The Vales of Lyndurst records the lives of the Anders family in my imagi nation world of mid 18th century England. An England without a King and a dysfunctional Ruling Council of Nobles.
An England where families are torn apart by factions and loyalties remain questionable.
It has been
two weeks since the unprovoked attack by the Duchy of Romney on the County of
Lyndhurst, in that time much has happened.
As soon as Sir Edward heard of the attack he returned to
Lyndhurst, first to bury his son and then to help organise an army in the south
to prepare for what seemed logical a Parliamentarian advance on Lyndhurst.
leaving London Sir Edward had sat down with the new King James III and all the
Royalist nobles to establish a provisional Government until such time that the
situation in England allowed free elections and a completely free Parliament.
they had in those few hectic days before he left London centred on forming a
strategy for the struggle ahead. Prior to the attack the focus had been on
legalising James ascension to the throne, public notices and papers throughout
England reported that James III had assumed the throne of England and that a
provisional Government was being created to help govern the nation and in
particular to eventually recreate a new and free Parliament.
the population accepted the fact that James had assumed the throne of England,
there were some centers of disquiet and the worse were in London itself, which
was becoming a concern to the Royalists.
There was a
strong Jacobin element in the Capital city and it was clear that already the
Parliamentarian agitators were taking advantage of this.
Lord Hackett had been appointed first Minister by the King,
Sir Edward Anders was Minister of War, Lord Castlemaine had taken the office of
Foreign Affairs. Amschel Rothschild was appointed to head the treasury.
On hearing of the attack on Lyndhurst the focus of the new
provisional government changed from rather academic and legalistic discussions
to military preparations. Perhaps the first reaction by many of the nobles on
hearing of the attack on Lyndhurst was that the same could occur to any of
them, they all realised how vulnerable their lands were and demanded extra
troops to protect their domains.
It was left
to Sir Edward to argue reason and prevent perceived fears from creating a
flawed strategy. He pointed out that the only troops available at the moment
were those in the provinces of the nobles, there were no extra troops to be
shared out, and even if there were such a defensive strategy was a quick way to
lose the coming war.
because his lands had already suffered attack they were more prepared to listen
to him. He suggested rather than weakening their army by splitting up the few
units they had they concentrated their units into 3 or 4 commands or armies and
that these armies be placed in Southern England, the Midlands and in the North.
admitted that it would mean many provinces would be unprotected but all would
have an army nearby that could respond to attacks.
He had to
convince them that the parliamentarians were just as likely to be just as weak and
divided, so it was not likely a case that of a hoard of parliamentarian armies
would be swarming over their lands, more a case of similar attacks that had occurred
in his own country of Lyndhurst where a small number of units raided enemy
Edward developed his strategy further by advising the nobles to create
commanders for these armies and then use them quickly to attack Parliamentarian
lands, to strike before the enemy had time to create their own offensive plans.
This had a double objective in that by taking the initiative early they were
saving the Royalist counties from becoming the battlefields of the coming war.
Secondly because of the unprovoked and murderous raid they now had every reason
to gather national sympathy for their cause.
So by the
time Sir Edward had departed for Lyndhurst the new Provisional Government was
already drawing up plans for the creation of three armies as well as making
plans for a future Parliament and Government, a remarkably effort after only
being in control for a few weeks.
travel pouch Edward had from the King a Royal appointment for General Sir
Leopold Anders when he returns to full health he is to assume command of the
Southern Army, which will include all regular and Militia units previously
controlled the rulers of Lyndhurst, Fordingbridge and the Cornwall.
The Parliamentarian faction that had opposed the Royalists were
already claiming that in James assuming the throne he was acting only as a “pretender”,
his claims to the throne were illegal and a plot by the Prussian King to place
his bastard nephew on the English throne. They urged all “right thinking
Englishmen” to oppose the Prussian Tyrant.
opposing the Royalist faction had named themselves as the Parliamentarian
confederation, their focus was on an England ruled by a Parliament without a
King, however despite the public protestations about democracy and freedoms no
one in the Confederation envisaged a Parliament consisting of less than landed
Gentry and in the main Nobles.
their rapid departure from London after the collapse of the Council of Nobles,
the anti Royalists (because they were not an organised opposition until a few
days later) gathered in Lord Bedford’s Dover castle for a quick planning
conference before each of them departed for their own lands.
anti Royalist noble not to attend was Sir Ferguson of The Duchy of Romney and it was assumed because of his
chaotic and murderous departure he had no choice other than to flee for his own
however represented by the rather portly Cardinal Cartwright who just happened
to be in Kent at the time of the Council breakup.
Cartwright had just returned from Rome where he had been the English Ambassador
to the Pope.
had in the first day of their discussions quickly come to the conclusion that
they would need
assistance to win the coming war, the problem was first from where and secondly
how to convince the English people that theirs was a just and right cause.
Cardinal Cartwright who suggested he might talk with Cardinal de Fleury the
first Minister of France, Cardinal Cartwright was on familiar terms with de
Fleury and felt he may convince him to help, but any help would come at a cost
to England and he asked the Nobles what price they were prepared to pay.
Picture is of cardinal de Fleury
It was as
Lord Bedford described as a very “ticklish issue” to involve a foreign power in
a struggle for power in England, in particular to seek help from what had
become for many years England’s main enemy; however he did conclude there was
no other power that was capable of helping.
England had abandoned the Alliance with Prussia and Austria against France,
both Austria and in particular Prussia had become very anti – English.
In fact he
suspected the Royalists may even approach the Prussians for help, something
that would ease their case with the French Government and indeed their own
people; however it was too soon for them to expect that to have happened.
In the end
it was decided they had to make initial contact with the French, it was decided
that the price to pay would have to be some of the colonies, but as Lord Ashley
pointed out that once they had regained the power in England they could then
reclaim the Colonies they were forced to abandon.
that the approach they should take in convincing the English people that their
cause was just was that the Prussians were usurping the throne by placing a
“pretender” on it, then to reinforce their popularity the Anti Royalist faction
should promise to deliver real democracy with a free Parliament.
Most of the
Nobles were horrified at the prospect of the “great unwashed” having a vote,
however as Lord Ashley added, once they had resumed full power again they could
employ the old tactic of discovering new plots that would delay and eventually
prevent the free elections; it had worked for them before and would do so
It was then
that news arrived at Dover castle of Sir Fergusons raid on Lyndhurst County,
when it was announced by Cardinal Cartwright who read out the message as if it
was the greatest victory on English soil he was somewhat dumbfounded by the
ironic that one of the arguments they had been discussing in the last day or so
was who would strike first and they had decided it was best if the Royalist
struck the first blow and thus become the aggressors against the English
people, but now Sir Ferguson had robbed them of that propaganda advantage.
explained that the invading force consisted of Barkdale Marines and some Light
Infantry. Lord Ashley asked rather afraid of the answer,
me that the Barkdale marines were not the Barkdale pirates that haunt the
Romney lands. “
nodded rather sheepishly that they were and in fact were commanded by Captain
Barkdale himself, all the nobles realised what they were listening too was
beginning to sound like a propaganda disaster.
As he was
announcing what he claimed was the “first blow” for the Nobles Cardinal
Cartwright had a sinking feeling, this announcement was not going down as well
as he hoped.
had finished reading Sir Fergusons announcement Lord Bedford slammed his fist
down on the desk.
Cartwright, surely you are not going to tell us this great blow for the Noble
cause was anything short of a bloody disaster.
That damned idiot Ferguson has robbed of us of all the moral high
ground, now in the eyes of the people we will be seen as a bunch of greedy
barons leading hordes of murderous pirates all over the countryside.
If I had
that bloody idiot here now I would wring his bloody neck, good god what an
stupid fool I have been to think Ferguson might be a worthwhile ally, that man
is becoming a bloody liability already and the damned war hasn’t started yet.”
face was reddening, his vein clearly pulsating and he was beginning to sweat
but with a huge effort of self control he managed to regain some of his composure,
calming down he looked at Cartwright.
what has he achieved and what were his losses?”
Cartwright swallowed hard as he glanced at the message in his shaking hands.
my Lord that they attacked North Park Estate in the hope of taking the boy
King, but he was not there. Instead they have seriously injured Sir Leopold and
killed the youngest Anders boy.
Lyndhurst losses are assumed to be around 50 dead and wounded, all Barkdale
Marines were killed or have been captured and have since butchered on Lady
Barkdale is a prisoner. The Romney regulars which I believe were Light infantry
had small losses and on the way out of Lyndhurst they raided a town destroying
a new armaments factory that had just been built.”
was a long deep silence until Lord Bedford drew a deep breath,
“So my dear
Cardinal do tell me if I am incorrect in my assumptions, this great blow for
our cause has achieved the death of a young man, the wounding of an elderly man
and the destruction of a small undefended factory, the price for this has been
the death of the marauders and no doubt the to come disclosures from Barkdale
that this was done on Sir Ferguson's orders, thus implying orders from us.”
Lord I am sure Captain Barkdale would not implicate Sir Ferguson, he is a loyal
man my Lord.”
loyal only unto himself and he will as he has done in the past, make agreements
with the devil to save his own skin, you can assume his “confessions” will have
Sir Ferguson up to his neck, and since there has been no declaration of war
these deaths could very well be classified as murders.
The irony is
my dear Cardinal, if bloody Ferguson had not butchered everyone in his path as
he fled out of London with so much haste, I could have told him the young boy
king was in London at the time, he was staying at the Prussian Embassy.”
were appalled at the news; it was now no longer a case of provoking the
Royalists into making the first aggressive moves, that issue had just been
decided by Sir Ferguson. Somehow they had to limit the damage, so the first
thing to do was insure that Sir Ferguson denies any knowledge of the raid,
blame Barkdale as an outlaw and possibly have anyone who knew Sir Ferguson
ordered the raid to be removed, preferably permanently.
“New Parliamentarian” faction would start printing pamphlets and placing
articles in news papers denouncing the murderous raid of a bunch of unemployed
and desperate pirates looking for booty, that these actions are the result of
the breakdown of law and order. Actions deliberately brought on by the Prussian
element trying to install fear and uncertainty in the minds of the unsuspecting
They were to
then to start announcing their plans for a “free Parliament” while at the same
time concentrating their forces in preparation for the coming war.
Cartwright purely because he was known to de Fleury was sent on a secret
diplomatic mission to France to discover the price for French assistance.
Meanwhile they had to prepare their forces for
the expected Royalist backlash for the Lyndhurst raid, it was time to organise
With sincerest apologies for terrible pictures, I didnt have a good camera available on the day and had to rely on a cheap pocket one Grrrrrrr.
It had been drizzling for two days now as Captain Barkdale
and his men infiltrated into Lyndhurst county, they had travelled in a variety
of disguises, some as merchants, traders, refugees from London and others as
Lyndhurst soldiers, they crossed the border at a number of points. All meeting
at a point called Weillen Woods; it was a deep thick forest, ideal for hiding a
number of men not wanting to be discovered.
For two days
the Romney men had drifted in from various directions all but 3 men arriving, 3
men out of 50 was not a bad result Barkdale pondered to himself. The men he had
with him were an assortment of
thugs and pirates all to a man experts in hand to hand fighting. He had given
them the rather grand name of Barkdale’s Marines, which was reasonable he
assumed as they were more marines than soldiers. In fact all of them were from
his ship the “Rosalie” a vessel which was once a renowned Pirate ship, but now
just laying idle in Southampton.
It had been
one Barkdale’s biggest curses the day his employer Duke Ferguson of the Duchy
of Romney had gone all respectable, in being given the Knighthood he so long cherished,
the Duke had to forgo his infamous piracy expeditions. Those expeditions had
made all of them rich, the Duke received a huge bounty, Barkdale had amassed a
reasonable fortune, and his crews were extremely loyal as they were extremely
wealthy by the standards of other normal sailors, however almost overnight
Piracy had gone out of fashion.
The Duke had
explained that the Nobles didn’t want to antagonize France or Spain and as they
were the ships Barkdale and his Rosalie usually hunted his piracy days ended in
a whimper. So since he couldn’t hunt ships Barkdale and his men had gone into
business for themselves, hiring themselves out to Nobles who needed some dirty
work done, discreetly but for a price. His favourite employer was always the
Duke, as long as Barkdale and his men completed the mission they were employed
for the Duke turned a blind eye to Barkdale’s side ventures which was generally
a bit of robbery, larceny, murder and protection work. He was also becoming a
well known wrecker, which these days was becoming his main business. He and his
men would entice trading vessels travelling along the coast to enter bays which
the unwary captains assumed were entrances to ports, the bays were usually
deathtraps to ships with rocks and shallows aplenty. Barkdale and his men would
then loot the ship as it founded, again the Duke taking a cut if necessary.
operation also had its dark humour side because the Duke also employed Barkdale
as an excise agent, which meant it allowed him to put the other wreckers on the
Romney coastline out of business.
tonight they were on the biggest mission of all, he and his men were to attack
the North Park estate in Lyndhurst, North Park was the new home to General Sir
Leopold Anders, brother to Sir Edward Anders the ruler of Lyndhurst County.
However tonight they were to kidnap or kill a young 15 year old boy the Duke
said was there, he told Barkdale that the boy was a royal and had to be
eliminated. The Duke had offered a Bonus if Barkdale and his men could kill Sir
Leopold and the boy’s mother Sophia. The Duke wanted no trace of the family to
survive, which made Barkdale’s job easy because it meant his men just killed
knew there were other Romney men further to the west in Cauldron Forest, but
these men were regular Romney Light Infantry, their job was to sneak in close
to the Barracks near New Park estate and ensure no reinforcements from the
Barracks reached the estate while Barkdale dealt with the Estate Guard which he
was assured would be 30 men.
roving patrols all round the area, in fact Barkdale had been watching one just
an hour ago, but it seemed the men on patrol were more keen on getting out of
the rain and back to a warm fire than doing their job properly, a lapse he
would ensure they paid for, very dearly.
checked his vest pocket watch, it was time, he signalled to his men that they were to
follow him. As they left the woods they could just make out the distant lights
of their objective the New park estate, it was some distance and mostly in the
open so the men moved swiftly but cautiously, always watching for patrols and
New Park Estate
Leopold Anders was troubled, over the last 24 hours he had received reports off
a host of strange travellers crossing into Lyndhurst, in fact 3 of them had been
taken into captivity in Lyndhurst
tomorrow he intended to go in and question them.
He had urged
the Estate Guard to be more diligent but he knew what soldiers were like once
out of view of their officers, they would drift around fires and generally be negligent in their duties which was why he was riding his watch officers so hard.
As he looked
out the window of his office in the distance he could see the lights of the
barracks, his nephew young Colonel Andrew Anders was commander of the Garrison
over there, he was a real young fire-eater and Sir Leopold was sure he would have his
men out and about.
back to his desk and gathered his pipe, as he began loading it with rich
Virginia tobacco he wondered how his son James was doing in London.
He had sent
secretly sent James and his mother there for several reasons, first if James
was to become King the people and nobles of London would need to see him, but
secondly he had a feeling the boy was safer in London than here, especially as
a large part of the Lyndhurst regular troops were in London as well.
received a message from his brother advising him the Council of Nobles was no
longer, he also advised Leopold to expect trouble, which was why Leopold was troubled
about these reports of strangers; but tomorrow he would sort it all out.
back to the window and was about to strike a match when lightning flashed
across the moors, in the light of that flash Leopold was sure he saw men
moving, but now it was dark once more could see nothing, but his instincts told him
something was very wrong, he called out to his aide Captain Johnston
Captain came in and Leopold told him he was sure he had seen movement out on
the moors, but the captain assured him it was probably one of the patrols,
Leopold nodded his head; he was probably right. But there was still that
here” the Captain walked over to the window, the General was pointing out
towards the moors.
“ I want you
to get the officer of the watch to send out a patrol to the outskirts of the
moors just to the east, just over there” he said pointing to a point where the
road ran through the moors and then I
want them to check right along the boundary of the estate down to Weillen
there was another flash and then another, but this time it wasn't lightening,
both the General and Captain Johnston knew musket fire when they saw it.
Christ general, there’s men down there firing, some more coming over the
was already rushing to his desk taking the loaded pistol out of the drawer and
placing it on the desk; he then went to the closet where he kept his sword.
the house guard to watch the doors and windows, they are not to go outside, the
outside guard will have to manage until the garrison arrives. I want men up
here on the landing, let’s assume they are either after me or they think James
is here, which means they will have to come up the stairs.”
saluted and rushed out the door, calling for the sergeant of the guard.
His men made
good progress, despite the fact that they once again had to hit the ground laying in sodden mud as five
Lyndhurst dragoons rode down along the road making their way out on patrol.
this mud stinks thought Barkdale as he lay motionless watching the patrol pass
knew they would not come back this way for sometime, maybe sooner once the
firing started but by then it would be too late.
extracted themselves out of the mud and continued to make their way towards the
estate, they were close now, perhaps only a hundred paces away from the wall. They
could see two sentries sheltering in the guard house by the gate, he signalled his
first mate Harris to take 4 men to deal with them. He then signalled Colin’s
another reliable hand to take the ropes and twenty men and scale the walls
about two hundred yards from the gates.
guard post was dealt with Barkdale would take 30 men to deal with the troops who
should be in the small Guard Barracks near the gateway, Colin’s and his men
would break into the house and deal with whoever was inside, enemy troops or
civilians. Though the Duke had told him to try and take the boy alive, he
wasn’t going to be bothered with dragging a boy across the moors and through
Lyndhurst County while the whole damn Lyndhurst army was out hunting him, no he
was getting the same money dead or alive, so dead it was.
parties just moved off Harris towards the gate and Colin’s heading to the
walls, just then Barkdale’s luck deserted him for a moment, a flash of
lightening lit the whole of the moors up and for about ten seconds they were
all exposed, all the men hit the mud again and they lay waiting in the dark to
see if there was to be another strike or any reaction from the Estate Guards, they lay there for a few minutes and+ when
there was no movement from the Guard posts nor from anywhere else his men once
more slowly rose up covered in mud and began creeping to their objectives.
took out his small telescope, a magnificent piece he had liberated from a
Spanish merchant ship; with it he surveyed the tops of the walls and the house.
He stopped when on the top floor he could make out two men in the light of the room;
one of them was waving his hands out towards them,
Barkdale cursed silently, “Had they been seen after all.”
Well it didn't matter he reasoned it was too late now, Harris’s men had just dealt with
the guards at the gate and Colin’s men were going over the wall.
whispered to the men nearest him, “Come on lets go earn our pay.”
He had only
gone twenty paces when the firing started, obviously not all the guards were asleep
after all, so now it was harder, but they still had the advantage of surprise
so forgetting all caution he and his men stormed through the gate.
Guard from the small Guard house near the gate were already struggling with Harris and his men, they were severely outnumbered
and were in the process of being overwhelmed, when Barkdale arrived with his reinforcements, now they could care of the guards much easier.
ran into the melee thrusting his sword into the back of a Lyndhurst soldier and then parrying a bayonet that was thrust towards him.
“Can I join
in number one, or is this a private party.”
Cap’n helps yourself there seem plenty of the buggers to go around that’s for
The Main Barracks
in the Manor was heard from the Main barracks some four hundred yards from the
house, Col Andrew Anders immediately rushed out of his office, yelling to
Captain Swanson who was following behind him to get the infantry formed up and ready to move to the manor house,
he saw five sodden Dragoons sitting on their horses, clearly having just returned from
patrol, he told one of the men to get off his horse which the Colonel then duly mounted himself.
down to Captain Swanson
the men over to the manor house as quick as you can, I am heading over there now”
swung his horse around and waved to the gate guard to open the gates, he then
along with the four dragoons rode out off the gate into a fusillade of musketry
coming from the bushes along the road. Colonel Ander’s one and only thought
before his body was riddled was,
hell are these….” He and the other four dragoons were killed outright.”
Romney Light infantry men had been hidden in
the bushes along the outskirts of the track to the manor for most of the night, waiting in ambush for
such a moment.
By now a
large number of Lyndhurst infantry were gathering in the parade ground, when
they heard the firing just beyond the gates they rushed to the gates, where
many were cut down as well.
take command of the chaos that was threatening the garrison Captain Swanson
ordered Lieutenant Kiley to take his men out of the east gate and come around and
outflank the enemy troops, the
rest of them would man the walls.
clear to him that the General had to make do on his own for a while yet.
North Park Estate
and his men scaled the wall more by luck than skill they happened to land
exactly where they should be. in front
of what was obviously a formal garden, beyond the garden were the glass doors
that lead to the interior, his men stormed through the gardens making for the
doors when a fusillade of shots came out through the glass from inside, Five or
six of his men were killed, the rest dove down behind bushes and hedges.
through the broken doors and windows Colin’s could make out about 7 or 8
Lyndhurst infantry, he glanced to the north and the Captain along Harris were
still struggling with what seemed far more enemy troops than there should have
was for that brief moment as he lay behind a hedge Colin’s could smell the
lavender from nearby bushes, odd how small things register on your mind he thought. That instant the
smell reminded him of his home many years ago when as a child he used to help his mother dry the lavender to make
once more he saw the enemy in the house were busy loading their muskets, so he
ordered his men up, together yelling and cheering they charged over the broken glass to attack the startled enemy. Colin’s smiled to himself,
just like the old times, going over the side and take the bloody ship, only
this time it was a bleedin house.
Lyndhurst troops saw the men charging and knowing they didnt have time to load nor get their bayonets on they took to their muskets like clubs they
charged out of the broken doors and windows, the once beautiful formal gardens
now became a bloody battleground.
for the gardens was brief, though Colins had lost five or six men to the
initial fire he still outnumbered the enemy and what was more his men were
experts at hand to hand fighting, lousy at musketry but great with axes, pikes,
cutlass and swords.
through the broken doors, to their front across the foyer they saw the stair
way and began rushing up when from almost nowhere about ten Lyndhurst infantrymen rose up and
fired into the crowded pirates as they climbed the stairs, Colin’s was one of
the first to die, then there was a melee on the top of the stairs as the
remaining few of Colin’s men charged the enemy before they could load, but these
soldiers had bayonets on their muskets and the fight was a much more difficult one.
the gatehouse miraculously Harris and Barkdale had overcome the enemy guards,
seeing Colin’s men fighting on the stair way Barkdale ordered Harris to keep 5
men at the gate, get some of the enemy muskets and shoot any bugger that comes
down that road. Meanwhile taking the remaining men, now only around fifteen in
all he charged up the stairs into the melee.
aggression of Barkdale’s men was slowly pushing the enemy back from the top of
the stairs, Barkdale saw a young Lyndhurst Infantry captain slash at one of his
men cutting a huge gouge out the side of his face, taking a pike from the floor
that one of his men must have dropped he thrust the point of the long shaft between
two of his men to his front into the midriff of the enemy officer, The young
captain looked surprised as he slowly sank to the floor looking down at the
long spear protruding out of his stomach.
reaching the top of the stairs Barkdale realised he only had about five or six
men left, he saw a elderly man in a blue uniform as he walked out of a doorway,
clearly this was the Genera; he had pistol in one hand sword in the other. Barkdale drew
his own pistol from his belt and shot the General, he saw him go down but was
then hit by a shot from the General's pistol as he fell to the floor, then again
a shot from behind and below he stumbled as he felt the second shot hit him
high on his shoulder, he dropped his sword, staggered down the stairs, glancing
outside he saw 4 enemy dragoons with muskets, on the ground nearby lay Harris
and his men. It occurred to him, this must have been the patrol that rode out
just before he attacked, damn his luck he silently cursed. He then tried to
run, but his legs gave way and he collapsed two of the dragoons grabbed him
pinning him to the floor, before he passed out he heard someone scream,
Generals been hit bad”.
around the main barracks was rather brief, once the commander of the Romney
Light Infantry realised that some of the Lyndhurst infantry were coming around
his flanks he knew it was time to flee, he done his job and created the delay,
he just hoped it was long enough.
Leopold Anders was severely wounded; he would lose his arm but would recover.
Colonel Andrew Anders youngest son of Sir Edward Anders had been killed as well
as over 20 Lyndhurst troops dead and 20 wounded.
following day the last of Barkdale’s marines were taken prisoner, the Romney
Light infantry escaped but lost ten men.
other raids along the Romney/Lyndhurst border but these are generalized and
will not be played.
English Civil war had started.
rules I used were homegrown, I used a number of tokens placed around the
estate, each token represented a possible force of Lyndhurst troops from 1 to
10 men. In the roll of a die I would determine whether it was a dummy token and
then if an actual unit the number of men as then determined by 10d die roll.
there were 15 men within the house and up to 35 men around the estate.
All Barkdales “marines” were rated Elite, thus they fought to the last and were excellent in Melee.
At the end of the fight for the manor house all Lyndhurst troops inside the house had been killed or wounded and only 5 Dragoons remained outside.
determined whether patrols located any of the raiders which didn’t occur except for one patrol that returned to the Manor house during the melee.
Lyndhurst infantry that attempted to get out the gate of the main barracks lost 7
men to musketry and then failed the morale throw, thus they were unable to advance, which
meant they could stand fire only until they recovered morale which took two
While Lord Ferguson
was planning his raid on Lyndhurst back in London events were unfolding.
It has been two days since the chaotic and rather abrupt end
to the council of nobles, since then those nobles that had lands a good
distance away at first fled to territory they considered friendly to their own
political interests. Not wanting to be too far away from London, most then sent
couriers and deputies racing back to their own lands with the news and
instructions on what to do.
the city began to calm down following two days of rioting, Lord Castlemaines
troops had established order and people slowly began to return to the streets
and businesses. The damage was considerable and would take some time to repair,
equally the courts were busy dealing with the instigators and agitators that
provoked the riots.
demands for Sir Steven Ferguson’s arrest following his murderous rampage out of
the city with a force of Eighty Dragoons; he literally left a path of blood
down the streets he used to exit the city.
however knew that Sir Ferguson was safe from arrest at least for now.
Palace a meeting of the nobles friendly to the monarchy had been organised, there
were eleven Nobles and knights that turned up to discuss the future of the
English Monarchy and the Government one Lord noted that left ten of the
traitors “on the other side” who were not invited. The nobles at the meeting
chaired the meeting
attendance was Sir John Strange a renown senior judge of the courts, he had
been asked to attend by Lord Hackett, and finally in attendance was James the
young man whose future they came to discuss. Many of the lords were at first
reluctant to allow James to sit in, but as Lord Castlemaine pointed out how were
any of them to know the “strength of his powder” unless they were able to
observe and listen to him.
the rights and wrongs of making James King soon came about, the nobles each had
time to air their own views and it was plain to see there was considerable
confusion as to the legality of making James King.
It was on
this subject that James for the first time spoke to any of the nobles, he
gently taped his uncle Sir Edward Anders on the elbow indicating he wished to
speak, when it came around to Edwards turn to air his views he simply said
here knows my views, so I wish to defer my opportunity to speak to allow James
a few words.”
to speak, he was tall for his age, fair hair and quite handsome; he did not the
least look the slightest intimidated as he addressed the Nobles.
“My Lords and
Knights, I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak, and once I have
aired my views I will leave you gentlemen in peace.
Since I have
been in England I have been heartened by the love and goodwill shown to me by
all I have met, I say that knowing there are also many who will despise and
hate either me or what I represent. I have taken every opportunity to learn all
I can about England and its history, in particular that of my own royal family.
I have also taken the time to study the very question concerning the legality
of my assuming the throne of England.
Why you may
ask would I spend the hours pouring through very droll legal books, the reason
is gentlemen I wanted to be sure in my own mind that what I was about to do was
in fact legal. I have no desire to be imposed on the people of England nor than
I wish to be imposed on yourselves.
Now it seems
to me, and I am sure Sir Strange sitting over yonder will be able to correct me
if I am wrong; there is a precedence that would allow me to assume the throne.”
referred to as small piece of paper he had taken some notes on,
precedence was when my one of my great grand sires Henry VII simply assumed the
title King following the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 on which King Richard
died. He did this though his rights to the claim may have been challenged,
however then and there at that time there was no one else suitable.
It was then
further cemented by the “Defacto Act” of 1485 which meant any legislation
arising from his majesty Henry VII passed immediately following the battle was
made automatically legal, this included making war on any of Richards
supporters or other claimants, and it also enabled him to summons parliament.
It occurs to
me my lords that King Henry VII position is not that different from my own. I
am the sole legal claimant to the throne and without a King it is not possible
to summons Parliament. Thus we have the unsatisfactory situation of no Noble
Council and no Parliament and without me as King no legal way to call a
then turned to Sir Strange for his considered opinion,
he eyes firmly fixed on James,
man erm sire, I would have not thought there were more than a handful of people
in England that would have been aware of the circumstances following King Richards’s
death. But you are right, you have what seems the only proven birthright to the
throne and in the absence of another royal claim you have every right to claim
the throne as yours and again the de facto act does authorize you on becoming
King to enact laws and summon Parliament. It would simply take a simple
statement that you are assuming the throne and all of us here would immediately
become your royal subjects. Though unlike the King Richard situation Parliament
is a far more prickly situation, namely because we have not had a parliament
nigh on a hundred years. So in my estimation you will need to summons a
Provisional parliament based on the Lords and Knights, at least until you can
organise a more democratic system.”
Sir Strange, and thus Gentleman I wish to declare that I am assuming the throne
of England as James III”.
gathering remained quiet, stunned by the sudden turn of events, it was Lord
Frobisher that was the first to speak,
was mislead as to the purpose of this meeting, I was under the illusion we were
here to discuss the terms under which the King would be permitted to rule.”
to speak, but there was a hand on his shoulders as James rose,
does anyone here challenge my right to the throne, if so speak now, for there
will be no negotiation on my rights to be King unless based on legal issues.”
for a few moments, taking the time to gaze and judge each noble sitting at the
negotiations would be more properly directed is as to under what conditions you
as Lords and Knights will remain, as well under what conditions Parliament will
operate. You see my Lords your titles were given to your ancestors under the
royal prerogative of the Monarchy, a monarchy that was hounded by some of your
ancestors, people who owed their very status and stations in society to the
very establishment they sought to destroy.
a monarchy approval or even of that of a Parliament you as a council simply
appointed Knights and Lords not for the service to the nation but to ensure
your own power bases. You did this despite the protests of the people of this
nation, I refer of course to the Middlesex and York rebellions, all made by
good simple folk seeking to preserve what they could of their Kingdom, and
their rights. Rights which your ancestors bloodily squashed with much slaughter
and which you as the ruling Knights and
Lords have continuously squashed.
myself, I would view your future roles as my advisors, as a upper house of
Parliament, a house of Lords if you will.
chambers will be representative of the middle class and in some circumstances
the more educated of the lower classes. However I have no intention of allowing
the masses to have a large sway in Parliament anymore than I will allow the
Nobles to have the same. It will be a democracy in as much as one element
balances the other and I will sit in the middle watching.
I envisage a system where the Lower chambers
will discuss and propose laws, they are then sent to the House of Lords for
approval, if you my lords find them unsatisfactory you may send them back to
the lower house for new discussions. Then and only then may the lower chambers
appeal to me to consider the proposed laws as they are before re-discussion, if
I deem them adequate then I will allow them to pass if not I will confirm your
decision for them to be passed back.”
“But this is
ridiculous,” Lord Frobisher exclaimed in
almost a screech, “It makes your House of Lords impotent, if the Lower House
don’t accept that we Nobles think a proposed law should be changed, they would
always be appealing to you; making our role redundant. We have no power, what
is the point of being a Noble if we cannot exert influence and advice directly
to the throne.”
Castlemaine rose to speak,
“It is my
dear Frobisher called democracy, you see we as nobles that once used to rule
and command are likely to become like the dinosaur extinct, is that not right
my Lord Castlemaine, I value your role of nobles as advisors and counselors and
for that role you will keep your private estates and their incomes plus
pensions that I will distribute accordingly as long as they are deemed by me as
reasonable. However you will no longer rule, nor command your provinces or your
military units unless appointed to do so by me or Parliament. All incomes from
the provinces will be directed to the treasury, and the treasury will have a
cabinet minister appointed by Parliament or its government to manage the
financial affairs of the nation
Let it be
made quite clear my Lords, your role as governors of this land failed miserably,
because of it we are no longer one of the dominant powers of Europe; England is
in great danger of losing the American Colonies as well as the few we have left
in India. Because each of you either individually or collectively have
deliberately ransacked and plundered the treasury for your own purposes, I
gather our navy has not been paid for a long time and the soldiers have been
paid irregularly. My Lords, you are all thinking but I am a boy, what do I
know, know this; I am now King James III of England, my age is no handicap to
my knowledge of Kingmanship, nor is it a handicap to my ability to ensure what
I do is both just and right.
your power over the people was a veneer, it was kept there by displays of your
power and the arrogant displays of your wealth and power. You clearly will not
like what I am telling you but it is the truth and each of you know it. Since
two days ago the veneer of your power has been exposed, you can never go back
to the days of where you ruled supreme, all you have between anarchy and
security is me. The people believe I will make a change and if I tell them that
you have lost your powers, that things will change, then England has a chance.
If I fail to convince the people, then my Lords we will all likely hang from
the same tree.
But if any
of you don’t like what I am saying, you are free to walk out those doors, but
you will not go under the Kings banner of protection and you will be swept of
all your noble titles and possessions. It is a simple choice I offer you my
rose to speak; he was the most powerful man at the table with the most to lose,
I was asked to support your claim to the throne I was promised that my lands
and wealth would remain in my hands so that I may pass them onto my daughter,
further more I was guaranteed that she would be raised to Princess on my death;
from what I have heard here; were all those promises made falsely sire.”
“No my Lord,
your wealth will remain to do with as you wish, as for your daughter I would
meet with her to see what we can do in regard to her position, but I can assure
you she will be raised in nobility based on my discussions with her and you.
cannot promise all of you my lords that I will equally raise your sons and daughters
to nobility over and above what they have as their due through from
inheritance, but no son, nor daughter will be worse off than they are now.
Several will be offered posts within the palace which may require them to be
raised perhaps beyond their current status, but again I will decide that on
their merits and value to me.”
continued, “It seems sire you have done much thought on the matter, I am left
wondering why we were summoned if not to negotiate the terms of your being
raised to the monarchy?”
you are free to discuss your roles in relation to me as King, but it was never
my intention to negotiate my rights to be King. I will sit on the throne as the
sole legal claimant to the throne of England, my claim is as legal and correct
therefore there neither is not up for no negotiation. What was not legal my Lords
was the council of Nobles. My understanding was it was created to oppose the
interference of King William and his wife Queen Mary before their tragic
deaths, since then you have forcefully and illegally exerted your power over the nation, closing
Parliament and ruling ruinously for many decades.
You were not
summoned to approve of me my Lords, for my role is as I mentioned legal and
proper, we are here to discuss your roles as my counselors. Make no mistake my
Lords any noble not a member of the House of Lords is not a Noble anymore. So
you will need to decide whether you oppose me or accept the role as Kings Counselor
with all the benefits that derive from that position, or you will become like
all those currently siding with my Lord Bedford and be considered rebels; there
is no halfway position.
On that note
My Lords I will withdraw so you may discuss openly and freely which road you
wish to take. One final point I will make, you could collectively decide to
join the rebels and oppose me, do that and I will still be King and I will
create a army based on people you have oppressed for decades. How many do you
think will follow you considering what you have done to them and their
families, I advise you my lords think well on it.”
James rose from the table and left the room. As he closed the doors he could
already hear the howls of protests, his cousin Colonel James who was standing
in the hallway as officer of the Kings guard smiled at him,
it seems that went down rather well.”
slapped his much older cousin on the shoulders and said
you expect cousin, I have just pulled the food from their mouths and like babes
wanting the feeding to continue they will scream and no doubt have tantrums, I
believe most will come to realise that it is better to stay rich and alive
rather than dead or live in exile as a poor noble.”
Just at that
moment a rather beautiful woman walked around the corner of the hall way, she
paused instantly recognising Col James,
“I am sorry
Colonel Anders, I thought the council might be finished, I had hoped to speak
to young James who was standing there with his mouth open,
apologies sir, I do not believe we have been introduced.”
James with a smile said
Lady Margret, I just assumed you had both already met, Lady Margret this is as
of now King James III of England, Sire this is Lady Margret Hackett, the
daughter of Lord Hackett.”
James and Lady Margret stood facing each other speechless, finally young James
said “My Lady I most certainly do apologise for my rude gaping, I am most
honoured to meet you.”
smiled “It is my honour sire to have the great pleasure of making your
acquaintance”, they both simply stood smiling at each other.
James finally decided to break the ice,
the Nobles make their deliberations this may be a perfect time to talk a walk
through the gardens.”
young James responded,
cousin you are quite right, and might I ask for the pleasure of your company
smiled, “The pleasure is all mine sire, may I ask how long you have been King, I
thought that was why the council was meeting.”
as he glanced back at his cousin,
“I believe I
have been King for about 15 minutes my Lady, and the Lords are now discussing
how loyal they will remain to me.”
goodness sire, I do hope that they decide wisely and support you.”
“As I do
Lady Margret, for the alternative is too horrible to consider.”
discussion amongst the Nobles was extremely lively, several suggested leaving
and possibly joining Lord Bedford, but when Lord Castlemaine pointed out the
wisdom of James’s words they reconsidered.
Culpepper added “”My god he is an arrogant son of bitch now as a boy, what will
he be like as a man and King. How dare he speak to us like that.”
“He dares because he knows he is right, he has the blood of Prussian royalty
and English Royalty in his veins, and in that he has the self believe that
everything he does or says is right. Yes it is arrogance, but it is self belief
and I for one would prefer a King who believes in himself over some limp wrist wastrel
that will be bullied and controlled by others.
my Lords, we all know he is right, who amongst us can go back to our lands and
guarantee our military units would remain loyal to us.”
they all then realised that their positions as nobles and Lords would become
threatened by the very people they were supposed to rule, and since most Lords
had ruled unwisely if left unchecked the people would rise up and in that case
the nobles and their families had a lot more to lose than wealth.
took a moment away from the discussion to gather his thoughts, he had hoped he
would be able to dominate and hence influence this young king, but it was quite
evident now that this young man was to be his own man. It meant for the first
time he realised that all he and his family represented was coming to an end
and he wondered could he simply hand it all over without a whimper.
concern was for his daughter Margret, with no other children she would have
received the total inheritance and could have lived very comfortably, he even
had agreed to marry her to the son of one of his rival Lords, but now that was
seen Lord Hackett move towards the windows, he looked old and tired, but still
he decided he had to talk with the man.
“I am sorry
to intrude on your private moments my Lord but I wanted to have a few moments
alone with you if I may.”
Sir Edward, I am sorry I am a little in my cups at the moment, what is on your
“My lord, as
you have seen things have changed, James is not the boy any of us have
realised, and his ability to grasp and confront situations rapidly confounds even
me. Perhaps like you and the other Lords I had hoped we could influence a young
boy into becoming a King, but I fear instead of a boy we have taken a tiger by
“Are you honestly
telling me that you didn’t know what he planned or intended to act as he has
“Indeed I am
my Lord, James is a very private young man, not given to espousing his
thoughts; however what I have learned over the last few months is he has a
unique potential to grasp a complicated issue and deal with it in a very simple
wondered how he would deal with confronting you and the other Lords, if I may
be so bold my Lords you are not men given to listening to commands from others
and thus I thought perhaps he would become too intimidated to even be able to
we have seen, he had worked out the issue of the nobles in his mind, he
investigated all aspects of his being able to rule and then he acted, knowing
we would be faced by the two simplest choices, follow him or oppose him; thus
making a complicated issue a very simple one.”
quite right Sir Edward that we have a tiger by the tail, but if he is like this
now, my god he could become a tyrant of a King and where would all be then
Lord I feel James will need to be an extraordinary King, for he has much more
to do other than simply rule. He must fight a civil war, unite a nation behind
him, rebuild a national economy and all the while deal with foreign powers who
will do all they can to ensure England remains a divided nation. So while he
may be a tiger to us, for England he is the right man,err boy.”
suppose you are right Sir Edward, but it is not easy for me as a father to see
all I have gathered for my daughter, simply being cast aside to the winds.”
The two men
stood for a moment gazing outside through the window, both deep in their
It was then
Edward noticed Young James, Lady Margret and his son James wandering along the
had turned and was preparing to join the others when Edward spoke.
“My Lord it
occurs to me, the one thing James does not have is partner and consort, and in
these turbulent times I believe he needs a strong supportive wife, one who will
smooth his rather more aggressive and impulsive nature.”
turned to Edward, “And who do you have in mind Sir Edward?”
placed a hand on Lord Hackett’s shoulder and swiveled him around so he was
looking out the window, down on his daughter laughing with young James.”
“It seems my
Lord that fate may work in strange ways, you have fears for your daughter which
would evaporate were she perhaps queen, James is in need of at least one strong
Noble supporter and I know his mother would be keen to see him married and most
importantly of all; England needs a Royal family not just a King.”
looked down on his daughter, it was the first time in a long time he had seen
her laugh so, she was animated and James was responding equally with howls of
My daughter the
Queen of England now that would be far greater than I could ever have dared
He turned to
Sir Edward, for the first time in a week he was smiling,
always under estimated you Sir Edward, you are like you nephew down there a
wolf in sheep’s clothing, but you know I believe England needs a few wolves to
be let loose amongst its enemies, now let’s go and drag these other bastards
back to the table and knock some sense into them.”
for a moment, then laughed aloud, so loud in fact that the other lords stopped
arguing and all turned and looked at Lord Hackett,
“I have just
thought of a problem, does anyone in England know how to organise a bloody
looked from one to the other shrugging shoulders and then laughed. Lord Hackett
stepped over to the table.
Lords we need to decide, do we support James or run with our tales between our
legs and take our chances with bloody Bedford and his rabble?”
Castlemaine spoke up immediately
the King, he may not be what I would choose but by god he is the best option on
nodded, “I agree, it is time we stopped being a pack of idiots and put our
country before our personal greed, and coming from me that says a lot. I agree
with Lord Castlemaine James may not be what we each want, but he is what
England needs and I will support him”.
the two strongest Nobles decide to support the King it did not take long for
the others to see the wisdom and to a man they all agreed to support their new
the meeting, walked along the corridors of the palace heading for the gardens,
along the way he met Sophia, she was looking at him anxiously,
a King Sophia, your son has come a long way; but he is now England’s best
into tears and Edward drew her onto his shoulders, just then there was a voice
earth is wrong mother?”
Margret and Edwards’s son stood there gaping at Sophia as she cried
its King, all the nobles back there are behind you sire.”
transfixed to the spot for a few moments, he glanced from his mother who was
still in Edward’s arms crying, to his cousin and finally to Margret, without
thinking he took her by the shoulders and twirled her around, they both were
laughing and giggling.
A voice from
a sight the Palace of Whitehall has not seen in a very long time- laughter.”
stood behind them and was beaming with a smile of his own, both at the thought
of England having a King but also in seeing young James there holding Margret’s
hand and he hoped and prayed to a merciful and forgiving god it would also soon
have a Queen.
was not the only one to have noticed the hand holding, Sophia did as well and
she realised that her son, now King was about to face his first real challenge,
conquering a woman’s heart, she didn’t give a thought about how he would
Sir Steven Ferguson’s departure from London could hardly be
described as dignified, as soon as the council of Nobles had broken up the
Dukes and Lords scattered in every direction seeking allies or waiting for
escorts from Lord Castlemaines troops, Sir Ferguson didn’t wait and he decided
that talking could be done later, he wanted to be away now so he quietly
escaped from the chambers through a side
entrance. At first he made good progress, but then as luck would have it
someone thought he looked like a noble and started yelling and screaming.
initiated a scramble through the side alleys and lanes of London, he was
finally trapped by a gang of street urchins who immediately set upon him,
flaying him with all manner of sticks, fists, feet and clubs. He was only saved
by the diligence of a Castlemaine Dragoon patrol, they picked him up and once
he told them who he was he was taken on horseback to his townhouse.
were horrified when their master crashed through the front door, bleeding,
bruised and clothes in tatters.
immediately set about cleaning him up and giving him new clothes, all the while
he was yelling and screaming at his guard commander to prepare for leaving
It had only
taken an hour since his arrival back at the townhouse and he was mounting his
horse with the guard around him. He told the staff to remain and lock the
townhouse assuring everyone they would be safe, that when things calmed down
they could all return to Romney.
instructed his guard commander to ensure they were not stopped by anyone, so
once the gates of the residence were opened the Duchy of Romney dragoons drew
swords and moved out into the streets of London. The departure from London of
Sir Ferguson from that point on only at best be described as a cavalry charge.
set upon the crowds on the streets crushing and slashing as they swept through
them, even Sir Ferguson set upon them with his own sword, the path he took out
of London could be traced by the trail of dead and broken bodies.
once realising that it was the Duchy of Romney troops that had attacked them,
stampeded back to official Duchy of Romney residence and despite the Dragoons
from Lord Castlemaine that had been posted there to protect the house and
staff, they attacked both the residence and the dragoons, within 30 minutes 4
Dragoons were dead and the remainder scattered, the residence was in flames and
the staff were all killed in the frenzied onslaught of the maddened crowd.
then went on a rampage through London seeking official residences to attack,
even the Chambers of Nobles was attacked early in the morning over 250 people
were killed by Castlemaine troops protecting that building alone, but 70
Castlemaine troops were killed unsuccessfully defending it.
like much of London was in flames by daybreak, some weeks later investigations
determined that the frenzied attack had been started by Sir Fergusons troops
attacking people on the streets as he fled London. By daybreak over a dozen
official residences were in flames, it had been estimated that over 700 people
died and Castlemaines army lost 200 men.
In the minds
of the people it had created a sense of empowerment and revenge; it was also a
fertile breeding ground for radical Jacobin that were to plague London and
indeed England for the next few years.
Ferguson left London and the chaos his rampaging Cavalrymen had left behind they
slowed their progress and once more assumed a more dignified and military look,
all of them including Sir Ferguson were exhilarated by the violence and
bloodletting they had inflicted on the peasants of that sinkhole of a city.
Fergusons party were somewhat alarmed when they saw a large body of Lyndhurst
troops, both infantry and cavalry heading towards London, both parties passed
sneering at each other; the Lyndhurst troops somewhat puzzled by the blood and
dirt covering the horses of the Romney Cavalry.
It was then
in the mind of Sir Ferguson that a plan was created, a plan for revenge against
the Anders and against all those other royal swine back in London.
estimated that at least half the Lyndhurst troops were in or moving into
London, which meant that Lyndhurst County was seriously weakened and that this
new boy king was vulnerable in Sir Leopold’s estate at New Park.
turned to his escort commander ordering him to quicken the pace; he had to get
back to his Duchy and fast.
back in his home Sir Ferguson summoned his army commanders and an old family
friend Sir Henry Blakedale. Sir Blakedale was better known as Captain
Blakedale, the dignity of a knighthood was only relevant within the Duchy of
Romney as those fools back in the Noble council chambers had not thought
promoting another pirate to the Knighthood was appropriate.
When all the
commanders finally arrived Sir Ferguson set about describing his plan, it was
simple he told them, all they had to do was sneak about 100 men into Lyndhurst
over the next week. The 100 men were to be the pick of the Romney army and of
Sir Blakedale’s men, who to a man were pirates, murders and thieves and were
often used by Sir Ferguson on special “operations”. They were to secretly
surround the estate and in a surprise attack overwhelm the guard in Sir
Leopold’s residence which was estimated at 50 men, all before the garrison
nearby could become alerted, that garrison could contain up to 500 men so speed
was of vital importance, they were to capture the boy king and bring him back
to Romney, if they couldn’t take him alive, they were to bring back his head as
he would need evidence to show those gentlemen Lords that the King was no more.
New Park Estate
army would be prepared on the Lyndhurst/Romney border to make diversionary
attacks as well as to meet the raiders and escort them back out of Lyndhurst.
realised that it would mean war, but that excited rather than intimidated him.
It would force those fools back in London into acting, once the King was dead
or taken, this pointless revolt against the Nobles would be squashed and the
prize for doing that would be Sir Ferguson becoming Lord Ferguson of the
If he failed
it really didn’t matter because England would be at war and victory would be
achieved by the most ruthless rather than fawning pious Lords who hoped to
avoid bloodshed but equally expected to keep their positions of wealth and
knew, he was prepared to go to any lengths to achieve his goals, and whether a
boy king had to die, or a nation flung into civil war was of no relevance to
him; the means were definitely worthy of the end.
week of Sir Ferguson leaving London, unknown to those Lords and Knights
throughout England, the motives and moves of one small insignificant Knight in
southern England was to plunge them all into civil war.