The Coming of the Puritans

H G Wells The War of the Worlds

Episode 15

A Strange Cylinder Lands on Malmesbury Common

The chances of anything coming from Planet Woking were a million to one… But still, they came! It was early one Sunday morning as the Pyrford Pilgrims were making their way across the fields towards Malmesbury Abbey for Holy Communion, when there came a blinding burst of light from the direction of Sunny Corston. Then what seemed several seconds later, while many had turned to look for the source of blaze, there came a sudden unexpected deep loud rumble that went on for several minutes, its volume increasing continually until a violent shockwave struck, knocking over all those who had been stood in the open fields, continuing its onslaught into the town where it could be seen ripping tiles from roofs and inflicting general destruction and damage all around. When all the dust from the Common finally settled, and the Pyrford Pilgrims regained their composure and risen again to their feet, someone was heard to say, “Mike’s back then!”

Mike ‘Two Bridges’ Langtree and The B of The Bang, had been despatched to Bath by Bishop Roger to retrieve the Waterloo Portaloo, and on their journey back to the Abbey had miss calculated the coordinates, sending them into a supersonic dive ending with a crash landing on the southern most edge of ‘Malmesbury Common.’ Luckily it was the same malodorous bog that the corpse of Beorhtwold II had been cast into after his exhumation from St. Andrew’s Church, where he had been interred after his unexpected collapse and death during the course of a drunken orgy in the town, this meant the landing was into very soft ground indeed.

Having survived the impact and finally managing to extricate themselves from the deeply buried wreckage, our two Benedictine monks had staggered back into Malmesbury and to the Abbey, but not before first submerging themselves many times in the pool at Daniel’s Well, to wash off the vile stinking bog remnants they had become caked in during their clamber out of the impact crater. There were even dead fish now floating to the surface of the polluted waters down stream from the uninvited decontamination efforts in the River Avon below the western end of the Abbey by Mike and Andrew.

Here we had the two most smiling men in the town now walking through its streets, scaring the hell out of the inhabitants with their dishevelled and wild look, leaving a trail of water behind them dripping from their water logged habits. It seemed everyone was out on the streets to welcome them home but in fact they were all there dazed and clearing up the damage from the shockwave that had wrought its mighty calamity all around. Children had now gathered behind ‘Bridge n Bang’ and were taunting our two would be Eilmers with kiaw kiaw jibes akin to a flock of jackdaws.

Eilmer himself having watched the entire fiasco through his telescope had relayed a message to William, who now came forth to greet ‘Bridge n Bang’ with a warm welcome back to Earth. With Quill in hand William patiently took down their account of a misjudged return to Chris Jager’s Purple Air Space – with its resulting destruction of the TARDIS. William of Malmesbury then goes on to record how the Bishop Roger took Mike and Andrew to one side and read them the riot act: ‘That no Christians can presume to run counter to our apostolical decisions, we therefore endeavour, with all possible diligence, to transmit and ordain what shall be of service to your kingdom, that as a canonical censure enjoins our royal excellence, and all the princes of our nation, and the whole people of God, to observe all things which the aforesaid cracks on baby! – Alas we don’t know their reply.

The next day having recovered from their ordeal and ticking off by Bishop Roger, our two Portaloo Pilots, now began the dangerous mission to rescue the TARDIS from Beorhtwold’s Bog. Mike & The Mechanics had gathered a group of worthy volunteers, including The Living Ears, with no sense of smell and suitably clothed for the occasion, dressed only in their birthday suits, and sandals to reach the vicinity of Krakatoa Kratau. Meanwhile back in Bishop Roger’s museum, the two ex-dragoons, John and Paul, were hastily nailing notices on the doors of the museum saying, Exhibit Temporally Unavailable Until Further Notice. Inside Hannah Twynnoy and Tilly Whim who had also joined Bishop Roger’s new Athelstan Museum as volunteers, were busy polishing the copper finial recovered from the previous day’s collapsed of the Abbey’s Spire, a result of ‘The Great Shock Wave of Beorhtwold’s Bog.’

Restoration Workers - Malmesbury Abbey © Malmesbury Memories

Restoration Workers – Malmesbury Abbey © Malmesbury Memories

William of Malmesbury recorded this period as, The Deluded of the Monasteries, not to be confused with a consecutive period called, The Solution of the Monasteries, when William relates: It was at this time too that a Greek monk named Constantine took up his abode at Malmesbury: his charm of conversation, gentle behaviour, and holiness of life endeared him to all, and we get a delightful picture of him working in the vineyard, which he had constructed on the hill to the north of the monastery. Bill also wrote, that on his deathbed Constantine suddenly rallied, and, placing an archiepiscopal pall on his shoulders, led the monks to believe that the stranger who had lived among them was a Time Lord. He was buried with the abbots of Malmesbury in St. Andrew’s Church; later, when his remains were disturbed to make new buildings, the whiteness and fineness of his bones led the community to regard him as a person of no mean quality either of birth or holiness.

Back in the Monastery the Pyrford Pilgrims, having taken 4 days to walk from their own Monastery on Pyrford Common outside Woking – especially to pay their respects to the preternatural portent that was the Holy TARDIS, and having found it absent, not only from Malmesbury Abbey, but also its tomb under the shrine of Roger’s Museum, were now thoroughly dejected but on hearing of the divine intervention that had seen its return, abate its shortfall into Beorhtwold’s Bog, were now making haste hot on the heals of the Portaloo Pilots, in the hope of grabbing a few relics for the Woking Abbacy at Pyrford’s Piles. Bishop Roger was having none of this and was already one step ahead having despatched Æthelweard and Ælfwine to stand guard over the Krakatoa Kratau out at Beorhtwold’s Bog on the Malmesbury Common.

Was this to be the Battle of the Bogside, would the Apprentices come down from the Abbey Roof and March past what was left of the Castle Walls and onto the Common, could this be the start of the Troubles, would this lead to civil unrest, or would the Martians return once again in their Tripods using their heat-rays to destroy England. Don’t miss next weeks exciting episode of :-

Mike Langtree’s Retreat from The Priory Roundabout.


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“Any resemblance between the characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.”

27 October, 2017
All images and written works by David Forward are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License