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Authors: Michael Jecks

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The Bishop Must Die

BOOK: The Bishop Must Die
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Michael Jecks

Copyright © 2009 Michael Jecks

The right of Michael Jecks to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

First published as an Ebook by

Headline Publishing Group in 2014

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

eISBN: 978 1 4722 1989 3


An Hachette UK Company

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

Table of Contents

Title Page


About the Author

Also by Michael Jecks


About the Book




Cast of Characters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Author’s Note

About the Author

Michael Jecks gave up a career in the computer industry to concentrate on his writing. He is the founder of Medieval Murderers, has been Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association, and helped create the Historical Writers’ Association. Keen to help new writers, for some years he organised the Debut Dagger competition, and is now organising the Aspara Writing festival for new writers at Evesham. He has judged many prizes, including the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Michael is an international speaker on writing and for business. He lives with his wife, children and dogs in northern Dartmoor.

Michael can be contacted through his website:

He can be followed on twitter (
) or on

His photos of Devon and locations for his books can be found at:

Also by Michael Jecks

The Last Templar

The Merchant’s Partner

A Moorland Hanging

The Crediton Killings

The Abbot’s Gibbet

The Leper’s Return

Squire Throwleigh’s Heir

Belladonna at Belstone

The Traitor of St Giles

The Boy-Bishop’s Glovemaker

The Tournament of Blood

The Sticklepath Strangler

The Devil’s Acolyte

The Mad Monk of Gidleigh

The Templar’s Penance

The Outlaws of Ennor

The Tolls of Death

The Chapel of Bones

The Butcher of St Peter’s

A Friar’s Bloodfeud

The Death Ship of Dartmouth

Malice of Unnatural Death

Dispensation of Death

The Templar, the Queen and Her Lover

The Prophecy of Death

The King of Thieves

No Law in the Land

The Bishop Must Die

The Oath

King’s Gold

City of Fiends

Templar’s Acre


‘Michael Jecks is the master of the medieval whodunnit’ Robert Low

‘Captivating … If you care for a well-researched visit to medieval England, don’t pass this series’
Historical Novels Review

‘Michael Jecks has a way of dipping into the past and giving it that immediacy of a present-day newspaper article … He writes … with such convincing charm that you expect to walk round a corner in Tavistock and meet some of the characters’
Oxford Times

‘Great characterisation, a detailed sense of place, and a finely honed plot make this a superb medieval historical’
Library Journal

‘Stirring intrigue and a compelling cast of characters will continue to draw accolades’
Publishers Weekly

‘A tortuous and exciting plot … The construction of the story and the sense of period are excellent’

‘This fascinating portrayal of medieval life and the corruption of the Church will not disappoint. With convincing characters whose treacherous acts perfectly combine with a devilishly masterful plot, Jecks transports readers back to this wicked world with ease’
Good Book Guide

About the Book

The twenty-eighth novel in Michael Jecks’s medieval Knights Templar series.

1326: King Edward II’s estranged wife Queen Isabella shames him by refusing to return from France to England. When the king hears she has betrothed their son to the daughter of the French Count of Hainault, all England fears invasion.

The King’s knights, including Sir Baldwin de Funshill, are commanded to London to protect the realm. Meanwhile Bishop Stapledon, the Treasurer of England, is under severe threat – but from whom? He has made many enemies in a long political life and Sir Baldwin and his friend, Bailiff Simon Puttock, must do all they can to find the would-be assassin before they strike …

In memory of George MacDonald Fraser, whose writing influenced me enormously, whose research spurred me to accuracy, and whose war memoirs are still the very best record of the life of a WWII British soldier.

a chantry-priest, one who held specific masses dedicated to those who had paid for their services.
raising a force to fight for the king was increasingly problematic, so Commissioners of Array were sent out to assess all the men in every hundred or township between the ages of sixteen and sixty. The healthy were taken to form the troopers of his host.
burned wine
the medieval term for brandy.
the grouping of five vintaines to form a hundred men in the king’s host.
a form of medieval pension, in which a wealthy patron would buy a post in a religious institution for a retired servant. The retired man would be given food and drink as well as accommodation and a little spending money.
this was the term for the circuit of a king’s judge as he travelled from one county to the next. Often he was called a ‘Justice in Eyre’. In 1321 there was held the ‘Eyre of London’, an investigation into the powers and rights of the city of London with the aim of curbing them and probably taxing them to the benefit of the Crown. As Bishop Walter was the Lord High Treasurer at the time, many Londoners blamed him for the eyre, although I have seen no evidence to support this (only
Walsingham, writing ninety years after the event, has suggested it).
this was the term for a clerical household.
the gravedigger or sexton.
a lightly armed man-at-arms on horseback (a ‘hobby’ thus the term ‘hobbler’). Unlike a knight or squire, they were lightly armoured, and were used more as a highly mobile infantry, leaving their horses to fight on foot. During the Hundred Years War, Edward III used archers on horseback extensively, giving him the strategic mobility his campaigns needed.
the word ‘army’ did not exist in the 1300s. That is a much more recent concept. Instead, there was the feudal host, which comprised all those who owed service to their lord.
the most basic unit of administration in the realm. Its initial purpose is obscure: it may have been intended to provide a hundred warriors to the king’s host, or to cover one hundred hides of land, but the most important aspect by 1326 was that each hundred had its own court.
a group of ten centaines would make a millaine in the military unit.
novel disseisin
a class of action very popular in medieval times, by which a plaintiff could bid a sheriff to gather a jury of twelve in order to hear that a plot or parcel of land had been stolen.
at a time when all peasants were forced to consume vast quantities of bread to supplement their diet, only those of enormous wealth could afford the best, white bread, the
seisin is one of the cardinal concepts of
English and therefore American law. It is the basic law of ownership, and although some have assumed its roots come from a violent act of ‘seizing’ someone else’s property (and possession being nine-tenths of the law, that means they own it), in fact, legal historians generally reckon it implied peaceful ownership.
twenty men-at-arms gathered into a unit for the king’s host.
BOOK: The Bishop Must Die
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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