The Mad Monk of Hickling Priory

The Priory

Hickling priory plat 1

Hicking Priory. NRO, MC 530/8/21

Hickling Priory was founded in 1185 by Theobald de Valentina and was occupied by around 10 Black Canons, a denomination that worshipped the Virgin Mary, St. Austin and All Saints who lived communally with no possessions. The priory in Hickling was a pillar of the community as the monks ran schools and hospitals and were involved in farming in the surrounding areas.

DNTA748_mos cropped

Hickling tithe map showing the priory and surroundings. NRO, DN/TA 748

The Mad Monk

There was once a monk from Hickling Priory who was responsible for keeping the records of the priory’s accounts. After supposedly being unable to keep the records consistent and forging the numbers, he feared detection and went mad.

After his death, the Mad Monk was reportedly seen by swindlers and profiteers in the area. The monk scared them away, warning that their misdeeds and unsavoury occupations would result in terrible consequences. A group of explorers looking for a high altar in the area reported seeing an aged, haggard, “woefully thin” man holding a in a tunnel near the priory who would yell in terror and flee further into the passage (NRO, RYE 139). It was said that he appeared with a scroll and would pace the tunnel, trying to add up columns of numbers.

To this day, the Mad Monk wanders around the premises of the priory and there have been a number of sightings over the years.

Rosie Barrie

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