The Shroud of Turpin

English is a very popular language and spoken throughout large areas of The USA and elsewhere where people want to communicate effectively. It’s not a simple language and has roots in different places – Shakespeare, middle-English, French, Latin and computer experts – and over time words become adapted, moulded or corrupted. (Bush, for example means: to tire out, an engineering thing, a small green twiggy growth, a large brown intimate growth or an international political tragedy.)

Turin Street is in east London, in an area that’s conveniently called the East End of London, a stone’s throw from the hub of the world economy in The City. It was here in the mid 1800’s that The Davey Group established one of its’ earliest formal brothels in a four-up, two-down timber-framed hovel, part of which served as a workshop and fitting room for its’ bespoke underwear group of companies. The directors shrewdly figured that it was only a short hop between getting your parts measured and using them. As with most establishments of this nature, discretion plays a huge part in the smooth running of things and Davey encouraged a clientele from The City, who had secrets and corrupt histories a-plenty to hide and who would pay handsomely to maintain this noble tradition. They employed “entertainers” who by and large had their own teeth, washed at least twice a year in The Thames and who were, above all, foreign and spoke no English whatsoever.

As time went by, the gentlemen who used their various services became well known to each other; unbreakable alliances were forged and friendly mergers were accomplished in the fields of banking, shipping, insurance and the clergy to name but a few. Sons of sons of these dynasties maintained the unwritten codes of conduct and some rose to become secret leaders of CORPUS DAVEY. Over time, a secret reliquary was built up that was contained in a large vault in The City and in which rituals beyond the comprehension of ordinary men were conducted. These included mock and in some cases not so mock sacrifice, homage to the beaver and other unusual furry things; mead was superseded by petroleum jelly and technology overtook the humble broom handle. Fine French wine was consumed in unimaginable quantities and “the tongue” was developed. What little written or oral evidence that remains is in a largely ungraspable merger of court French, Celtic and middle-English.

Because of their strict, almost ascetic adherence to the code of prodigious self-advancement and acknowledging the geographic roots of the order, members of the highest, innermost sanctum were called The Shrewd of Turin – the word “Street” being eventually dropped to lend a certain gravitas to the cult. (As students of English will readily tell you however, there are some strange sounds made from the combination of certain English vowels so the "ew" in shrewd could also have been pronounced like the "ou" in shroud, depending on the arcane context. Another ANTIBELL mystery on which you may like to ponder.) On the gravitas theme, one could only become a member by invitation, coercion or blackmail, thus preserving the organisation’s immense reputation for wise alliances. (This is the main reason why you can only join this club if you pay dearly both in cash and information.)

The Shroud of Turpin relates, obviously, to the tales of derring-do of the English highwayman Dick Turpin. As with nearly all mythical figures, there is some debate as to whether they are mythical. Turpin is no exception. However, there is some evidence (held by the Essex and Villefranche branches of CORPUS DAVEY) that he did indeed exist and lived between about 1700 and 1740.

Among the relics preserved to this day is a bolt of off-white cloth, from which it's said that only a handful of very special garments have ever been made and which radio-carbon dating shows to have been woven in the Near East in the mid-13th century in a place where they eat a lot of chick peas and goat. Also in the reliquary are artefacts belonging to DeViet and other notables of The Order, but more of this later.

Just before he was hanged in York in England it’s rumoured that the cops of the time raided Turpin's shack in the forest, which by all accounts looked like an unlit bonfire, and found a strange cape made of rough, light coloured sacking material. It’s unclear whether he wore it or used it as a duvet for it was found spread out reverentially on his bed. Anyway, they suspected it had blood stains on it but were convinced by the local witch – their equivalent of a forensic science expert– that it was only red wine. Two of the officers thought they noticed “ye stranges apparitions of a ghoftley face thereupon ye cappe” but were again persuaded by the witch that they were wrong, and left believing it was a trick of the light.

Little did they know that she was in fact an ex “entertainer” from the Epping Forest branch of CORPUS DAVEY called Tracy De Belvoir who, with her sister Anita about 5 years earlier, had seduced and severely compromised a very senior bishop and who knew more than she ought. As an entertainer, she was clearly past her best at the age of 30 with a single black tooth and smelling of kippers, but she was possessed of a razor sharp mind. She managed to retain the cape, contact the bishop about it, extract a fortune from him in exchange for the cape and her silence and, using her new wealth, buy a house in Vence, France, where she retired to play tennis, breed miniature beavers and improve her techniques with a broomstick.

The Belvoirs are the only known female members of CORPUS DAVEY, membership to which was granted them because of their expertise at what was modestly described as intimate juggling. (There are places in Thailand where the same tricks are performed using ping-pong balls, apparently.)

What is held to be the actual Shroud of Turin was exhibited in The Bellanda Tower in Nice, France in 1537. We know about The Shrewd of Turin from London and who by now are probably spread across the Cote D’Azur (and the open prison that is southern Spain), and we also have The Shroud of Turpin, part of which may have ended up in the south of France as well. You make your own mind up, but may we point you in the direction of ANTIBELLs underpants and nightshirt? They fit the bill in every important respect and evidential detail. They appear to have been long pre-ordained and tailor-made to suit his magnificence, for he is gruesomely endowed in all departments, has the body of a Roman statue and is wealthy. How else could all this have come about?