The Roots Of Heritage
by Mary Essberger
Mary Essberger was born in 1917 in South Kensington, daughter of a Church of England clergyman.
Educated at St Margarets, Bushey, she served on an ambulance train during the first part of the Second World War. When, after a bad bout of pneumonia, she was compelled to leave the Red Cross she worked as an assistant to Lord (then Sir William) Rootes, who was assisting Lord Beaverbrook, the then War Minister and Deputy to Winston Churchill. The work mainly involved researching and preparing reports for the Cabinet, and it gave her a real interest in research.
Handicapped by polio in 1950, and with three children to bring up, she turned to a career which would allow her to work from home. She therefore took up freelance journalism combined, on medical advice, with the more restful work of ecclesiastical design and embroidery, from which she gained useful knowledge for her first book, Old Needlework Boxes and Tools, written under her pen-name of Mary Andere.
Moving in 1967 to Ross-on-Wye she was back in the part of the West Country she had loved from childhood. Her deep love of the Border Country and Wales inspired her to research extensively into the history and life of Herefordshire and South Wales, enabling her to contribute many articles to magazines and newspapers.
Herefordshire: the Enchanted Land and Homes and Houses of Herefordshire soon followed, dealing with the history and topography of that county, together with a personal selection of Thomas Trahernes poems compiled for the tercentenary of his death.
She also wrote And the Meditation for the Mothers Union, and illustrated and produced two books for children written by Sylvia Jeavons. A number of her talks, short stories and poems have been broadcast by the BBC, and for over twelve years she edited the Womans Page of Church News.