The Merry Badgers of Billige
Our merry band consists of:
Calder Winterbourne a.k.a Mouse Eater - played by Mark.
Swift footed and skilled with the bow.
Mopsa Hiems a.k.a Mopsacle - played by Michaela.
Silver tongued and sharp-eyed.
Randulf the Red - played by Kevin.
Handy with both fist and mace.
Wystan Blackbourne a.k.a. Black Stan - played by Giro.
Wilderness traveller, well-informed and keeper of this chronicle.
The county of Hexhamshire
Location: The Badger Set.
In the few days since Sir Clugney had met his end, much had come to pass.
In the battle for Wenham, Conrad had been felled. His mutilated corpse was hanging on a wooden pole along the road into Wenham at the bridge. Our minds drifted back to the words of the old woman from weeks ago: "I see an early death for you, beneath a tree.".
Lacking a clear leader, The Peasant's Army had crumbled and dispersed. They had scattered and fled north, harried still by the knights that had been in pursuit of them.
Hexham was besieged by Sir Gaston and a newcomer 'Sir Philippe Phillope'. It was said that behind the closed gates and walls of Hexham, the streets were stalked by plague!
'Thorbjorn Neilson, leader of The Black Company had assumed Clugney's seat of power and now ruled in Wedgemore. Consequently, One of The Black Company knights; 'Matterson the Cruel' now ruled over Billige, along with sixteen men-at-arms.
Sir Gaston had received reinforcements.
It was said that Osric could still be found at Wedgemore.
Finally; it was rumoured that The Crow Folk were planning something, something big.
We discussed our next step at length. Liberating Billige was a priority, but doing so might provoke a retaliatory response from Neilson and we wished to keep the villagers and refugees out of harm's way.
The fall of the Crow Folk
In the end, it was decided that we should strike at Gaston and Neilson's forces. It was likely that the Dumclog Moss Road which ran through The Forest of Coucy would be used to resupply the besieging soldiers at Hexham. We would harass these supply convoys with hit-and-run attacks, retreating into the safety of the forest whenever needed. It was time that our mettle as outlaws was shown.
With our foresters and Welshmen in tow, we travelled to the road a little way from the Knavesmire ruins, we hid and waited for a suitable target to pass. Other than a mild breeze sighing though the branches and the birdsong, the forest was quiet. With the destruction of the town, this part of the forest had become uninhabited. We did not have to wait long: An ox-drawn cart, escorted by four mounted men-at-arms soon came along the road. The perfect target.
Before the cart approached, Randulf positioned himself in the centre of the road, directly in their path. There he stood, facing them with feet planted wide and sinewy hands resting upon his mace's haft.
"Stand and deliver. Your money or your life!" he yelled.
The convoy halted, from our hiding spot we could see that they did not understand Randulf's threats. They seemed to grasp his meaning however, as one of the soldiers charged Randulf in reply. Calder loosed an arrow at the rider, the foresters followed suit and he was toppled off his horse. The horse slowed to a canter and was stopped by Randulf. The rest of us leapt into action.
A second rider charged at Randulf while the other two started barking orders at the drivers to turn the wagon around. We quickly dealt with the second charger and turned our attention on the remaining two men-at-arms. There hadn't been much success moving the wagon, it appeared the drivers didn't seem to understand the orders. The two men-at-arms realised they were in trouble, turned and fled, abandoning the cart. We fired a volley at them, killing one. The other we allowed to escape, someone needed to spread the word: The Merry Badgers of Billige now ruled this road.
The wagon contained food, weapons and surprisingly, number of 'lares'. We had decided to take the wagon to The Badger Set when all hell broke loose!
A volley of black-feathered arrows rained down on us, we were sent reeling. It could only be The Crow Folk. There was a score of them, dressed entirely in black and they were on us before we could gain our bearings. At the rear of them were two men in crow masks, the final two Crow Brothers.
The Crow Folk outnumbered us and had the momentum, we were put on to the back foot. Blows were exchanged and we struck down several of their number. But we did not escape injury and most of the foresters and Welshmen were forced to retreat into the cover of the forest. I too was driven into the trees. This left an opening in the melee, Mopsa and Randulf charged the Crow Brothers, Calder followed them in.
Most of The Crow Folk stopped to witness this fight. Meanwhile I had managed to lose my attackers. I returned to the tree line and to the fight.
In the end, we prevailed against the Crow Brothers, both were slain. A silence fell upon the forest, punctuated only by the breathing from our exertions, the fighting was over. Eight Crow Folk remained. Their leaders were dead and they were hesitant, we could see it in their posture. Mopsa seized the moment and told them that if they forswore their old ways, they could join The Merry Badgers. They would have to help the needy yes, but they would never be under the yoke of a sheriff or a lord.
Her oratory was impressive and convinced them to join with us, our numbers had grown by eight.
Before leaving, we searched the fallen Crow Folk and were most surprised to find Phillip the 'simpleton' from The Three Stoats and a Weasel inn among the dead. Long had we suspected that The Crow Folk had a spy at the inn, at one time we had even suspected Phillip. Now we had a macabre confirmation.
Since Phillip had been to our camp, it meant that The Crow Folk also new its location. With the last two Crow Brothers defeated, we hoped that their strength was broken and now leaderless, they would disband and disperse. Hopefully it was an end to their threat. The return to The Badger Set was uneventful, we noticed that our new recruits already knew the way...
Arming the Drumclog Few
After our arrival, we spoke to Leopold and Edith, they were quite upset to learn of Phillip's demise. We told them that they should not feel too bad, he was after all a member of a gang of pitiless killers. They did not seem very consoled, Edith stated that she would offer up a prayer for him.
After arming everyone as best as possible, it was decided that the remaining weapons should be taken to The Drumclog Few.
When last we had seen them, they were armed with pitiful blunt wooden weapons, making their slim chances of defeating professional soldiers even slimmer.
On the following day, we rose in the early morning coolness, a thin mist hung low over the hazy, silent landscape. Eschewing the wagon, we hid the weapons in bundles of sticks before heading off cross country, over the dewy fields towards Drumclog Moss.
For the first leg of our journey we did not encounter a single soul until we reached the Drumclog Moss road. The road was no longer a safe place for outlaws, we had to be cautious, the forest lay on the other side of the road and crossing it could be a risk.
Our concerns were well founded. The road was heavily patrolled by soldiers bearing Sir Philippe's colours. They were spaced out to cover as much of the road as possible without losing sight of one another. They must have been part of the besieging forces. Patiently, we had to bide our time until we could safely cross.
Crossing over safely and soon after entering the Drumclog Moss, the road was lost from sight behind layers of tangled bushes and foliage. Tall gnarled oaks loomed over us as sunlight dimly flittered through the swaying branches above. The location of The Drumclog Few's camp was not known to us, but no doubt they had been watching the patrols and had also watched us cross. No doubt they were watching us at this very moment.
We did not have to wait long to be proven correct. Emerging from shadows came a small, limping man. He introduced himself and we exchanged pleasantries. He told us that he remembered seeing us in the forest a while ago and complimented Randulf on his quarterstaff skills. We explained that we were here to see Hugh the Silent. The limping man led us deeper into Drumclog Moss, along faint trails, under ancient boughs and through forgotten hollows.
Eventually the forest opened up somewhat into a clearing of sorts. This was the camp of The Drumclog Few; it was a messy, filthy place and was filled with the sick and the infirm. Nobody here had escaped disfigurement or disease. As we entered the camp, Hugh and Leaking Sam approached us. Sam greeted us while Hugh stared at us inexpressively.
"Hugh is very pleased to see you," claimed Sam.
They were also very pleased to receive the weapons we gifted them. They said that they had attacked Philippe's soldiers several times and had been driven back at every attempt, hopefully these weapons would help. Finally we explained that we were planning to move against Gaston et al. and there may come a time when we call upon The Drumclog Few for aid.
"Call and we will come," replied Sam.
There was nothing left to do; so we returned to The Badger Set. Once again avoiding the roads and marching cross country.
The next day came. We now numbered twenty and it was high time to take fight back against our enemies.
Our first targets were Drumclog Castle and Billige, our intention was to free them from beneath the fist of The Black Company.
We would start with the castle, we had heard that Matterson was camped there, along with eight French soldiers.
As the sun was beginning to sink into the west, we set out for Drumclog Castle. We entered the same copse we had hidden ourselves in during our first escapade. From our hiding spot we watched: Work was under way in restoring the castle, but progress would be slow. There were however, several differences here. Two black and white tents had been set up, as well as another large tent. There were also several wooden huts here, constructed by the workmen. Finally, we spied two lookouts on the castle's single surviving tower.
The black and white tents would be for Matterson and his retinue, but who was in which tent we could not tell. The larger tent would be for the Frenchmen. Under the cover of darkness, we quickly concocted a plan. Firstly, we sent the four Welshmen a quarter-mile down the path that led to Billige. They had instructions to find a hiding spot and wait. If anyone from the castle managed to slip past us, the Welshmen would ambush them. Conversely, if anyone came up the path from Billige, they could warn us.
Next were the lookouts, a volley of a dozen arrows dealt with them. The foresters and the crows numbered twelve, that should be enough to handle the six remaining French soldiers.
Calder and Mopsa would handle one black and white tent, Randulf and I would deal with the other one.
Calder sneaked into a tent slyly, fortune was not with him though and in the darkness he blundered and kicked a bucket over. This tent contained Matterson's two young squires, at the noise they awoke and desperately reached for weapons. It was too late for them though, Calder managed to dispatch the pair of them before they could mount a defence.
Meanwhile in the other tent, Randulf and I quietly approached, as we entered the occupants woke up. Matterson was here, along with two women who began screaming. Matterson leapt to his feet, grasping a dagger. Randulf squared off against Matterson for a moment, before charging him, yelling loudly.
I stood back and watched. Randulf wrestled Matterson to the ground, attempting to subdue him. Matterson in response, lashed out with his dagger. Randulf managed to fend off the blade, but this gave Matterson the opportunity to break free from Randulf's grip. Randulf was staggered, Matterson slashed a cut in the tent and forced his way out. He did not get far though, I tackled him and we crashed to the ground, the struggle with Randulf had left Matterson wearied and I managed to pummel him into unconsciousness.
At the same time, we heard a long note being blown on a forester's horn! What the blazes were they doing? We went to the tent, it was a bloody mess, the foresters and crows had made short work of the soldiers within. The foresters had blown their horn to signify their victory, they explained! They had also cheerfully adorned themselves with the armour, weapons and helmets of the dead soldiers. To absolutely no one's surprise, once the foresters were loaded down with loot, they cheerfully wandered off back to their home, leaving us to it.
The two women and the workers were no threat and we left them to their own business. Matterson was now our prisoner, he was trussed up like a chicken and we brought him along with us to Billige.
It was the dead of night when we arrived, along one side of the village was a swathe of sprawling tents inhabited by the Knavesmire refugees. Villagers displaced by The Black Company had swelled their numbers even further.
Billige was a dark and silent place. It's few small streets deserted, doors closed and windows shuttered. Dim wavering candlelight betrayed activity in a few homes. Ensuring Matterson was gagged, we entered the village centre and tied him to the maypole. The villagers had told us that there were sixteen Teuton soldiers here, each had taken a house for themselves. The previous occupants had been forced to find shelter elsewhere. Their numbers equalled ours, but we had no interest in a fair fight.
Instead we came up with a simple plan. We paired off into eight small teams, each pair would creep into houses containing a Teuton soldier and hopefully kill him in his sleep.
It was a gruesome, cold blooded task, but it was effective. By the time we had visited all sixteen houses, we had managed to quietly kill nine of them. We could not reach the remaining seven, either their doors were locked or they were still awake.
Nevertheless, the odds now greatly favoured us. A pair of us hid outside the door of every remaining Teuton and waited.
Randulf went into the village centre and made a great racket, threatening them by roaring. "Stand and deliver. Your money or your lives." This was fast becoing his new catchphrase.
As the seven remaining Teutons came out to investigate, they were ambushed. Five were immediately slain, the last two tried to flee into the village centre but they too were cut down.
The Teutons were all dead, Billige had been liberated. There might be repercussions in the future, but for now, the people were free. Scant minutes ago Billige had been oppressively quiet and empty, now cheering people filled the village centre.
The foresters had reappeared, they were talking about instigating a militia to protect Billige and has luck would have it: The foresters just happened to have some equipment they would happily sell to the villagers for a reasonable price...
For the folk of Billige it was the hour for celebration, for The Merry Badgers, it was the hour for rest, it had been a taxing night. As we left Billige for The Badger Set, we left Matterson the Cruel tied to the maypole, left to the villager's tender mercies...
So ended the seventh adventure of The Merry Badgers of Billige.
You can buy your own copy of Merry Outlaws here:
These write-ups by Giro can be read on his excellent website Three Spellcasters and a Dwarf before they appear here.
In this RPG, players follow in the footsteps of Robin Hood. Robbing the rich to pay the poor, fighting the injustice and corruption that persists in sunny England.
Merry Outlaws is definitely a 'lite' RPG. It runs to just over twelve pages - including evocative illustrations. The rules are well laid out to view on screen and simple to understand.
Everything is handled by rolling one or two six sided dice, the higher the better. When rolled this will produce one of four results that are analogous to; very good, good, fail, and critical fail.
Combat is handled in the same way.
Character creation is as simple as can be roll for (or pick) a personal code, two abilities and two starting items and a weaon.
If a PC has a pertinent ability or some other advantage, they have an edge. Conversely, if a PC has a disadvantage, then they have a setback. This is a advantage/disadvantage mechanic.
Finally we have character progression, this is where the game stands out. Merry Outlaws eschews the usual XP or level-up paradigm. Instead players are forging their own legend through the creation of a ballad!
At the end of every adventure each player creates a stanza - a four-line poem to add to their ballad.
As players continue their adventures, their balled will lengthen. Additionally, as they accumulate stanzas, they will acquire new abilities.
Once a character has ten stanzas in their ballad, they retire.
All in all a short, sweet and simple RPG. Worth trying if that's your cup of tea.
This is a continuation of the situation set up in last the last episode so there's no new information this time around.
Here's the last episode again.
Because of lockdown, we're playing over Skype.
The Ballad of Mopsa Hiems 'Mopsacle'
Rumble rumble in the village
We shout and perform in little Billige
Down the road and through the woods
Defeating great Giles, who thought we could?
Father and daughter reunited,
To save poor Alice we can’t be short-sighted
Back at the mill, held against their will
“Here they are, the real witches"
"Come Mr Merick and smack these bitches”
Wedding gown stolen,
Three feathers in its place
We rushed through the forest
There was no time to waste
Traps nor Crows could not stop us
We’d get it, come what may
400 gold for the dress returned
Priceless to save her day
Announced as outlaws
A friend sentenced to hang
To save his life,
We’ll go out with a bang
A nun walks into a jail
Three friends walk out free,
Face off at the dye guild
A crow lets out his final plea
An ambush by the inn,
The crows flock once again,
A plot to poison a friend,
A dastardly deed orchestrated by men.
A Dozen Badgers plan a heist,
Drumclog few get in on the fight,
Burning confusion within a village,
We stand proud an' strong at great Billige.
The day before battle they gather,
Foreign knights and uprising peasants,
Midnight and Dawn we struck,
Their leaders last breath, unpleasant.
The Ballad of Black Stan
Fine Alice from Billige, accused.
Blodwin gone, was kidnapped.
A witches trial we denied.
And thus, Giles got slapped!
A horrific sight encountered.
Three feathers up the arse!
By crows, the bride's gown was stolen.
Saved, reward to folk, passed.
Emlyn unjustly imprisoned.
A pal not forsaken.
A crow and dyer conspire.
Justice and coin taken.
The errand squire we did find.
Poison plot uncovered..
To a Priory we did go.
An ally discovered.
Gilbert's coins, a generous gift.
Knavesmire 'tween a fight.
Conrad thwarted, Clugney attacked.
His keep we set alight.
A Peasant's Army encroaches.
Ploughwright stabbed in the face.
A Black Company advances.
Clugney kissed Randulf's mace.
'Ware, Drumclog Moss Road, we do rule..
Neilson learnt the hard way.
Defeated Matterson the cruel.
Billige ended his day.
The Ballad of Randulf the Red
Stand and listen gentlefolk
A giant cometh across the land
Let us speak of a grappling God
Randulf the Red, brute of his band
With a grin he wrestled the best
Tankards of mead followed a great draw
With sweep of his arms, bandits were battled
Until the ghastly one was no more
He climbed great oaken trees
To take the crow men by surprise
To save a maidens wedding day
He became the master of disguise
Loyal friends are captured
Rescued by friar and nun
Once three birds of a feather
One crow down, a traitor undone
A poisonous plot
And the swoop of the Crow
For such heroics toward Our Lady
A token of friendship she did bestow
A raid on the rich, a parley struck
Beside fellow outlaws, sorely deformed
As tension flamed, villages did burn
Against the oppressors, The Badgers then stormed
As Nobles prepare for war
Ironhanded knights join the fray
As Northern rebellion is halted
An arrow at dawn ensures Clugney’s last day
"Stand and Deliver"
The Black Crows finally flayed
With Randulf's new hammer
Foreign Knights were outplayed
The ballad of Calder Winterbourne
It is unclear where or when the ‘Ballad of Calder Winterbourne’ originated. No copy exists with provenance earlier than the mid-fifteenth century (and that only a fragment). It is likely that early versions have been adapted by others over the centuries and sections re-written or entirely new text added, perhaps to add contemporary references, incorporate unrelated fragments or cover situations likely to be familiar to new, later readers. There is, for example, an oblique reference to a possible act of enclosure in the prologue, which must either be a poor transcription or later addition to a supposedly ‘medieval’ text. No reference to Calder Winterbourne exists in the historical record and it is therefore likely that, if he ever existed, his story has been greatly embellished or his tale is a combination of several stories combined in a convenient narrative thread.’‘It is unclear where or when the ‘Ballad of Calder Winterbourne’ originated. No copy exists with provenance earlier than the mid-fifteenth century (and that only a fragment). It is likely that early versions have been adapted by others over the centuries and sections re-written or entirely new text added, perhaps to add contemporary references, incorporate unrelated fragments or cover situations likely to be familiar to new, later readers. There is, for example, an oblique reference to a possible act of enclosure in the prologue, which must either be a poor transcription or later addition to a supposedly ‘medieval’ text. No reference to Calder Winterbourne exists in the historical record and it is therefore likely that, if he ever existed, his story has been greatly embellished or his tale is a combination of several stories combined in a convenient narrative thread.’
Calder Winterbourne, archer bold
Born afar in Blackmore Vale
Full man o’war, full man o’peace
Far-sighted, swift and hale.
Served his lord full time in France
Gave all honour and duty.
Came back with naught but empty hands
Nowhere a sign of booty.
Returned to see the Vale closed down
The villagers all evicted
Saith he ‘I served ignoble lords
Now shall I never more’.
Calder has taken to his travels.
He wanders near and far
Trusts not the rich, befriends the poor,
Takes all men as they are.
To hear a blacksmith’s tale of woe
His daughter held by Giles
Another woman held for trial
A witch? A slander vile.
Four foresters guide to Giles tower
Outside henchmen in force.
All take stock and arrows nock,
A bold rush is the course.
Calder’s arrows fly and two men die
Giles slain in dreadful fight.
His henchmen turn and see the light
The blacksmith’s daughter is aright.
A witch is held for loss of flour,
The miller is distraught
The cause is naught but pilfering
Yet from a bloodstained thought.
A forester’s been done to death
His friends the guides are grieving.
A blackmailed man is stealing flour
To hide innocence with thieving.
Now truth is out and witch is freed,
No charge in any eyes.
Loot found, restored, in easy shares
And a new-named Calder Wise.
Now safely camped in de Courcy
They look t’ward easy living
A blameless life, an end to strife,
Days of gathering and giving.
But Black Crows are in the meadows
Wat Taylor’s going to burn
The Crows have stole a wedding dress
All honour do they spurn.
At Knavesmire side Wat’s wounds they bind
Carter Emlyn aids them.
They take their rest and full refreshed
By Odo and Crispin’s singing.
The village fills with gentry’d folk
To Hexham their road winds
A missing dress? Oh woe! Distress!
All are commanded ‘Find!’
Great search ensues as trouble brews,
For Mannering’s men are slacking.
Courcy’s crew their search renew
They need no other backing.
They track their foes, the evil Crows,
Black Stan has heard their calling,
And Mopsacle undoes their traps,
At all points Crows are falling.
To search Crows’ nest without arrest:
How, in a camp this size?
A simple feat for crew includes
Randulf, Lord of Disguise!
Now Mopsacle has found the dress,
To Hexham heroes hurry.
Return of gown lifts bridal frown
And frees her mind from worry.
In gratitude, reward is made
Wedding party is delighted.
Crew bids adieu and melts from view
Now troths can all be plighted.
The cost of dress drawn with duress
From common folk to vex them
A shadow falls within town walls:
Sheriff Rolfe, the curse of Hexham.
“Reward’s not ours – the people gave,
Now we can make amends.
Money goes to those in need
Through Friars and our friends.
News cross the land: all wake, all stand!
A holiday in season!
But dreadful word; for no good reason,
Emlyn will hang for treason.
To cast more dark on happy Saint’s Day
The friends are now all outlaw.
It frees their hands to make a stand
Fight injustice as they saw.
In Hexham town Emlyn is bound
And lies in reeking bower.
Stan and Wat are took by Sheriff’s crooks
All held in Eastgate Tower.
Their friends rush in to break them out,
There’s close and nasty fighting
All are now saved, rope’s end denied!
Now to Wat’s home, for hiding.
The Dyers Guild sold Wat to Sheriff:
They are due a reckoning.
The crew close in on Guildhall door,
Trader’s entrance is a-beckoning.
Calder holds the staff enthralled,
Speaking words of honey.
Friends search the house, creep cat and mouse,
All following the money.
Guildmaster Lister speaks in whispers
Dealing with Edward Crow.
Crow brethren leader mocks and jeers –
Ranulf fells him with one blow.
“Tis done, Crows hate no more or less
Than when that man was living.
Good Friars still take what we gain
And see the poor are shriven.”
Carter and all the Taylor folk,
Subject to lies unseeming,
Must leave the town and join the camp
Beneath the oak trees greening.
And what shall be this brave band’s theme?
All sett – the Billige Badgers?
Clad in simple Hexham Green, their role –
A knee in the Sheriff’s nadgers!
Notes from the expanded second edition of the renamed ‘English Folk Songs, Ballads and Verse’ (1895):
‘The author (or authors) now appear to regret the choice of third person as the voice of the ballad, with the appearance of apparently direct speech from Part 2 onward. Almost inevitably this will be complete fiction and should not be taken as reporting of actual conversation. Part 3 ends on a rather coarse and vulgar note, possibly reflecting the limited range of rhyme available for ‘badger’ and the author’s frustration at possible future limitations. If inclined toward sympathy, readers should note first the (unverified and probably apocryphal) comment attributed to Christina Rossetti: ‘At least they weren’t a French gang living in Orange’
The world is in a turmoil
Badgers seek and snuffle round.
There’s money in the villages
Noses to the ground!
Where’s the money coming in from?
Why are maypoles growing here?
Which lord is up, which lord is down –
Let’s think on’t over beer.
Why is Conrad’s squire in Knavesmire?
A physick for Lady M?
For she has the morning sickness
It’s a panacea for them.
But the potion is of hemlock
Just a foul Socratic brew
Badgers know a milder herbal
Goodly Alice tells them true.
Badgers now in Wenham find
The potion brewer’s lair
But they dally and they tarry
Deal in nothing but hot air.
So they’re off to Lady Margaret
Nought must upset the borning
She grants them all her favour
In gratitude for warning.
But why are Gascons in the bailey?
Why did Klea take a fall?
Foreign cash abounds for Clugney –
Will the outlaws hear it call?
So the Badgers make a plan to seize
The treasure train from France
Coin here will feed the poor once more
Badgers prepare a merry dance!
Badgers lurk on Drumclog Moss
‘Til treasure train appears.
Their eyes are fixed on mule-packed gold:
All ready, no-one fears.
But the trap is sprung by a ragged band,
A mob that no-one knew.
A starving group down on their luck
The undaunted Drumclog Few.
Hugh is the leader of The Few
Badgers challenge, Hugh defiant.
The quarterstaffs spit fire, and then
After hurricane, the quiet.
The treasure shared, all part as friends
Money now with friars to share.
But Wenham’s full of stranger tales
Almost too much to bear.
Lady Margaret’s Clugney’s friend
And will not hear of Conrad.
More shrines appearing all round town
Must drive good Churchmen mad.
Now down the road Knavesmire’s alight,
Black Crows defend it stoutly.
Badgers shepherd the villagers
To Billige for their safety.
Horsemen from Hexham harry home
Billige is all a-fever.
Badgers stand, protect their friends
And help defeat the reivers.
In Wedgemore’s where it comes together
Waiting for Chatsworth’s presence.
Though shrines are found all round the town
None can explain their essence.
(Editor’s note: there appears to be another stanza, or possibly two, here but the only existing copy of this section is badly damaged. It appears to mention a raid on castle, but the text is near illegible.)
In Wenham, world turned upside down;
Retinue poor but people wealthy.
Now Clugney's brought in Teuton knights -
They're brash and never stealthy.
They come to aid in Clugney's fight
He says 'gainst unjust king,
But here local lords oppress the folk
And cause balladeer to sing.
A northern host of unwashed rage
Closes on the county
Demagogue fans flames of war
With promises of bounty.
The rabble to north, Clugney's to south,
Conrad's in a vice.
The innocent poor of Wenham town will
Be those that pay the price.
Can Badgers few stem the tide alone?
Could they be a small town's saviour?
They'll try by landing careful blows -
Not bludgeon but a rapier.
To northern host in dead of night,
A stealthy undertaking.
Calder finds their leader's bed, and
He'll never more be waking.
All of a dither now south of the river
Black Company falls on Wenham.
To thin their ranks, ease townsfolk's lot
Badger arrows fly from woodland.
Now Clugney rides in sight of all
And the shooting heeds the call.
Sebastian-like he's pierced by shafts
But no martyr, a tyrant falls.
Weham's taken, town is sacked,
Misery for Badgers' friends.
O where is justice, where the right?
And who shall make amends?