Thanks to all those who visited us at Skipton castle 18th/19th July, and helped us solve the murder. For those who had to disappear before the grand reveal on Sunday, here is a quick summery of the plot and solution. The unfortunate victim was a local innkeeper who owned a tavern on the Bolton Abbey estates. He had approached the Threlkelds after arriving the previous evening to ask if he could build a new tavern on the site of the derelict leper hospital of St Mary Magdalene, which in recent years had become something of a den of vices. Unfortunately he was found dead in his bed in the morning, covered in blood from a single stab wound to the chest. Rumours abounded of lepers roaming the castle at night, and debts owed by the dead man to local merchants. Many of the castle’s residents were also found to be engaging in illicit activities in the deserted chapel, leaving a long list of potential suspects. However, in the end the murderer was correctly unmasked as Mistress Atkinson, the castle laundress, who was engaged (along with several other servants) in the illegal smuggling of castle wine and ale to vendors in the town. The dead innkeeper had threatened to blackmail the smugglers in order to obtain enough money to pay his debts; unfortunately he ended up paying for it with his life.
Historical Fact: The leper hospital of St Mary Magdalene really existed in Skipton, and was known to be functional between 1310 and 1350 (after which point no further mentions have been found in local records). It was located on land belonging to Skipton Castle, on the site of what is now the Red Lion pub on Skipton High Street.
Next event will be the Battle of Bosworth 22nd/23rd of August, and we will be back at Skipton July 2016.