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Swansea Miracle is Finished

The man who didn't stay dead

It was a cold, crisp November morning. The two convicted men shivered in their thin shirts while the steward paced back and forth, waiting for the armed escort to assemble. Finally the men were ready and they set off across the castle bailey and out of the north gate. A short distance ahead the land rose steeply above the town and they climbed Gallows Hill to the waiting gallows. Then there was another delay as the family of one of the men waited for news of a ransom attempt. When the messenger arrived he didn’t need to speak, he just shook his head. The hanging could proceed. But this was to be a hanging like no other before or since. One of the men wouldn’t stay dead.

The past and the future together

Swansea Castle with the BT Tower behind

That’s how my new history book starts, and I hope it has caught your attention. It’s a fascinating story and absolutely true. A man was hanged, they were certain he was dead, and he came back to life. The Lady of Gower had prayed for him to Thomas de Cantilupe, the deceased Bishop of Hereford and the miracle was reported to Hereford Cathedral.

Thomas de Cantilupe’s successor, Bishop Robert Swinfield, collected together the many accounts of miracles through the intercession of Thomas de Cantilupe and sent them off to the Pope to request that he be made a saint. This was followed up with many letters of support, including from the king himself, Edward I, and later, Edward II. Eventually the Pope called a Commission to investigate the matter and they interviewed many witnesses to the miracles. Their report still exists in the Vatican Library in Rome.

This fantastic story is the subject of my new book, Swansea Miracle, which I hope to publish in November. The manuscript is finally ready and will now go to beta readers to assess it. The artist who illustrated my other history books is considering the manuscript now and I hope we will be able to work together again.

I’m so excited. Watch out for news.

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Intruders, Alien Secrets, and Crisis of Conscience are out now. Follow her at