The Testimony of Sal Madge
In nineteenth century Whitehaven lived a woman called Sal Madge. She smoked a pipe, chewed tobacco and held down a job usually done by men. Her upper half was clothed in masculine style but she always wore a skirt, leaving open many questions about her gender, her sexuality and her nature. She was also able to hold her own in fights with men, either in Cumbrian wrestling or in pub brawls.She might have remained in folk memory as a mere curiosity, an eccentric or someone to be thought of as a local character. However in 1887 she did something so rash and brave that it took her into court and engraved her in local history as a working class heroine to be celebrated. This novel is her story as imagined by an author born in her town, and heavily based on available evidence.
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