from the Chronicon Anglicanum by Ralph of Coggeshall

Ralph of Coggeshall was a monk in the Cistercian Abbey of Coggeshall in Essex
(about 40 miles from Dagworth). From 1187-1224 he was the chronicler for the
Abbey's Chronicon Anglicanum, the original copy of which is in the British Library.

Osbert fitz Hervey (died 1206) held the manor of Dagworth, and is the first known
ancestor of the de Dagworth line. Before 1190, Osbert gifted lands in Bradwell,
3 miles from Coggeshall, to the Templars. It has been suggested that Osbert was
the justiciar in the
Vision of Thurkill (possibly also written by Ralph of Coggeshall),
which relates events on 27 October 1206 in the village of Stisted, less than 2 miles
from Bradwell. We also know that Osbert's grandson Osbert de Dagworth held the
manor of Bradwell juxta Coggeshall at his death in 1260. We therefore have a clear
link from Osbert fitz Hervey in Dagworth to Bradwell, 3 miles from Coggeshall Abbey
at the time that Ralph was writing the Chronicon Anglicanum.

Ralph's contribution to the Chronicon Anglicanum includes the following intriguing
story, the background details of which are consistent with the evidence above:

    In the time of King Richard [1189-99], there appeared
    frequently, and for a long space of time, in the house of Sir
    Osberni de Bradewelle, at Daghewurthe in Suffolk, a certain
    fantastical spirit who conversed with the family of the
    aforesaid knight, always imitating the voice of a one year old
    child. He called himself Malekin, and he said that his mother
    and brother dwelt in a neighbouring house, and that they
    often chided him because he left them and went to speak
    with people.

    The things which he did and said were both wonderful and
    very funny, and he often told people’s secrets. At first the
    family of the knight were extremely terrified, but by degrees
    they became used to his words and silly actions, and
    conversed familiarly with him. He sometimes spoke English,
    in the dialect of the region, and sometimes in Latin, and he
    discussed the Scriptures with the chaplain of that same
    knight, just as he truly testified to us.

    He could be heard and felt too, but not seen, except once as
    a very small child clothed in a white tunic, in the chamber of
    a certain maiden. She had asked him to show himself to her,
    but he would not agree to this request until she swore by
    God that she would not touch or hold him. He also said that
    he was born at Lavenham and that his mother had left him in
    part of a field where she was harvesting and that he had
    been taken away. He said that he had been in his present
    position seven years, and that after another seven years he
    should be restored to his former state of living with people.
    He said that he and the others had a sort of hat that made
    him invisible. He often asked for food and drink, which, when
    placed on a certain chest, immediately disappeared.

View Dagworth and Bradwell in a larger map