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An Excellent Mystery –  novel by Ellis PetersThe third of four novels set in the year 1141, when so much occurred in the period known as the Anarchy. It is the 11th in the Cadfael Chronicles, published in 1985.

The siege of Winchester sends monks streaming across England seeking safe haven. Two arrive at Shrewsbury Abbey. A young man seeks out the older of the two monks, wanting his approval to marry a young woman once meant for another, and she cannot be found. Part of the action takes place in Wherwell.

Hampshire Earthworks CastlesWherwell Abbey
Although never a castle, during The Anarchy in 1140 the forces of the Empress Matilda fortified Wherwell Abbey in order to defend the crossing of the river Test on which the abbey stood. In 1141 Stephen’s troops successfully defeated Matilda’s men, forcing her forces to flee into the abbey, which Stephen’s soldiers set ablaze, killing Matilda’s men and forcing the nuns on the run. Some of the defensive earthworks Matilda’s troops constructed still exist, although the Abbey no longer does and is sited under the lawns in front of Wherwell Priory

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