story 6 story 5 story 8 story 9 story 10 story 11 story 12 story 7 home story I story 2 story 3 story 4 St Anselm College
British Museum MS. Royal 15 A. xx. fo. 164 b
  • Synopsis
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Story XII tells the tale of a family feud which continues after death. Guilt over an injustice committed against her husband and sons concerning property, leads a woman to haunt the road of her former residence. Throughout the story she is caught by one William Trower, who attempts to help her communicate her wishes to her brother Adam. Adam, who has violently evicted his sister's family from her house and properties, callously refuses to honor her request to restore the properties. In turn, she threatens to haunt him until he dies. After his father's death, Adam Jr. restores some of the property. (LR)

12. Concerning the sister of Adam de Lond of a former time who was caught after her death according to the report of the ancients.

It must be mentioned that the aforementioned woman was buried in the cemetery of Ampleford and within a short time after her death she was caught by the elder William Trower and having been conjured she confessed that she herself traveled her own road in the night on account of certain property deeds which she had unfairly given to her brother Adam. Hence it was because formerly a certain discord arose between her husband and herself, in injustice to her aforementioned husband and her own sons she offered the aforementioned deeds to her brother. And thus it was that after her death her brother expelled her husband from her home, evidently from one toft and crofte with appurtenances in Ampleford and in Heslarton from one bovata of land with appurtenances, by means of violence. She therefore begged the aforementioned William that he advise this same brother that she wished to return these same deeds to her husband and sons and to restore her land to them. In no way otherwise would she be able to rest in peace before the day of Judgment. This William indeed according to her order advised the aforementioned Adam. but he refused to restore the deeds, saying I do not [...} believe these things said. To whom William said. My speech is true in all things, from where, with God allowing, you will hear your sister talking with you about this matter within a short time. And on the next night again he caught her and he brought her to the bedroom of the aforementioned Adam, and she spoke with him. To whom her hardened brother responded according to certain men. Even if you will have wandered about in perpetuity I am not willing to return the aforementioned deeds. To whom she replied sighing heavily. May God judge between me and you on this matter. You should know therefore because continuously up to your death I shall not rest. From where after your death you will wander about in my place. It is further told that the right hand of that woman was hanging downwards and was exceedingly black. And she was asked about the cause, she responded that it was because very often in fighting she extended it for the purpose of swearing falsely. Finally she was conjured to another place because of the nocturnal fear and terror of the people of the village. I seek pardon, nevertheless, if by chance I have offended in writing contrary to the truth. Nevertheless it is told that Adam de Lond Junior in fact made reparation of some of the inherited property after the death of Adam Senior. (LR)

line 1 de Lond For a list of land owning family members in Yorkshire, see Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 7/ de Lond, yorkshire

line 4 Ampilford, Amplefoth, a village in the Ryedale district north of York right outside the North York Moors National Park, home to Ampleforth College, population 883 in 2001, Ampleforth abbey is a Benedictine abbey one mile to the northeast of the village.

line 6 uiam suam Her road, possibly on the one she had lived on while alive

line 12 toft from old English and old Norse meaning the holdings of a dwelling or homestead, this was traditionally a fenced yard immediately around the house used to grow some crops.
crofte a middle English word from old English meaning a enclosed field associated with a house usually worked by a tenant, a larger field behind the house used to grow food for the inhabitants of the house mostly root vegetables.

line 13 Heslarton Medieval parish that encompassed the modern towns of East and West Heslerton, located in an area seen as archaeological importance. About 23 miles away from Ampleforth.

line 17 Judgment day, in the Christian tradition the final day where all humans living and dead will be judged by God as to weather they are worthy to spend an eternity in heaven or hell.

line 32 timorem nocturnum fear of the night, more specifically ghosts, also used in Story II

     Story XII of the Byland Abbey Ghost Stories is different than the previous stories because in this story the spirit is indirectly identified.  The reader can conclude who’s the spirit from the relationships with the other characters of the story.  Unlike in the other stories, where the ghost is not directly identified, so as to not upset the living family members, here the identity is revealed to possibly show the disapproval of the ghost’s living brother’s, Adam Delond, actions. 

     Great detail is taken in describing the cause of the ghost’s unrest.  The ghost is unsettled as a result of a disagreement that caused the ghost to hastily will her property to her brother, instead of her husband and children.   But before she could correct the bequest, she passed away and consequently is conflicted by her choice in the story.  Major detail is included in the story about the size of the land holdings and the property that  she had left to her brother.  The inclusion of the land holdings and the property sizes is interesting because it was a private matter that was made  very public in Yorkshire at the time of her death.  Many of the people of Yorkshire must have known of the dispute due to the status of the ghost’s family in Yorkshire’s society.  This acknowledgement makes this story stand out from the other Byland Abbey Ghost Stories since most of the time the author tries to protect the identities of the prominent families involved. In addition, we know that the De Londs were important members of society since the impersonal formal “you” was used when William refers to Adam.