A HISTORY enthusiast has just launched her debut novel, telling the tale of the mastermind behind Salisbury Cathedral.

Elias – A Story of the Founding of Salisbury takes readers back in time to learn about the city at its starting point, with Elias of Dereham, a canon of Old Sarum, rumoured to have either designed, built or supervised the creation of our famous church.

“Loads of people have not heard of Elias, but he was so fascinating. Without him you wouldn’t have Salisbury,” said cathedral guide turned author, Sue Allenby.

Sue, who has been immersed in medieval history and architecture her whole life, began her research as a project, but soon realised the potential of turning the life of Elias, and everything around him, into a story.

“If I wrote this as a novel, I could turn Elias into a real three-dimensional person, which you can’t do as a historian because you have to follow the facts much more coherently,” Sue added.

“I’ve enjoyed it tremendously; it’s been great fun. The more I learnt the more exciting it became.”

The book, offered to Salisbury as a gift celebrating its 800th year, was launched at a special event last Friday at Salisbury Cathedral, attended by MP John Glen, Mayor of Salisbury John Walsh and Dean of Salisbury The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos.

Profits made from the book will be divided between Salisbury Cathedral, The Salisbury Museum and local charities.

Sue described the creation of the book as a “team effort”, thanking John Elliott of Spire Books and her children.

Elias – A story of the founding of Salisbury is now available from the cathedral or museum shop, Waterstones, Sarum College, Jordans Estate Agents and Salisbury Information Centre.