front cover 33Kb
published 26 January 2006

Anne’s autobiography

Anne Lethbridge was born in the worst year of the Great War, grew up in a Devonshire rectory, did secret service at Wormwood Scrubs during the war, then social-work studies at LSE, the Children’s Flats in the postwar slums of Bermondsey, whirlwind romance with Charles Shells, inner-London parish, gypsy caravan, children, team rectory in rural Norfolk, Bristol Cathedral, painting and prayer, retirement and writing in Glastonbury, anticipations of the Next Great Adventure, ...

Anne died in 2003, a month after her 88th birthday, and three of her friends have finished the task of editing the computer disks she left and seeing this book into print.

She often felt (like so many of us?) that nobody really knew who she was inside. She was amused at once hearing herself described as “the stout lady in the brown coat”, because the phrase does not describe her at all: hence her tongue-in-cheek title.

One of Anne’s remarks can apply to many of the vignettes and inner experiences she recorded in her long life:

“That moment has lasted eternally.”

back cover 35Kb

Pebble Possessed

Anne’s unfinished book about her love of seaside pebbles, each one unique and lovingly polished by the Creator — like each one of us — is incorporated in this volume.

Please check back at this website in the next week or two: full-colour pictures of her favourite pebble creations will appear here, along with her descriptions of the stories behind them and what they meant to her.


For copies of the book, ‘The Stout Lady in the Brown Coat’ by Anne Lethbridge Shells, please write to Abbey House, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8DH, (for attention of David Hill). Postage and packing are included if you enclose a cheque with your order (£12 per copy, payable to Abbey House).

A5 paperback, 284 pages, photographs, full-colour cover.
(Click on the front and back cover illustrations for a full-size version.)

Other publications — prose and poetry — by Anne Shells are still available: click here

To email the publisher, use the usual "@" sign in this address: anne (at)

page revised 2009-02-27