New biography from author Cheryl Nicol now available on amazon.uk
This is the true story of one of Norfolk's most infamous characters, Sir Berney Brograve, 1st Baronet of Worstead and Waxham.
Immortalised in folklore, he is said to have sold his soul to the devil and still haunts his old stomping ground at Waxham. But the real Sir Berney has become lost amongst the tall stories and colourful legends. Digging further below the surface, the truth about Berney's life begins to emerge.
Something was going on at Waxham, and the parish registers hint at a tragic story.The infant mortality rate in Sir Berney's family was exceptionally high, even for the 18th century.
He had a lot to lose. His fortune. Seventeen children. Two wives. Peace of mind. Embroiled in a battle of wits he terrorised the locals. But he felt vulnerable in his 16th century manor house, perched precariously on the edge of the crumbling East Anglian coast.
He didn't sleep well. Smugglers fired cannonballs at his house at night. The French threatened to invade. Even Mother Nature tormented him. Year after year the North Sea eroded his sanity with each inundation of his land, leaving disease and death in its wake.
It is hard not to sympathise with this man whose short fuse alienated his peers and terrified the locals. Even long after he was dead a dark cloud hung over his family.
Add squandered inheritance, suicide and a scandalous divorce, eventually the house of Brograve came crashing down.
ISBN 9 78158 771972