The Lullingstone Secret

The Lullingstone Secret
Sarah Woollin Sarah lives with her husband, David, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
15 May, 2023 1 min read

Author: Jill Masters
Publisher: Wakeman Trust
101 pages
Purchase from: Eden Books (£5.95)

This excellent historical fictional book is intended for children but an intriguing read for adults too. The Lullingstone Secret tells of the spread of Christianity around 350 AD in Roman Britain, before the arrival of Augustine of Canterbury in AD 597.

Jill Masters writes about a fictional wealthy family who move into their grandparents’ country villa in Lullingstone, in Kent, from the capital of Roman Britain, Londinium.  Lydia, Balbus, and Marcus come from a family where their parents were not particularly religious but they occasionally worshipped false Roman gods and had a couple of leftover idols from a Roman general in the villa. When their eldest son, Marcus, returns from Rome converted to Christianity, other people began to become Christians and the first church meeting place is built.

Interestingly, this story is based on the real Lullingstone villa that was discovered in an archaeological excavation by Colonel Meates and his team between 1949 and 1961. This discovery was particularly important as it showed that people were Christians earlier than Augustine. The British Museum has wall pictures on display from the chapel and also the Roman busts from the villa.

The author’s style is extremely readable for children around the age of seven and above. Through the characters’ testimonies, the gospel is clearly explained. This book left me interested to learn more about the findings of the archaeologists and more about other Christians from this period.

Through the hardships and sorrows of these fictional characters, we are led to consider the troubles the real family of believers faced in Roman and Anglo Saxon times. Even when times were hard, God and his faithfulness are shown to be paramount. Highly recommended.

Sarah Woollin,

Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Sarah lives with her husband, David, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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