A 12th century ghost story

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Brother Ranulf
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A 12th century ghost story

Postby Brother Ranulf » Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:27 am

I have posted this here rather than "creative works" as it is a genuine account from the period. It appears in the 1201 chronicle of Abbot Ralph of the Cistercian house of Coggeshall, refering back to an event of around 1170:

"In the time of Peter, the fourth Abbot of Coggeshall, it happened that brother Robert, a lay brother who had the keeping of the guest house, entering the guest hall one day before dinner as was his custom found certain persons, venerable in their appearance and dress, sitting in the hall.

They wore cloaks like those of the Templars and each had a cap on his head. There were about nine of them, or more, because the brother had not sufficiently carefully observed how many had gathered there. Thinking them to be Templars he greeted them kindly. One of them who appeared to be in charge asked "Where are we to dine?". Robert replied "You will eat in the Abbot's chamber."

The other replied "It is not our custom to eat in private chambers, but in the hall with the guests." After this the brother left the hall and went to the Abbot, annnouncing the arrival of these guests. The Abbot instructed him to prepare everything necessary and to set the table, and promised that he would eat with them in the guesthouse. Therefore when the Abbot came to the table, he asked Robert to bring in the guests.

The brother went to fetch them , but the guests could not be found. Going into the inner rooms and other places he could find none of them. Soon he went outside, running this way and that through the courtyard, hoping to find the men. A man there said he had seen them going towards the brothers' cemetery. Robert sent a messenger there, but the messenger found no one. The gatekeeper was questioned about the guests, but said that no such men had gone in or out of the gate that day. Who those men were and where they went remains a mystery to this day.

We do not doubt the story of the brother who saw them and spoke with them because we know his life and conscience. He had frequently told us this story, even in the great sickness which took him from this life."


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Fox
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Postby Fox » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:44 am

Cool! 8)



nix
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Postby nix » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:15 am

now if you could just say that they 15ft hi and glowed green that bloody stupid gosht tv programe(think its most haunted) might put them on telly.

were about was this, and does the place still exest, would be nice to visit a twelth centry abbey, the only one near were i live heny 8 got his hands on , the ruins are nice and the new one has some lovely arcutecture, and is well worth the vist(they do great tea if nothing else) quarr abbey, iow highly recomend.


im like a bad case of genital warts.
im an irritable c?@t ,
that keeps on coming back,
but i grow on you

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Brother Ranulf
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Postby Brother Ranulf » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:49 pm

Nix - this was at Coggeshall Abbey in Essex, between Braintree and Colchester. Like most monastery sites there is little to see today, a 12th century barn is still there, plus a 13th century gate chapel but not much else. I believe a farmhouse has been built over most of the abbey ruins.

Henry VIII not only closed all the monasteries but "put them beyond use", which meant demolition in most cases. A few give some idea of the scale and decoration of the buildings (minus roofs in most cases) - Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk, Netley Abbey near Southampton, Tintern Abbey in Gwent, Furness Abbey in Cumbria and Battle Abbey in Sussex are all worth a visit. In Yorkshire there are Rievaulx, Fountains, Kirkham, Byland, Roche and Thornton.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

m300572
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Postby m300572 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:56 pm

which meant demolition in most cases.


Although often not total demolition - there are a fair number of bits survived either in secular use or because the locals decided they could use the monastery church as their own church. In the case of Whalley Abbey (one of my local ones) the Abbot's House was appropriated as the basis for a mansion and some of the buildings survived as they were useful for the new owner. The other monasteries where there is a fair amount surviving were either miles from a population who could use them as a convenient stone quarry or were kept as 'eyecatchers' or ruin features in later emparked landscapes (Fountains). Saved the expense of the park owner having to build a ruin to add that 'Gothick' romanticism to his park.


Wilkes and Liberty, Wilkes and the Forty Five

nix
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Postby nix » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:54 am

hmm i wounder,

going to stat new thread, nicest historical buildings i think


im like a bad case of genital warts.

im an irritable c?@t ,

that keeps on coming back,

but i grow on you


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