The local manor accumulated wealth at a rapid rate. Peasants worked the land for farmers or laboured underground in chalk mines. Landowners made money and merchants sold wares. Snookington became a wealthy village, attracting market traders from around the Kingdom. Successful commercial men took pleasure in showing off their newfound status and found favour with Lord Snookington. The village was nicknamed the Snook and its traditional High Street boasted a bakery, butchers, greengrocers and tavern. A half-timbered house rose toward the crest of the hill, just in front of the church under construction. Flint and stone were arranged in piles as stonemasons laboured under the warm sun.
But the village was turning into a melting pot of stuffiness and pretence. People were divided into the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ The well-off lived in nice houses and owned expensive possessions whilst the peasantry worked long hours and provided wealth for the few. Rumours were rife and gossiping was a popular pastime. Whilst the Snook remained a remote provincial backwater, it was considered locally as the centre of everything.
Villagers enjoyed using little-known words as in-jokes. In recent times, there were a lot of new settlers in the area on account of the many opportunities for work. A favourite was ‘Grockles,’ which was a derogatory label for the outsiders. Even in those days, it was an old word and unused beyond the borders of the Snook. No one knew where the word came from, but the villagers liked it. They could talk about others without them knowing because outsiders did not know what it meant. Another word the villagers used as a code was ‘Gronk,’ which was an ancient word for a fool. Peasants were openly accused of being a Gronk but, for one in particular, the word would stick.