Robert the Rat is a shadowy but friendly resident at St Nicholas Priory. He is secretive about his arrival almost a thousand years ago when the Priory was first built as a Benedictine Monastery.
Robert scurries along secret rat-runs in the Priory and its gardens, unseen and unheard, but he sees and hears everything and has fantastic tales to tell. Share his adventures here. May Robert show you around his wonderful home …
Robert the Rat’s poem
I’m Robert the Rat
And I’m fine and fat
I live in this house
(With at least one mouse!)
The people don’t know
That I come and go
So I’ll show you around
My own home ground.
A long time ago
When this house was aglow
With candles and smoke
And lots of fine folk
There lived in the wall
Some eyes that saw all!
Its old this room….
You can see a tomb!
Stone coffin you could say
Monks came this way
Walking in solemn line.
Bells were rung to tell the time.
Deep in prayer, they rarely saw
The rat that ran across the floor!
The painted parlour is bright and fine
People used it to wine and dine
And to entertain the guests
(Who were suitably impressed!)
There are some lions to be found
Quite a way above the ground.
The kitchen is my special place
For food is left about the place,
I, and Bess the mouse do find
The grain, the bread, the cheesy rind!
By day the room is full of noise
With fire and feet and tiresome boys
Who chase and kill the running rat
Or even worse, set the dog and cat!
The Stone Stairs
Now these steep stairs are not for me
I’ve other ways to climb and see
The rooms where people sleep and play,
Look for me when you’ve found your way!
The Bed Chamber
You’ll find me hidden by the bed
(The one with the canopy overhead).
The Master sleeps but writes his will
For we all know he is very ill.
The little bed is for you to try –
So lie and listen to a lullabye.
The Great Chamber
This great room was used in many ways –
Children played here on rainy days
Or important Elders gathered here
To discuss the City’s future year.
But listen carefully and you may perchance
Catch the music of a joyful dance.
Robert’s claim to fame!
Now I’ve got a bad name
A great claim to fame!
For I carry some fleas
That spread disease.
And every warm year
People lived in fear
And barred their doors
(I came in through the floors)
Turned their neighbours away
(I was here to stay).
They didn’t know why
They were going to die
But it was I……Robert the Rat!