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Beatrice Chase was the pen name for a British writer, who became well known for her Dartmoor-based novels during the first half of the 20th century. Her real name was Olive Katharine Parr, and she claimed to be directly descended from William Parr, the brother of Catherine, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.
She was born in Harrow, Middlesex, in 1874, but settled in a cottage on the outskirts of the Dartmoor village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. She was often to be seen sitting at her writing desk, beside her favourite window. Here she wrote many novels, including The Heart of the Moor, The Ghost of the Moor and the appropriately titled Through a Dartmoor Window.
Her passion for Dartmoor is evident in her writing, and she often campaigned to protect the landscape from modern developments – such as its use by the British Army. Indeed, Chase was often referred to as 'The Lady of the Moor' following the publication of John Oxenham's novel in which she was the heroine. The book was called My Lady of the Moor, and she simply adopted the title.
She died in 1955, and was buried in Widecombe churchyard. The small granite cross on her grave is inscribed with Beatrice Chase on one side and Olive Katharine Parr on the other. Locals tell a story that she was taken to hospital in a straitjacket, but only after the loaded revolver she kept by her bed was removed.
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