A NEW book exploring the writings of an English countess who restored Cumbrian and North Yorkshire castles has been released.

Professor Jessica Malay from the University of Huddersfield is the editor behind the newly published 'Anne Clifford’s Autobiographical Writing'.

Lady Anne was one of the most determined women of the 1600s, overcoming obstacles in order to secure her vast inheritance of land, houses and castles in the north of England.

Her copious and frank autobiographical writings are fully available to a modern readership and Professor Malay believes she has uncovered a missing portrait of the woman who came to be known as the 'Queen of the North'.

“It’s very readable. You feel like you’re spending each day with her,” said Professor Malay. “And that you’re meeting the people she meets, and it is so filled with characters – like a Dickensian novel.

“It is of definite value as social and cultural history, for finding out about the politics of the time and how people lived their daily lives at court and in the country.”

Lady Anne, countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery, spent much of her life in a long and complex legal battle to obtain the rights of her inheritance.

At the heart of the new anthology is 'The Life of Mee the Lady Anne Clifford', an autobiography covering its subject’s life from conception in 1589 to the year 1649.

This is incorporated into the Great Books of Record, Lady Anne Clifford’s monumental family history, compiled in order to bolster the legal case that she was the true heir to estates in Westmorland and Yorkshire.

When she did come into her lands and castles, she rebuilt and extended her castles at Skipton, Brougham, Brough, Appleby and Pendragon.

Professor Malay was responsible for the transcription of the Great Books, leading to the first published edition of the work. Now she plans to follow her new anthology with a full biography of Lady Anne.

“I don’t understand why there has been no film or TV drama about her because she was a feisty lady, a larger-than-life figure who would come over very well on the screen!" Professor Malay said.