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Mary Ward: First Sister of Feminism (Hardback)

British History P&S History Women of History Tudors & Stuarts 17th Century

By Sydney Thorne
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399005234
Published: 30th July 2021


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RRP £19.99

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Almost exactly 400 years ago, an English woman completed an astonishing walk to Rome.

An English Catholic, Mary Ward had already defied the authorities in England. In 1621 she walked across Europe to ask the Pope to allow her to set up schools for girls. 'There is no such difference between men and women that women may not do great things,' she said.

But Mary’s vision of equality between men and women angered the Catholic Church and the Pope threw her into prison. This is a story just waiting to be told!

The story shines a refreshingly new light on the popular Tudor/Stuart era. Mary’s uncles are the Gunpowder Plotters. Her sponsors are Archdukes, Prince-Archbishops and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In Rome she spars with Pope Urban VIII and the Roman Inquisition, just as they are also dealing with Galileo.

As the story sweeps from Yorkshire to Rome, from Vienna and Munich to Prague and back to England, we see Mary dodging pirates in the Channel, witch hunts in Germany and the plague in Italy. We see travellers crossing the Alps, and prisoners writing letters in invisible lemon juice to smuggle them past their gaolers. The settings range from the resplendent courts in Brussels and Munich to the siege of York in the English Civil War. The reader is immersed in seventeenth-century life.

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About Sydney Thorne

Sydney Thorne holds an MA (Oxon) in Modern Languages and has taught languages in England and at the University of Augsburg in Germany. Since 1991 he has been a full-time author of school text books, and currently writes English language books for schools in Germany. His interest in the story of Mary Ward dates back to 1982, and his passion has grown over the eight years or so in which he has been writing her story. Sydney has travelled widely in Europe, and has personally visited many of the key locations in Mary Ward’s life.

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