JULIET Barker is a Yorkshirewoman through and through. Despite the fame and success she has achieved through her writing, she has never been even slightly tempted to move further than from the West Riding to Wensleydale. “Never,” she says firmly. “I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Yorkshire.”

It’s certainly been inspirational.

From her study window in a converted hay loft, she could gaze out at Penhill – “I couldn’t work anywhere without a view,” - and get down to work, usually at 4am, finishing her latest book. “The swallows would swoop in and around and out again as I worked.”

The book, England Arise, is a gripping account of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. The big surprise is that it wasn’t really the peasants who caused the bother. It was actually a very well-organised, middle-class revolt, which probably doesn’t sound quite as catchy.

Juliet took four years to research it and another year to write it. The research was meticulous – and fun. “There’s a huge amount of material, court records for instance, which are incredibly detailed, so it’s often easy to find the real people and their stories,” she says.

Apart from occasional newspaper and magazine articles - and she once made a radio programme about hair - writing is her full-time occupation. She loves the joy of research, getting down to facts that other people have never found or often even tried to find.

“It’s one huge jigsaw puzzle," she says. "Something in one area will suddenly remind me of something else and suddenly I can make the connection. Wonderful! I just don’t understand how people can employ researchers instead of doing it themselves. They must miss so much.”

It was her love of research that started her own writing career. Her first and only “proper” job after leaving Oxford where she studied History, was as librarian and curator at The Bronte Parsonage in Haworth. “I would see writers coming in and researching for their books, but most of them them just looked at what other people had written. They ignored all that mass of original material we had there just waiting to be looked at.”

In the end, she was driven to write her own – much acclaimed – biography of the Brontes, which turned previous accounts pretty much on their head. “We’ve all bought Mrs Gaskell’s version of this isolated family living miles from nowhere, but Haworth is just four miles from Keighley. By the time the Brontes were there, it was a busy industrial area with 15 mills.”

As part of her decade of research - as if it wasn’t enough that the Bronte family left a terrific amount of written material, much of it in tiny writing, very testing for the eyesight - Juliet spent read two years reading local newspapers of the time. “Addled my brain, but gave me so much information about the Brontes in the community that no one had ever bothered with before,” she says.

The Brontes ended up as a stonking great book, winning awards and establishing her as a writer who really knew her stuff. Despite its scholarship, it’s wonderfully readable.

“I hate it when academics just seem to write in their own language for each other and ignore everyone else,” says this Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature fiercely, over a cappuccino in the Little Chocolate Shop in Leyburn. “I want my books to be for anyone who’s interested.”

So she writes and re-writes them to get the tone just right, “treading that fine line between not making assumptions about how much people know, but not talking down to them either”.

Fascinated by the medieval period – “probably because I didn’t know much about it. In school we went straight from the Romans to the Tudors. I don’t think we even did much on 1066" – she went on to write a book about Agincourt – which Bernard Cornwell used widely for his best selling novel – and one on the English conquest in France - both of which involved in her family taking holidays in France so she could do her research, and tournaments, on which she is an acknowledged expert. Plus more on the Brontes, Wordsworth and Joan of Arc, among others.

“There are so many documents which no one has ever looked at. Of course, the internet has made things much easier - I don’t mean that you can just Google stuff, but because so many records are now online which is a fantastic resource.”

Juliet was born in Bradford, met her husband at school and after they both studied at Oxford – he’s a lawyer – they found it easy to resist the pull of London and went back up north. They lived for years in Calderdale and then, a few years ago, downsized and moved up to Wensleydale. “I knew this area as a child, my mother’s family comes from the dales, so it wasn’t new to me," she says.

Juliet loves life in her new village, loves life in the dales. “Nobody knew us or what we do and they’ve just accepted us for ourselves and we get so many invitations," she says. "There’s so much going on. It’s been so welcoming.”

Although she regularly visits literary festivals all over the country, giving talks, meeting people – she tells a nice story of one reader, another Yorkshirewoman of course, who didn’t recognise her, but said bluntly “Well writers always look older than their photograph” - she has no time for the literary in crowd and networking in London.

“I hate London,” she says with a shudder. “It’s dirty and noisy and crowded and I can’t breathe when I’m there and I just long to rush back to Yorkshire. And everyone in the literary set seems to know each other and I’m sitting in the corner on my own.”

Her latest visit was to an interview on Radio 4 to publicise England Arise, which she found daunting on all sorts of levels – London, live broadcasting with clever people and the final straw was when she found she was on the same programme as the unpredictable Russell Brand. She triumphed, of course, and made compulsive listening.

Her children are now grown up and both living in Scotland. Her husband also works from home. “We used to have studies next to each other, but I could hear him on the phone all the time so that wasn’t going to work,” she says. Which is why she moved out to the hay loft. They meet over meals and for walks.

Now her latest book is launched, there’s actually been time for long walks – “So many wonderful places to walk in the dales" – and get out and about more, visit her children, read, breathe, explore, finish the unpacking.

She has, she says, no great plans for another book ticking away at the back of her brain. “But there are a lot of anniversaries coming up in the next few years… Agincourt, various Brontes…”

You can be sure she’s not going to be sitting idly, resting on her laurels. She’s much too Yorkshire for that.

* England Arise: the People, the King and the Great Revolt of 1381 (Little, Brown, £25). W: julietbarker.co.uk