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The Church of St Beornwald

Hugh de Singleton’s chronicles:


The Tainted Coin: The fifth chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

The man had been beaten senseless. With pain and effort he opened his swollen lips and said, so faintly I had to ask John Kellet if he heard the same words, “They didn’t get me coin.”

It was the autumn of 1367, and Master Hugh was enjoying the peaceful life of Bampton, when a badly beaten man was found under the porch of St Andrew’s Chapel. The dying man was a chapman – a traveling merchant. Before he was buried in the chapel grounds an ancient, corroded coin was found in the man’s mouth.
“Unhallowed Ground”

Unhallowed Ground: The fourth chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

“The man is surely dead of his own hand, Hugh. You must not seek a felon where none is. And even was atte Bridge slain there is no man in Bampton sorry for it. He was an evil fellow we are well rid of.”

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cow-Ley’s Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so. Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows ... Hugh must discover which of his friends has murdered his enemy.
“The Trail of Ink”

The Trail of Ink: The third chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

“I had never seen Master John Wyclif so afflicted. He was rarely found at such a loss when in disputation with other masters. He told me later, when I had returned them to him, that it was as onerous to plunder a bachelor scholar’s books as it would be to steal another man’s wife. I had, at the time, no way to assess the accuracy of that opinion, for I had no wife and few books.”
So begins another delightful and intriguing tale from the life of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon in the medieval village of Bampton, near Oxford, and bailiff of Bampton Castle at the behest of Lord Gilbert Talbot.
“A Corpse at St Andrew’s Chapel”

A Corpse at St Andrew’s Chapel: The second chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

Alan, the beadle of the manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew. When, the following morning, he had not returned home, his young wife Matilda had sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor. Two days later his corpse was discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St Andrew’s Chapel. His throat had been torn out – his head was half severed from his body – and his face, hands and forearms were lacerated with deep scratches. Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listened carefully to the coroner’s surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet ... if so, why was there no blood?
“The Unquiet Bones”

The Unquiet Bones: The first chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, feeling no certain calling despite a lively faith, he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging out his sign in Oxford. A local lord asks him to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspit. She is identified as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith, and her young man, whom she had provoked very publicly, is in due course arrested and sentenced at the Oxford assizes. From there the tale unfolds, with graphic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, misdirection, ambition, romantic distractions and a consistent underlying Christian compassion.

The Unquiet BonesA Corpse at St Andrew’s ChapelThe Trail of InkUnhallowed GroundThe Tainted Coin
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