Read Unhallowed Ground Online

Authors: Mel Starr

Tags: #Fiction, #Christian, #Historical, #Mystery & Detective

Unhallowed Ground


Copyright © 2011 by Mel Starr
The right of Mel Starr to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.


First published in the UK in 2011 by Monarch Books
(a publishing imprint of Lion Hudson plc)
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR, England
Tel: +44 (0)1865 302750 Fax: +44 (0)1865 302757
Email: [email protected]


ISBN 978 0 85721 058 6 (print)
ISBN 978 0 85721 237 5 (epub)
ISBN 978 0 85721 236 8 (Kindle)
ISBN 978 0 85721 238 2 (PDF)


Distributed by:
UK: Marston Book Services, PO Box 269, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4YN
USA: Kregel Publications, PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the
Holy Bible, New International Version
, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan and Hodder & Stoughton Limited. All rights reserved. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society. UK trademark number 1448790.


British Library Cataloguing Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


Cover image: Lion Hudson.


By the same author:
(in sequence)


The Unquiet Bones

A Corpse at St Andrew’s Chapel

A Trail of Ink


For Tony and Lis Page


In the summer of 1990 my wife Susan and I discovered a lovely B&B in the village of Mavesyn Ridware. The proprietors, Tony and Lis Page, became friends. We visited them again in 2001, after they had moved to Bampton. I saw that the village would be an ideal setting for the tales I wished to write. Tony and Lis have been a wonderful resource for the history of Bampton. I owe them much.

When Dan Runyon, Professor of English at Spring Arbor University, learned that I was writing
The Unquiet Bones
, Master Hugh’s first chronicle, he invited me to speak to a fiction-writing class about the trials of a rookie writer. Dan sent some chapters to his friend, Tony Collins. Thanks, Dan.

And thanks to Tony Collins and the fine people at Monarch for their willingness to publish an untried author. Thanks also to my editor, Jan Greenough, who keeps the plot moving when I would digress.

Thanks also to Professor John Blair, of Queen’s College, who has written several papers about the history of Bampton. Master Hugh’s tales are fiction, but as far as possible the Bampton he lived in is accurate to the time and place.

Malgorzata Deron, a linguistics scholar from Poznan, Poland, has graciously volunteered to maintain my website. This is much appreciated from one who is digitally challenged. See her work at


A large hunting dog.


The monk responsible for a monastery’s charity, he tended the deserving poor of the neighborhood.


Angelus Bell:
Rung three times each day, dawn, noon, and dusk. Announced the time for the Angelus devotional.


Ascension Day:
May 14 in 1366, forty days after Easter.


A lord’s chief manorial representative. He oversaw all operations, collected rents and fines, and enforced labor service. Not a popular fellow.


A manor officer in charge of fences, hedges, enclosures, and curfew. Also called a hayward.


A castrated male chicken.


Cataract couching:
Excising the clouded lens from a patient’s eye.


A confection made of dates, honey, and ginger.


A fine for having a child out of wedlock.


Coney in cevy:
A rabbit stew made with wine and a variety of spices.


To cut a tree back to a stump to stimulate the growth of new shoots.


Corpus Christi:
June 4, 1366. Celebrated on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday, to give thanks for Holy Communion.


A poor villager, usually holding five acres or less, he often had to labor for wealthy villagers to make ends meet.


Pasture or meadow.


A bowl of oil with a floating wick used for lighting.


A clay-and-plaster mix, reinforced with straw and/or horsehair.


Land directly exploited by a lord, and worked by his villeins, as opposed to land a lord might rent to tenants.


Any object which caused a death. The item was sold and the price awarded to the king.


A war-horse, larger than pack-horses and palfreys. Also the right-hand direction.


A monastery dormitory.


Mixed grains planted together in a field, often barley and oats.


A small coin worth one fourth of a penny.


A nobleman. The term had nothing to do with character or behavior.


A fee paid to a noble to acquire or inherit land.


God’s sib:
Woman who attended another woman while she was in labor, from which comes the word “gossip.”


A silver coin worth four pence.


A household servant to a lord, ranking above a page and below a valet.


A merchant who sold household items such as pins, buckles, buttons, hats, and purses.


The manorial court. Royal courts judged free tenants accused of murder or felony; otherwise manor courts had jurisdiction over legal matters concerning villagers.


Breaking and entering.


An inheritance tax paid by an heir to a lord, usually the deceased’s best animal.


The Sunday after Easter. A time for paying rents and taxes; therefore, getting “out of hock.”


Communion wafers.


Hue and cry:
An alarm call raised by the person who discovered a crime. All who heard were expected to go to the scene of the crime and, if possible, pursue the criminal.


King’s Eyre:
A royal circuit court, presided over by a traveling judge.


A well dedicated to the Virgin Mary, located a short distance north of Bampton Castle, the water of which was reputed to cure ills, especially of the eye.


Lammas Day:
August 1, when thanks was given for a successful wheat harvest. From Old English “loaf mass.”


Laudable pus:
Thick white pus from a wound, which was assumed to mean healing was progressing, as opposed to watery pus, which was assumed to be dangerous.


The first canonical hour of the day, celebrated at dawn.


A fine for sexual relations out of wedlock.


Let lardes:
A type of custard made with eggs, milk, bacon fat, and parsley.


Lombard stew:
A pork stew with wine, onions, almonds, and spices.


Lombardy custard:
A custard made with the addition of dried fruit.


Lych gate:
A roofed gate over the entry to a churchyard under which the deceased rested during the initial part of a funeral.


The stables and associated accoutrements.


Bread made with a mixture of grains, commonly wheat and rye or barley.


The solid upper portion of a wall between the open crenels of a battlement.


Stables, usually with living quarters, built around a courtyard.


A stew made with pork, ground or chopped fine, thickened with breadcrumbs, egg yolks, and spices.


New Year:
By the fourteenth century, usually January 1, but the traditional earlier date of March 25 was also often used.


A gold coin worth six shillings and eight pence.


The fifth daytime canonical hour, sung at the ninth hour of the day, mid-afternoon.


A riding-horse with a comfortable gait.


A city in France which was the scene of the English victory over and capture of King John II of France (September 1356).


Anything cooked in one pot, from the meanest oatmeal to a savory stew.


A monastery dining-room.


Rogation Sunday:
The Sunday before Ascension Day. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were Rogation Days, also called “gang days.” A time of beseeching God for a good growing season.


St Botolf’s Day:
June 17.


St George’s Day:
April 23. In 1366, a Thursday.


St Nicholas’s Day:
December 6.


Twelve pence. Twenty shillings made a pound, but there was no one pound coin.


A small room in a castle, more easily heated than the great hall, where lords preferred to spend time, especially in winter. Usually on an upper floor.


Fourteen pounds.


An elaborate confection made more for show than for consumption.


The milky, opaque matter obscuring the vision of a cataract sufferer.


The third canonical hour, celebrated at the third hour of the day, mid-morning.


Land surrounding a house, often used for growing vegetables and keeping chickens.


A high, conical hill.


Trinity Sunday:
One week after Whitsunday, May 31 in 1366.


The forester in charge of a lord’s forests.


The night office, traditionally celebrated at midnight.


A non-free peasant. He could not leave his land or service to his lord, or sell animals without permission. But if he could escape his manor for a year and a day he would be free.


Interlaced sticks used as a foundation and support for daub in building a wall.


The two or three days of labor per week (more during harvest) which a villein owed to his lord.


A male sheep castrated before maturity.


White Sunday; ten days after Ascension Day, seven weeks after Easter. In 1366, May 24.


About thirty acres. Also called a virgate, and in northern England called an oxgang.


Other books

The Deadwalk by Bedwell-Grime, Stephanie
The Hearing by John Lescroart
She Blinded Me With Science by Michelle L. Levigne
Katie's Angel by Tabatha Akers
1491 by Mann, Charles C., Johnson, Peter (nrt)
Silent Daughter 1: Taken by Stella Noir, Linnea May
God Touched - 01 by John Conroe Copyright 2016 - 2021