4th March 1272
My dear sister Gwyneth,
I have now started my indentures with Master Roger Bacon. I will be forever grateful to father for arranging my place with him. We are so lucky that they knew each other knew each other in Somerset so many years ago. Already I have been set tasks to gather herbs, grind them up and make wondrous cures for many ailments. It is amazing to learn of his friendship with his holiness Pope Clement the IV. I still cannot believe how fortunate I am.
Your loving brother Robert.
17th June 1273
Sister of mine Gwyneth,
Every day is a wonder for me as I witness the genius of my master Roger Bacon. He has shown me such marvellous and mysterious secrets that you would never believe. Just last week he showed me some clear glass smaller than the smallest panes in our church window that being somewhat deformed has the property to enlarge objects when the glass is placed in front of them. As we are now abroad I am having to change the way I speak French as his eminent friends laugh at the way I pronounce words. This I shall do gladly if I can obtain betterment in life.
Your brother in France, Robert
4th May 1274
Gwyneth my loving sister,
It was only yesterday that I was frightened full out of my wits. My Master Roger Bacon has been experimenting with a substance believed to come from Cathay. This powder has a frightening effect when lighted and explodes with such force that surely would frighten all the devils in the world plus many of us believers as well. It is a secret that may be used by the forces of the king against his enemies.
Pray for me my dearest sister, your loving brother Robert
30 November 1274
My precious sister Gwyneth,
I am frightened. My master is experimenting in a little cell to which I do not have access. I am concerned for his safety and of mine. He tells me he is trying to change one substance to another and it would be better if only one of us observed the experiment. Having had my hair and skin singed with his gunpowder a few weeks ago I can but agree with him yet I am not allowed to look at his notes any more. He is becoming very secretive. I am also becoming worried with the amount of clerical visitors we have been having. They clearly are curious about the work he is undertaking.
Give my respects to our father and place a flower on the grave of our mother.
Your ever loving brother Robert
11 August 1275
Today I feel much happier in myself for I have finally discovered the reason for my master's work in his private cell. He is trying to change lead to gold! What a fanciful idea! If only that could be so. I could almost understand him in his failed attempt to change mercury to silver as they both have that lustrous shine. But lead to gold? He is convinced that there is a philosophers stone that will somehow unlock the secret.
You will not recognise me sister for I have finally grown a beard after much jesting from the serving girls who have laughed at my downy face these months past.
A brotherly kiss on your forehead my sister.
Your loving brother Robert
3rd February 1277
I am in deep trouble and am writing this in haste. They have arrested my master Roger Bacon. He is accused of heresy against the Church. Apparently the experimentation in Alchemy he has been performing is regarded as indulging in the novelties, meaning the Devil's work. I have fled from this place and told no one of my plans. I will attempt to return home to you but it will be an arduous and dangerous journey. Tell not a soul I beg you.
Please pray that God has mercy on my soul.
A last kiss from your loving brother Robert.
Nothing more is known of Robert de Kemberly. His master Roger Bacon however was released from imprisonment in 1292 and died a few short months later.