Monday, May 27, 2013
A summary of Events that have occurred over the last few Months in England
Below is an update on the history of events in England right up to the recent battle in Gloucestershire, I have taken this opportunity to make a few subtle changes from the beginning of my story simply to fit the flow of the story as events have changed slightly in some areas.
England was very much a different country following King James assuming the throne, it was only three and half months ago but in that time the country had changed considerably.
It seemed that when the High Council ran the country almost everyone that was not a noble was in opposition to it, mostly it was a passive opposition but it was there none the less. The membership of the High council consisted of the upper nobility of England, and they ruled the nation in the absence of any alternative, such as a king, they ruled it harshly, corruptly and inefficiently. When small revolts occurred as they did every few years the High Council squashed all opposition ruthlessly.
The manner in which they directed the country meant internationally England became a second rate power. French gold very much directed the High Councils view of diplomacy, and that gold rarely made its way into the treasury, rather it was used to benefit the members of the High Council and even then mainly only the great lords themselves. But it was not purely just French Gold that the Lords lusted for, it was any gold and they were quite susceptible to Papal Gold as well.
The hoarded treasure went into their grand houses and palaces, buying out merchant businesses that had been squeezed out of existence either by Government inefficiencies or deliberately by a lord that wanted the business for his own portfolio.
Money for the essentials of running a country were for ever in the deficit for example the wages of the navy largely went unpaid as had the maintenance of the ships, it seemed every year more and more ships were laid up and aboard the few that were not laid up the crews were virtually mutinous and often refused to sail.
Only the army was paid regularly, and that was because the High Council needed the army to maintain their iron grip on the country.
Austria who once used to rely heavily on English gold now found its ability to maintain a long war was seriously jeopardised, therefore France could out finance either Prussia or Austria and if they lost military advantages in the short term they gained them by extending the war and virtually bankrupting their opposition.
The wars between Prussia and Austria were made small affairs due to the lack finance for longer engagements and these skirmish wars were encouraged by France, often France would favour one side in one war and another in the next, there by maintaining its own dominance in Europe.
However over the last 5 years Frances own financial situation deteriorated as did the hunger for international manipulation, in the last war between Prussia and France, Prussia had fought the French to a standstill which eventually brought about the Treaty of Basel. The realisation that Prussia had not only fought and survived French aggression it was seen as being more than of a match in any battle with the French, thus the last war changed the entire diplomatic and military spectrum of Europe.
Out of necessity Austria and France allied following the treaty, Austria out of fear of further Prussian expansionism and for the French the realisation that they were not at the moment the sole dominant power on the continent began to realise that some diplomacy was required rather than threats. However the Governing influence in all France could do at the moment was finance, that if they were not more prudent then like England they may become a second rate power.
To improve their income the French looked to the colonies, not only their own but to colonies owned by others as well.
Prussia was quickly becoming the dominant power in Europe, its expansion coming from its growing economy, much of this was due to Prussian expansionism in its trade from North America, mostly at the expense of France but more recently even the English Colonies found it more profitable to trade with Prussia than their mother country.
Naturally the High Council was disturbed by this, but as Lord Ashley pointed out, there was no appetite
for foreign adventures in the High council, most people knew what he meant was that the Lords had robbed the treasury blind and there was no money to pay for additional troops. The High Council had always been reluctant to have strong forces in the colonies, simply because they were not under the direct influence of the council, and therefore in the long term may represent a threat to them or their interests.
So Prussia gained much of the English North American trade, purely because of neglect and short sightedness of the High Council. They did not need to conquer the colonies merely win the hearts and minds of the English merchants and political leaders. Already there was developing a belief in some of the colonial states that they would be better of Governing themselves, a belief currently being fostered by Prussian agents.
There were many in England that unless the Government showed some strong leadership there was every chance they would lose the colonies, at the very least it was clear that the next wars would most likely be fought in America rather than Europe.
England & the Growing opposition
It was in fact the drop in trade from North America that had sown the first seeds of opposition to the Council within Britain, it was lead by the leading Merchants who were losing their fortunes because of the Council Policy.
In the east the East India company was making great profits, they were protected by the High Lords many of whom were directors of the company.
The other reason opposition had started against the council was religion, the Catholic Church had made great progress in re-establishing itself within the counties of the stronger Lords, from these established bases the Catholic Church using money as their spiritual lever over the High lords began to pressure the lesser Lords, which in turn meant the protestants within their lands were starting to feel the wrath of a revengeful and resurging Catholic Church.
It was because of this that the Archbishop of Canterbury had started his own opposition to the High Council, it was a subtle opposition at first but was becoming effective.
The Archbishop had resorted to every trick he could manage to establish his own power base with which to try and preserve the Church of England, that even included establishing a clandestine group of men who were known as the brotherhood. They were it was said all Franciscan monks, but many of them were more well known as thieves, and adventures. With these men the Archbishop gathered every scrap of intelligence he could on the members of the High Council, some would call it blackmail, the Archbishop preferred the term leverage. He knew one day he would be forced to make a stand against the High Council, and the Archbishop knew all to well discreet information could wield far more power than a sword if applied in the right quarter.
The more obvious opposition to the High Council surfaced oddly enough in the small country of Lyndhurst, the County of Sir Edward Anders a lowly knight within the High Council. Sir Edward had always taken a liberal view in running his county, he prevented the excesses of greed that other Lords allowed and practised in their own lands and he had prevented the encroachment of the Catholic influences into his lands.
This had brought him into opposition with the High Lords and the catholic Church who demanded he allow the catholic Church to establish itself on his lands, this he was forced to reluctantly allow just so as to prevent violence or to give the High Lords reason to take his lands from him, which they were threatening to do. However the people of Lyndhurst county were staunch Protestants, they burnt the new catholic churches and chased the priests away, the High Council demanded that Sir Edward punish the ringleaders which he refused to do.
For a period of weeks there was a stand off, even to the point the High Council considered using the army and squashing the opposition in Lyndhurst, Sir Anders threatened to raise the Militia if they did, many of the merchants around England, in particular London rallied to Sir Anders cause offering what little money they had to raise an army, the realisation of the extent of the growing opposition to their rule gave the High Council reason to pause and reconsider. Lyndhurst was allowed to remain solely Protestant and was the only county in England to do so, but Sir Edward Anders had made many enemies on the High Council.
It was Lord Bedford who believed that Sir Edward Anders may be the very match that could light the fires of opposition to the rule of the council, in part he was correct; but the actual match that lit that particular fire was much closer to him than he realised; it came from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop was naturally enough against a Catholic restoration in England, that and the fact that where the Catholics had gained a significant presence they were taking a very harsh attitude to the protestants, not totally unlike what the protestants had done to the Catholics in Lyndhurst. It occurred to the Archbishop that for him to survive personally as well as trying to fight back was by information gathering.
Over the months he and his small clandestine group of men had been gathering information on the High Lords they had made some significant discoveries that would as the Archbishop was fond of saying “would give him so leverage”. However the most significant discovery occurred by accident, it occurred when the Archbishop renewed the search for a Royal bloodline. He prayed that somewhere there had to be a member of the Royal houses of England, if he could convince them to return to England and re-establish the throne, then England and the Church of England may very well be saved. However for a long time the search failed to achieve any success whatsoever.
It had been thought or assumed that all Royal bloods had been been murdered in the decades that became known as the “Years that God turned a Blind Eye”. Everyman woman and child throughout Europe that had royal blood that linked them to the English throne was hunted by murder squads. It was not only the Republicans as they became known who participated in this blood feud, Royal supporters hunted down any leaders, supporters and families of those that had links with the Cromwell dictatorship and what later became known as the Republic.
The nobles that survived the bloodbaths were generally the ones that participated in the killings, but they soon realised that if they continued to fight amongst each other, eventually they themselves as a class would cease to exist or at least become powerless. There began a period of unstable Governments as various system were tried, Parliaments and peoples councils all failed until the High Lords themselves established the High Council and from then on they ruled with iron fists, so although the people of England were denied political freedoms at least some sense of order began in England, naturally it came at a price.
Following the establishment of the High Council no one stood up to claim the throne and survived, a few tried, a few German Princes, some French and even Spanish, but none made it to the shores of England, that was because the High Lords Hackett, Bedford and Ashley had all and any claimants killed so they themselves could rule through the High council. Other countries protested when their own princes or nobles were murdered, but proving it was done at the behest of the English High Council was another matter entirely.
So the Lords of England having made their peace with each other and established a Government through the High Council, the Lords divided England into Counties and each Lord had a county of his own, to be his fief. Some Counties then had lesser knights that ruled small boroughs or even small counties, one such family of Knights had been the Anders.
The Archbishops search for a royal bloodline had been an side issue, it was not an avenue that he expected any results from, but one of his men brother Paul persisted and eventually found a lead. The lead was to take Brother Paul to Hesse in Europe and to a young man, a mere teenager whose natural mother was Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia sister to King Frederick of Prussia, the boys father was Prince Ferdinand of a lower German Royal house that had links to the English throne links that even he was unaware off.. The boys father it was discovered was the sole remaining member of a bloodline that lead back to Charles I who was the great grandfather to this boy. Sadly the father was killed in the wars against France not long after his son was born, leaving the boy who was to become known as James as the sole surviving member of royal blood from the English throne.
For various reason Princess Wilhelmina could not allow it or did not want it known that she had an affair and had given birth to the boy, it so happened that one of the Princesses ladies in waiting a young married woman called Sophia Schiller was also expecting a child, but she lost her husband in the same battle in which James father was killed, sadly Sophia miscarried her baby, some said it was through the grief of losing her husband. However it was an auspices moment for Princess Wilhelmina because she and Sophia agreed that Sophia would take James as her own baby. Thus Princess Wilhelmina's reputation remained intact, and the boy was safe from any machinations from European courts who may have taken advantage of him had it been known that James was King Fredericks nephew.
Sophia later meet an Englishman in Hesse, General Sir Leopold Anders, they became engaged and not long after they had a visit from a very unusual Monk called Brother Paul.
Paul was a direct man and he did not waste too much time with small polite discussions, thus he was almost immediately telling both Sir Leopold and Sophia what he had learned of James's history.
Paul delved into a pouch he was holding, drawing from it a letter, he handed to Sir Leopold.
“You will understand that this is a copy of the original, for obvious reasons I would not risk carrying original documents around.
You will note Sir Leopold that the letter is from Charles I, before he was King, in it he mentions the “delicate matter” of his mistress having just given birth to a son, a baby boy she called John. The letter is addressed to a certain Count Gauden who was living in the Palatinate. He asks that this Count Gauden arrange for the boy to be sent to an orphanage in Austria, what was to become of the mother is not mentioned.”
Leopold read the letter twice, then handed it back to Paul.
“I certainly would agree that this letter indicates some very interesting even dangerous details, but what has it to do with James”
Paul placed the letter back into the pouch,
“The baby boy called John never reached the orphanage in Austria, apparently this Count Gaudin who was extremely elderly died before he could arrange matters, John was sent to a church orphanage in the Palatinate. According to the Orphanage records they mention the date of the boy being admitted but they changed his name to Johannes”.
Again he delved into the pouch and after some shuffling of papers he handed Leopold another one.
“This is a copy of the orphanage entry, in which they record the admittance of a ward of the deceased Count Gaudin – a boy named Johannes.
Sir Leopold we know from other records that when he was seven years old Johannes ran away from the orphanage, but he was found near death frozen from the cold and near starvation by a elderly local couple. We have a copy of the letter from this couple to the orphanage requesting that Johannes be granted to them or be adopted by them. They must have had some influence because the adoption seems to have gone through extremely quickly.
They recorded the name of their adopted son as Johannes Holler, the only records we could find on the Hollers was a mention in one Church record where Count Erik Hollar was laid to rest beside his wife, the record noted he was survived by a son Johannes.
After a very exhaustive search, we finally found Johannes Hollar had joined the Austrian Army, his records there indicate he was from the Palatinate, he joined the army when he was 17 years old. It would appear he was signed up as a Ensign, he rose through the ranks to become a Colonel.
He married and had two children Henry and Analiese, Henry was born in 1649, so John was around 34 years old when his first child was born, Analiese died young, we believe around 5 years old.
Now it seems Colonel Johannes Hollar died in 1676, but in 1670 Henry was engaged to a Princess Konstanze in a small German principality called Granschaft Gimborn, they were married in 1675 and Henry was by then a Colonel himself.
They had one child, a boy they called Ferdinand born in 1683, the same Prince Ferdinand who was James natural birth father.” Paul turned to Sophia
“It appears that Ferdinand was killed in the same battle as your late husband my lady”
Sophia nodded her head seemingly stunned that this strange man purporting to be a monk knew so much about her and her son’s life, perhaps even more than even she knew.
On hearing about James ancestry which brother Paul explained in great detail including more relevant documents they decided it was now far to dangerous for them to remain in Germany, because if the High Council should learn of the boys existence he too would be murdered and distance was no difficulty to the murder squads of the Lords.
Sir Leopold came to the sudden realisation that the boy who was to be his adopted stepson would without a doubt become one of the most hunted people in Europe. European Governments would dearly love to lay their hands on King Fredericks nephew, and as for the High Council of England if they were to learn of the boys existence there was no doubt they would have him eliminated. James's future seemed very bleak indeed.
Sophia turned to Brother Paul and then to Leopold as she too had come to the same realisation,
“What are we to do, here we are powerless, we have no protector Leopold. I cannot go back to Princess Wilhelmina and tell her the danger she has placed her son in, how can we protect him. Yet we have nowhere to go, no one to turn too.”
For the first time in his life General Sir Leopold Anders did not have an answer, he simply looked into the weeping eyes of his fiancée and felt powerless.
It was brother Paul who spoke next,
“What I am about to suggest may seem ludicrous even madness, but believe me it is the only way you can protect James.”
Both Sophia and Leopold looked at Brother Paul, both eager to seek some salvation from what was becoming a disaster.
“You must all return to England with me, James must be announced as the sole heir to the English throne and he must fight not only to save his life, but his country. There is simply no alternative, here in Europe you will live in the certain knowledge that one day some one will come and take James from you, or worse kill him, in England he will have people around him to guide and protect him.”
Paul looked to Leopold.
“Sir Leopold your own brother SIR Edward is currently leading a small passive opposition to the High Council, he has considerable influence throughout England, go back to Lyndhurst with your family and start the restoration of the throne.”
Sophia looked at Brother Paul,
“Are you completely mad” she screamed.
But Sir Leopold quickly realised that Brother Paul was quite right,
“No Sophia, he isnt and he is quite right, here we cant protect our boy, at home with my brother, his sons and his friends we at least have a chanc. Sophia my love look at James life, it was as if God had placed him in our hands for this very purpose, it simply cannot all have been coincidences; there had to be a greater guiding hand here.”
Sophia looked at him in utter shock,
“But he is only a boy.”
Brother Paul said,
“No my lady he was born to be a King, and Sir Leopold is right, if you look at all the so called coincidences that have occurred not only in James life but those of his natural father as well, it all leads to this moment.”
It was from that moment that the restoration of the English throne began, whether it is to survive is for further, well only the future can tell.
Since returning to England just over 4 months ago, much changed in the ensuring struggles. The High Council simply imploded when Sir Edward announced the existence of a royal heir, the High Council, the Catholic Church; even the French and Prussian made much in decrying the claim.
Lord Bedford sent one of his lowly knights who commanded a large group of ex pirates to kidnap the boy, he failed in that but in the ensuring struggles to defend the young man they killed Sir Andrews youngest son and wounded Sir Leopold who lost an arm in the vattle around the Anders estate.
However throughout England the response was inexplicable, it seemed people didn’t care whether his claim was legitimate or not, King James became the rallying call to the opposition of the tyranny that had ruled England for so long.
There were those in the council who rallied their support to him for personal gain, men such as the all powerful Lord Hackett who allied with the Anders with the promise of a betrothal between his daughter and James, with this powerful supporter other lords followed. Other Lords seeing the writing on the wall and realising that their own system of High Council had failed supported the King in the hope of salvaging something of their ill gotten wealth and reputations.
Yet there were many who opposed King James these people were originally called parliamentarians as they defied James under the banner of the cause that won the last civil war. They knew no one would rally to defend the High Council, so they created another totally fictitious cause, a parliament. Many of these so called Parliamentarians were people who owed much to their overlords, many were Catholics who were prepared to defend their faith and later many that would come would be adventurers and mercenary forces from Europe.
However in the first three months of James's reign there had been three small battles, one battle fought on the borders of Lyndhurst County was considered a draw, the next was Sir Ashley's drive on London which was defeated in Royden and the third was an accidental but insignificant battle in Gloucestershire which the parliamentarians won.
The High Council murder squads had already tried to make an attempt on James's life with a bomb, but that had been foiled when the Kings cartographer decoded a secret message.
The first few months in opposing the King made the parliamentarians realise their first reactions had been knee jerk reactions to the situation. The desire to reach London had lead to ill considered battles that gained little, the attempt on the Kings life was for the moment futile.
France had offered help and sitting in Kent was a French Infantry Brigade, all it required was some reliable Parliamentarian troops to fight alongside them, but more importantly what was greatly required was a well considered strategic plan.
For the King, he was surrounded with familiar advisor’s, His uncle Sir Edward Anders was Prime Minister, His cousin James Anders commander of the Kings personal Guard, his step father one of the Generals in his army and finally Brother Paul ran his intelligence service.
James became King as a young nieve and scared teenager, in a matter of months he was quickly learning the art of Kingship, he was also gaining a lot of respect and support within London, which was after all his main power base.
Both the Royals and the Parliamentarians reacted very quickly at the outset of the war, the initial reactions of the Parliamentary leadership had been to quickly squash the young King before he gained a foothold. The High Lords and or their Generals merely cobbled what forces were immediately available and set them on the roads to London.
For the Royals they gathered what forces were immediately on hand to block them and generally the result has been a strategic stalemate. Just about all available units in England have been drawn into the fray (with the exception of northern border counties), the Parliamentarians have a considerable advantage in that the French have sent a infantry brigade into Kent, but the French commander is unwilling to move unless he is supported by English regular troops.
For now both sides are settling down to the realisation that they are now facing a long war, both sides are heavily involved in recruiting and training. The Royalists are having the greater success with local recruiting than the Parliamentarians but the Parliamentarians have the support of the French which will provide at least in the early stages better quality troops.
Further more the war becomes more complicated when we consider the North American Colonies, there it is a four way struggle for dominance. The French, Prussians and Spanish will be attempting to take Colonies off England as well as each other.
For England the North American Colonies will become pivotal in whether they can stay in the war for any period of time,
For now India is firmly established as being under English control, but the power influences between Royalist and Parliamentarian are beginning to surface there as well.