By John Whitehead - 17th August 2020 6:09am
This is number 20 in the "History Shorts" articles contributed by members of the Audlem and District History Society under the Editorship of Jeremy Nicholls.
Murder at the Abbey
In the year 1520, some two decades before Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, a Combermere monk was murdered — and not for the first time. Less than a century previously, a labourer from Dodcott (Dodcott-cum-Wilkesley, then in the parish of Wrenbury) had murdered Abbot Richard with bow and arrow. A century before that an abbot had sought to solve ongoing money problems by counterfeiting gold coins. No wonder that in 1520 the prior tried to cover up the murder by harbouring the offender. He was attempting to avoid yet more 'reputational damage' for a prominent institution which had gained "an evil name for using of misrule". The term 'the lord of misrule' came to refer to one who played fast and loose with normal rules in times of festivity. Alice in Wonderland has been characterised as 'the mistress of misrule'.
Chester — an avid Bible reader
This story of misrule needs to be balanced by the unsung behaviour of sincere brothers, like one called Chester, who demonstrated in correspondence with a fellow monk his qualities of piety and charity and hinted at his discomfort with the Abbey's scandals. It was said of him, as an avid Bible reader that he went "hither and thither among the flowers of scripture like a bee".
Misrule is not the only epitaph of Combermere Abbey.
Wednesday 23rd Sep
Tuesday 22nd Sep
Monday 21st Sep
Public Hall Annexe Thornton Room
Hankelow Chapel Community Hall
Public Hall Annexe, Thornton Room