s continuing attempts to merge British and Saxon kingdoms into a single nation. In the relic room of the monastery a clerk, Nonna, delves into the deep past of the local landscape and the Britons of the former kingdom of Dumnonia. Britons and Saxons, Heaven and Hell, relics and reliquaries, jealousy and intrigue, fiction and fact are woven into a story of Wessex in the 10th century. Based upon original documentation, secondary sources and recent historical thought, Flesh builds a fictional story on a synthesis of the Bones of archaeology, history, folklore and place-name research. It aims to bridge the gap between the academic and the general reader, for whom the Dark Ages are still, sadly, just that. December 2017, 388 pages, with author’s illustrations, paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-50-1.

A West Country Homecoming, by John Payne

The author, a native of Bath (Somerset) and a lecturer, historian and biographer, explores the possibilities of writing history backwards from the present into the past. Like the author's own family, this book is firmly rooted in North Somerset, Bath and West Wiltshire. Part memoir, part family history, part social history, this book explores not just what we know but also the many silences and omissions which dot our own personal histories and those of our families and communities. Stories, some sad, some happy, some funny, come thick and fast throughout the pages and are illustrated with over one hundred photographs from family albums and a wide variety of other sources. Ten chapters observe the history of his extended family from various perspectives, including work, education, health, housing and religion.

October 2020, 220pp, colour ill, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-93-8.

Somerset ~ older titles

The Pump Room Orchestra, Bath, by Robert Hyman and Nicola Hyman.

This is a pioneering and entertaining history of the City of Bath’s Pump Room Band over three centuries. It explores the triumphs and tragedies of the musicians who took to the stage of the famous Pump Room and the audience who followed them. It is co-written by a current Pump Room Trio violinist, with a Foreword by Tom Conti. Illustrated throughout. November 2011, 214 pages + 8 pages of colour, £14.95. ISBN 978-0-946418-74-9.

A Wessex Nativity: Celebrating Midwinter in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, compiled by John Chandler.

Every year it creeps up on us. We love it or hate it, but we cannot ignore it. Christmas and all its wintry associations – old customs, merry-making, feasting and worshipping – have inspired some of the finest, most intriguing, most memorable writing in the English language. And much of it emanates from the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, the area that has come to be known as Wessex. For two decades John Chandler has been collecting Christmas poetry, fiction, folklore and traditions from all over Wessex – the odd and obscure alongside all the old favourites. And here it all is, a sumptuous Christmas banquet served up with all the trimmings, to delight anyone interested in the history of Wessex, or the history of our winter celebrations. November 2010, 229 x 152mm, 420 pages, illustrations, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-22-8.

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