Mucky Monks Of The Midlands

Two Midland's tall tales of mucky monks:
Dan Hugh (C14th) and Long John (C16th).

Plus a bit about being "Sent To Coventry".

Originally posted on Twitter on the Thursday 23rd May 2019.
Images via @britishlibrary's Flickr collection.

Line of confused looking monks who seem to be hunting for something/one.

Dan Hugh: Mucky Monk Of Leicester Abbey.

Dan was the sort of monk who took his vows as advisory; he was fond of the ladies and not short of a bob or two either. Combining the two, he propositioned the tailor's missus and they agreed to meet the next day.

The tailor's wife told the tailor and they hatched a plan. When Dan arrived the wife haggled a bit and then agreed to exchange her favours for his coins. When the wife went to deposit the cash in the chest, out popped the tailor and bopped Dan on the head.

He went down, they freaked out and Dan's body was dragged back to the Abbey. The servants found the missing monk propped up in a doorway, barely conscious. One good slap from the Abbot and Dan hit the deck again.

A large ornate door surrounded by foliage.

The Abbot freaked out and, suspecting where Dan had been and who he'd been up to, ordered the servants to drag him back to the tailor's home and leave him in the doorway. Where the tailor found him a few hours later.

He stuffed Dan in a sack and dragged him to the mill pond to finish him off. On the way he was disturbed by a gang of thieves dragging their own sack of ill gotten gains in the other direction. The thieves dropped the sack and legged it. The tailor had a brainwave.

He checked the other sack and found a side of bacon nicked from the miller's pantry. So he switched sacks and left Dan to his increasingly convoluted fate. Later, the thieves returned only to find a barely alive monk where their breakfast should have been.

Panicking, they dragged Dan's body to the miller's pantry and hung him where the bacon had been. The miller's missus found him and freaked out. So did the miller. Into another sack went Dan and off to the Abbey once more.

The Abbot was horrified to find the troublesome monk back yet again and ordered his servants to beat Dan before burying him in the Abbey grounds.

A caricature of a worried looking Abbot.

Presumably he was dead by that point. Though this is #FolkloreThursday so you never know.

"Long John": Mucky Monk Of Malvern.

A couple of hundred years later but no less a ladies' man, "Long John" joined the Little Malvern Priory at the base of the Malvern Hills.

Unfortunately for John, his wondering eye came to the attention of the Abbot who was no slouch in the punishment department and John was condemned to crawl on all fours from the Priory to the summit of Raggedstone Hill (the clue is in the name) every morning.

An angry Abbot smiting a prostrate monk.

Ignoring John's pleas for mercy, the Abbot insisted that he made his slow, painful way up the hill until after the third week John's hands and feet were raw and he was a wee bit grieved about it all.

As he completed his final ascent, bloodied and dying, John cursed the Abbot and swore that anyone in the shadow of the hill would die young.

A ruined entrance to a Priory.

The Abbot died shortly thereafter and the original Priory dwindled and closed in 1537.

"Sent To Coventry".

Talking of mucky monks:

One of the possible origins for being "sent to Coventry" is that C14/15th Carthusian monks (a silent, hermetic Catholic order) who had been up to no good were sent to a Charterhouse in Coventry to receive their punishment.

The insignia of Coventry (a sharply tusked elephant with a saddle that carries a fortified tower).

The other explanation is that Royalist prisoners during the Civil War were sent to Cov because it was the only walled town in the area and so more secure. Chuck Two ordered the walls destroyed after the restoration and only small sections and two gatehouses remain.