St. Mary’s Priory at Silfelde-on-Loddon is typical of the small religious houses which were the first to be dissolved by Henry VIII.
Few of the nine inmates have a true religious vocation. One, for instance, is there to escape an unwanted marriage, another has been forced into religion by her parents.
Driven from their secure communal life, the Sisters, emotionally ill-equipped to face the turbulent outside world, seek fulfilment in what is, to them, a strange land. Mingling with pilgrims, mummers, vagabonds and rogues, burgesses, country folk and watermen, some find a haven, others tragedy. But all discover in some form or another, a purpose and a meaning to their lives.
“The picture is so life-like, so detailed in its description that the reader feels himself to be out there on the muddy roads and dangerous heaths, among the gypsies, the idiot-folk and the satanic murderous beggars.” Punch