On 8th October 2004 the Hertfordshire Mercury reported that a secret labyrinth of tunnels existed under the streets of the small, English town of Hertford; and that modern day descendants of the Knights Templar still meet in underground chambers This is how the story was published. “We are now prepared to reveal a secret we feel the people of Hertford should be made aware of. There is an extensive labyrinth right under their feet. We are talking here about a largely unknown, indeed mostly secret, ancient underground network that stretches beneath the town’s main streets.” Hertford became the centre of media attention; film crews from around the world descended on the small county town to film this network of underground tunnels. They were disappointed; they were met by rebuffs from town officials, historians and community groups. The evidence for and against the existence of tunnels is set in this book; and for anyone with an interest in secret societies from the Knights Templar to modern day Freemasons. It contains a short history of the town from the days when it was a Norman stronghold; and a tourist guide for anyone wanting to spend a day amongst its historic pubs, modern bars and restaurants. This second and revised version includes new research material, extra photos and two completely new chapters. One covers the persecution and eradication of the Knights Templar in Great Britain. The other offers a final solution as to the origin, the building and the reason for the disappearance of the tunnel network.
John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. The Education Act of 1944 saw great changes in the way the nation was taught; the main one being that all children stayed at school until the age of 15 (later increased to 16). For the first time working class children were able to reach higher levels of academic study and the opportunity to gain further educational qualifications at University.
This explosion in education brought forth a new aspirational middle class; others remained true to their working class roots. The author belongs somewhere between the two. Many of the author’s main characters have their genesis in this educational revolution. Their dialogue though idiosyncratic can normally be understood but like all working class speech it is liberally sprinkled with strange boyhood phrases and a passing nod to cockney rhyming slang.
John Barber’s novels are set in fictional English towns where sexual intrigue and political in-fighting is rife beneath a pleasant, small town veneer of respectability.
They fall within the cozy, traditional British detective sections of mystery fiction.
He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder which investigated a famous murder mystery of 1907 and names the killer. This is still available in softback and as an ebook, although not available from Smashwords
John Barber had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He is now retired and lives with his wife and two cats on an island in the middle of Hertford and spends his time between local community projects and writing further novels.read more