Murdered by Clerks
By Medieval Death Bot
A roll call of deaths from Twitter's Medieval Death Bot.
Publication date: Summer 2022Support this project
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Presented by the author of Twitter's Medieval Death Bot comes Murdered by Clerks, an illuminating collection of in-depth looks at the most interesting cases from Medieval coroners’ rolls.
Thomas, son of Henry Robekyn, died 1286 after cutting off his left foot
and then his left hand in a frenzy
From the bizarre to the mundane, each death tells a tale from a dangerous time to be alive, and even to die. Coroners’ rolls list every inquest held for a death by misadventure – or accident – as well as grisly murders, some witnessed by others, some only coming to light when the hidden body was found. For deaths like these, everyone surrounding the death could become suspect. As a result, a complex system of juries arose to sort out just who was responsible. Was it a murder? Or was the cause of death simply an overturned pot of porridge, the family pig, or a step, slipped on while drunk. Whatever it was – it would pay the price.
Henry Debordesle, died 1343. Long sick with diseases, smote himself
in the belly with a knife worth one penny
A handful of these deaths rise to the top, their tales too bizarre, ridiculous or heartbreaking to not be spun again for the modern ear. Through death, Murdered by Clerks gives us a rare, first-hand look into everyday life for common people of the English Middle Ages.
Thomas Lynet, died 1321 after stirring up conflict between two clerks
and was thus shot with an arrow
And lurking amidst these common people is a recurring chorus of especially murderous clerks. Their bloodlust, while appearing insatiable, is the result of a particularly medieval naming convention – all those who were employed in a profession because they could read and write were referred to as clerks, which included not only scholars… but students as well. With the Death Bot featuring a coroners’ roll from Oxford, the cup of clerk murders overflows, and Murdered by Clerks highlights the best of the best. Brawls, street fights, wrestling gone wrong – it’s all in there. Students, drunk and armed with swords, are not to be trusted…
Agnes Bogwulle, died 1343, lying in bed near a weak wall of clay,
the wall fell on top of her and crushed her to death
Presented in a slim hardback volume, with a number of decorated pages, Murdered by Clerks is the perfect pocket companion to the vast array of medieval deaths that befell the brave, the brainless and the just plain unlucky.
Quick select rewards
The Medieval Death bot burst onto Twitter in 2013, succinctly relating the various macabre and mundane deaths of people of the Middle Ages. When pushed, the Medieval Death Bot is willing to suggest a possible medieval death for all those who choose to engage with it. Many feature clerks.
- 19th January 2021 Medieval Deathbot got suspended
Twitter, in all their infinite widsom, decided to suspend the Medieval Deathbot. I'm not sure why or exactly when, probably sometime around the new year since that looks like it's latest tweet (I can log in and see tweets, but can't do anything.) Back in October, it was locked because the auto-reply deaths either got repeatedly flagged as harrassment by people, or an algorithm caught them and decided…17th September 2020 Murdered by Clerks is Finished
Well, you read it. I got the rough draft of the book done last month! This has been, overwhelmingly, the most time consuming and demanding project I've ever done, and I appreciate everyone's patience for it (and with me) so, so much.
(The next time I say I'm going to write a non fiction history book, I'm quoting at least 5 years to completion. Cause yikes dudes.)
What's next is: editing and…19th May 2020 May Update!
It’s been a shitty few months around here lately—and I don’t just mean pandemic news. I’ve been deep in researching medieval cesspits and latrines for the chapter on the death of John Funke! He’s the guy who wandered out of his sickbed and drowned to death in a cesspit. And for a while it was a weird, puzzling sort of death (you’ll hear exactly why once you can read the chapter…30th December 2019 Long Time No See!
I know it’s been silent around here for a while, but rest assured the book is still happening! Non-fiction, especially one like this that branches into so many small and detailed aspects of medieval life, requires a lot of extensive research & fact checking. It’s not a quick and easy thing to write, so the turn-around is a big longer than if it was of a different genre! I want to…14th December 2018 Hello Backers!
Thank you all so much for being a part of Murdered by Clerks! I’m still deep in research mode over here, rummaging around books, old maps and archives and picking out everything I need to bring these medieval deaths to life again.
One of my recent digs, for the chapter on the death of William Baman who was murdered for striking a man’s dog, brought me face to face with a 13th century Bestiary,…
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