Many people know of Colonel Blood's attempt to steal the Crown Jewels during the reign of Charles II (1660 - 1685). However, Blood's conspiracy wasn't the first, and it certainly wasn't the most successful. In 1303, while Edward I of England (of ...
Braveheart fame) was north of the Scottish border trying to crush William Wallace, he'd stashed his treasure safely behind iron-bound doors in Westminster Abbey, a place of sanctity which housed Christ's body, not to mention pious Benedictine monks. Enter Richard Puddlicott: a former merchant who had been arrested in the Low Countries because of Edward I's mounting debts. This charming, dissolute, vengeful rogue infiltrated the Abbey's inner circle (entertaining them on the proceeds of their own silver) and, before long, had managed to help himself to a good part of the treasure. The King's fury knew no bounds, but Puddlicott ran the King's men a merry dance before eventually being captured and sent, along with forty monks, to his death in the Tower. This exhilarating tale of cunning, deceit, lechery, feisty villains, mouldy monks, greedy goldsruths and devious pimps and prostitutes tells the full story of the first great bank raid in history. Until now, with most of the evidence still in manuscript form, in Latin or Norman French, very little has been written about it. With his trademark blend of vivid narrative and skilful historical analysis, Paul Doherty takes the lid off both the medieval underworld and the so-called holy atmosphere of a monastic community. The result is as compelling as it is historically important.