A novelist in the making - the strange story of AJ Thomas
Adrian J Thomas lives in the east London district that gives its name to his debut novel, Young Lad on Old Street, but he started life in Nottinghamshire. In fact, he was born in the grounds of Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron, and may lay claim to being the heir to the mad, bad and dangerous-to-know aristocrat.
The story goes as follows. The night his mother went into labour, heavy snowfall meant the doctor en route to deliver Thomas got lost in the Abbey grounds. He asked a passing monk for directions.
On reaching the Thomas home, the doctor complained that the monk had offered no help but just walked by without a word. The family told him there had been no monks in the Abbey since the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, but that the sighting of the ghost of a black friar was supposed to herald the birth of Byron’s literary heir.
"Unfortunately", says Thomas, "the version of the story that has since gained local currency is somewhat different. Apparently, the appearance of the black friar portends the occurrence of a terrible event."
Judge for yourself, when you read Young Lad on Old Street.
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A J Thomas, author of Young Lad on Old Street