A Medieval Vampire Adventure

Mysterious occurrences in 11th-century Derbyshire.

Alyxandra Mattison and Charles West | Published 29 October 2015

What could be more fitting for Halloween than a vampire story? Here’s an early one, based on an account by a twelfth-century chronicler, Abbot Geoffrey of the Benedictine monastery of Burton on the River Trent (died c. 1150).

Geoffrey recorded it in his book, The Life and Miracles of Saint Modwenna, whose relics were preserved at his monastery. In England in the Middle Ages, these kinds of stories were quite common. They may seem strange and implausible today, and readers might be surprised that anyone sensible could ever have given them any credence.

But before you start feeling too smugly disenchanted, ask yourself: what would you have done in their situation? Well, here’s your chance to find out...

Alyxandra Mattison and Charles West are both at the University of Sheffield. Follow Charles on Twitter @Pseudo_isidore.

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