he year is 1144; Empress Maude has returned to Normandy and King Stephen has been acclaimed King by the Barons. All is at last peaceful in our green country, and yet a darkness seems to linger over our troubled land.
The nobility seem not to feel it, but the cross is heavy on us who have forsaken the world. We see trouble in the deep woods, more than the habitual bandits who gather there and murder travellers in these dark times, more even than the troublesome soldiers who have been left without work and cause mischief amongst the serfs. There is talk of children disappearing, of dark rites being performed in the deep forest. Old things creep from forgotten places, things that were once remembered and seek remembrance again. The monastic orders however must stand silent, we must hear not the cries of the peasantry for the flock is not our concern, and we do not partake of the world anymore. However, others do and I have given over the last of my life to noting the names and the deeds of those who would otherwise be forgotten. Some are not Christian, others renegades but all have given their oath to investigate this darkness. It saddens me that we cannot sing their praises nor give song to their valour, but many of these walk outside of God and the church must keep its involvement secret.
William Bersbury, Monk of Ramsey Abbey