In leaving Walsall and returning to Bromwich, we:
- Spoke to Father Nolan, prayed, and began to atone for our sins.
- Debated whether the Soulridden or the 12 victims were more pressing. (Decided the latter.)
- Found out what we could about the people on the list from Henry Mason, Steward Walter and the census. Most were in Streatham, two lived in Wednesbury.
- Returned briefly to Walsall to see if more could be gleaned from the witches den, but found nothing.
In venturing to Wednesbury, we:
- Spoke to the tanner, and learned that he had hides with gashes like those made by the creatures – some of them only a few days old. He bought his hides from a man he had a very hard time describing. (Theo bought some gloves.)
- Spoke to the weaver, who had little to say on the subject of strangers, Walsall and the tanner.
- Spoke to the priest, who was young and anxious. He indicated that the weaver may have confessed things of interest to us to him, but that he did not know whether breaching that confidence was forbidden. We didn’t press.
In venturing to Streatham, we:
- Spoke to the butcher; an unfriendly man who had lost most of his family and thought little of the new priest and his ways.
- Spoke to the chandler, or rather his wife. She told us that the tinker’s family were a bad sort, possibly Welsh, and their daughter was strange. That the butcher was sleeping the slutty farmer’s daughter, Sarra. That the new priest had put a stop to people practicing ‘the old ways’. Several farms had been burnt and people had been hung. That the man who owned the largest house, Nigel Albright, thought very highly of himself and his so-called aristocratic connections. That the only nice people in town were the Langleys, a family of farmers.
- Spoke to the head of the town, whose wife was related to the Devereux family. He promised us accommodation, spoke highly of the new priest and confirmed that Streatham had not faired as badly during the plague as other townships.
- Spoke to the priest, Sir Thomas Wale – a Knight of the Order of Garter. He’s a fire-and-brimstone sort who claims to have already killed three witches who he caught performing their magics at the Tate orchard – the homestead there burnt as a plague house. The witches were interrogated, tried and found guilty. He suspects there are others. He possesses some magic. He was interested to hear of our list, that our witch could shape-shift and that the butcher was one of the people she targeted. We asserted the people on the list were victims. He promised his aid so long as he was allowed to mete out the punishment/justice when our witch was found.
- Spoke to the tinker, who had recently moved to the town. He wouldn’t let us talk to his daughter, who he thinks Mistress Chandler is misjudging, and said that they were not Welsh.
- Spoke to farmer Alan Holt, Sarra’s father and a man of some age and infirmity. Young Simon Tinker was helping him with his household. Farmer Holt admitted he couldn’t tend his farm, he didn’t know where his daughter was and he was upset that she wasn’t wed. Simon Tinker told us that she was probably with Peter Langley, who he thought she favoured (though she liked to play the kissing game with lots of the kids in the town).
- Spoke to farmer Langley and his children. The girls let slip that they would often play with Sarra in the caves – games like tag, etc. We tried to question them further but Langley stepped in, wanting to deal with them himself. Langley also said that he didn’t think much of the new priest and the new ways he was insisting on. They themselves almost had their farm burnt down, but that they’re doing okay now that they conform when they have to.
- Discovered many of the people on the list were children.
- Arranged to hold services for the town.