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.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Palace of Whitehall
With the abrupt end of the meeting of the Nobles it took
some time for the significance of what had just happened to sink in, but within
a few minutes Nobles and knights were gathering in small groups talking over
the events that had transpired, these small groups then formed larger groups as
Lords and knights tried to find allies amongst those who shared similar
beliefs. However it occurred almost immediately to Lord Bedford as he looked
around the room that England had just slipped into the early throes of a civil
war, and he and his supporters were in what would become enemy territory, it
would be prudent that they left London as quickly as possible.
chamber an unruly crowd had been gathering all afternoon as word spread around
London that the Council of Nobles had finally imploded and was finished forever,
the rumour that there was a new King also added to the crowd’s sense of
uncertainty and fear which only seemed to inflame the crowd’s temperament.
Already as many of the Lords came out they were attacked by any type of missile
the crowd could find. Lord Castlemaine
who was the Duke for the London area sent for the garrison to be summoned, so
they could escort the Nobles away from the chambers as well as clear the
Bedford and Ashley seemed to be the main target of the crowd’s vehemence, Lord
Bedford’s coach already damaged by the morning trip to the chambers had to be
abandoned along the way and he had to take over a dragoon’s horse, no easy task
for the portly elderly Duke. It was decided that they would be safer if they
rode directly to Lord Bedford’s lands in Kent.
By the time he arrived there several hours
later Lord Bedford was in agony, in an extremely foul mood and intent on
vengeance for the humiliation he had experienced throughout the day. Never in all
his life had he been so humiliated and he would have Castlemaines head and as for
that damned Anders he would see that entire family wiped out, boy King and all.
reaction on arriving back, was to call out the Kent Army, and begins closing
the borders, during the night other lords and knights drifted into Kent as they
It was late
evening before the last Knight had left the chambers, some left defiantly
shouting and abusing the crowds; others left in disguise and surreptitiously
made their own way back to their lodgings. While others simply walked out the
front door, but even the more popular lords were attacked and abused by
agitators that every unruly crowd attracts.
Anders finally arrived back at his town house to find the street closed off. He
approached one of Castlemaines Dragoon officers a Captain and asked why it was
closed and where were his friends and family.
explained that his town house had to be abandoned for the moment as it was too
difficult to protect, that his family and friends were now in the Palace of
Whitehall under a strong guard for their protection.
finally made his way to the palace, already there seemed to be the flickering
of lights in every room as staff made preparations for the Anders family and
James. The Cordon consisting of Castlemaines troops around the palace was
substantial and that gave some sense of reassurance to Edward.
climbed the steps to the main entrance he was met by his son Colonel James
Anders, the 100 men of the Lyndhurst Guard were responsible for the internal
security of the palace and James had just finished ensuring they were all
posted and alert.
Palace of Whitehall
at the top of the steps as his father approached, James realised just how tired
his father looked.
well this place is a step up from the town house.”
nodded to his son,
“Yes well it
needs to be son, but tell me who the hell decided to bring James to London?”
uncle Leopold’s decision, he was worried that his estates were too vulnerable
to attack and he wanted Sophia and James close to you and he believed they
would be better protected here in London. We had a dispatch rider come from him
earlier this evening and he has sent the remainder of the 1st
Battalion and two squadrons of Dragoons, they should be here tomorrow.”
looked at his son, he realised that he had placed a large responsibilities on
the young man’s shoulders and in the coming days those responsibilities would
to me James, we are in great danger here, we are for the moment virtually
prisoners and we have to be very careful.”
father, whose prisoners?”
everyone and anyone at the moment, we can’t move outside the palace because of
the mob, and then we have Lord Castlemaines army surrounding the palace
supposedly protecting us, but equally they could be there to keep us in.”
trust Lord Castlemaine father?” James asked.
moment son I don’t trust any of them and in the coming days we will see how
strong their resolve is, today they reacted out of natural instinct, some for
their survival; others out of self interest; in the next few days we will find
out the price of that self interest. But
James for god’s sake remember one thing, we are all in great danger and we must
suspect everyone until things calm down. I want someone at Sophia and James’s side all day;
we need to get our own servants here and especially the cooks.”
think they will try to kill James?”
“Of course I
do son, I would if I were them and the sooner would be better as far as they
are concerned, they won’t try tonight as they will be uncertain of who is where
but they will certainly try within the next few days. It won’t be by armed
attack unless its Castlemaine who makes the move, but they will try by stealth
so be on your guard.”
and led his father through the doors of the Palace, in arriving in the foyer James
turned to his father.
“I will be
glad when we get those reinforcements father, but don’t you think uncle Leopold
has left Lyndhurst vulnerable, we will only have 1 battalion of Infantry, a new
cavalry regiment and a couple of Battalions of Militia back in Lyndhurst.”
knows what he is doing son and he like me realises the days where Lords, Dukes
and knights rule provinces has gone; all the estates will become vulnerable
within a few months. What matters most to us is getting James on the throne and
keeping him there, and of course keeping London safe. To do that we will need
to concentrate more forces together rather than leave them in tiny garrisons to
be picked off one by one.”
his brow, for the first time today he realised how tired he was,
stumbling block to getting James on the throne is making the Lords understand is
the very fact that they can no longer govern their provinces.”
they can’t govern them who will?”
James, Parliament, and that is what we must do in the next few days, establish
a parliament out of nothing and have a Government to run England, but first we
must convince the Lords to give up all they rule.”
From the top
of the stairs came a voice,
task then uncle.” It was James, soon to be James III but for now simply James.
managed a smile; it amazed him how the boy had seemed to have grown in the
short time he has been in England.
“No James it
will be no easy task, especially since they all have great wealth to lose.”
down the stairs pausing on the stairs a few steps from the bottom,
price will they demand for giving up their lands and wealth?”
you James, they will want a puppet King so they can carry on from where they
left off, a different style but the same old game.”
came to the top of the stairs having heard the voices and as she descended to stand
alongside her son she said,
is the one thing they won’t have.”
at his mother and smiled at her
we must allow them to think that is what they will get, a compliant boy king,
and when it is too late we shall remind them what they have is a King who is his
own man or perhaps I should say boy eeehhh uncle.”
smiled he looked at this boy who had been plucked from obscurity in Europe and thrust into the turmoil of a possible war in
England with people wanting his death, wanting to control him and or demanding
favours from him, with all this the boy understood the craft of Kingship,
something none of them could have taught him.
you are quite right, you will make a formidable King I think.”
With that James
turned and began to walk up the stairs to his new rooms, he paused turning to
“Uncle, I don’t
know why you have risked everything for me, I truly don’t understand that yet;
but I promise one day I will.”
turned and marched up the stairs followed by his mother.
turned to his son with a smile, Colonel James just stood shaking his head,
“It is hard
to believe that he is only 15 and has never been in a royal court in his life.”
nodded, “Indeed son, but then he is a natural leader and one day he will show
us all just how formidable he can be.” *Note to Historical Buffs The Palace of Whitehall was mostly destroyed by fire in the 1690's but in my story it still stands in the mid 18th century, at least for a while yet.