On the 16th August, as part of Knaresborough’s FEVA programme, over 50 people settled in to the Library to hear St. Robert’s story. The evening started with an amusing and irreverent short play from Knaresborough Mummers, in which St. Robert and Mother Shipton help to solve a murder mystery – the audience chuckled at the word play and jokes. It was an excellent warm-up to something a little less muddled from an historical perspective!
Peter Lacey then told the story of St. Robert in five parts with an image to illustrate each. The talk covered St. Robert’s early years and what it might have been like growing up in York in the 1160’s and 70’s. There was then a period of isolation, in which St. Robert came closest to the typical image we have of a hermit. But by the early 1190’s St. Robert was experiencing an unsettled period of conflict, illustrated by a short reading from his 13th Century biography where Sir William de Stuteville evicts him from Knaresborough Forest under great threats. There then followed the story of St. Robert’s service to the people of Knaresborough and beyond. This was illustrated by a reading from Peter’s historical fiction ‘Tales of the Celebrity Hermit’, which includes the story of a fictional young man who the saint helped.
Finally, the climax of the story, and the visit of St John. Peter provided some interesting historical background to suggest the possible motivation behind the way in which St Robert received the king. You can download a copy of the talk by clicking on the button below.