Welcome to my website!

The books I write are historical novels and I have had five published so far. They are set in the 17th century, in both England and France, and follow the life and adventures of my main character, Philip Devalle, who is half-French, My stories are based around actual events and feature many real life characters from this fascinating time, including Charles ll, William of Orange and Louis X1V, the magnificent French Sun King, and one of my own favourite people from past!

Philip is the son of an earl. At the start of the first book in the series he is still a boy, living at High Heatherton, his family’s estate in Sussex, but he has a miserable life there and is determined to go to London to make a name for himself as a soldier and as a courtier.The Restoration Court of Charles ll was an exciting place to be for a young man but Philip will discover that there is a sinister side to Court as well when over the years, he becomes involved in dangerous plots, political scheming and scandals. He will also need to be constantly on his guard if he is to survive not only as a soldier but also as a courtier, both at the English Court of Whitehall and the French Court of Versailles.

Each book contains a completely separate story, so you can come into Philip’s world at any stage in his career, but if you prefer to read them in order, the titles are Designs of a Gentleman: The Early Years, followed by Designs of a Gentleman: The Darker Years  then High Heatherton, The Orange Autumn and The Distant Hills. They cover a wide range of happenings from the period, including the Plague and the Fire of London, the Popish Plot and the Glorious Revolution, as well as the wars against the Dutch and the French.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Designs of a Gentleman: The Early Years, I have posted it on the book’s page on this website, together with some reviews. You can read a sample of all my other books as well. You are welcome to post  comments and also to leave your email address if you wish to be kept informed of  events I will be attending or discuss any matters to do with writing or the 17th Century!

If you wish to purchase any of my books,  please email me on judith.thomson14@btinternet.com with your contact details and I will be delighted to send you a signed copy. Payment can be arranged either through my Paypal Account, which is: paypal.me/PhilipDevalleBooks or by credit card.

My books retail at £9.99 and postage will be free!

They are also available from Amazon.


My books have all been published by Troubador, so you can  buy them from their website too, which is Troubador.co.uk and they can be bought  in good book shops, such as Waterstones, and some independent book shops. I take part in book fairs as well, such as the one that was held on the 23rd of November last year at the Unitarian Church in Brighton (Where the photo below was taken!)

Obviously some of the events which I was planning to attend this year have had to be cancelled but I hope to still be able to take part in the Brighton Book Fayre, to be held at the Unitarian Church in Brighton on  21st November, between 10.30 – 4.30 p.m. and on Saturday 12th December I hope to be sharing a stall on Brighton Open Market with another local author, Richard Gough.

Would love to meet you!


I have a WordPress blog site – Judiththomsonblog.wordpress.com where I post occasional blogs about aspects of the 17th Century and I appear weekly on a digital radio station called chatandspin.com talking about my books and forthcoming events.

Follow me on Twitter @JudithThomson14

Email me on judith.thomson14@btinternet.com




I spent my childhood in Lincolnshire and went to Art College in Leicester before moving to Sussex, where I still live.

I am  passionate about the seventeenth century and I have I found a lot of my inspiration in my visits to Paris and Versailles, which gave me a great insight into one of my heroes, Louis XlV, as well as a passion for gardens and gardening! I also like to paint, enjoy boating on the French canals and scuba diving in the Red Sea. I have helped on a local archaeological dig and enjoy exploring the ancient landscapes of Britain as well as following Native American trails in the deserts of southwest U.S.A.

Two more of the events I attended last year!




Brighton & Hove Book Fayre

The Brighton & Hove Summer Book Fayre


My book signing at Waterstones in Eastbourne






The Early Years



The Darker Years


RECENT BLOG POSTS – Read more at my blog site: Judiththomsonblog.wordpress.com

Curious Cures

Bet, one of the characters in my ‘Philip Devalle’ books was adept at preparing potions with which to treat the household. Two of her treatments were making her patients swallow a piece of cotton dipped in mouse blood in order to cure a sore throat and using as an antiseptic a solution made from olive oil in which she had boiled a dead cat. To ease pain, she prepared a potion of rosewater, liquorice and white of egg, although it was apparently believed by some that to alleviate the pain of childbirth the father of the child should place his hat upon the woman’s abdomen whilst she was in labour!

Here a few more cures I came across in my research (which I strongly suggest you do not try at home!)

To cure a Windy Rupture (not too sure what that is!) warm some cow dung, spread it thickly on a piece of leather and apply it to the affected area.

To cure a cold, pare the rind of an orange very thinly, roll it up inside out and put a roll up each nostril.

To cure the ague (fits of hot sweats and shivering) you could take pills made of cobwebs. If you think they sound distasteful, then you should consider that to cure asthma the pills should be made of powdered toads!

The cure for toothache, though was very simple – you just put a clove of garlic into your ear!

For gout in the foot or hand you could apply lean beef-steak. (This may sound less outlandish but I assure you it is quite a repulsive thought to someone like me, who is a vegetarian!) Far more palatable was dealing with a cut by binding on some toasted cheese!

My favourite remedy of all is to cure something called the Iliac Passion, a condition which seemed to involve particularly nasty vomiting. The remedy? Hold a live puppy constantly on your stomach. Now that I wouldn’t mind trying!

There were also the herbal remedies. Nicholas Culpeper published his ‘Complete Herbal’ in the early part of the seventeenth century and it contained information on an astounding number of plants, explaining in detail their properties, usage and even when they should be picked to be at their best. I have a modern copy of the book, which I bought for my research, and it makes for fascinating reading. Some of his remedies, I’m sure, would have worked very well, although the herbal medicines that were in use during the Plague in 1665 would have been hopelessly inadequate. Culpeper says confidently that rue is a good cure for the Plague and that sorrel will help Plague sores to break but, as I mentioned in ‘Designs of a Gentleman,’ the Pest Houses used to give patients a mixture made up of “a handful of mandragories and the same of rue, then featherfew and sorrel burnet, with a quantity of the crops and roots of dragons,” and it was of little use. No more use, probably, than deliberately catching syphilis, which some thought would prevent them from being infected by the Plague in the first place!

Having said that, Bet’s primrose salve may well have helped to heal a wound and the syrup she distilled from poppy heads would almost certainly have induced sleep! All the same, I imagine it was a brave person who consulted his physician, and an especially brave one who, like Samuel Pepys and King Louis XlV endured operations during the seventeenth century. Most people, I imagine, just hoped that whatever ailed them would just get better on its own!