Crispin: The Cross of Lead – Literature – Setting

The setting of the story takes place in medieval southern England in the reign of Edward III. There are two important settings: Stromford village and Great Wexly.

Stromford village is named after the river Strom which meanders to the west. The western limit of Stromford is marked with a stone cross that was erected when Saint Giles, the patron saint of Stromford once appeared. Lord Furnival‘s manor, the noble’s house, stands near the river and is an impenetravel castle, two stories high. The mill is across the road, opposite the manor house. The mill uses the water power of the river to grind barley and wheat, which the villagers use to bake bread by the steward’s decree. The stone church Saint Giles stands by the river at the Stromford crossroads. The dwelling places for the local villagers are primarily around the church. The commons, where the peasants graze their oxen and sheep, is north of the village. There are also the public stocks and gallows. Everything in Stromford belongs to Lord Furnival, who holds it and rules it in the King’s name. In his absence, it is under the rule of Lord Aycliffe.

Great Wexly is a large medieval metropolis compared to Stromford. The winding dirty cobblestone roads, the overcrowded sprawling houses, the tumulutous marketsquares are all dwarfed by the central cathedral and the looming stone castle. It is easy for a country boy like Crispin to get lost in the labyrinthine chaos.

Much of the action takes place on the road and in the surrounding forests where Bear and Crispin travel as they make their way to Great Wexly. This wilderness, which at first scares Crispin, also offers them both freedom from the prying eyes and dangerious intrigues of society.