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April 15 , 2008

Saddle the Wind


Few people imagined the great thunderstorm of 1638, that wrought havoc on the St Pancras Church, parishioners at Widecombe, one fateful Sunday afternoon could stretch across 450-years, resolving a terrible injustice and restore balance to a divided community.

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The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents' death.But Florence…

Then fate took a hand, when the thunderstorm hit. Darkness, thunder and lightning, tears at the roof. a fire ball blasts open a window, rebounds through the church, folk are injured. Out-side the vicar’s horse is sucked up and disappears into the night. Its scorched saddle is ripped off. flies and crashes into buckfast abbey’s roof. Another stallion at the church pinnacles gallops off with two mounted riders, one, a gambler clutches his playing cards. He drops four aces, now, four fields resemble; a diamond, heart, spade, and club, near the ancient public house whose log fire has burnt since. The other rider is said to be the devil. Both horses have scorch marks on their backs, and rumoured to be immortal, roaming Dartmoor’s desolate windswept regions.

Events began after Bill buys an old saddle at the Abbey fund raising day from local vet Elizabeth-a relative of the vicar that day, she moved from America taking up her old inheritance. Bill gives this saddle to his 12 year-old grand daughter Amanda, who doesn’t like this scorch mark. Amanda’s pal holly also a horse rider, doesn’t compete, she’s tags along with Amanda. no one knows anything about the other saddle; it seems it’s lost in local folklore.

Centuries ago the Elliott’s were the largest, land owners on Dartmoor. How the Rogers got it has irked every Elliott generation since. Bill’s sure the Rogers ‘stole’ their estate centuries ego. But his investigations stall when foot and mouth strikes. With years of poor returns, and borrowing from the bank, Bill faces foreclosure.

When Amanda, and horse ebony race in the annual Widecombe fair she could not have known how an innocent event could throw up a seemingly unrelated spatter of malicious scheming, sheer magic and a mystery that’s entangled her family for generations.

One stormy-night, two horses appear: a stallion at Elizabeth’s and a mare in foal at Bill’s farm. a scorch mark appears as the mare gives birth. Her foal has that same mark in the same place. Then Bill lays the saddle on the mare, the marks line up. The stallion bears the identical placed scorch mark. The date: October 21, 2000

Amanda discovers the saddle flies with her sitting in it, on ebony’s back, her hooves are off the ground. Amanda can win with the saddle, will she use it? Tempting, as landowners Penelope Rogers father’s spent a fortune on her trainer and mount Hellfire..

One day ebony takes off stopping at the castle ruin on Rogers land - once the home of ancestor Buery. Charged by the Rogers of holding up their stage coach. Found guilty because Rogers threatened small tenanted farmers who farmed on his land. Buery spent ten years in Jail, and lost his estate.

At the castle ruin, the mounted ghost of alleged highwayman ancestor Buery appears, leads Amanda to a fallen headstone, then Buery and his horse fade away. Folklore says Buery took a fortune and his estate title deeds to his grave. His horse is identical to the mare that appeared at Bill’s recently. One-evening Amanda takes Bill and Holly to the headstone, Bill digs and finds an oak chest. Inside are family treasures and land deeds.

The Rogers are broke, the estate, all contents are auctioned. but not before the race, Amanda doesn’t use her magic saddle, knowing Ebony can beat Hellfire. on the last bend as Penelope tries forcing Amanda into the rails. Buery shields her; ebony recovers and wins.

Bill buys back his estate, the money secured waiting the court’s expected positive verdict,
Holly, finds a tatty saddle in a boarded over old hayloft in a derelict barn. Amanda, recognizes the scorch. they stood staring wondering. both climb on the saddle and are soon flying.

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