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.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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