The Devil Rode Across The Moors

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Author | 0 comments

As an English writer I was delighted to receive an invitation to write an article for “Authors Lounge”.

I am Yorkshire born and bred and North Yorkshire is one of the most picturesque parts of England. With its quaint market towns and fishing villages, rugged cliffs tumbling down to sandy beaches and hidden coves and bays, the stunning beauty of the North Yorkshire countryside and coast is hard to beat.

The wild and rugged moors are beautiful by day but haunting, mysterious and scary by night. Nowadays many roads criss-cross the area but in the 19th century, farms and villages were isolated and it seemed to me that in those days the moors would be the perfect place for those with murder in mind. Research proved that I was right about that and in 2018 my book “North Yorkshire Moors Murders” was published. It is an anthology of crimes committed on the moors.

As a reader of true crime books I have found that many anthologies give only scant details of each of the featured crimes, but my primary pleasure is the detailed research. I am fortunate that I am not constrained by demands from publishers to publish by a deadline, so I take as much time as it takes to do the detailed research and then to give a full account of each crime, together with any of my own thoughts, insights and opinions.

I always encourage my readers to get in touch with me and I love to hear from them. I’ve had lots of interaction with interesting people as a result, including relatives or descendants of the people involved in the cases that I have written about.

Last year I received a very interesting email from a woman called Barbara who lives on the North Yorkshire Moors. She said that she had read “North Yorkshire Moors Murders” and found it very interesting, particularly as she was familiar with all the places where the crimes had been committed. She is very interested in the history of the area and the crimes that have been committed there and she has done a lot of research of her own. She said that she would like to give me all her research work because although she didn’t want to become a writer she would love to see the crimes in print.

These were more recent crimes, committed in the 20th century and what particularly interested me was that she knew relatives of the murder victims (and of one of the murderers) in some of the cases and had information and photographs that had never been in the public domain. We got together and my latest fully illustrated book “The Devil Rode Across The Moors” is the result of our collaboration. She shared her time, her research, her “inside knowledge”, her photographs and her friendship for which I am truly grateful. I know that we shall remain lifelong friends.”

I decided to remove my book “North Yorkshire MoorsMurders” from sale and add it, in full, to the end of “The Devil Rode Across The Moors”. This provides a good value “2 books for the price of 1” for my readers.

Let me tell you a little bit about me. I have always been fascinated by true crime and an avid reader of true crime books. The suffering and pain of the victims and their families is heartbreaking and the psychology of those committing such horrendous crimes is fascinating.

However, I never expected to become a true crime writer. Here’s how it came about. Many years ago I sat beside a roaring coal fire in grandma’s sitting room listening as she told me tales from the past. I was about 9 years old and not too interested in her tales from what I called “the olden days” but she certainly got my interest when she told me about the murder of a 16 year old girl committed by someone that she knew.

I am puzzled now when I wonder why I never asked my grandma about it when I was older, and never mentioned it to my parents, but it always stayed there at the back of my mind. At the front of my mind was a very busy career in public service, and in caring for my family.

In 2014 I found an account of the murder in a book about crimes committed in the first half of the 20th century in my home town of Rotherham. I was so fascinated to read all the details about what had happened until I got to the end.

The man they hanged was not the one that grandma had named as the murderer. I was stunned and sat there in a state of horrified disbelief. Had they executed the wrong man? I researched the case very thoroughly to determine whether the evidence was consistent with what grandma had told me and wrote my first book “The Rotherham Trunk Murder”. It was very well received, and the Nottingham Post newspaper devoted a double page centre- spread to it. They summed it up by saying:”

“In her fascinating first book “The Rotherham Trunk Murder” ex-NHS Director Jeannette Hensby argues that Bagley, born a policeman’s son in the south Notts village of Bunny, was innocent. She examines the evidence in forensic detail, asks questions that should have been asked at his trial, exposes a scandalous appeal hearing cover up, and in the final chapters, points an accusing finger at the person she believes was the real killer.”

No-one can ever turn back the clock and put right a miscarriage of justice – especially an execution – but relatives of the people involved in the Trunk Murder case, and other cases that I have written about have contacted me to thank me for at least “putting the record straight”.

My ambition now is to try to extend my readership beyond the United Kingdom, and especially into the USA. I am currently researching and writing about fairly recent crimes committed in the Deep South of America.

My website is – Jeannette Hensby – Author and writer

LULU book shop – The Devil Rode Across The Moors (

Barnes & Noble book shop – The Devil Rode Across The Moors: Evil True Crimes In Beautiful North Yorkshire by Jeannette Hensby, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (


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