Last updated
Author Mary Stewart
Cover artistGavin Rowe
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date
ISBN 0-340-41519-3

Thornyhold is a fantasy novel by Mary Stewart published in 1988.



The story is about a lonely child, Geillis "Gilly" Ramsey, who is made to see the world through her mother's cousin's (also Geillis — Gilly was named after her) unusual eyes. When the child becomes a young woman, she inherits her dead cousin's house as well as her reputation among the local community as a white witch and herbalist. However, as she finds out, this is no normal community, and worries quickly present themselves. Magical effort is pointed at the attractive and widowed popular writer, Christopher Dryden, who lives in rural isolation with his young son.

As Christopher Dryden points out to Gilly, [1] her (and her mother's cousin's) name is that of a real witch, Geillis Duncane, who was tried in Edinburgh in the late 16th century during the North Berwick witch trials. [2] Gilly's rival for the affections of Dryden, Agnes Sampson, shares a name with another woman tried at North Berwick. [1]

Related Research Articles

Sweep is a series of young adult fantasy novels written by Cate Tiernan, the first of which, Book of Shadows, was published in 2001. The series follows a teenage girl, Morgan Rowlands, who discovers she is the descendant of a long line of witches, and possesses powerful magic of her own.

House of Stuart European royal house

The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house of Scotland, England, Ireland and later Great Britain. The family name comes from the office of High Steward of Scotland, which had been held by the family scion Walter fitz Alan. The name Stewart and variations had become established as a family name by the time of his grandson Walter Stewart. The first monarch of the Stewart line was Robert II, whose descendants have been kings and queens of Scots, from 1371 until the union with England in 1707, and subsequently of Great Britain then the United Kingdom to the present day. Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France where she adopted the French spelling of the name Stuart.

<i>Lives of the Mayfair Witches</i> Series of horror novels by Anne Rice

Lives of the Mayfair Witches is a trilogy of Gothic supernatural horror/fantasy novels by American novelist Anne Rice. It centers on a family of witches whose fortunes have been guided for generations by a spirit named Lasher. The series began in 1990 with The Witching Hour, which was followed by the sequels Lasher (1993) and Taltos (1994). All three novels debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times Best Seller list.

Marjorie Bruce Princess of Scotland

Marjorie Bruce or Marjorie de Brus was the eldest daughter of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, by his first wife, Isabella of Mar.

North Berwick witch trials

The North Berwick witch trials were the trials in 1590 of a number of people from East Lothian, Scotland, accused of witchcraft in the St Andrew's Auld Kirk in North Berwick. They ran for two years, and implicated over seventy people. These included Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, on charges of high treason.

<i>The Witch of Blackbird Pond</i> Book by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a children's novel by American author Elizabeth George Speare, published in 1958. The story takes place in late-17th century New England. It won the Newbery Medal in 1959.

<i>Let the Circle Be Unbroken</i>

Let The Circle Be Unbroken is the 1981 sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), written by Mildred D. Taylor. T.J.'s punishment is approaching, Stacey runs away to find work, and the Logan children's cousin, Suzella Rankin, tries to pass herself off as a white person, but fails which leads to embarrassing consequences. It won the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 1982.

<i>The Great Gilly Hopkins</i>

The Great Gilly Hopkins is a realistic children's novel by Katherine Paterson. It was published by Crowell in 1978 and it won the U.S. National Book Award next year. In 2012 it was ranked number 63 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal – the third of three books by Paterson in the top 100.

<i>The View from Castle Rock</i>

The View from Castle Rock is a book of short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, which was published in 2006 by McClelland and Stewart.

Night World is a series of ten young adult fantasy novels by American author L. J. Smith. The series presents a story in which vampires, witches, werewolves, and shapeshifters live among humans without their knowledge. These supernatural races make up a secret society known as the Night World, which enforces two fundamental laws to prevent discovery: 1) Never allow humans to gain knowledge of the Night World's existence and, 2) Never fall in love with a human.

<i>Salem Falls</i>

Salem Falls (2001) is the eighth novel by the American author Jodi Picoult. The novel explores what happens to a person (Jack) when he is given a label and is not allowed to escape from it.

<i>The Vacillations of Poppy Carew</i>

The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (1986) is a novel by Mary Wesley. The title refers to the protagonist's inability to choose in life. However, when Poppy Carew's boyfriend leaves her, and her father dies, she is forced to make a decision and to learn how to deal with life on her own.

Robert Bowes (1535?–1597) was an English diplomat, stationed as permanent ambassador to Scotland from 1577 to 1583.

<i>Newes from Scotland</i>

Newes from Scotland - declaring the damnable life and death of Dr. Fian, a notable sorcerer is a pamphlet printed in London in 1591, and likely written by James Carmichael, who later advised King James VI on the writing of his book Daemonologie. It describes the infamous North Berwick witch trials in Scotland and the confessions given before the King. It was subsequently published in Daemonologie by King James in 1597.

Jessica Bennett (<i>Passions</i>)

Jessica Bennett is a fictional character from the American soap opera Passions. Created by head writer James E. Reilly, Jessica was portrayed by three actresses during the show's run: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jade Harlow and Danica Stewart. She was also played by model Michelle Holgate for two episodes in 2002 when Harlow was unavailable.

John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland (1525–1567) was a Scottish magnate. John Gordon supported the chief of his family, his cousin the Earl of Huntly against the Earl of Moray. After Huntly's defeat at Corrichie, he went into exile, and shortly after his return to Scotland he was murdered by a kinswoman.

<i>Written in My Own Hearts Blood</i>

Written in My Own Heart's Blood is the eighth book in the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Centered on time travelling 20th century doctor Claire Randall and her 18th century Scottish Highlander warrior husband Jamie Fraser, the books contain elements of historical fiction, romance, adventure and fantasy.

Gilly (character)

Gilly is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Euphame MacCalzean was burnt to death as a result of the North Berwick witch trials of 1590–1591.

Jewels of Mary, Queen of Scots

The jewels of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) are mainly known through the evidence of inventories held by the National Archives of Scotland.


  1. 1 2 Thornyhold, Ch. 20.
  2. "The Witch-Persecution in Scotland", from the pamphlet Newes from Scotland (1591).