Myths of Malmesbury

The Max & Colin Folly

The Max & Colin Folly

Lorenzo was having a raiders of the lost shark moment so decided he would set off in search of “The Heart of The Government” said to be stashed in a gold-covered wooden chest some where under Malmesbury. The soulless devils had been banished to the Abbey’s crypt and sealed in by the reverend Arthur Beaghen.

Lorenzo grabbed his copy of of the Book of Exodus by Bob Marley and set off in the direction of the old railway tunnel. He thought this a good place to start his quest and had brought along with him a large NiCd Rechargeable Battery powered concrete breaking hammer.

About half way into the tunnel he came across the first obstacle, a sheer wall of concrete, someone had previously poured it into the tunnel from a bore hole in its roof, allegedly to support their house above from subsiding into the tunnel below. The only sink hole he knew of in Malmesbury was in his kitchen.

He thought this was probably a hoax and this would be where they had buried The Heart of The Government. Right in front of any suspicious eyes of Malmesbury folk in the hope that no one would think of looking there. Though they hadn’t anticipated the superior mind of Lorenzo the local loon and his unholy detective powers.

Lorenzo knew it wasn’t really a railway tunnel at all, he knew from reading Sister Clodagh’s memoirs that it was the Nuns of St Joseph’s who had in fact dug out the tunnel, in which to set up an underground church for the safety and protection from the heavy bombing of Malmesbury by Zeppelins during World War One.

After an hour of chipping away at the concrete Lorenzo was getting thirsty so he set off to the Horsefair to Washbourne’s known to the locals as the Bath Arms, now run by The Smiths, Steven Patrick Morrissey’s wife was a pretty woman from an island somewhere off the west coast of England, no not the Isle of Man, but the bigger one beyond that, the one with the Cork in it to stop it from sinking.

Any how when Lorenzo entered the shop, the door caused a bell to ring and a few moments later a beautiful young girl appeared, it was Mrs Smith’s daughter, a nurse at the local hospital. Lorenzo shyly asked for a packet of salt and vinegar Golden Wonder crisps, a Mars Bar, and a bottle of Corona Orange Pop. That emptied his pocket of one and ninepence – two weeks pocket money.

Lorenzo now set off back towards the Abbey and the steps behind the cloister gardens where he would climb over the fence to get to the tunnel. Upon reaching the Abbey he saw a poster on its fence that read, Lead Zeppelin in performance today. Lorenzo could hear guitars being tuned so diverted into the Abbey to see if he could watch the rehearsals. Inside he didn’t see the light, so had to listen instead.

Inside he found workmen busily cutting one of the Abbey’s columns in half so as to get the stage equipment into the nave. Further on in he could see other men cutting holes into other columns in which to attach the lighting bars for that evening’s concert. Inside Lorenzo saw John Bonham struggling with his drum kit so Lorenzo offered to help carry it in and set it up for him. Gong are the days of Paiste.

Lorenzo sat down and listened to the warm up act, she was practising her rap song about Liquorish and Lace. He knew it was in some sort of religious lingo, something about a local village, its name lost in translation over the eons, it being called “Latin” prior to 1547 and “Corston” post 1547. Lorenzo introduced himself to the singer and she said her name was Rosie and was born in Corston and her day job was making lace for which she needed great concentration, so she chewed on lots of liquorish and composed her songs to stay sane.

Tommy Tucker 1965 © David Forward

Tommy Tucker 1965 © David Forward

Lorenzo then heard a great commotion and looking behind he saw the verger Tommy Tucker in distress at how he was going to explain the damage to the columns. Lorenzo quickly came to his assistance and suggested a cover story. How about we say archaeologists had marked out where the column could be cut, suggesting the exact locations that the Empress Matilda’s wicked step cousin, Lesley of Luckington Ford, back in 1133, had also cut the same column in half and used it as a sleeping policeman half way down Abbey Row to stop horse carts from entering the town too fast.

It’s a well know fact recorded by none less than William of Malmesbury himself, that his two drinking partners, Max and Colin, were the two monks who planned and built the Abbey way back in 1180, and an early sketch of what their building should look like is held with great pride today in the Athelstan museum. A reproduction of this drawing can be seen as the title image of this story.

What not so many of the town’s folk know, is that all the original drawing plans done on parchment, actually still exist and are held in the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford. It is here that one can study just why the internal structure of the Abbey is such a confusion of styles and indicates why so many changes seem to have been made to its masonry throughout the period of its construction.

Derek Hunt - Robert Mazak - Steve Cleaver - Ian Smith - Clive Alley - Tim Booy © David Forward

Derek Hunt – Robert Mazak – Steve Cleaver – Ian Smith – Clive Alley – Tim Booy © David Forward

Meanwhile back in the Time Tunnel, Clicker, Gagger, Trigger, and Plug & Dummy were busy applying the best Tetbury Graffiti to the sacred walls of their Malmesbury rivals. The Dolphins were in town and the Jackdaws had flown.

In progress, to be continued.

11/02/2021