The Garderobe of Death has been handed to this agent fellow of mine. He says he will circulate it in only  the most appropriate academic publications – but strictly between you and I, he does not seem entirely trustworthy.

Still, at least getting this work out of my scriptorium means I can concentrate on the next task. If you are a subscriber to Medieval Criminal Proceedings you will know that the tale of The Garderobe of Death leaves Hermitage and Wat immediately embroiled in another death.

This is most unfortunate as they haven’t exactly excelled in the first two. Be that as it may, The Tapestry of Death is now in preparation. This deals with the murder of Briston the weaver and I am hopeful it will give some insight into the world of weaving occupied by Wat.

My first researches are illuminating to say the least. I always knew that I was dealing with the ordinary people of the period in my work, certainly not the high, the mighty or those of extraordinary talent. To have discovered just how low people were prepared to go is alarming.

To also discover that Wat the weaver was making his living from this is a great disappointment.

I shall plough on though, and hope my readers are not easily shocked.


At last the tale of the Garderobe of Death is complete. And frankly it’s ridiculous. How things ended up as they have is utterly incredible. I have checked and rechecked the facts, looking for an interpretation which might indicate some semblance of rationality. All I have confirmed is naked self interest, arrogance, and great swathes of stupidity.

Through all of my researches I maintain the hope that brother Hermitage is going to develop into some sort of genuine investigator. I have been made aware of certain fictional  medieval detectives who, I am told, are always successful. Apparently they are all ahead of their time, compassionate, intelligent and capable. Brother Hermitage has all of these qualities. Unfortunately they are completely disjointed and of no earthly use in the resolution of crime. It is hard for me to judge which of these types is more representative of the real medieval character.
The more I read, the more I worry that it might be brother Hermitage.

Being with Wat the weaver does help Hermitage in some ways. This dubious character at least understands what people are capable of, (what they’re capable of is universally unpleasent but at least he understands it). The young monk doesn’t have a clue. At least he can take facts and put them together to draw a conclusion. This is always more by luck than good judgement, and the best he can hope for is to avoid being executed himself.

The death in this case is resolved, and Hermitage does sort it out – eventually. King William even arrives on the scene, fresh from his conquest, and drives his own coach and horses through the whole business.

The end of the tale even gives a hint of a further investigation, this time connected to Wat’s trade. I am not sure I want to look into that one too far. The information I already have about the tapestries of Wat the weaver is quite sufficient to convince me they should not be discussed with a sensitive audience.

The fellow who deals with getting my research circulated tells me he has plans for The Garderobe of Death. I’m not quite sure I am comfortable with the way he said it. I do hope he treats the work with respect. I assume this circulation will be limited to appropriate academic communities, but he tells me not to worry. Heaven forfend that Hermitage should become a laughing stock.
When he heard I had discovered information about a further investigation concerning Wat, he said he would call it The Tapestry of Death and wanted it finished by Christmas! Impudent man.

Warwick, England

I must say that the pace of things today is remarkable. It is barely 17 years since the first evidence of Brother Hermitage came to my attention and now people expect a further volume. Why the rush?

I continue my researches into the case of The Garderobe of Death and what a sorry tale it is.

If there was any hope of Brother Hermitage gaining an understanding of the evils of the world it is dashed.

If there was an inkling that Master Wat the weaver might be abandoning production of incredibly rude tapestry I have not found it.

If there was a chance that the characters and events in this latest tale would demonstrate at least a modicum of moral behaviour, it hasn’t appeared.

To date the death is not resolved. Virtually everyone who appears in the manuscripts is a possible suspect and most of their effort goes into blaming one another rather than trying to find the true culprit.

The Norman Lord lives in constant fear of the King arriving, and is in such a rush to get the case resolved that he tries to execute anyone who stands still long enough.

Hermitage is coming and going between Saxons and Normans, none of whom have much of a clue about what’s going on. (Although the Saxons do appear to have heard of Wat. What they have heard is probably not good but at least he is known.)

There is a Saxon Noble Lady who is involved somehow. From what I have seen she is neither Noble nor a Lady.
This lady’s maid is an upstart who is “friends” with one of the guards who himself is no help at all.

There even appear to be strange people lurking in the very walls of the castle who claim to know everything.

To cap it all off I have just discovered, in a separate and dog-eared parchment, that Brother Simon has appeared on the scene.

We know from the tale of the Heretics of Death that this man is incapable of, well anything really. His brand of blind obedience coupled with innate idiocy will not help this situation resolve itself. Mind you, if he claims to be Saxon King Harold’s Investigator in front of the Normans, his attendance may be short lived.

I will continue with my work and hope to draw a conclusion to events very soon.

My eye has also been caught by a newly uncovered source relating to the tapestries of Master Wat. It was hidden inside the cover of a remarkably tedious commentary on the Lexicography of the post-Exodus Prophets.

Warwick, England

The Garderobe of Death

The new mystery of the Garderobe of Death is most intriguing. It does not so much unravel as tie itself in knots.

There is certainly a dead body. Most decidedly dead. The amount of detail I have deciphered concerning the actual death is far more than I either sought or require, much of it of a most distasteful nature. Still, it is the duty of the scholar to pass on the facts and I will leave it to the reader to decide when to close their eyes.

The body seems to be surrounded by a variety of goings on. I have not completed comprehensive research but am confident on first sight that most of them are sinful.

There is also a variety of individuals involved. I am absolutely positive that they are all sinful.

Hermitage and Wat are the exceptions of course and they continue to plough their unique furrows. I am troubled that Hermitage really seems to have got himself into water far deeper than his swimming ability, (which I have not definitively confirmed through evidential analysis but which I summise to be non-existent). He has got himself mixed up with a most alarming band and I genuinely fear for his safety.

Wat the Weaver’s reputation preceeds him and his very individual tapestries seem widely known. I have still not managed to unearth an original Wat, but from my reading of the texts I am coming to the firm conclusion his subject matter is inappropriately intimate. Whether this will stand him in good stead with the new Norman overlords we wait to discover. It could be that they are high minded people who will be shocked at Wat’s images and will deal with him accordingly. From what I have seen so far I think this unlikely and suspect instead that his prices will go up.

To date it seems that Wat and Hermitage have begun their investigation of this death with stumbling bewilderment. Master Wat, usually so at home with the more distasteful aspects of human nature and its most adept practitioners, is taken aback by the unique qualities of the Normans. The Saxons are no better.

I must return to the tale so that I can get it into a suitable form for re-telling around the fireside. – as long as the fireside exlcudes small children and those of a nervous disposition.

Warwick, England

I have been hard at work in my scriptorium illustrating a marvellous letter G. One month gone and only four or five to go I think. I must crush some more butterflies as I’m running out of red.

It is hard to believe a month has flown since last I commented on the life of Brother Hermitage. In my moments of relaxation, generally between three and four in the morning, I have been reviewing the exploits of the young monk.

The second volume of his life will certainly be titled the Garderobe of Death as that remarkable domestic device seems to be key. From the dates I have deciphered these latest events take place some months after the invasion of 1066.

To date I have one confirmed death and that is of a Norman noble. This would appear to be very dangerous territory for one such as Brother Hermitage but he appears to have no choice.

Wat, weaver of pornographic tapestry remains in attendance and this gives me some confidence that Hermitage won’t simply walk to his own death.

There can be little doubt the Norman has been murdered, given the remarkably personal nature of his injuries, nor any doubt that Hermitage has been instructed to investigate. From the first tome of his exploits it is clear that this is most likely beyond his abilities so I can only hope for the best.

The local Norman Lord appears to be largely insane. A Saxon maiden is involved who is no better and the castle in which events are unfolding seems to be on the constant verge of collapse.

It is all very worrying and prompts me to continue my researches at pace. Once the ‘G’ is complete I have a lower case ‘a’ to retouch and then I shall crack on.

Warwick, England, Tuesday