THE STORY - introduction 

Arthur was in Worcester Cathedral in 1204 when he overheard some monks talking about two abbots who shared Pershore market.  Arthur thought this a very strange. Why would there be two abbots and what did it mean to share a market?


Arthur made it his quest to find out more about this strange situation and he asked his friend Gruff the troubadour to help.


Gruff has returned to Arthur's manor in the borderlands of England and Wales after an exciting time travelling adventure to Pershore in the 21st century. Gruff has given Arthur the Time Traveller's Guide, it is full of information collected for him by the Pershore heritage detectives, and he has told Arthur how he actually saw two abbots outside Pershore Abbey.  It was in August 1204 and they were  waiting for the arrival of King John. One must have been the Abbot of Pershore but he had no idea about the other one.


Arthur has been reading the Time Traveller's Guide and has discovered something that has made him very excited.  He has developed a theory that what happened to Pershore between 972 and 1066  explains why there were two abbots in Pershore in 1204 and why they shared the market.  Now he must check out his theory to see if he is right. He has some questions that need answers.

Gruff & the big blue time travelling hut in Pershore Abbey
Gruff & the big blue time travelling hut in Pershore Abbey

 Gruff has agreed to take Arthur to Pershore in the big blue time travelling hut to meet  the Heritage Knights.  


He hopes that they will arrange for heritage detectives from all round the area to help Arthur complete his quest.

What will he recognise in 2015?

Will he find the answers to his questions?


Find out how you can help Arthur here

Then find out more about Arthur's world

THE STORY - how it all began

The year was1204.

Heritage detectives from the Teme Valley with their model of a medieval manor.
Heritage detectives from the Teme Valley with their model of a medieval manor.

It was not long after Arthur had settled down on his manor of Catmole in the borderlands of England and Wales that a messenger arrived from Sir Roger Mortimer of Wigmore Castle.


All local knights are summoned to Worcester to witness the betrothal of the Princess Joan, daughter of King John, to Llwelyn, Prince of Wales” he proclaimed.

King John receives homage from Llewlyn Prince of Wales.
King John receives homage from Llewlyn Prince of Wales.

Arthur travelled to Worcester in the retinue of Sir Roger Mortimer of Wigmore.  The betrothal was an occasion he would never forget.  In front of all the great lords, bishops and abbots Arthur saw Prince Llwelyn do homage to King John -  but where was the Princess Joan?


Later that day in 1204 Arthur was mulling over the possibility of peace in the borderlands when he overheard a heated conversation between some of the monks.  They were talking about a place called Pershore and how there were two abbots in the town. They went on to discuss how each abbot profited from the town’s market.  This didn’t seem quite right to Arthur,  he had never been to Pershore but he had heard that its ancient abbey had been rich and powerful for centuries.  It would be very strange for it to have two abbots at the same time. - Perhaps there were two monasteries. How needed to find out?


Gruff the troubadour.
Gruff the troubadour.

Arthur was puzzling about this when he saw his friend Gruff, the troubadour.  Arthur enjoyed the songs Gruff sang and he knew that Gruff collected his stories from the places he visited so he decided to ask him to help him find out about Pershore.  Gruff agreed and made his way to Pershore. 


When King John visited Pershore in August 1204 Gruff was there among the crowds ready to greet the king and that was when he saw them the two abbots!  They were there, outside Pershore Abbey waiting for the King to arrive! 

Gruff's big adventure

King John really did come to Pershore in August 1204
King John really did come to Pershore in August 1204

Gruff was so excited he wanted to find Arthur to tell him but then he saw a strange blue hut in the middle of a field. He took a closer look, he opened the door and went inside, he twiddled the strange knobs. The blue hut began to rise from the ground, it had started to fly!


Far down on the ground below him Gruff could see people going about their daily business. Then the scenes below him began to change, the people and the countryside looked different and so strange.  What was happening?  He pulled a lever he hadn’t seen before and the hut started to descend to the ground.

Once safely back on land Gruff looked around  him, he decided that he must be travelling through time, this was turning out to be quite an adventure!

 It was not long before Gruff was taking off and landing whenever he wanted but always he found himself going forwards in time, he could not work out how to go backwards and he wanted to go home.  He talked to people and they tried to help, they gave him their maps and pictures, they told him things, quite remarkable things, but nothing they said helped him travel backward in time.

When he reached Norton-juxta-Kempsey in Worcestershire the year was 2012!  He decided to take one more look at the papers  he had been collecting in his chest, maybe he had missed some vital instruction. As he opened his chest a great gust of wind blew some of the papers clean away, the rest were in such a state of muddle that he started to feel quite desperate. 


Then he saw some children and decided he would ask them to help him sort his papers. He wrote them a letter and left it in his old chest in the school hall.

The children take up the story

The old chest left by Gruff in the school hall.
The old chest left by Gruff in the school hall.

We did our best to help the mysterious stranger. 


We found his letter in the chest he had left in our school hall. We learned how to be heritage detectives. We found out a lot about our parish, but we had to ask the heritage knights to help with all the other parishes it was too big a job for us.

The children are made heritage detectives and commissioned to lead the quest in their parishes.
The children are made heritage detectives and commissioned to lead the quest in their parishes.

The heritage knights called a meeting of children from other schools in the Pershore area. We all met together in Pershore Abbey and learned how to be heritage detectives, then we were  commissioned to lead a quest for information around our local parishes. The information we were to discover would go into a Time Traveller’s Guide  for Arthur. He would use it to find his way around the Pershore area to help him complete his quest. 

A whole year later we got back together again.  This time we met in the Council Chamber at the offices of Wychavon District Council. We told each other about what we had discovered about our parishes over the centuries.  As we told each other our stories we began to fit together some of the pieces that made up the story of our area in Arthur’s time - there were some big surprises, you can read about them in the Time Traveller’s Guide.

Preparing for Knigthood
Preparing for Knigthood


Later that day we all made our way to Pershore Abbey for the celebrations. Our teachers were to be made heritage knights and we were to join the Fellowship of Arthur’s Heritage Detectives and then… Try to  imagine our surprise when a blue hut, rather like a tardis, whirled into Pershore Abbey and out came a strange man dressed in medieval clothes. We soon found out that his name was Gruff and he was the mysterious strayer who had left the chest in our school hall.

Perhaps Gruff will come back some day.
Perhaps Gruff will come back some day.

 Gruff told us his story and what had happened to him as he  travelled through the centuries in his blue hut. 

He told us some of the remarkable things he had seen as he had travelled over the area he told us about the black death and the civil war, he described how the countryside had changed, how tractors had replace horses and they had replace oxen.  We were learning such a lot and having such a good time but suddenly the hut started to whirl and move backwards.  We discovered later that Gruff had accidentally put one our pieces of obsidian into a special hole in the dashboard and that was the trigger for the hut to move backwards .It was sad for us because it meant that Gruff could go back home but he stayed for our ceremony and when he finally left we made sure he had the Time Traveller’s Guide for Arthur - perhaps they will come back someday.

Gruff returns to Arthur

Strangely, when I got back to Arthur’s manor at Catmole everything was was just the same as it had always been, I began to wonder if all my adventures had just been a dream.  Then I found the time Traveller’s Guide …!


I told Arthur all about my adventures, I told him about all the wonderful things I had seen and some of the sad things too - he was struck dumb with the wonder of it.  I told him about how I had seen the two abbots and King John and how the children had been heritage detectives and of course I gave him the Time Traveller’s Guide - it wasn’t much use to me because I couldn’t read it but Arthur could and he spent hours pouring over the words and pictures on the parchment and then he announced that he had  ‘got it!  He said that he now understood why there were two abbots in Pershore that day.  He said they were the Abbot of Pershore and the Abbot of Westminster and that both abbots held land from the King in and around Pershore! 

Arthur told me that the children from the schools I visited around Pershore had discovered quite a lot about the places they lived in and they had found out a lot about us too!

  1. They had discovered that In our time the King of England owned all the land in England - that was obvious I would have thought.
  2. They had found out that trusted followers of the King were given land in return for their service - services like providing knights and armies when the king wanted to go to war. They learned that these people were called tenants-in-chief. 
  3. They discovered that In the Pershore area the tenants-in-chief were Churchmen, they were bishops and abbots of monasteries.
  4. They discovered that Pershore Abbey had held land in the town of Pershore for centuries and so had Westminster Abbey.  Each abbey owned half the town and between them they owned the market.
  5. Both abbots also held manors in the countryside round about. Their tenants used the market in Pershore too. 

So we both agreed this was the situation those monks in Worcester Cathedral were talking about. But this was not enough for Arthur, he wanted to know how this state of affairs came about.  Back he went to the Time Traveller's Guide but I'll let him tell you what happened next.

Arthur takes up the story

I spent many hours reading and re-reading the little wonder cards the heritage detectives had made for the Time Traveller’s Guide.  They were full of wonders for me, the world was changing in front of my eyes, how I longed to see it.


I put the wonder cards on a timeline so that I could work out the order that all the changes took place.  It seemed to me that to really understand why Abbot of Pershore and the Abbot of Westminster were both involved in the story of Pershore I would have to go backwards as well as forwards in time.  


I consulted some of the wonderful old books the schoolmen had in their collections and there I found the answers I was looking for. As always it was easier to read what was happening than to it understand it. I knew then that I would have to investigate some of these things for myself.  When Gruff told me that he still had the big blue hut I knew what I had to do. If Guff would be my driver we would travel into the future to see these things for ourselves.

Now find out more about Arthur's world