It was a Thursday evening in April 1817 when a strangely dressed woman knocked on the door of a cottage in Almondsbury, a village in the south-west English county of Gloucestershire. She spoke in a foreign tongue of which the cottage’s occupants knew nothing. What on Earth were they going to do with this mysterious young woman?
First, the cottagers decided they needed the help of authority, so they approached the parish overseer. However, he was equally puzzled by the woman, so he went to Almondsbury’s manor house, Knole Park, the home of Samuel Worrall and his wife Elizabeth, who had been born in America. Worrall’s position as a magistrate meant he was an authority figure in the village.
Consequently, the Worralls were confronted by a young woman 5 feet 2 inches tall, with dark eyes, black hair a short nose and regular white teeth. Her hands were well cared for and had the appearance of someone unaccustomed to hard labor. She wore a black gown, a black shawl wound around her head in the manner of a turban and a black and red shawl across her shoulders. She looked to be in her mid-20s.