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Who Killed William Rufus?
To Encourage the Others
Last Call to San Giorgio
From Portsmouth to Pickwick
My Country, Right or Wrong
Copyright © 2016 Nigel Pascoe
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored, in any form or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. The persons and events in this book may have representations in history, but this work is entirely the author's creation and should not be construed as historical fact.
The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
In the summer of 2000 in the New Forest, the Rufus Project came to fruition. It marked the mysterious death, 900 years before, of King William II, better known as William Rufus. The brainchild of Dom Young, who developed events with his wife Marion, it was a great success and significant funds were raised for local charities. One such event comprised two separate plays, staged under the banner Death of the Red King. Both were directed skilfully by David Balfour. A major coup was the involvement of the very distinguished actor, Robert Hardy CBE.
The first play by my good friend Nick Mellersh was rooted powerfully in events leading up to the death of Rufus. The second was a 21st century investigation of that 12th century incident by shrewd and intelligent police officers, reporting back to a wise Director of Public Prosecutions. For that purpose, I had to side-step the bounds of time and age, to probe the great, the good and the not so good. The death was shrouded in rumour, legend and considerable variation of supposed facts. Could the truth ever be discovered and a prosecution begun?
Victorian jurists derived much comfort from post-trial confessions, for then surely there had been no mistake. Here there was no confession and the main suspect, Sir Walter Tyrell (or Tirel) was never put on trial and denied responsibility, even on his death bed. Having spent much of my life in the New Forest, sailing forth to travel the Western Circuit, the opportunity was irresistible: a chance to investigate the greatest of all the Forest mysteries. Was it really Sir Walter Tyrell with a well-aimed arrow?
Was it just a cruel deflection and an unfortunate accident? Or is that far too convenient?
Readers will see that finally I did not risk a definitive solution, but perhaps provided a clue. For Conspiracies abounded and why not embrace them? It is left for you to decide.
Many friends assisted in the production, with an old colleague and outstanding actor, Frank Abbott, memorably playing my contemporary detective. My grateful thanks to all of them. The play has been revised recently, but the conclusion remains the same.
Finally, may I pay a warm tribute to Dom and Marion Young.
John, a celebrated television interviewer
Sir Jeremy Courtney Brown, Director of Public Prosecutions
DCI Ian Bennett
DS Sam Redgrave
Sir Walter Tyrrell
King Henry 1
Gilbert of Clare
Abbess of Romsey
Robert, Duke of Normandy
The Common Man – a singer