Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Escalation




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.
Before 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.
The discussions 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.
In general 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.
Perhaps 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.
Edward 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 territory.

However Sir 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.
In his 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.
(For a full list of Royalist Military units and positions see Military Page)
Military Forces in England

The Parliament Confederation
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.
Those 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.

Following 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.

The only 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 lands.
He was however represented by the rather portly Cardinal Cartwright who just happened to be in Kent at the time of the Council breakup.
Cardinal Cartwright had just returned from Rome where he had been the English Ambassador to the Pope.

The Nobles had in the first day of their discussions quickly come to the conclusion that they would need
Foreign 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.

It was 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.
Since 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.
He added 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 again.

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 stunned silence.
It was 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.
The Cardinal explained that the invading force consisted of Barkdale Marines and some Light Infantry. Lord Ashley asked rather afraid of the answer,
“Pray tell me that the Barkdale marines were not the Barkdale pirates that haunt the Romney lands. “
The Cardinal 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.

Before he had finished reading Sir Fergusons announcement Lord Bedford slammed his fist down on the desk.
“My God 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.”

Lord Bedford’s 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.
“Very well, what has he achieved and what were his losses?”

Cardinal Cartwright swallowed hard as he glanced at the message in his shaking hands.

“It appears 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.
The 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 Anders command.
Captain 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.”
Again there 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.”

“Well my Lord I am sure Captain Barkdale would not implicate Sir Ferguson, he is a loyal man my Lord.”

“Barkdale is 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.”

The Nobles 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.
Then the “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 English people.
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.
Cardinal 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 their forces.
(For a full list of Parliamentarian Military see Military Page)
Military Forces in England

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Raid


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.


The Raid




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
rogues, 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.
The 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.

However 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 everyone.

Barkdale 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.
There were 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.

Barkdale 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 sentries.

New Park Estate
General Sir 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
city, 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.
He walked 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.
He had 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.
He walked 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

The young 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 nagging feeling.
“John come 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 woods”

Just then 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.
“Jeeesus Christ general, there’s men down there firing, some more coming over the walls.”
The General 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.

“John get 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.”

Captain Johnston saluted and rushed out the door, calling for the sergeant of the guard.


Captain Barkdale
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.
 My god this mud stinks thought Barkdale as he lay motionless watching the patrol pass by.
Barkdale knew they would not come back this way for sometime, maybe sooner once the firing started but by then it would be too late.
His men 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.
Once the 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.

The two 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.
Barkdale 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,
“Damn” 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.
Barkdale 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.
The Estate 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.
.Barkdale 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.”
“Bloody hell Cap’n helps yourself there seem plenty of the buggers to go around that’s for sure.”

The Main Barracks
The firing 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.

He yelled down to Captain Swanson
“Erich get the men over to the manor house as quick as you can, I am heading over there now”
The Colonel 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,
“Who the hell are these….” He and the other four dragoons were killed outright.”

The Fifty 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.
Trying to 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.
It became clear to him that the General had to make do on his own for a while yet.


                                              

North Park Estate

As Colin’s 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.
Inside 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 been.
The oddity 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 soaps.
Glancing 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.
The 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.

The battle 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.
They poured 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.

Outside at 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.
The sheer 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.
Finally 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,
“The Generals been hit bad”.

Summary
The fight 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.

General 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.

The following day the last of Barkdale’s marines were taken prisoner, the Romney Light infantry escaped but lost ten men.
There were other raids along the Romney/Lyndhurst border but these are generalized and will not be played.

The third English Civil war had started.

The skirmish 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.
I determined 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.

Die rolls 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.


The 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 turns.



   


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Bad old Duke of Blankety-Blank



The Duke of Romney's past as a smuggler and his recent murderous ride out of London is now being remembered by the bards of taverns and Inns throughout the city.


The bad old Duke of Blanketty-Blank is an evil little man;
He has no redeeming features, none at all.
His face is ugly as sin, you need a box to put it in,
And in his boots he stands just sixty inches tall.

He’s the Master of telling lies – he pulls the wings off flies –
His evildoing knows no curb nor bridle
The devil finds work for idle hands, as ev’ryone understands,
But from the Devil’s work the Duke is never idle.

He connives with the smugglers, schemes with the wreckers,
He rides with the Excise Men as well.
Bringing contraband ashore, he takes the wreckers’ score,
Then with troopers he rides them all down into Hell.

There is no evil he will shrink at; no crime that he will blink at;
His Grace has neither conscience nor scruple:
As his accomplices swing, and dance the Hangman’s Fling,
He boasts that Beelzebub’s his willing and able pupil!

But his evillest crime of all, as seen by great and small,
Was to plot the murder of our true born King.
May his crimes lie unforgiven, his bloated corpse rot unshriven,
For the Duke has never compassed one good thing.

The lowly worm find haven; a repast for the raven;
My His Grace perform Good Works in his decease.
But his soul be sport of Devils, ‘midst diabolic revels.  
May the Duke never ever Rest in Peace.

With the utmost thanks to the Archduke Piccola for his
creative skills and good humour.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A few days later


A few days later.

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.
In London 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.
There were 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.
Most nobles however knew that Sir Ferguson was safe from arrest at least for now.

In Whitehall 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 were:-

Lord Hackett chaired the meeting
Lord Castlemaine
Lord Frobisher
Lord Grey
Lord Culpepper
Sir Anders
Sir Skippon
Sir Anthony Tiller
Sir Hamilton
Sir Stradling
Sir Waite

Also in 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.
Very quickly 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
“Everyone here knows my views, so I wish to defer my opportunity to speak to allow James a few words.”

James stood 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.”

James then referred to as small piece of paper he had taken some notes on,
“the 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 Parliament

All heads then turned to Sir Strange for his considered opinion,
He nodded, he eyes firmly fixed on James,
“Incredible young 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.”

“Thank you Sir Strange, and thus Gentleman I wish to declare that I am assuming the throne of England as James III”.

The gathering remained quiet, stunned by the sudden turn of events, it was Lord Frobisher that was the first to speak,
“Perhaps I 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.”

Edward rose to speak, but there was a hand on his shoulders as James rose,
“My Lords, 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.”
James paused for a few moments, taking the time to gaze and judge each noble sitting at the table.
“Where 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.
Yet without 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.

As for myself, I would view your future roles as my advisors, as a upper house of Parliament, a house of Lords if you will.
The lower 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.”

Lord 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 sire.”

“Extinct, no 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.
My Lords 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 lords.

Lord Hackett rose to speak; he was the most powerful man at the table with the most to lose,
“Sire, when 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.
Obviously I 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.”

Lord Hackett 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?”

“My Lords 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.”

With that 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,
“Well Sire, it seems that went down rather well.”
James slapped his much older cousin on the shoulders and said
“What did 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 father.”

She looked to young James who was standing there with his mouth open,
“My apologies sir, I do not believe we have been introduced.”
Colonel James with a smile said
“I apologise 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.”

Now both 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.”

Margret smiled “It is my honour sire to have the great pleasure of making your acquaintance”, they both simply stood smiling at each other.
Colonel James finally decided to break the ice,
“Sire while the Nobles make their deliberations this may be a perfect time to talk a walk through the gardens.”
Instantly young James responded,
“Indeed cousin you are quite right, and might I ask for the pleasure of your company Lady Margret.”
Again she 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.”

James smiled 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.”
“Oh my 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.”

The 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.

Lord 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.”

Edward spoke “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.
What’s more 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.”


Essentially 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.

Lord Hackett 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.
His sole 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 quite impossible.
Edward had 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.”

“Certainly Sir Edward, I am sorry I am a little in my cups at the moment, what is on your mind?”

“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 the tail.”

“Are you honestly telling me that you didn’t know what he planned or intended to act as he has done?”

“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 way.
I had 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 rule.
However as 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.”

“You are 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 huh?”

“Well my 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.”

“Yes I 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 private thoughts.
It was then Edward noticed Young James, Lady Margret and his son James wandering along the pathways below.
Lord Hackett 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.”

Lord Hackett turned to Edward, “And who do you have in mind Sir Edward?”

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.”

Lord Hackett 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 laughter.
My daughter the Queen of England now that would be far greater than I could ever have dared hoped for.

He turned to Sir Edward, for the first time in a week he was smiling,
“I have 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.”

He paused 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 coronation.”

They all looked from one to the other shrugging shoulders and then laughed. Lord Hackett stepped over to the table.
“Well my 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?”

Lord Castlemaine spoke up immediately
“I support the King, he may not be what I would choose but by god he is the best option on offer.”
Lord Hackett 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”.

Having seen 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 King.


Edward left 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,
“England has a King Sophia, your son has come a long way; but he is now England’s best hope.”

Sophia burst into tears and Edward drew her onto his shoulders, just then there was a voice behind him,

“What on earth is wrong mother?”

James, Margret and Edwards’s son stood there gaping at Sophia as she cried uncontrollably.

Edward simply said
“England has its King, all the nobles back there are behind you sire.”

James stood 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 behind said

“Now there’s a sight the Palace of Whitehall has not seen in a very long time- laughter.”

Lord Hackett 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.
Lord Hackett 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 conquer England.





Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Revenge



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.
That 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.

His staff were horrified when their master crashed through the front door, bleeding, bruised and clothes in tatters.
They 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 London.
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.

He had 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.
His escort 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.
The crowd 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.
The 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.

The Chambers 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.


Once Sir 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.
Sir 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.
He quickly 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.
He quickly turned to his escort commander ordering him to quicken the pace; he had to get back to his Duchy and fast.

On arriving 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

The Romney 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.
Sir Ferguson 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 Romney/Lyndhurst Duchy.
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 power.
Sir Ferguson 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.

Within a 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.

                                                The setup for the raid on New Park estate.