I’ve been meaning to write about the big discovery I made two weeks ago, but life, as it so often does, overtook me. Now that I have a spare few minutes I can reveal all. After months of having my head buried in books about William II, I came upon on a little-known 14th-century history of England written by historian and priest Simon of Stonebury, which spans the reigns of William the Conqueror through to Edward III.
Studying it, I found a description of a rumour that circulated at the time of the Black Death about a malevolent doctor who, in the autumn of 1348, interrogated plague sufferers in London about a book. Not just a book, in fact, but a ‘book with a strange title’. Stonebury writes that the doctor threatened to exacerbate people’s conditions if they failed to satisfactorily answer his questions and that, interestingly, all those he questioned shared the same surname — ‘Godfrey’. Most significantly of all, Stonebury writes that the doctor was seen sneaking into an alleyway, talking to a strange device at his ear, and disappearing into thin air shortly after. Just like the man who killed William II.
My apologies for the brevity of this blog but I have a lot of reading and cross-referencing to do. This is the first piece of new evidence I have found that William II was killed by a time traveller and my first important lead in ages. A book with a strange title? What could it be? I will write again soon with more details.
There are times when I wonder if I was too hasty to assume that the man who murdered William II was a time traveller. But now I am finding evidence of time travellers everywhere. I had not heard of any of these stories before, probably because I’m not a science fiction fan and have always paid little attention to urban legends and conspiracy theories. But these stories are plentiful.
I have learned about the Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, which bears a striking resemblance to my own discovery. In a clip of the LA premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus, a woman can be seen talking on a mobile phone — in 1928, decades before mobiles were invented.
Then there’s Rudolph Fentz, a man who appeared in Times Square, New York, in 1951, wearing 19th-century clothes and looking like he’d never seen a car before. Police discovered him to be the same man who vanished without trace in 1876, seemingly travelling through time from 1876 to 1951.
And there are so many others. The ‘time-travelling hipster’ — a man who appeared at a 1941 bridge opening wearing clothes that were far too modern. The Moberly-Jourdain incident — two women slipping back through time at the Palace of Versailles and encountering Marie Antoinette. John Titor — an internet forum poster claiming to have been sent from the future on a military mission. Andrew Carlssin — a man who got caught winning big on the stock market and said he knew which stocks to invest in because he was from the future.
It is true that some of the stories are thought to be hoaxes and misconceptions. But all of them?
As you can imagine, my mind has been spinning ever since I read the deathbed confession of Purkis the charcoal burner and discovered that King William II was assassinated by a time traveller. It couldn’t have been further from what I was expecting.
The history books say that the shooter, Sir Walter Tyrrell (who Purkis said was using a false name), fled the scene of the crime and went to France. But there’s no information that I can find about what happened to him after 1100. I now know why. He didn’t run away to France at all. He went back to the future.
There are two main questions I am now investigating. The first is, when in the future did Walter come from? Our scientists today have not yet invented time travel, so that must mean that Walter is a time traveller from my future as well. Unless, of course, time travel has already been invented and is a closely guarded secret. Also a possibility.
The second question relates to the time travellers’ motives. They were trying to recover a book. I’ve been doing so much reading but I haven’t yet found any references to this book anywhere else. Importantly, Purkis said the king knew about it. He initially denied all knowledge, then admitted he had hidden it.
And if William II knew about it, others must have as well. Perhaps William’s chief minister, Ranulf Flambard, was involved? Perhaps he helped the king hide it?
My reading continues.
My search for the truth of what happened to King William II has turned up the most extraordinary of finds.
William II, son of William the Conqueror and also known as William Rufus, was shot dead in the New Forest, England, on 2nd August 1100. The official story is that one of his hunting party, Sir Walter Tyrrell, went to shoot a deer and missed. His arrow ricocheted off a tree and struck the unwitting king in the chest. Now, that story has never really made sense to me or indeed many historians. How can an arrow still have enough force to puncture someone’s chest after it’s glanced off a tree?
Even chroniclers at the time were suspicious that the fatal shot was no accident, pointing out that Walter Tyrrell was a keen bowman and would not have fired so recklessly as to hit his king. He didn’t stick around to be questioned, fleeing back to France immediately after the incident.
In addition, there were many people with a motive for killing William. He was not a popular king. His people hated him for his steep taxes and he had frequent quarrels with the Church. But it was William’s brother, Henry, who had the most to gain from his death. The kingdom itself. He certainly wasted no time in taking it, riding straight to Winchester to seize the treasury, which is always the first act of a king usurping another. The next day the throne was his. A prominent theory is that Henry conspired with Tyrrell, the king of France and several other men to assassinate William so he could seize power.
So, I have been looking for evidence that William II was murdered as part of a conspiracy. I can now reveal that I have found that evidence. Only it is not the conspiracy I imagined it to be. Far from it.
I had been reaching out to libraries, churches and monasteries for information about William II’s death when Reverend Thomas, who preaches at St. Margaret’s Church in Highcliffe, got in touch. He invited me to his church, said he had something to show me. Some new evidence he’d been planning to hand over to the British Library.
I went to his church and he showed me the chronicles of a Benedictine choir monk who had been writing during the reign of Henry I, William’s brother. They had been buried in the walls of the crypt and detailed a deathbed confession from the man who had conveyed William’s body to Winchester after finding him in the forest. The charcoal burner, Purkis.
Purkis revealed that he had not just found the king, he had witnessed his death. He had watched the king sparring with Walter Tyrrell, except that ‘Walter Tyrrell’ was not his real name. Tyrrell was pointing an arrow at the king and interrogating him about a ‘book’. The king said he had hidden the ‘book’ and refused to tell ‘Tyrrell’ where it was, at which point Tyrrell shot the king dead.
All of this was utterly fascinating and enlightening to read, but it did not compare to what came next. Purkis said he saw Tyrrell hold a “flat, black, rectangular object” to his ear and talk to it about killing the king. After this, he took a tiny red stone from a pot, swallowed it, and disappeared into thin air.
I have had these chronicles carbon-dated and they are indeed as old as Reverend Thomas believes them to be. Here are some photos of them.
[Edit: the British Library, which now has possession of the manuscript, has asked me to remove the photos I originally posted here, which is unfortunate as I’m keen for people to know that I’m not making any of this up. My hope is that the British Library will eventually put the manuscript in their public collection. In the meantime, speak to Reverend Thomas yourself if you have doubts.]
I am in no doubt that ‘Tyrrell’, or whoever he was, was a time traveller. This device he spoke to was clearly a mobile phone! And I’ve no idea what this ‘red stone’ was but it would appear to be some kind of time travel device.
My next question is, what on earth was this ‘book’ he was seeking?
I am no longer searching for evidence of a conspiracy involving Henry I and the French king. Rather, I am looking for a conspiracy of time travellers, who are chasing down a mysterious book that William II had possession of.
I now intend to bury myself in books about William II and his death to see if I can find any corroborating evidence for Purkis’s confession.