Natural Teasel

[Editor’s note: Apologies for the late episode — recording was completed a bit overschedule last week (and has last week’s date), but editing ended up taking even longer. Your patience is appreciated!]

In this episode we finally cut to the core of the story Thomas of Monmouth tells about the murder of William of Norwich. While Thomas thinks he’s telling the story of how William was murdered by Jewish citizens of Norwich, his actual text reveals quite plainly how mass hysteria and xenophobia drove such accusations.

This episode’s text:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. London: Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]


  • Bennet, Gillian. “Towards a Revaluation of the Legend of ‘Saint’ William of Norwich and its Place in the Blood Libel Legend.” Folklore 116.2 (Aug. 2005): 119-139.
  • Cohen, Jeffery Jerome. “The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich.” Speculum 79.1 (Jan. 2004): 26-65.
  • Langmuir, Gavin I. “Thomas of Monmouth: Detector of Ritual Murder.” Speculum 59.4 (Oct. 1984): 820-846.
  • McCulloh, John M. “Jewish Ritual Murder: William of Norwich, Thomas of Monmouth, and the Early Dissemination of the Myth.” Speculum 72.3 (July 1997): 698-740.


Artificial Teasel (Victorian)