The novel is set in the early years of the 19th century. Silas Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small Calvinist congregation in Lantern Yard, a slum street in Northern England. He is falsely accused of stealing the congregation's funds while watching over the very ill deacon. Two clues are given against Silas: a pocket knife, and the discovery in his own house of the bag formerly containing the money. There is the strong suggestion that Silas' best friend, William Dane, has framed him since Silas had lent his pocket knife to William shortly before the crime was committed. Lots are drawn in the belief - shared by Silas - that God will direct the process and establish the truth, but they indicate that Silas is guilty. The woman Silas was to marry breaks their engagement and marries William instead. With his life shattered, his trust in God lost, and his heart broken, Silas leaves Lantern Yard and the city for a rural area where he is unknown.Marner travels south to the Midlands and settles near the rural village of Raveloe in Warwickshire where he lives isolated and alone, choosing to have only minimal contact with the residents beyond his work as a linen weaver. He devotes himself wholeheartedly to his craft and comes to adore the gold coins he earns and hoards from his weaving.