The Vales of Lyndurst Story- (Story runs from top to bottom)

Forces Involved in the The Royston Campaign

The Norfolk Army consisted of:-

2nd Brigade Stationed at Scole (Suffolk)
4th Foot Regiment = 12th Foot, 13th Foot,
5th Foot regiment = 94th Foot, 111th Norfolk Foot
12th Light Infantry battalion

2nd Heavy Cavalry Brigade – Stationed at Scole
2nd regiment of Horse (Carabineers)
3rd regiment of Horse (Carabineers)

6th Brigade – Stationed at Cambridge
12th Foot Regiment =35th Foot. 39th Foot
13th Foot regiment = 40th Foot,113th Foot
14th Light Infantry Battalion

4 Companies medium artillery - 1 at Cambridge
1 company of Heavy artillery – 1 Cambridge

3rd Brigade – stationed at Leicester (Attached to the Norfolk Army from Warwicks army)
6th Foot regiment = 14th Foot, 15th Foot,
7th Foot Regiment = 16th Foot, 95th Foot
13th Light Infantry Battalion

Royalist forces

The Midland Command army consisted of:-

5th Brigade – Stationed in Bedford
12th Foot Regiment = 10th Foot, 11th Foot
13th Foot Regiment = 93rd Foot, 32nd  Foot

6th Brigade – Stationed in Oxford
14th Foot Regiment = 34th foot, 36th Foot
15th Foot Regiment = 37th foot, 33rd Foot,
2nd Light Infantry Battalion (previously 44th Foot)

4th Dragoon Brigade – Stationed in Bedford
2nd Dragoon Regiment
3rd Dragoon Regiment

3rd Light Horse Cavalry Brigade – Stationed in Oxford
1st Regiment of Horse (Blue)
18th Light Horse Regiment

3 Companies of Medium Artillery –

The Royston Campaign – Command decisions.

Prior to the First charge

When Lord Ashley's coach arrived at Icelton Farm as he dismounted he noticed Major General Marks amongst a throng of sub-ordinate commanders, clearly he was in the process of giving his commanders their orders. Lord Ashley stretched his aching back as he looked at his surroundings, the field headquarters had been setup in the courtyard of a rather stately farm, the buildings were more of a french Chateau style than the common English farm setup, the courtyard had an excellent view out over the fields of what would become a battlefield.

He made his way over to where the officers were standing, all either bowed or saluted him as he approached, Lord Ashley acknowledged the greetings, most of these men were old friends of his anyway so he was in very familiar company.
He walked over to where General Marks was standing, a map table beside him, the General clearly flustered by the arrival of his lord ship.
“Well General what have you found for me today huh”.
“Well my lord it appears we have run the fox to ground, out yonder we have a Brigade of Royalist Infantry and we believe a Brigade of Dragoons, some of these units are the same units that have been troubling us for the last few days”.

His lordship took a telescope from the map table and stepped out in front of the gathering, he stood for several moments surveying the field of battle.

“He noticed out to his left a long stretch of swampy river land, clearly this restricted the field of battle in that direction, on his right some distance away was a large dense woods, and more marshlands.

In front of him the Royalists had taken a position in two farms and several rows of hedges, their line was interspersed with woods.

“Well general it seems that whoever commands over there has picked a good position, we are rather hampered here and quite clearly cannot outflank him., I wonder why though they have decided to fight here, what do you think?

“Yes my lord they have an excellent position, they do have a problem though in that we outnumber them considerably, so I intend to roll down on the right flank, swamping them with numbers and then cross those streams and them push into their center once we have broken the enemy right flank.
As to why they are fighting here my lord I believe they have decided this is where they will make their stand before London, I believe what we have before us is an advance guard, and that some miles behind them is the remainder of the enemy. It therefore is imperative we break the enemy right flank very quickly before they can reinforce it with new troops.”

His lordship finished surveying the enemy and looked down at the map,
“Very good Simon, now pray continue with your briefing, I am sure time is of the essence.”

General Marks, nodded and then turned to the officer on his right General Geoffrey Clinton, commander of the 2nd Brigade.
“Geoffrey you have the honour of breaking the enemies left flank, because of the lack of room I suggest you form your battalions into columns and hit them as hard as you can. We don't have time or space to deploy the artillery and engage in a bombardment of their lines before we attack, time is against us and for the enemy, so you simply have to push through.
As far as I can see there are at most two Battalions opposing you and possibly some Light troops in the woods near the road, so there is nothing you cannot handle ehhhh”.

The Brigade commander nodded, “Aye sir we will push the bastards back, have no fear”.

“Dont just push them back Geoffery, break them; break them so damn hard they dont want to come back and annoy us again eeehh”

He turned to the General on his left, General Allan McCrombie commander of the 6th Brigade. It had been McCrombies Brigade that had lead the Confederation drive through Nene, Northampton and now Royston. The Brigade were weary, but keen for the fight a chance to repay for the sufferings of constant ambushes and sneak attacks.
“Now Allan your task is to pin the enemy, if you can you may attack but do not do so at the expense of heavy losses. Unfortunately General, you have that damned artillery in their centre to contend with, but contend with it you must. I hope that the 2nd brigade will roll up their centre quickly and all you will need to do is push hard and then pursue, but I am mindful that they may need some persuasion to shift off their backsides eeeh.”
Finally he turned to Maj General Sir Edward Saunders commander of the 3rd Brigade which was on loan from the Duke of Warwick.
“Now Sir Edward, you will be our reserve, we may need all or some of units to plug gaps or reinforce success, so you must be prepared to move quickly, either as a whole brigade or to dispatch units as required, so keep your units in column if you please.”

General Marks then turned to Lord Ashley, “Is there something you wish to add or change my lord?”

His Lordship merely smiled, it was pleasing to see the young man finally making his mark, good to see such confidence in him as he commanded in his first major battle, of course Lord Ashley would always be close on hand to prevent disaster, but not to close he thought to himself.

“No,No General Marks you seem to have everything in hand, please continue.”

Royalist Command

Major General Preston was a very worried man, he had deployed his Brigade across the Luton – London road in the expectation of having to contend with a Confederation advance guard, he expected it to be most likely the size of his own, instead the Confederates were forming up opposite him with 3 times his strength, their entire army had closed up; and now it was simply too late for the Royalists to pull back.
He knew General Graham was coming up the London road behind him, but the last reports he had received was that at the earliest he would be here in a little over an hour, most likely longer.
As he surveyed the enemy, he wondered what would be left of his force if General Graham was in fact much longer than the hour.

On his left General Preston had placed the 36th Foot Battalion behind a long hedgerow, behind them was a small but deep and swift following stream, on the other side of that stream was the 33rd Foot, which was standing resolute with files open so when the 36th foot withdrew, they would pass through the 33rd and form up behind, once they had completed the transition of lines then the 33rd would close up and await the enemy.

In the centre General Preston deployed 4 companies of Light troops, they could fall back into the Hipsley farm complex which had been fortified since yesterday and was now a small fortress. The Light troops were expected to hold the centre for as long as possible.
Across the road from Hipsley farm and its defenders was the artillery battery, their task to fire and then move down the the road before the enemy gets to close to charge. They would unlimber on the other side of Claudia stream. To the right of the battery were another 3 companies of Light troops, in the woods north of Sluice farm, their task to protect the guns and then fall back into Sluice farm which had been fortified as well, General Preston was also prepared to push 3 or 4 companies of the 37th Foot in there as well, if needed and when the time came for the 37th foot to withdraw back over Claudia Stream.
Behind Sluice farm was the 34th Battalion, they were to support the 37th as well as the defence of Sluice farm, when it came time for them to withdraw General Preston hoped and prayed General Graham was here with the remainder of the army.

Finally General Preston had deployed the two Dragoon regiments on each flank, they were there to deal with any enemy breakthrough or in the last extreme to act as a rearguard giving his infantry a chance to get away.

As General Preston surveyed the enemy lines he was a now an even more worried man, opposite his left flank he had counted at least 8 enemy battalion standards and flags, two infantry brigades against 2 Battalions, this was turning into a nightmare. Over on his right there seemed to be a brigade forming up in line, so over there he could expect to be 4-5 Battalions against his two line; again very troublesome.

Then General Preston and possibly every living soul for miles around heard the Confederation trumpets and and drums beat, the battle had begun.

Immediately the Royalist artillery fired on the columns to their left, their target the 111th battalion suffered early hits.
As the other battalions of the Confederation 2nd Brigade came into musketry range the Royalist 36th Battalion a heavy rolling fire spread along the line. The musketry was very effective clear signs that the hours of training the Colonel had enforced on them was now paying off, sadly the losses which may have crippled one Battalion was spread across three. Colonel Ramsey of the 36th never faulted in riding along the line urging his men, damned proud of them he was and he noted that as the first enemy columns neared the hedge they were starting to lose their ridged formation; certainly a sign their cohesion was weakening.
The 111th on the flank of the Brigade was taking marginally heavier losses from the artillery and then from the light troops in the woods, as they closed to charging distance of the woods, the 111th halted its morale having slumped due to the constant fire. Its Colonel raged and begged his men to move forward, but they halted and opened a desultory fire onto the woods.
Over on the Confederation left flank the Confederation 12th Light battalion closed in on the Light troops in the woods, their casualties were light and their return fire on the Royalist Light troops under cover in the woods was equally negligible.

General Preston rode behind his Royalist troops rather nervously, the wave of Confederate columns descending on his 36th battalion seemed like a wave of snakes weaving their way over the land.
Then came the bugle calls from the confederate lines, they were about to mount their first charge on his very thin line. Oddly of the 4 leading columns only 3 charged, the right hand one (111th) had halted and was simply standing in column and firing into the woods.
Now all he could do was wait and see how Colonel Ramsey and his 36th withstood this first test.

The First Melee
The Confederation 12th, 13th and 94th battalion charged the hedge-line defended by the Royalist 36th Foot. All three attacking battalions were already showing signs of weakening cohesion, none the less they scrambled up to and onto the hedge- line with considerable impetus.
It was all the 36th could do to hold them on the hedgerow, it was literally every man for himself as they threw themselves at each other. In some places Confederation troops would make it across the hedgerow only to be killed on the other side, in other places the Royalists would themselves climb over the hedge in the madness to get at the enemy. There was no doubt however the higher morale of the defending troops was telling against the Confederate soldiers who were tired and not a little demoralised with the many losses they suffered in the advance
The melee lasted for about 15 minutes and in that time though the 36th remained at the hedgerow, they literally ceased to exist as a fighting force, in the maddening frenzy of the fight for the hedgerow, the 36th lost 558 men, 167 dead, 235 wounded and 156 missing. For the Confederates despite attacking through a hail of musketry and attacking a defended position the units suffered less in casualties than the Royalists, however it was their low morale that decided the issue and they broke fleeing to the rear of the Confederation lines. There was no doubt they would reassemble, recover and perhaps return to the fray. Their losses in the advance and the melee for the hedgerow had been 101 dead, 141 wounded and 94 taken prisoner.
Closer to the road the 111th had come to a halt, refusing to advance it was all they could do to stand and fire at an enemy in the woods, an enemy they could not see, apart from the musket flashes and smoke from their muskets. On seeing their 3 sister battalions retreating for the rear they themselves fled, their total losses
25, dead 36 wounded and 24 prisoners.
All 4 confederate battalions had severe cohesion issues that would take several hours to recover from.

Already the next confederate brigade was moving forward to replace the unfortunate 2nd, it was the 3rd Brigade on loan from the Duke of Warwick's army.
The 3rd's commander Major General Sir Edward Saunders merely scoffed at the 2nd Brigade as its battalions fled past his 3rd, riding high on his horse he lambasted the 2nd for being cowards, he urged his own men not to learn anything from people who were born and bred in Norfolk,
“, they dont make real soldiers in Norfolk, more like good fisher folk and dung gatherers; so we have to show them how to behave as real soldiers.”

He ordered his 13th Light Infantry out front, he wasn’t going to make the same mistake that damned cocky General Clinton of the 2nd made....
“never heard the like of it,” he mused to himself, “advancing without his light troops, good god the man deserved a good trouncing.”

It would take his brigade at least 15 minutes to cover its position in the reserve area to the front line and be in a position where he could attack the hedge-line, as he advanced he noticed to his rear someone had finally the sense to send some artillery forward with him.

Meanwhile on the other flank the 12th Light Battalion was closing on the Light troops in the woods as well as spreading out before the battery. They had already engaged the battery with musketry but the fire was quite ineffective at long range so therefore the Light infantry darted and weaved their way forward, all the while being fired on by the Royalist troops in the woods the right of the battery, and as they closed on the guns they saw the gunners were finally alive to the threat closing in on them, the guns were pointing straight at the 12th, many men dove for the ground, others continued as they were trained.
The Brigade commander of the 6th brigade was pleased the way his Light Battalion had behaved, he had now decided that he needed to clear those woods beside the guns, so he sent his 35th Battalion forward in line, at least this way it would minimize his losses to fire and give his own men a greater fire effect when they let lose.

The Royalist Position

General Preston was both horrified and proud of his 36th battalion, they had fought like lions and as they withdrew from the hedge row they crossed over the Claudia stream pushing ahead of them a large gathering of prisoners , the general rode up to them, cheering them on.
Damned good fight men, damned good fight, now take your selves back to the rear and rest up”.
He then noticed the Battalion commander riding up to him, Colonel Ramsey looked exhausted, covered in cuts,scrapes and with blood oozing from several small wounds.
Colonel, you and men behaved magnificently, you deserve a rest so take yourselves to the rear, we will not need your services any more this day.”
Colonel Ramsey looked own at his men as they straggled by, exhausted, wounded but each walking with obvious pride.
He turned to General Preston,
Rest be damned, we mauled those bastards that’s for sure, but they will be back and when they do, me and my lads will be there to meet the little cretins”.

General Preston nodded, “But Colonel your Battalion is no more, you have done very well and your men certainly do not need to prove anything to anyone”.

Look General Preston, my men will still be in the fight if you have to strap us to the bloody fence posts, now sir you can piss on your rest, just give us some food and more ammunition and I will bring my men back where they belong, in the fight”.

General Preston nodded, smiling to himself, he could not be more proud of his army than he was at this moment, but as he looked towards the enemy he saw a new Brigade marching towards them, and whoever was commanding them was not making the same mistake as the earlier commander, he had light troops out front and they could be a problem to his remaining battalion on the left, the 33rd Foot. What is more they were bringing up artillery and cavalry, this attack was going to be a totally different ball game, that was for sure.
He looked anxiously to the rear, hoping to see sight of General Graham and his men, but still no sign of them.
All he could do is wait and pray, pray that his men would hold and pray General Graham arrived soon.

The 2nd Assault on his line was about to begin.

The Second Assault. 11:30 – 11:45

Situation at 11:45am

The Confederation brigade marched south, its 4 line Infantry Battalions in attack column, screened by the 13th Lt Inf going on before in open order.
As they neared what had once been a hedge, mostly destroyed now in the previous melee the 13th Lt Bn opened fire on 33rd Line with 400 men, they inflicted 75 casualties, 300 men of the 13th fired on the Royalists in the trees on their left flank, inflicting no casualties. The 2nd Lt and the 33rd Bn returned fire on the 13th and jointly caused 90 casualties on the Confederation Lt battalion.
The 13th Light were then ordered forward even closer, they crossed the now wrecked hedgeline and neared Claudia stream, in their advance forward, they were still being fired on by the 33rd and elements of the 2nd Lt bn on their flanks; by the time they halted and returned fire the 13th had lost a further 32 casualties but were by now very shaken having lost 184 men in the last 15 minutes, they did return fire while moving but the results were negligible.
As the 13th Light Battalion moved forward it created room for the 15th Battalion moved up in Line behind them. The 14th formed into column of companies to allow room for them to manouver, the 16th Battalion remained in attack column.
The 95th Foot charged the woods beside the main road, as they advance near the wood the 2nd Light opened a very accurate fire inflicting 60 casualties, for the next 10 minutes the fighting in the wood has been a stalemate, the 95th losing, 61 men and the 2nd Light elements in the wood losing 50.

Over on the Confederation Left flank the 12th Light Battalion closed in on the guns and the woods, the 35th Foot moved in behind as support.
In the following 10 minutes of a firefight the Royalists inflicted 25 casualties on the Confederation Light infantry, while they in return inflicted some 20 in return.

Other elements of the 12 Lt Battalion at the other end of the skirmish line engaged the gunners of the Royalist artillery, the Gunners lost 44 men but held firm the 12th light lost 30 men but along with the other loses over the last 30 minutes or so the Battalion has become shaken.

The 35th Confederation battalion in line immediately behind the the 12th Light Battalion took advantage of the Royalists attention being focused on the 12th light, almost out of nowhere the 35th passed through their skirmishers and charged into the small copse of woods hitting the 300 Royalist light infantry defending the wooded outpost; the over lapping part of the 35th line carried on to hit the gunners in a furious melee. The melee continuous, which means the battery is no longer able to fire as its gunners are somewhat busy defending themselves.

General Preston realising that the battery was in danger and despite having giving orders that it was to have limbered before it was in danger of being attacked, it had remained in place. He then turned to one of his aides sending and order to the 3rd Dragoons they were to move via the road through Beasley farm and attack any enemy around the guns, they are then to ensure they get the guns and gunners away.

The aide returned a short time later having delivered the Generals orders, with him rode a small group of officers, one of whom was General Graham.
As they greeted each other the 700 men of the 3rd Dragoons raced by in road column, General Graham waved them on and then turned to Maj Gen Preston.

“Now then General, what is the situation here?”

General Preston quickly acquainted his superior with the situation,
“The confederates have been pushing hard our left over yonder sir, the 36th saw of an entire Brigade of them, but is now non-effective. In the centre we are holding the woods around Hipsley farm but they are still fighting there, we don’t have a lot of troops in there, possibly 300-400 at the most.
As you can see there is a scrap around the guns, despite my orders to have them withdrawn and to the right around Sluice farm we are barely holding our own.
I have ordered the 3rd dragoons forward to clear the enemy from the guns and then to get them pulled back.”

“Well you have done extremely well here Preston, I am most impressed and the situation wouldn’t be as dire as it seems if it had not been for the damn roads being a mess with people running from the bloody Confederates, its a damned shambles back there, but the first of my troops will be here in 15 minutes or so.”
General Graham rose in his saddle as he surveyed the enemy positions with his telescope,
“General, I want you to keep what light troops you have around Sluice farm in there, I want the 37th moved to the right of the woods to prevent any flanking attacks and the 34th to move into the area where the guns are now placed. It will leave us with a thin line for now, but when my units arrive we will then deal with those damn rebels in good time.
He looked at his young subordinate who looked tired and stressed,
“You have done very well over the last few days, you have slowed them and held them, for now that is all that is required; all we have to do is stop them, they wont be able to stay in this area too long if they cant advance. Back in London I had been talking with some damn strange friar or monk or something, anyway it seems that he runs the Kings spy service, off thing for a monk if you ask me, anyway he told me he is organising irregular bands of fighters right back through Nene and Northampton; and I suspect Royston as well. One thing is for sure, having heard of the reprisals the confederates have been inflicting on the population back there, there will be no lack of disaffected locals wanting a chance to slit a Parliamentarian throat or two.
However my friend, you have held them here by their nose, its now up to us to kick them in the backside and finish the job.”

As they spoke the Confederation attack was building for another main effort and this time there were two generals looking over their shoulders to the rear, fervently praying or wishing for reinforcements to arrive.

Meanwhile the struggle for the woods north of Hipsley farm reached a crisis point as the column of Confederation 95th Foot overwhelmed the 4 companies of 2nd Light Battalion defending woods. Part of their original brief had been when they were ultimately pushed out of the woods they would fall back to Hipsley farm itself. Unfortunately the 4 companies were in no order to stop once they began retreating and before long they were fleeing south over the bridge south of the farm.
The 95th, still badly disorganised from the melee and being in woods continued on pushing hard to get into Hipsley farm before the Royalist could reinforce the farm.
The confederation 16th foot now in column of companies started to move south past the east side of the Hipsley wood , from there they could either attack left into the farm complex or right and outflank the 33rd foot defending Claudia stream.

Over at Sluice Farm another crisis developed as the 3 companies of the 2nd light defending the woods north of that farm, like their compatriots to the east in Hipsley woods also fled in disorder having been thrown out of Sluice woods by the Confederation 35th Foot which lost 84 men attacking the woods, and were now very badly disorganised. Elements of the 35th also captured the guns of the Royalist 3rd battery as the gunners fled back over the Claudia stream.

While these retreating Royalist troops would eventually be reorganised in the rear as they were not routing, merely falling back at speed, their retreat did have dire consequences for the 3rd Dragoons who were about to force their way over the Hipsley bridge against the tide of fleeing soldiers of the 2nd Light and the Gunners of the 3rd battery.
There are many times in historical battles where the decisions of sub-ordinates did have crucial influences in a battle, for the Royalists now was such a time and with a crisis looming it was time for initiative checks.
The Battalion commanders of the Royalist 34th Foot and 37th foot decided to act on their own initiative and the commander of the 3rd dragoons decided to wait on the south end of Hipsley bridge to allow the fleeing troops across.

The battalion Commander of the 34th Colonel Sir Alexander Clements saw the Light infantry fleeing Hipsley woods, he realised the importance of the farm complex that covered the bridge as well as the focal point for the centre of the Royalist line, so he organised his men into a column of companies and moved on Hipsley farm. Similarly the Battalion commander of the 37th saw the importance of hanging onto Sluice farm. He already had two companies of his Battalion in the farm complex, the remainder were in line to the right, so now he pulled the whole Battalion into the farm and woods, hoping his Battalion wood be the bastion to hold the right flank.

Meanwhile on the left flank of the Royalist line the 33rd Line was trying to contend with the Confederate 13th Light Battalion which was now lining the northern bank of Claudia stream in open order, behind them the 15th Foot moved up.
It was obvious to all the 13th light battalion was seriously disorganised with its struggles so far, though its losses were light the men seem to have not had the same moral fibre of the other battalions, so much so that they now refused to cross Claudia stream in the face of the Royalist 33rd battalion.
A brief firefight occurred where very few casualties occurred on either side, however the Confederation Brigade commander Maj General Sir Edward Saunders decided to pull the 13th Light back and allow his line Battalions to deal with the Royalist 33rd. He had already made a mental note to deal with the commander of the 13th light when this battle was over.

General Graham observing the fleeing Light troops and Gunners realised that the orders that he had issued were already redundant, it was with some satisfaction he noted the Battalion commanders reacted on their own initiative, he was less pleased with the commander of the 3rd Dragoons who had halted his Regt to allow the fleeing Infantry to cross the bridge.

He turned to his aide,
“Captain, get yourself over to the 3rd and tell the Colonel his orders were to take the guns not wet nurse the bloody infantry, tell him to push the bloody infantry if they have to, but get that bloody Cavalry moving; and I mean NOW.”

11:45 – Noon.

Royalist Reinforcements arrive

As the 14th passed through the 13th Light which was being hastily withdrawn it received its initial volley from the Royalist 33rd Foot stationed on the other side of Claudia stream, the 14th Line lost 45 men and in return they inflicted 35 casualties on the 33rd. The 33rd having been in the battle for the last hour and being sniped at the whole while by the pesky light infantry of the 13th battalion were by now showing signs of becoming shaky. They began to move back from the enemy line, but reformed albeit rather shakily once the Brigade commander rode up to join them.

Over in Hipsley farm the 95th and the Royalist 34th arrived at the farm complex at the same time, in this instance there was no chance for firing for they were in amongst the buildings , walls and trees thus it was to be bayonet and butt work, the two sides literally tore at each other. The 95th entered the fray with a distinct disadvantage, they had already been in a heavy brawl with the Royalist 2nd Light, which they had seen off; they then still in column charged through the woods until they reached the farm complex. It was understandable that the 95th was in quite some disarray, whilst the Royalist 34th arrived quite fresh. The melee last 10 minutes and the 95th was thrown out of the farm complex, they withdrew quite a distance out of the farm and the woods, but will be able to recover.
The Royalist 34th now set about manning the walls of the farm., those on the left walls of the farm could see the enemy 16th Foot which was moving down the flank of the farm suddenly turned and prepared to charge.

Meanwhile just to the right of Hipsley farm the Cavalry commander finally decided he had wasted enough time allowing the fleeing 2nd Light Bn to cross the bridge now started pushing his men over it, as he did so General Graham's aide arrived to deliver the Generals rebuke of his halting his Regiment against specific orders. Now fired up and realising he was disgracing himself in from of his General and the army he became wild with rage and ordered his men to run down any infantry in their path, those few 2nd Light Infantry still crossing the bridge soon evaded and carried on running.
Meanwhile the 3rd dragoons though disorganised charged the Confederate 12th Light infantry who had finally reached the guns, they were exhausted and quite dispirited when someone yelled “Cavalry” their commanding officer yelled for his bugler, but instead of forming square the Bugler and the rest of the Battalion fled (They failed a reaction test), the commanding officer and over 175 men died trying to escape the cavalry, the 3rd dragoons suffered no losses. The pursuit of the routing 12th Light Battalion was brought to an abrupt halt, the Regiment returned to the guns and set about getting them moved, some of the gunners who had been hiding in southern Hipsley woods returned to help them.

To the right of the battery, yet another melee was taking place. This was between the Royalist 37th foot who had ensconced themselves in the Sluice farm complex and the 35th Battalion which poured through the woods north of the farm and attacked the Royalists defending the wall. The fighting continues but in 10 minutes of the melee starting the 35th have already lost 129 men, the Royalist 37th losing 103.

12:00 -12:15pm
The 39th Confederate battalion which had been marching on the left of the 35th now proceeded straight for Claudia stream, its Colonel realising that there were no one to oppose him decided this was the optimal time to take advantage of the Royalist weakness.
Mean while its sister Battalions the 40th and the 14th Light would push quickly along behind them, for some inexplicable reason the brigade commander had left them quite a way back from the fight, so now they had to march extremely quickly so they could join up with the 35th once across the stream, the 113th would move in to join in on the attack on Sluice farm.
Meanwhile in Sluice farm the melee continued.
After a further 10 minutes of fighting over walls, around trees and buildings the confederate battalion commander decided he needed to withdraw while he could and reorganise, looking behind him he saw the 113th closing in, so now was the time to pull back.
With the Confederate 12th light pulling back, the Royalist cavalry and the few gunners that joined them, managed to extract the guns, they then slowly pulled the guns back over the Hipsley road bridge.

Meanwhile in Hipsley farm the Confederation 16th Foot had moved around to the left flank of the farm, so they did not have to fight through the trees, their assault on the farm complex was directed against the fortified buildings, the Royalist 34th, already disorganised from the melee with the 95th Battalion which they had repulsed, now had another attack to defend against.

The fighting for the farm has gone on for 15 minutes so far and continues, the 34th has lost 244 men defending the farm against the 16th, which has lost 146 men, once again both sides are locked in a deadly melee.

Further to the Royalist left the Royalist 33rd Foot was joined by the Brigade commander and General Preston who did all they could to steady the men
The Confederation 14th line seeing the 33rd had fallen back decided to risk crossing the stream, by the time they reached the other side they were quite disorganised, the stream being over waist deep and many of the men slipped and staggered their way through, on reaching the far bank they were surprised to see the 33rd had closed their ranks and fired on the 14th , the casualties were quite light and though disorganised the 14th charged the 33rd Light, this movement forward gave the following 15th battalion a chance to start crossing the stream as well.
The melee between the 33rd and the 14th line, was a fight between two exhausted and disorganised units, the 33rd royalist battalion was pushed back and retreated in considerable disorder. The 14th Line now in quite a mess itself and for the moment unopposed started to gather breath, then from their midst came the call to form square, the Royalist Dragoon regiment that had been in position behind the 33rd was forming as if to charge, the 14th despite their disorganisation formed square and waited.

Command Decisions.
Lord Ashley had been quite concerned that no matter how valiantly his men pressed the attack, the Royalists seemed to just hang on doggedly. However finally after two hours of hard fighting the Royalist line started to crack. On the Confederation right the last battalion defending the stream had been pushed back and now he had two battalions across, one of them the 15th untouched so far, of considerable worry however was the dragoon regiment which seemed set to charge, the general was pleased to see the 14th forming square.
He turned in his saddle to face major General Saunders,
“I want the 3 medium batteries rushed up to the stream behind the 14th, from there they can dominate the right flank and if necessary blow that regiment away, also send a cavalry regiment forward to support the Guns and the 14th.”

He surveyed other aspects of the line, his telescope stopped when he saw the smoke and troops around Hipsley farm.
“Those damned Royalists know how to defend buildings, I will give them that.”

Just as he cast his eyes further to the left he realised his view was blocked by the terrain from seeing what was happening out there, however he had been watching a dispatch rider in his red cap racing towards him, speaking to no one in particular he murmured,
“Ahh at last news from the left I hope”.

The rider rode up beside Lord Ashley and delivered a message, quickly reading it a smile spread across his face,
“Most excellent news, we have another Battalion across the stream and others on their way to join them way out on our left past sluice farm, its seems the Royalists still hold the farm but the fighting continues.”
He waved the dispatch to his staff and handed it to General Saunders,
“By god we have them Saunders we damn well have them, both flanks turned damned me if we don’t have them.”

He paused for a moment then started writing out some new orders, as he was doing so, another dispatch rider arrived, a trooper of the Light cavalry, he handed the new missive to Lord Ashley, the smile drifted from his face.

“Damn, our patrols have seen the Royalist reinforcements just south of Beasley farm, god in hell why couldn’t they be just another 15 minutes later”.
He ripped up the message he had started to write, and threw it on the ground, turning to his staff he said,
“This news changes nothing, we have turned both flanks and now we need to push a lot harder, he looked a little way to his rear where the 2nd Brigade was reforming,
“The 2nd Brigade looks almost ready to move once more, they are to move and support the 14th Battalion, I want them to make for Beasley farm, we will entertain the new reinforcements with some 6 battalions closing in on them from two flanks, all the while we squeeze the life out of their centre.”
Once more Lord Ashley started writing new orders.

For General Graham the situation was past desperate and was now becoming dangerous, he in the process of contemplating a withdrawal, but the problem was the two foremost battalions in Sluice and Hipsley farms were simply too involved to disengage.
He was so involved he didn’t notice the dispatch rider beside him until the man spoke,
“Sir, a Message from Major General Roberts.”

General Graham roused out of his deep thoughts took the message, quickly reading it he smiled at his sub ordinate Major General Preston,

“Ahh good news, Roberts is at Sweetwater Stream just south of Beasley farm with his infantry.”
As they both looked to the south indeed they could see two Regiments of cavalry advancing up the road, Major General Preston murmured,
“My god they are a sight for sore eyes.”

General Graham added, “You are right there”.

He then pulled his horse closer to General Preston,
We still have to play for time, and things are still going against us, I want you to take those two Cavalry Regiments and stall for time over on the right, either dummy charges or if the opportunity presents itself take the bloody bastards. I will send some infantry as soon as I can. I will need the first two Battalions over on the left, the next two you will get along with the two batteries.
I will hold them on the left and I want you to push them back on the right once the infantry arrive.”

He smiled at General Preston “We can still turn this battle around, now lets get to it.”

Major General Preston rode off to gather the two cavalry Regiments, General Graham looked at the two farms in his centre, sighed deeply and then rode off over to the left, leading an aide to ride back and advise Major General Roberts of his wishes.”


General Graham arrived behind the 33rd Battalion, he could see it was exhausted and needed reorganising, he had two options move them back and risk disorganising them more, or let them gather breath here but risk being charged by the nearby enemy.
He decided to let them rest on the spot, he rode over to the cavalry commander Colonel Sir Claude Somerset,
“Colonel if those Confederation battalions make a move on the 33rd you are to charge them, I will be sending more Battalions over to support them but for now you are it”.
“The Colonel nodded, “Have no fear General, those damn Parliamentarian rebels so much as twitch a toe I will have it, the 33rd is safe in our hands sir.”
“Good man” the general said as he now rode back towards Beasley farm to gather two battalions.

Meanwhile opposite the 33rd the commander of the Confederation 14th battalion Colonel George Ramsey knew the enemy was in similar shape as his own, exhausted. He wished it weren't so, if his men were just a little fresher he would risk attacking the Royalists, but with that damned Cavalry Regiment behind them it was just to risky a venture, he had already ridden over to the commander of the nearby 15th Foot and suggested they move in leap frog fashion until they were in musket range of the enemy battalion, but Colonel Delaware of the 15th refused. Pointing to the rear he had simply said
“We have artillery and cavalry coming up to support us, no point in risking a reverse right now when in a quarter of an hour we can blow both the Battalion and that Regiment out of our way.”
Colonel Ramsey returned to his battalion and began to reorganise his men, occasionally he would glance over to the enemy and noted they too were reorganising. Then he noted something that alarmed him more than anything he had seen today, several flags of new Royalist banners were approaching in his direction, they were still 15 minutes away but they were heading directly for him. He thought to himself,
Well 5 minuets ago we could have had this flank without to much of a scrap, now its going to become another god damn brawl, he looked at his men and hoped they would be ready for it.

Meanwhile over at Hipsley farm the battle between the Confederation 16th Foot and the Royalist 34th continued. In a final effort the commander of the Confederate 16th Foot Colonel Lionel Smyth-Hawthorne decided to risk all and ordered his men over the walls in one combined effort, he reason that the Royalists had been battling for 2 hours, surely they cannot have that much strength left. He was right they were not all that strong (388 men) but they were more determined to hang on to the farm than the confederates were to take it. The parliamentarians climbed ladders, hammered at doors and gates but the fierce defence eventually proved just to stout and the 16th started to withdraw, the Colonel yelled and screamed and then died when a musket ball pierced his heart; the battalion took itself back under cover and well away from that accursed farm. For the first time since the battle began, the 34th had no one to fight. To their north up near Rose farm the Confederation 95th battalion was just about reorganised after its retreat, to the east near Claudia stream the Confederate 13th light was recovering after their battles and now the 16th was licking its wounds.
The 34th Battalion's commander Colonel Sir Alexander Clements realising that their were no enemies at the wall ordered a watch maintained but the men were to rest, eat and gather more ammunition. He climbed the windmill which stood at the far end of the farm complex, he nodded to several of the 34th's sharpshooters who were stationed there, taking out his telescope he surveyed the battlefield. Looking over at Sluice farm it seemed as if the 37th Battalion that was defending it was buried in a sea of Parliamentary blue uniformed troops.
Looking to the south, a smile came over his smoke covered face, he saw reinforcements arriving, realising this was just the news his men needed to hear he yelled out to them down below,
“Men, the rest of the army has arrived, I can see them way down south, it wont be long now and we will be relieved.”
His men cheered at that news if nothing else it gave them heart, but of course neither the Colonel nor his men didn't know that the last thing General Graham intended was to relieve Hipsley farm just yet. He had bigger issues at hand.

Once more the Colonel raised his telescope and watched the fight around Sluice farm.

The battle for Sluice farm was reaching a crisis, the 35th Foot was pulling back to reorganise for the next round, their roles as attackers of the farm was now the duty of the newly arrived 113th Foot, unbloodied and fresh. The Royalist 37th was now a tired and weakend Battalion (514 men), the 5 minutes rest they were being given by the enemy as one battalion withdrew as another moved in to replace them seemed like an hour, but it gave them a brief pause to drink water, gather more ammunition and gather breath.
Before long the Blue coats of the 113th Foot could be seen struggling over bodies, felled trees, smoldering bushes and all the debris of a hard contested battle. Not long after the battle resumes and for the next 10 minutes the 37th had to experience another storm of men trying to get into the farm complex. In that 10 minutes they lost 104 men while the 113th lost 99 men, but the 113th were far more disorganised in trying to climb walls, obstacles and gates in that 10 minuets of fighting than the Royalists were.

Further out beyond sluice farm two battalions were wading through Claudia farm, their objective was Beasley farm, the Brigade general had the temerity to tell his battalion commanders that their part in the battle would be little more than a victory parade, there were no Royalists left to oppose him and once he had taken the farm the Royalists to the north would be trapped, and the battle would be a brilliant Confederation victory.

Now as Colonel Errol Gardner looked towards beasley farm, he knew he had a problem, quickley he drew a note pad from his saddle bag and scribbled a message to his superior,

The Victory Parade may need to be canceled, as for the enemy troops they don’t have I am faced by 3-4 fresh battalions,, several cavalry regiments and numerous artillery batteries. To oppose this force there is only my battalion and 14th Light, we need reinforcements urgently.

He handed the message to an aide with the instructions to deliver it to General Blyth as quick as possible.
Meanwhile instead of organising a victory Parade, Colonel Gardner ordered his men to form line. He was relieved to see the the 14th light doing similarly. He was even more relieved to see a heavy cavalry regiment about to cross the stream and support him.

Except for the fighting around Sluice farm a lull settled over the battlefield, it occurred simply because most of the units that had been in contact were too exhausted and lacked the unit cohesion to continue, thus they separated and reorganised for a renewed effort. It also occurred because both commanders were bringing reinforcements up from their respective rear areas and this require time.
So the fight for Sluice farms continues for now.

A further 10 minutes of fighting around Sluice farm finally resulted in the Royalist 37th battalion being thrown out of the defences, their retreat took them south then east towards Hipsley farm where they joined the 34th.
Their Brigade commander who was also with the 34th set about reorganising the tired and exhausted 37rh which now stood 438 strong and in a bad way with its shaken morale.
Thus after two and half hours of continuous attack Sluice farm was finally taken, and one of the cornerstones of the Royalist defences was now in Confederation hands. The victorious 113th was itself near collapse and had become totally disorganised in the fight for the farm, it would require considerable time before it was ready to continue the offensive. For now its commander would set about resting and reorganising his battalion which was now 538 souls strong but near breaking in morale.

New Plans

General Graham having seen the 37th fleeing from Sluice farm now realised the battle had taken a sudden and dangerous turn for the worse . When he held both Hipsley and Sluice farm he was constricting the Confederation forces to movements down the flanks, each flank further constricted by natural barriers, be that swampy rivers or thick dense woods. Now that the Confederates held Sluice farm, they not only had a ideal defensible position, but they now could move through the centre.
General Grahams sole concern now was would Hipsley farm hold out, at least it had the remnants od the 37th to reinforce the garrison, but they were in a fairly shaky condition.; so they needed time to reorganise and he doubted that the enemy would give them that much time.

It occurred to General Graham that the nature of the battle was changing, initially his plan had been to wait until the whole army was on the battlefield and then push the Confederate armies back, but now that plan seemed the less viable option.
His original brief from the Government had to be stop the Confederate Northern army advancing on London and it occurred to him that is all he had to do, for now.
If he could fight the Confederates to a stalemate, their position in Royston and perhaps even Northampton would become precarious, especially when one considers their LOC runs through territory that could only be regarded as hostile.
So General Graham developed a defensive plan, to hold the Confederates here and make them bleed, then only time or more reinforcements would determine his next option.
He decided that Hipsley farm must be held at all costs, it acted as a bulwark against the Confederation tide, they would either have to screen it or spend time and units in subduing it. While they were doing that it meant a weaker effort against his main line, if they concentrated against Hipsley farm then he could harass them elsewhere.
His mainline would now run from Court and manor farms, including the wooded areas therein, across to and including Beasley farm then across to the banks of the marshy and deep flowing Phillipa River.

The enemy would most likely be tempted to push around the flanks once more, but this time that option would be a great deal more expensive. He had stated this battle with only 5 Battalions, thus his chances of holding a solid line were always in doubt, but now he had another 4 battalions, another 2 cavalry regiments and more artillery, while the Confederation were still using the same forces they started the battle with, some of them weakened in numbers and or morale.

For Lord Ashley the battle was one of mixed blessings, with the exception of Hipsley farm the initial royalist defence line had been taken, on the negative side his planned pincer movement to isolate the Royalists around Hipsley farm had been blocked by the new Royalist reinforcements.
The odds had certainly turned from his great advantage, he had lost 2 Battalions to rout thus they were not able to be reformed until after the battle, several of his units had suffered some considerable damage, though fortunately none of them what could be regarded as serious.
Those units that had been damaged were now reorganised and once more prepared for action, so now he had to decide his next step.
He could easily withdraw, but why should he, he certainly had not been defeated, on the contrary he was winning and what is more given the temperament of the locals in the lands he had passed through he would struggle to maintain himself in Northampton; but retreat from a challenge was not in Lord Ashley's personality anyway, so he must attack.
That decided, he now had to look at his options, screen Hipsley Farm or take it out, if he screened it, it was likely he would need to do so with a minimum of 2 Battalions, possibly 3 in case they sortied, that left him 10 or 11 battalions to do the business against the enemy line. He estimated the Royalist had approximately 9 or 10 battalions in total, 2 of them were now ensconced in Hipsley farm leaving most likely 7 or 8 to create a defensive line. They also had 4 cavalry regiments to his two and that was a major disadvantage except his two were heavies and the Royalists seemed to favour light Cavalry. He had a slight artillery advantage 4 Batteries to 2.5 and one of his was 12pdrs,
On the down side was the Royalists would occupy 3 farms, and Lord Ashley was by now only to well aware of how difficult it was to take those, he had attacked both Hipsley and Sluice farm with 3-4 Battalions each, and even then only Sluice farm had been taken. It occurred to him he didn’t have the numbers of men to do both adequately so he decided on the attack on Hipsley farm as his first phase.
It was all to apparent he had to tease the Royalists out of their defensive holes and into the open, the only way he could do that was a concerted attack on Hipsley farm, bloody General Graham then had the choice of watching two of his battalions being destroyed which will harm royalist morale, or he would attempt some sort of sortie to relieve the pressure on Hipsley farm, which required him coming out of the defences.
If he did not, and allowed his battalions to be destroyed then Lord Ashley sighed, it would mean his Army would have to dig the damned royalists out of those farms, a prospect that hardly cheered him.
So as he turned to his staff he pointed to Hipsley Farm, a little way in the distance,
“We will start there, and then we will see the measure of this damned Royalist fop.”

The reorganisation of both armies took almost an hour and over that time there was only the occasional desultory burst of fire and mostly involved the artillery when they fired to test ranges. The greatest concern to the Royalists was that the Confederates had moved a light infantry Battalion into the woods to the south of Hipsley farm, that battalion had cut any link the Hipsley garrison had with the main army. Despite this General Graham refused to attack it, merely because to do so would finally involve other units and bring on an escalation of the fight beyond his defensive positions, something he would avoid at all costs; at least for the moment.

The Attack on Hipsley Farm

Confederation Plan for the assault on Hipsley farm

The remnants of the Royalist 37th & 34th battalions (760 men) once they were rested set about improving the defences of Hipsley farm, much of the area had already been destroyed in the previous 3 hours of battle, so the lull over only a limited opportunity for improvements.
The Brigade Commander Maj Gen Clive Aubrey had decided to stay with the defenders of Hipsley farm, his instructions were to defend the farm to the last possible moment making the Conferates pay in blood for every inch of ground, when the defence became pointless he had permission to surrender the garrison or attempt a breakout if he thought it was possible. He was told that he must not be under any illusion that relief was imminent, if the opportunity presented itself then Gen Graham may attack towards the farm and attempt a relief but Gen Aubrey should not count on that happening.
Now as General Aubrey and Col Sir Alexander Clements commander of the 34th Battalion surveyed the battlefield from the windmill, they appreciated the trouble they were in, it appeared there were some 5 Battalions poised to attack, the farm.
Gen Aubrey whistled to himself as he lowered his telescope, turning to Colonel Clements he said,
“They really want this damn farm.”

The colonel merely “Hummmpfed” in reply and then as if an after thought added,
“Well they bloody well cant have it, its mine”.
The general smiled to himself, the Colonel could be a decidedly cantankerous rogue when he had his tail up, and it was definitely up now.

The Colonel went to the edge of the platform they were standing on and bellowed to the men below,
“Lads listen to me, stop what you are doing and listen. The General here says by the looks of it the bloody Parliamentarian thugs want our farm, that they have lined up a lot of louts to come over here and take off us.”

A sergeant major, with a bandage around his head stepped forward, “With the greatest compliments to the General Soir, those bloody bastards out there dont know how to fight, good god they arent real soldiers like we have here Soir, so no we ain’t going to let them have the farm today. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day if there is anything left of the place depends how generous we be feeling, what do you say lads.”

The men's voices rose as if one in jeers and uncomplimentary remarks towards the Confederate troops, the Colonel turned to the General,
“Sorry sir, they are a bit tired and ahhh should have shown better respect sir.”
The General smiled, “Better respect be buggered, they are doing just fine Colonel, a fine bunch of men you have.”
He started to climb down the ladder, paused and looking up at the Colonel said
“I best wander to the other end of the farm and see if the 37th can be even more disrespectful”.
He had just stepped down to rungs of the ladder when there was a calamitous sound as the enemy artillery opened fired.
The Colonel looked out to where the enemy battery was that just fired and yelled,
“You missed you bloody incompetent fools, how the hell could miss a bloody farm as big as this”, then looking down at the General who had gone a little white,
“You best be going and tend to the 37th Sir, me and my lads will sort this lot out.

The Assault

The artillery barrage lasted 30minutes and inflicted very few casualties (15 men on the 34th), the colonel had told his men to lie down and only rise on the command, so most of the damage was spent on the woods, walls and buildings. A fire started in the stables area, but this was quickly put out..
After thirty minutes the enemy infantry moved forward, not all of them just the three battalions to the north of the farm.

The assault to the northern walls of Hipsley farm lasted 20 minutes, the Royalist suffered extremely heavy losses but their morale held together. Despite their good morale General Aubrey had a hard decision to make, when was it the right time to stop the killing of his men; the two battalions joined now only mustered a little over 200 men.
He had a word with the Battalion commanders and both demanded that while the men had good morale and wanted to fight they they should do so, all three commanders knew they couldnt hold for long but for every half hour or so they could hang on it meant less time the Confederation troops had against the main army.
The 3 Confederation battalions broke their morale in trying to batter their way into the farm, the losses were not heavy, the 3 Battalions between only lost 225 men, but perhaps it was the fact that despite them being reorganised each battalion had previously broken and perhaps the mental exhaustion wasn’t as easy to recover from as was the physical exhaustion. Regardless of the why both 3 battalions once more turned tail and ran from the farm, the 12th and 13th battalions didn’t stop running until they reached Icelton farm, the 94th stopped at Rose farm, all three slowly started to reorganise once more.
Lord Ashley had half expected the 3 battalions to fail, that was why he had kept the 39th and 95th Foot back from the main line, these were fresher units and now it was abundently clear the enemy fire from the farm was considerably less he was confident they would take the far,m, he sent the order for them to attack.

The 2 battalions launched themselves at the walls, and like the previous 3 battalions broke themselves against the ramparts, they were forced back, but the Royalist casualties were so heavy now there were not enough men to hold the walls, despite there morale miraculously still holding; General Aubrey decided to ask for honours of war, which the Confederation commander was only to keen to grant (die roll), he allowed the survivors to return to their own lines, bearing standards and arms.
As they did so the confederates moved into the ruins that had once been a large English farming estate. As General Ashley wandered amongst the dead and wounded, he realised it was hard to ignore that his enemy here had been Englishmen and they had fought as he would have expected English soldiers to fight. These two weak Battalions had broken the morale of 5 Battalions, and most likely cost him the battle. The 5 Battalions would recover, but it would take time and that meant he was for another hour or more he was without those 5 precious Battalions.

While the the assault on Hipsley farm had been underway, the opposing artillery batteries on the Confederate left had been engaged in a prolonged counter battery duel.
The result of which was the Confederate 1st heavy battery was routed and the Royalist Medium battery was forced to limber up and retreat., out on the Confederation left flank that left them 1 x 9pdr battery against the 1.50 9pdr Royalist batteries.
On the Confederate Right the 2nd and 3rd batteries began firing on the 33rd Foot in Court Farm, for 25 minutes the Royalist Infantry were subjected to long range artillery fire losing some 45 men in casualties and for a time became quite shaken once again, then as quick as the artillery fire began it ceased and for a few minutes a quiet calm came over the battlefield, the only noise came from the area of Beasley farm as General Audrey and Sir Alexander Clements led the remnants of their two battalions back to the main Royalist line, the men of the 11th Foot welcoming them back with a riotous and resounding cheer.

The time was now 1:45pm and Lord Ashley contemplated his next move, his options were fast disappearing and now with a much depleted army he still faced a Royalist line that included 3 farms which were occupied, that prospect did not cheer him at all. Many of his staff were advising him to withdraw while he was able, move back, join up with Lord Warwick and advance by an alternative route. That was sensible advice, but it meant he had been defeated here and that was something his honour would not allow him to accept. However the decision was taken out of his hands, when a dispatch rider arrived from Maj General Saunders who was out on the Confederation left flank, the Royalists were attacking.

General graham had seen an opportunity with the Confederation heavy battery being virtually destroyed and then routed of the field, the Confederates were left with 1 battery and 1 battalion on his side of the stream, on the other side there was only 1 other battalion and 1 cavalry regiment in support, it was time for him to make his move.
First he ordered up the 32nd Foot which was in reserve south of Sweetwater stream, they were to advance and cross the bridge south of Beasley farm. The remaining artillery on the Royalist right would now engage, the last Confederate battery while the 2nd and 3rd dragoons crossed the small stream and prepared to charge the guns or the supporting 40th.
While these units were moving up in support the Royalist 3rd battery engaged the enemy 4th battery in counter battery fire. The fire from both batteries was quite punishing and no doubt would have continued had not the movement of Royalist forces in front of it prompt the battery commander to realise that considering the battering his guns had taken, they would easily be run over by any attackers, so he simply limbered them up and moved them back across the stream. The movement through the stream seriously damaged the a powder as some of the caissons become stuck or over turned.

The Royalist attack and what was the last attack of the battle

The Royalist battery considered itself very fortunate that the enemy battery had withdrawn as up to the moment it moved the Royalists were getting the worst of the artillery duel.
The Confederation 40th battalion which had been on the southern bank supporting the artillery also now withdrew. The Confederation 35th Foot which was the next battalion on the southern bank however stayed, as it was in an area covered by hedges they felt reasonably safe from cavalry and were prepared to withstand the charge by any Royalist infantry.
General Graham ordered the 2nd and 3rd dragoons out to his right flank, they were to remain out of musket range but be prepared to charge if any enemy attempted to recross the stream.
Meanwhile the Royalist 32nd foot and 93rd foot swiveled around and headed directly onto the area defended by the 35th Foot.
While these two battalions made their way to engage the 35th, the Royalist 11th Foote that had been in Beasley farm now formed into columns in preparation to move forward as well.

The Royalist battalions succesfully stormed the hedgerows defended by the 35th, the 35th Battalion ceased to exist; however the two Royalist battalions were so badly disorganised they were unable to move forward any further.
Meanwhile they 11th foote formed into line and as the 32nd and 93rd Bns were involved in their melee, the 11th charged the 113th Light Bn defending the woods. The 11th foot was repulsed and withdrew in reasonable order having lost 218 men in the melee, the Confederate 113th LT Bn lost 175 men.

Again a brief pause settled over the field, both commanders realised that their armies now consisted of some very tired and weakened units.
General Graham however was determined he would stay and fight, all he had to do was block the Confederation advance and he was doing just that.
The reality of defeat however had finally dawned on Lord Ashley, he simply was not strong enough to force the enemy out of those accursed farms, indeed he would be lucky if he could hold here. He realised it had been General grahams plan all along to merely block his advance, clearly he was not a risk taker, but for now it had worked in the royalist favour, but Lord Ashley was determined he would be back.
He decided that he would pull all his units back behind the Claudia stream, if the enemy decided to attack then that was well and good; he would accept the challenge. If they did not he would withdraw once it was night.

General Graham realised his army was too weak to attack, so he remained on the defensive for the rest of the day, during the night the Confederate army pulled back into Northampton and dispatch riders were sent to Lord Warwick asking him to come and join Lord Ashley so that they may unite and again attack the Royalists.
For the Royalists it had been a hard fought victory, and an expensive replacing the regular infantry would be a problem, as would replacing the guns and gunners of the artillery.

Statistics of the battle.
Northern Confederation Army

The battle lasted 4.5 hours, starting at 10am, the weather was fine and the ground dry.

The Confederation Army started the day with = 10,500 Infantry, 1,400 cavalry and 5 batteries
It finished the day with = 7187 Infantry, 1400 cavalry and 3.5 Batteries
These figures do not account for returning wounded or missing.

Casualties were:
667 dead, 935 wounded 623 missing or POW
Losses do not include 1088 which were routers which means most (less 5%) of them will return.

The Royalist Army

The Royalist Army started the day with = 3,500 Infantry, 1,400 cavalry and 1 battery
They were reinforced halfway through the battle with 2,800 Infantry, 1,400 cavalry and 2 batteries
Making a total of 6,300 Infantry, 2,800 Cavalry and 3 batteries.
It finished the day with 3,391 Infantry, 2,800 cavalry and 1.5 Batteries.
These figures do not account for returning wounded or missing.

Casualties were:
980 dead, 1371 wounded and 544 missing or POW.


Sir Leopold had ridden over from his Estates in New Park to “Cuffnalls” the home of his brother Sir Edward Anders.
The two brothers now lived quite close, Sir Leopold had just brought what he considered a rather ground Estate which was called New Park, only some 5 miles of twisting lanes from the traditional Estates of the Anders family, more commonly known as Cuffnalls.

                                                     Cuffnalls the Anders family estate

Sir Leopold had only the previous month moved into New Park, he came from Hesse in Germany bringing with him his Fiancée Sophia and her adopted son James. They had fled Hesse after living there for many years, the reason they came to England was that Sophia had promised James’s  birth mother Princess Wilhelmina that she would do all she could to keep his family lineage a secret as well as protect him. Sadly much of Germany was now a common battleground and a place far too dangerous to live, especially with a boy who was nephew to King Frederick II of Prussia.
They finally had arrived  in England and Sir Leopold could finally say with confidence that he felt James was safe, that was until he received the invitation to come to Cuffnals urgently, and to come alone.
As he rode up the long driveway that led to the grand Anders home, he saw his brother and his two sons standing on the steps. A servant came forward to take the horse as Sir Leopold dismounted; Sir Leopold looked up the steps at the rather grim faces of father and sons.
“Good God, you three look like you have just heard the plague is upon us, can things be that bad?”
Edward smiled and shook hands with his brother,
“Leopold, it is grand to see you old man, but yes sadly we have some disturbing news, best you come inside, we have some guests for you to meet”.
 The four men walked through the grand entrance down the corridor to what has become the audience room, Edward stood aside as the others walked in, he then nodded to a rather large burley manservant who was standing to attention on the other side of the hall.,
“Tom, make sure we aren’t disturb,” which to Tom the ex sergeant meant make sure no bugger goes listening at doors.

As Leopold made his way into the room he saw two other people, one  clearly a priest or friar, the other person he knew well; was it was Lady Margret Adair, the widow of Admiral Patrick  Adair.
Leopold then put two and two together, he remembered that the Adair’s had a son in the church; surely he must be the man in the robes.

Edward walked into the centre of the room,
“Now Leo I know you know Lady Margret, but I am not sure if you have met her son Paul, Paul is currently minister in the Church down in Beaulieu.”
Leopold walked over to Lady Margret; taking her by the hand he gently kissed it,
“A pleasure Lady Margret, it has been a long time, but I see time has had no effect on you my dear in fact if it were possible it seems to have added to your beauty.”

Lady Margret smiled at Leopold,
“Leopold Anders you are still the same silk tongued rogue you were when we were children.”

Leopold then turned to the young man in the robes, he said;
“I have not had the pleasure of meeting you father, but in my letters with your mother over the years I have read so much about you. Did Edward say your were minister in Beaulieu?”
“Indeed Sir Leopold, I have only recently been appointed to the chapel there”

Leopold looked at Lady Margret, smiling at her then back to her son Paul who he guessed must be in his 30’s. Paul was a fit looking minister; certainly not the stereotype religious Minister one would normally expect to see. Now that Paul had removed his hood Leo could see he also had a considerable scar on the side of his face, on a young gentlemen a dueling like scar is fashionable, on a priest it is quite bewildering.

“If I recall correctly I believe your mother mentioned in one of her many letters that you were with the Archbishop in Westminster, surely you have taken a considerable step down to being a minister in the Beaulieu”.

Paul smiled “Indeed some have seen my appointment to Beaulieu as some sort of demotion, but I assure you sir, I requested the appointment, and some of the reasons for me being here in Lyndhurst will soon become evident.”.

Leopold looked from Paul to Edward, with somewhat of a puzzled face.

Edward indicated a group of chairs all conveniently placed in a circle,
“Before we begin, may I suggest we all sit down and relax, we have much to discuss.”

They made their way to the chairs and once they were all seated Edward drew a long deep breath, looking directly at Leopold he began.
“Leopold, much of what we wish to talk to you about I am sure you will feel uncomfortable with, but I want to reassure you before we start; that you are amongst friends and family who love and support you.”

Leopold frowned, “Good Grief Edward that sounds rather foreboding,”

“Hmmm indeed it does Leo, I am sorry if I sound rather melodramatic, but it is dashed awkward you see. Well in for a penny in for a pound I suppose. Leo can you tell us what you know of your sons Johns natural parents, in particular the family lineage?”

Leopold thought to himself
“Damn they know about Wilhelmina, but what the hell has it to do with them”.

“With the utmost respect I am not sure what his parent’s lineage has to do with any of you Edward.”

“Indeed Leopold under normal circumstances you would be correct, it would have absolutely nothing to do with us, but umm sadly we have come into some information that makes your sons family lineage very important to all of us here, but more so to you I suspect; please tell us what you know and then we can go on from there.”

“Very well since I am amongst trusted friends I believe it can do no harm, indeed it may be beneficial if you all know.
James natural mother is Princess Wilhelmina, the sister to the Frederick II, King of Prussia. Princess Wilhelmina gave birth to James out of wedlock. You must understand that the shame of having a baby out of wedlock was too much for her, that and the fear that the boy could become a pawn in the game of Kings in Europe forced her to seek shelter for her son.
At the time my fiancée Sophia was married to a Hessian Captain Franz Schiller, he was killed in North America fighting for our colonies over there, at the same time Princess Wilhelmina was about to give birth Sophia was about to give birth to the Captains son. Sadly she miscarried and lost the baby, she always said it was the grief of hearing of the death of her husband that contributed to her losing her baby.
Anyway to make the story shorter, Princess Wilhelmina gave birth to a baby boy, she then asked Sophia to take the baby as her own, you see they were both in confinement in a monastery in Hesse, so the secret would be safe from the outside world. Princess Wilhelmina was reported as being ill, and she stayed over at the monastery to recover while her lady in waiting gave birth to a baby boy, the story was plausible and indeed no one questioned it.
Sophia stayed on in Hesse with a Pension from the princess; I met Sophia some 3 years later and have been with her since.
Two years ago, rumours started circulating that Princess Wilhelmina had a secret love affair, and from that love affair a baby boy was born. But when people started snooping around Hesse trying to find any substance to the rumours we became concerned. So I made plans to bring Sophia and James back here”

Edward was looking at Lady Margret, then to her son Paul,
It was Paul who spoke next,

“Sir Leopold what do you know of Princess Wilhelmina’s lover?”
“Well very little actually, I know he was Prince Ferdinand of Granschaft Gimborn and that he was killed some two months before James was born”
Paul continued, “So you will not know much of his past other than what you have heard via your fiancée?”

Leopold was now becoming both a little concerned and a little confused.
“Look, please tell me what this is all about, these questions regarding James and his parents are as far as I am aware, of no real value to any of you, and I am certainly not comfortable about being interrogated over private family details.”

Lady Margret interjected, looking around the group.
 “Look I think we owe it to Leopold to explain, and then he will understand why we are concerned.”
She looked at the others and they all nodded in agreement, then she said to Paul,
“Please show him the letter Paul.”

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  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.”

Leopold was left shaking his head, he looked to his brother,
“God God Edward are you telling me, my James is the sole remaining link to the throne of England.”
“Yes Leo, I am and now you can understand why we are so concerned”
Leopold rose up from his chair, he walked to the windows, stood looking out at the view but really was not looking at anything in particular.
He turned back, making his way to his chair, heavily slumping back down on his seat.
“The irony is Sophia and I left Hesse for the fear James may become a pawn in the wars between Prussia and her enemies, we were worried about his safety, now I am learning we have literally taken the boy out of the pot and thrown him into the bloody fire.”

Edward rose and walked over to his brother, placing his hand on Leopold’s shoulder.
“Leo we can help you, no matter what you decide to do from this moment, know one thing; the people in this room are devoted to looking after your family.”

Leo turned to his brother who was by now kneeling beside him, Edward could see the tears in his brothers eyes,
“How the hell am I going to tell Sophie, I promised her James would be safe here, but he is now in far greater danger than he would have ever been in Hesse, this will destroy her; it will destroy us.”

Leopold rose up once more; he looked around the group and then said
“Tell me one thing, how long have you known about James?”

Paul spoke,
“Sir Leopold I have known for a few months, I have been away in Hesse and much of Europe following  the research on this, when I felt I had sufficient evidence, I went to find you in Hesse and tell you about the discovery we had made. However you had moved on, I believe you went to Saxony, but I lost your trail there. I decided to return to England and make my findings known to the commission, I had already written with some of the details to the Archbishop.
Apparently the Archbishop or someone in the committee allowed some of the news to escape, there were no details given just the suggestion of a royal heir. By the time I arrived back here the Archbishop had been killed, I made my way to Lyndhurst because I knew if anyone knew the truth about what happened to the Archbishop it would be my mother.”
Paul smiled at his mother, “She has spies everywhere Sir Leopold, so if you want to know what is happening in the Ruling Council she not only knows the details, but who said what to whom.
Anyway when I arrived back here in Lyndhurst I discovered six of my brothers from the investigating committee were hiding here also, mother had taken them in and then hid them around the County.
I told mother what I had found out and she suggested I talk with Sir Edward, which was on day you arrived here.”

Edward rose up from his kneeling position, just as Leopold also stood up once again.

Edward said, “Leo, we just didn’t have time until yesterday to sit down together and discuss the details, we wanted to make sure that it was indeed James your son that was the same James who is the sole survivor of all the English royal lineages”.

Leopold then looked at Paul,
“So if you could trace James to Sophia and I and since there are now rumours of his arrival in England, no doubt others will be able to trace him here.”

Paul smiled, “Not exactly Sir Leopold, as I mentioned earlier, I have most of the original documents, and the ones I couldn’t errrrr take I made sure the details were changed so much so that anyone following the trail will come to a dead end somewhere in the Palatinate or even France”.

Leopold looked at Paul, realising there was more to this man than being a mere church minister.
“How on earth did you manage to take original documents from under the noses of the owners?”

Paul went red, with obvious embarrassment, his mother then spoke up.
“Sir Leopold, I am ashamed to say my son had shall we say a wild past, I can assure you it was not through the lack of guidance from myself or his father, personally I blame the louts he fell in with, you may know some of them Sir Giles sons and a few others who have all now managed to make notorious names for themselves.”

Paul interjected, “What my mother is trying to say Sir Leopold is that before the Archbishop took me in, I had a career as a very successful thief and if I may be so bold to boast an expert at forgery. It was through the Archbishop and my mother that I was given the chance to change my ways, oddly however my old ways ended up helping the Archbishop on many occasions. It is the same with the other six brothers, we all have particular talents, but we have all tried to put them behind us, but in working for the Archbishop we have sometimes been forced to use those talents. I guess the Archbishop would say the end justifies the means.”

Leopold looked around the group,
“Well what can I say, there is so much here for Sophia and I to consider, but whatever it is we decide it will be for James’s benefit, not for the throne of England, not for anyone in this room; our sole concern will be for James. If Sophia and I decide to stay, then obviously we will need to talk some more, but if we decide to move on, then that is the end of the matter.”

Edward nodded, “We all understand that Leopold and we would not have it any other way, if you decide to stay, believe me we will have all the resources we have in Lyndhurst to protect your family, if you decide to move on we will do all we can to cover your trail.”

Leopold suddenly felt very old, he had hoped he come to England for peace and security, but already he was beginning to understand that there could be none, all their lives had now been cast into a tumultuous whirl of an unknown future. Even if James was made King of England tomorrow, he would face years of attempted assassinations, wars and intrigues, if he was to run, despite what Edward promised he knew one day someone would come calling.”

Leopold made his way to the door, he paused and turned to face the group,
“I thank you for what you have done, especially you Paul, if I may ask; how long do you think it will be before the truth about James becomes known?”

Paul casually rose from his chair,
“Sir Leopold it could be years, but in truth I believe it will be nearer six months to a year. Despite my efforts to hide James’s trail I suspect someone on the Council of Nobles suspects some of the truth. Especially when you consider the Archbishops murder someone in England may already be looking for him.”

Leopold stood for a moment looking at the floor; he then turned to his brother,
“So if the least they know James was in Hesse or Germany and it is suspected he is now in England, how long do you think it would take them to connect the fact that Sophia and I have just come from Hesse with an 15 year old boy?”

Edward walked over to his brother,
“Leo as Paul said, it could be soon or a little while from now, but the truth or some of the truth will eventually become known, so we must prepare now. As I said if you stay and I pray you do, we will move heaven and earth to protect James; but sadly if you leave there will be little we can do to help.”

Leopold nodded his head,
“Thank you all, I best go and somehow break this to Sophia, I will let Edward know what we decide.”

Paul came over and shook Sir Leopold’s hand,
“May god go with you Sir Leopold, he has watched over James so far and I believe through his guidance he has lead you to us, so I beseech you Sir, to trust his ways just a little further as God clearly has a plan for your sons future, and the future of England with a King.”

Leopold looked at the young thief-priest, “Young man God may have a plan but I assure you he has not checked in with Sophia and she will decide James future.”
With that he left the room, Edward followed him out, at the top of the steps Leopold stopped, looked at Edward.
“This is a damnable business Eddie.”
“Yes Leo it is, it is not one any of us would have chosen, yet I believe that you and Sophia will eventually come to understand, that James’s past cannot be denied, nor can his future. Leopold his existence was chosen by God some time ago, his presence in England right at this time was ordained by him. Our country is weary of the wars, the deaths and the constant dangers, it needs stability and it needs leadership; it needs to believe it has a King once more.”

Leopold nodded and without a word he walked down the step, before he mounted his horse he turned to Edward,
“All you have said may be true Edward, but he is an 15 year old boy who has no understanding of who or what he is or may be.”
Edward had followed him down the steps,
“I know that Leo and that is why he will need your guidance and our support and protection, I would not attempt to beguile you with falsehoods brother, it will be a dangerous time for all of us, but it is a time we need to pass through.”

Leopold tipped his hat, and road out through the gates, his heart heavy with worry and fear for his family.


Choices to be made for James

County of Lyndhurst
For Sir Leopold the ride back home had been a troublesome one, after having talked with his brother and his friends about James the adopted son of his fiancée. In his mind he had played over and over how he was to explain to James’s mother Sophia Schiller that despite his promises to her that James would be safe in England, it appears he was now very far from safe.
James’s well being and security had always been that no one knew much of his families lineage, it was known by a few intimates that he was a nephew of Frederick II of Prussia. In fact it was for that reason they left Hesse, it was the fear that if it were well known that James was Frederick II nephew living in Hesse; the boy would simply become a pawn in a bigger game between Kings.
Once the decision to move it seemed natural England was the safest place for them to move to. They could live and be safe in Lyndhurst county, the county his brother Edward governed. It was today in discussing some news regarding James that Sir Leopold was acquainted with the realization that now he was in far greater danger in England that he could have been in Germany.

His birth mother was Princess Wilhelmina, sister to Frederick II, his father was as far as most people who knew the secret was German, but it now appears his father’s lineage lead all the way back to Charles I  of England. That made James Charles I great-great grandson, it also meant he was the sole remaining Royal of the English throne.
By a huge freak coincidence in fleeing Europe to protect James, they had arrived in a Kingdom that was by far even more dangerous than the one they had just fled.

Once he arrived back at his new home which he called: New Park House” after the area in which it had been built, he wasted no time explaining the situation to his fiancée.
He had been totally honest with her; he had decided on the ride back he would not try to beguile her with any false sense of security and well being.
Though he had known Sophia for many years he was astounded by her calm reaction to being told that her son was the only legitimate claimant to the English throne, thus was in great danger. There had been a lot of tears, however despite them there had been no accusations that he feared might be leveled at him.
It seemed that she accepted just as Sir Leopold had done, none of them knew of the Royal connection so as such they must all accept a share of the responsibility. However clearly something had to be done and it was Sir Leopold who suggested they had two options; to stay or flee.
When Sophia asked him where they could flee too, the only sensible option he could think and they were with no real conviction that was to return to Prussia and seek Frederick II’s protection or go to North America.
However Sophia was wise enough to see the inherent dangers of both options, in Prussia there was no guarantee, and then there was the oath she had given to Princess Wilhelmina that she would not allow James to become a Prussian Pawn.
In North America a colonial war was still under way between English, French, Spanish and American Colonists, so it was for certain that was not a viable option.

They decided to sleep on it over night, it had been a long sleepless night for both of them, but in the morning they sat down over breakfast while James was out riding a new horse in the yards behind the mansion.
Sophia said she must decide what was best for James, because she had taken the responsibility of raising him; she had given the oath to his mother, so it was her decision to make. Sir Leopold reluctantly agreed to abide by her decision, and begged her to put him out of his misery and tell her what she had decided.
She smiled at him, reaching across the small table to hold his hand,
“We must stay, but it is on one condition and that is neither James nor anyone else makes a claim in his name that he would seek the throne of England. Further more if your brother wants us to stay he must give James a great deal of protection”.

Leopold told her how it would almost be impossible for anyone in England to ignore the fact that James was of English Royal blood, and it was certain that the council of Nobles, that self appointed power hungry pack of jackals would or could not ignore the fact that he was or could be a royal.
There would be some who would instantly declare for him and there would be others who would demand his death and this would be despite whether he declared himself or not.

Sophia made the suggestion that as far as she knew only this mysterious Father Paul had the evidence that linked James to the throne, if that evidence was destroyed or kept secret then there was no proof that James was a Royal.
Leopold told her that the passions for and against royalty were such that once the suggestion had been made in the minds of many it would become a fact, hiding or denying what many will suspect will not make James safe.
It was then that she finally relinquished realising they were trapped.
“So in the end regardless of what we want or do James will be seen as a threat or a deliverer, either way his life will be forfeit.”
Leopold said “To me my dear it seems fate has brought James to this place at this time, and if fate decrees he is to die there is little we can do to prevent that, though we will do all in our power to make him safe. Equally my darling fate may have decreed England has suffered enough under the rule of Nobles and it has sent James as a deliver to the English people.”

“Leopold that is such rubbish, James is a boy, yes a very intelligent boy but what does he know of being a King, or even of politics, he has enough trouble staying on that horse let alone lead armies or people.”

“For sure Sophia, James will need guidance and that is what you and I will be there for, we will not leave his side until he is ready to make his own decisions. Edward will help us by both providing guards to protect you and James and he will undoubtedly be using his contacts to raise allies to help James in his cause.”

Sophia looked at him for a few moments.
“Leopold it easier is for you, you can make decisions and see things in a big picture, but for James and I we have the little picture to live in, I have never had to think beyond caring for my son, what do I know about advising him to be a King. I will lose him to a bunch of men who will use him or his cause to further their own gains.”

“My darling your role is the most important of all, it is from you that he has learnt so much, through your insistence that he learnt languages, sciences and history, that boy already knows more than most Nobles sitting at the council. As for others trying to influence James only you, Edward or myself will be allowed to discuss and make decisions for him. For certain others may try to influence us by fair or foul means but as long as we are strong and determined on our course we will not go far wrong.”

She looked at him and said,
“When do we tell him.”

“There is no time like the present my dear.”

Together they both rose from the breakfast table to go out and tell their son his life would be forever different, try and explain to him why he was about to become the centre of a storm.
The other thing Sophia did later in the day was to write to Princess Wilhelmina to keep her informed and seek advice.

Sir Edwards starts to gather Support.

As soon as Leopold and Sophia had made their decision to stay in Lyndhurst, Edward as Governor of the Country enacted several new projects, first he began to establish a new training ground for his small army, this new ground was purposely very close to Sir Leopold’s estates in New Park. It served two purposes in that the County needed a central training area as well as establishing a protected zone around Sir Leopold’s estate.
At all times there would be a company of Infantry and a squadron of Cavalry in the new Park region.
The estate itself would be guarded and patrolled by men from Edward’s own Guard Company.
Sir Leopold’s Mansion had two new house servants, both were Edwards best men and would keep close to James and Sophia at all times.

Next he looked at the possibility of raising one of his six militia Battalions into a regular battalion, the costs of equipping the unit would be minimal as the uniforms and equipment were already available, the detrimental effect would be on taking 600 men away from the fields and the new workshops just being established in the county.
He decided he would need to talk with Amschel Rothschild, perhaps he could come up with a way to defray the effect of losing so many men from the labour force; Edward found that Amschel always had a way of looking at problems from directions others would not have thought to consider.
Finally he had travelled to London initially because he had to attend the Council of Nobles meeting as well using the opportunity to sound out allies and opposition.
The journey from Lyndhurst to London was always a tense one; the Kings Highway ran through every county in England and was meant to ensure protection, the noble whose county the highway ran through was meant to provide security and protection along the length of his part of the highway, however occasionally the Nobles guards were worse than the bandits. Most nobles travelled with an armed escort; by law the escort was not to be more than 100 men, which is what Sir Edmond used on this occasion. It was far more than he would usually need but for the task ahead which would likely stir up some troubles and enemies he felt sure the journey home may be considerably risky.

His first call when arriving in London had been to see the Duke of Exeter, Lord Richard Hackett. Lord Hackett was one of the three most powerful Lords in the council, he was not what Edward would call a friend or ally, but he was a Royalist and in the past had spent a considerable fortune trying to find a link to an English Royal. The main problem with Lord Hackett was that he would want control of the Royal, which was not going to happen to James.
The other problem and it was going to be a common one, no noble would readily relinquish their power to a King, and Edward felt in the end there would have to be a compromise or a new civil war would ensure, in that event all the factors weighed heavily against James.

Edward realised how much simpler things would have been if the Archbishop had not sent Paul on his quest, because then Leopold, Sophia and James would just have been refugees fleeing the European war and no one would have paid them any regard.

Duke of Exeter, Lord Richard Hackett
Lord Hackett was more than a little surprised to receive a request for an interview from Sir Edward Anders. Anders he recalled was one of those rare knights and Peers that actually spent time governing his county as opposed to the majority who spent most of their time frequenting the Gentlemen’s clubs of London.

Lord Hackett was expecting the usual request, loans for some scheme or another, patronage for a relative or a bribery attempt in some endevour to gain his influence; they were all part of the onerous task of being a Peer on the council.
Instead he realised he was actually being “sounded out” about the depth of his political persuasion in regard to having a monarch. This discussion Lord Richard then decided with some relish was going to be a far more interesting interview than most, far more interesting indeed.

“Well Sir Edward I am sure you know of my attitude to the monarchy, after all it’s hardly a national secret now is it.”

“Indeed my Lord it is not, but what I am interested in if you will forgive me for being so bold is your less well known attitudes to having a monarch on the throne, in other words what conditions would you as a Peer accept as suitable.”

“Well now, that is indeed a very interesting question, but first I must ask you; why are you so interested in monarchy; have you discovered a well hidden royal in your family closet Sir Edward.”

Both men laughed, and then the smile on Edwards face dropped as he continued.
“No my Lord I fear I don’t have a Royal of my own tucked away, but allow me to say this I do know of the existence of a royal whose lineage is proven without doubt. Obviously I am not about to stand on the roof tops of London and scream the news, my life would have a tendency to be somewhat shortened.”

“Indeed my dear Sir Edward not only your life will be shortened, but likely your body as well, at least by a head. Well under normal circumstances I would be looking at you now as a man that had come to me with some hair brain scheme and this interview would be in the process of being wound down. However since I have never known you as a knight for a penchant with a hair brain schemes, I am inclined to believe you are serious and as such I do have to warn you; you are treading on dangerous grounds Sir Edward.”

“Indeed my lord I am fully aware of the dangers.”

“Yes it appears you are, I did wonder about the reports I received of a knight travelling to London with a full escort quota, and now I believe I understand why. It seems to me Sir Edward we are in that awkward situation of both sides not entirely trusting the other and equally unwilling to fully disclose ourselves; how do you suggest we move on from this situation.”

“Well perhaps I should develop my interest a little more in the hope that you will see that I have come to you for advice, not as some hair brained scheme to overthrow the Council or to commit treason of any sort.”

“Well Sir Edward there are many on the council he would have you on the gallows by now for even making the suggestion that a royal exists, however I am not one of them; but please go on.”

Edward went on to explain that he had come into the knowledge that there was a bloodline that ran from a bastard child of Charles I and still exists to this day. That he had seen the evidence and he was inclined to believe it was authentic but was not in a position to disclose more at this early stage.

Lord Hugh listened with great interest, and as he listened he watched this man develop his explanation. He always wondered about Sir Edward, on the council he was a rare man, rarely heard unless he was passionate about something and then he entered in the fray with all his passions. He was considered to be a forceful man but a fair one.
Sir Hugh remembers that there was a considerable strain between County of Lyndhurst and its neighbour the Duchy of Romney. Good god Duchy of Romney how more pretentious could a pirates family become.

When Edward finished Lord Richard signaled to a man servant who stood some distance away.
“Jenkins would you please leave the room and stay outside the door until I call you, I do not wish to be disturbed by anyone.”
Jenkins a tall well built man looked out of place in a servants suit and Edward realised he was more bodyguard than manservant. Jenkins bowed, “Of course my Lord”.
He then quietly marched from the room.

Lord Hugh smiled seeing how Sir Edward watched Jenkins,
“Yes he does somewhat belie his true purpose does he not, no matter how hard I try it seems being a servant does not come easy to that man.”

Sir Edward smiled in return, “Indeed my lord but these days we all must take precautions.”

“Yes you are so right Sir Edward, now then we are truly alone and I think we need to discuss in some more detail what it is you would have me do in regard to this newly discovered royal of yours.”

“Well my lord he is hardly my royal, but I will own the fact that at this stage I am somewhat protecting his existence.”
“So it’s a male we are talking about, that is good; a King always carries more prestige and authority; whether that is perceived or real matters little it is simply the way people perceive things. For the common people it’s more about the father figure they seek in a King, for the nobles well sadly we are a much more difficult obstacle for any would be monarch to overawe.”

“Yes my lord it is a male, a young boy of eleven years old, so were he to be put on the throne it would be under regency for a few years.”

“Well that would depend Sir Edward, once he is sixteen years old he could be King in his own right, and believe me you would be lucky to get him on the throne in 5 years or less. You do understand that to recreate the Monarchy in England can only be done by force; sadly the council will not relinquish its hold willingly. Oh I do say there are a few who would readily support a proven royal, but it would be conditional on what they hope to gain from supporting a King.”

“Indeed my lord and am I right in assuming that you would be such a noble.” Edward asked.

Sir Richard laughed aloud,
“My God Sir Edward I do like you, a man that thrust straight to the heart of the matter. Indeed I am such a Noble; there are several reasons why I would support a monarch right now where as a few months ago I would not have contemplated even listening to what could be reasonably called a treasonous plot.”
“May I ask my lord what is different now, that would make you have such a change of heart?”

“Well Sir Edward as you have trusted me with your life I will return the compliment. Sir Edward I am dying; I have at most a year to live.”

“My god my Lord I am so sorry to hear this.”

“It is nothing, I have lived a good life and I have been fortunate in that my father and his father were such capable men in that they created the powerbase I enjoy today. Sadly however I have only one child and that is my most precious jewel of my life, my daughter Sarah who is just sixteen years old. Sadly Sarah will not be strong enough to hold off the pack of hyenas in the council so I am forced to betroth her to a son of one of the men I most dislike on the council that of course is the Duke of Kent. The only chance I have of protecting Sarah’s inheritance is to have a contractual marriage in which her inheritance is guaranteed to be protected.
In fact Sir Edward we may be able to do both of us a service as I need one more noble to act as guarantor on the marriage contract and it seems to me that we may be able to do a service to each other.
You clearly need my help and I could do no better than have a man of such integrity as you acting as a guarantor for her.”

“My Lord I would be honoured to do act as her agent, you can be assured of that”

“Excellent but that is not the reason I would be interested in supporting your hair brained scheme Sir Edward, it would be on condition that the King protects Sarah’s inheritance, that he would make her a Princess of the realm; that would be my price.”

“My lord though I cannot speak with certainty for the parties involved, I have been given some latitude to agree to certain conditions if they were reasonable, and yours would be most reasonable my lord.”

“Indeed they are Sir Edward, and you must understand that for now my support must remain a secret, in fact until I see you and your young monarch make much more progress other than closeted proposals my daughter’s betrothal to that young bastard Lord John will have to remain in place, and that saddens me sir, saddens me greatly. So I urge you to press this matter forcefully and when I see you have the strength to see this through you have my word that I will support your cause, that being of course on a public promise from the King and his regents that my daughter’s inheritance will be protected and she becomes the Princess of Kent.”

“You have my word on that my lord, now may I ask one more favour?”
“What is that Sir Edward?”
“Who else on the council do you think I should approach on this matter?”

Lord Richard pondered the possibilities for a few moments

“You need to speak to the Duke of Berkshire, Lord Robert Castlemaine. Now I know he is a lame brained republican but he has two valuable assets, first he knows he is out on a limb with his political views and that sooner or later his position on the council will become untenable. In fact I have heard certain rumours that my Lord Bedford is planning moves against him in the coming year, secondly his lands control London and that is where the power base of the realm is, both financially as well as politically. For you to succeed Sir Edward you need Lord Castlemaine and London.
The other men you need to approach are the Dukes of Cornwall and Cumberland, both are royalists but they just  like me will have their price; and it will depend on how desperate you are as to whether you will agree to them.”

“Well my lord you have been most helpful, I will speak to the people who act for the Royal and I am sure I can get them to agree to your terms.”

“Well that is fine Sir Edward but there will be one more condition and that is I must met this Royal to both satisfy my own interest he has the potential to rule as well as the people you have that are advising him.”

“I will add that to the message I take back to them, but my Lord you must understand moving the boy around in England comes at great risk.”

“Indeed I do Sir Edward, but the journey we are all to embark on will be a series of monumental risks.”

“Indeed my lord, it will be.”

With that the interview was at an end.

Once Sir Edward had left the room, Lord Richard summoned in his man Jenkins.

Jenkins I want that man followed, to see who he talks to and to make sure no harm comes to him.
Jenkins went to salute but quickly remembered his station in life, he bowed ever so awkwardly,
“Aye my lord I will get right onto it now.”

Lord Richard decided he had to know more about what was going on in Lyndhurst, he felt sure that this new royal was hidden there somewhere and there was only one man he could ask and that was his new business partner who had business interests in Lyndhurst Amschel Rothschild.


An Interesting Night

For Lord Charles Bedford, Duke of Kent this had been a most splendid evening, he had much to be pleased about because this evening he had announced to all the Nobles and dignitaries here that his son John and the daughter of Lord Richard Hackett the Duke of Essex were betrothed. It was everyone knew the announcement of a new and powerful alliance in England.

                                                                     Duke of Kent

For the Duke of Kent it had the additional bonus because he knew thanks to not an inconsiderable amount of bribery and coercion of the Duke of Essex’s physician Dr Anthony Lambert that the Duke of Essex had only a matter of months to live.
It seemed to Lord Bedford that the added spice in arranging this proposed marriage was the Duke of Essex seemed desperate to make this particular  match for his daughter. The bonus for his son was of course she was quite a beautiful woman, if perhaps a little dull in conversation, but what man would sit around his estates listening to his wife prattle on when there was much more lively entertainment he could find in London.

Obviously Essex was all too well aware that his daughter was not strong enough to resist the pressures that would bear down on her following his death, particularly from the pack of wolves known as the Council of Nobles. Clearly Lord Essex would be aware there was a desperate need to secure his lands for her that forced him to look around for a suitable husband. A man that was capable of resisting the Nobles and his son with his own backing was just the man, besides once they were married her lands would become his sons lands, and thus indirectly under his own influence.

                                                               Duke of Essex

Both Duke of Kent and Essex along with their immediate families sat at the head of the table in the grand hall, for all intent and purposes they were to be one grand family now, but the perception belied the history between the families. Though they had never openly fought each other they had been constant competitors for power and influence, occasionally joining together to beat away a third party but then drifting back to the status quo of competing against each other.
This alliance would put an end to that and on the death of Essex Lord Lambert would become the most powerful man in England.

Charles Bedford had only one purpose in life that was the accumulation of power. It was the same goal his father had installed in him; the accumulation of wealth meant the accumulation of power. Tonight was evident of his achievements thus far; here in this room was every leading family in England and ambassadors from all the major European courts.
They all came because his status demanded it, no less than if he was King of England, and to the Duke of Kent that was the ultimate goal in his quest for power.  Outside his immediate family circle no one suspected that the Duke dreamed and plotted his pathway to eventually becoming the new King of England.
He like his father before him, who had quietly worked behind the scenes to remove obstacles that would or could hinder his rise to the throne, it had been his father’s dream, but too little time and too many ambitious nobles had thwarted his father. For the Duke of Kent with this new alliance the time was fast approaching when Duke of Kent, would become King of England finally.

Of course it had not been easy, but it was easy to manipulate ambitious and greedy lords of the council, it was simply a matter of knowing which button to tweak with each noble.
He had used his influence to encourage certain lords or knights to oppose others, all the while he would arrive as the peacemaker or mediator. He had on several occasions he resorted to murder and blackmail to remove certain individuals that could one day present themselves as opposition.

This proposed marriage was simply the next step towards the ultimate goal; however it was a very big step. It only became possible because he had bothered to watch and spy on all his fellow Lords. It was through these efforts and as a result of paying Doctor Lambert the Duke of Essex’s personal physician an exorbitant amount of money that he was kept informed off the health of the one person he considered would be a definite obstacle.
There had been a time when he considered having Essex removed but ever since he had heard rumours that Essex’s health was poorly, he had decided to let nature take its course. He sat, watched and listened until a few months ago; the doctor had told him that his Lord the Duke of Essex had only a year at the most to live.
His informants constantly kept him informed of Essex’s attempts to find a husband for his daughter, but all to no avail, mainly because every Lord and Knight in England knew that one day their son as Essex’s son in law would have to reckon with the Duke of Kent; and not one of them felt strong enough to take that step.
Eventually as he knew he would the Duke of Essex made approaches to him regarding a marriage between their two great families.
There was a great deal of contractual negotiations, mainly in relation to Essex’s lands and his business dealings. The Duke of Kent had felt benevolent enough to not push too hard a deal, mainly due to the fact that after Essex was dead he could use his influence and power to change any contract he signed now.
However that was until Essex had driven a real spike into the negotiations, Essex had appointed a manager of his business Estates, a man who would administer the Essex family businesses for the benefit of his daughter. With all the negotiating over the marriage contract soon it seemed all of England knew that this marriage was a political settlement only.
The contract was to be  counter signed by 3 Lords and 3 knights to guarantee that it would never be changed. The first instinct for the Duke of Kent had been to walk away from the deal, but then he realised he was playing the long game anyway, it still meant his son would inherit the lands and its revenue if not the business connections.
In time he could eliminate the obstacle presented by 6 lords and Knights who guaranteed the marriage contract, he could easily eliminate the estate manager when the time was right; after all the man was a Jew and was even worse a German Jew.
However all those concerns were to be dealt with in time, for now the Duke of Essex was still alive and as such was now to be an ally and friend.

The Duke of Kent sat back sipping his wine, his son John and his fiancee were circulating around the tables, at the moment they were talking to the Duke of Berkshire Robert Castlemaine. He watched Castlemaine shaking John’s hand, and then taking the hand of Margret and gently pressing it to his lips.
Castlemaines land covered Berkshire and Middlesex and as such London and more importantly the ports of London.
Most of the Dukes income came from his businesses and estates in North America, but a lot of his wealth also came from custom fees originating from the Port of London.
Castlemaine was also quite a peculiarity in that whilst he was a Lord and Peer of England he advocated republicanism for England, this often meant he did not sit easily in the power structures within the Council of the nobles.
That little snippet, along with the strategic assets of his lands made the Duke of Berkshire his next victim; already he had plans which were underway to undermine the influence and power of the Duke of Berkshire.
The Duke of Kent had two goals to achieve before he made his declaration for the monarchy, first he had to have Essex’s land and of course his business connections and secondly he needed London in his grasp and that meant removing the Duke of Berkshire.

Until he achieved those two goals the Duke of Kent remained the affable Peer of England, a man only concerned for the realm and its people, a man anyone could approach to seek help or favour, for a price of course.

The Duke was just about to lean over to speak to his wife, when a shadow cast itself over his table, turning quickly he saw Sir Steven Ferguson, the Duke of Romney standing alongside him.
He quickly stood,
“Ahhh Sir Steven a pleasure I am sure.”
Sir Steven offered his hand to the Duke,
“My Lord I have only come to offer you and your lady my congratulations on a superb match, a wonderful couple.”
The Duke realised a game was about to be played,
“Indeed Sir Steven my wife and I are most pleased at the match.”
“Indeed and so you should be my lord.”

                                                              Sir Steven
There was a brief awkward moment as the two men made eye contact and realising that Sir Steven wanted a quiet word, the Duke leaned down and whispered to his wife,
“If you will excuse me my dear, I find I need to stretch my legs, this damn knee is playing up again.”
Lady Bedford was far too busy talking to the woman next to her to worry about the wheeling and dealings of her husband, or even his knee.
“Of course my dear, you take care though.” With that she continued her talking with someone far more interesting than that horrible creature Sir Steven.

The Duke slowly stood, “Sir Steven I wonder if you would do me the honour of walking with me for a few minutes. It’s my damn knee don’t you know. The blasted gout is getting worse and I have to keep walking, can’t sit too long dammit it.”

Sir Steven took the cue “Of course my Lord I would be only too pleased to accompany you, and besides I have several matters I would seek your advice on.”

They quietly walked over to the entrance of one of the balconies; the Duke pausing only to take a glass of wine from a tray offered by a waiter, they then walked out to a balcony. The evening was fresh but not cold, the early signs that winter was passing and already spring was taking effect.

Glancing around Duke Steven ensured they were alone; he then turned to face the Duke.
“My Lord I have some disturbing news that has come to hand that I feel may greatly concern you.”

“Indeed Sir Steven and what news would that be.”

Lord Bedford was wary of Sir Steven, he knew him to be an ambitious low life, who owes his knighthood through the efforts of his father. His father Captain Stevens was what is now euphemistically called a Corsair, but by any other name or meaning he was a pirate and by accounts he was a ruthless one at that. He had the good fortune to take and plunder a Spanish treasure ship as well as several Spanish coastal holdings in South America.
His father left England with a letter of Marquee and returned an extremely wealthy man within 12 months of arriving home Sir Stevens father had gained or purchased a knighthood and County Romney, which his son even more ambitious than the father had the nerve to rename the Duchy of Romney.

Sir Steven was to Lord Bedford what was known as a “Client Knight”, he was one of many knights that sold their votes on the council for patronage and favour from a Peer. Lord Bedford had several such Clients which extended his influence in the council considerably.

“Now Sir Steven how may I be of assistance to you?”

“Well my lord it appears we may be of some assistance to each other”.

“Well I am always in favour of arrangements that bring satisfaction to all parties, you have me intrigued so please do go on.”

“Sir there is some scurrilous rumours circulating around the city that you are building a power base so strong that to some it appears you may be intending to have yourself crowned King of England, that in fact this proposed marriage is one such move. Now my lord I am not one to listen to gossip and rumours, but I am left wondering that if this particular rumour were true the last thing you need is to have a large obstacle put in your way. I have discovered one such obstacle and it is considerable.  Naturally if the gossip is not correct, then what I have to say will still be I am sure of interest to you, but my Lord I find myself in the embarrassing position of by doing you a favour I need one for myself.”

“I see, well Sir Steven I am sure you know this city is run by rumour and gossip, so naturally when the good people of London see one man doing well they all will always accuse him of having some ulterior motive. I am reminded of your own good father who fought for this country at great personal risk, and despite his success the people of London soon forgot his achievements in battle and remember him only as the gossip makers would have it, a pirate.”

Sir Steven hated being reminded of his father’s past, especially by people like Lord Bedford whose ancestors plundered the royal properties for their own gain and immense wealth.

“Indeed my lord you are quite correct, people with small minds and lazy souls always envy the more successful”.

“Indeed, now for me to gauge how I may help you, I need to hear what information you are offering, hopefully information I don’t already know.”

“I am sure you have heard the rumours that the Archbishop may have discovered a previous Royal line, but little substance was given to the rumour because of his unfortunate death prevented him revealing the details.
Now it so happens that a letter from one of the Archbishops investigators to the Archbishop himself has fallen into my hands, he drew a letter from his inside jacket pocket and handed to Lord Bedford.

The letter was brief but indicated that the Investigator had indeed discovered a previously unknown Royal line that stems from Charles I, he wrote that he has irrefutable evidence that Charles I had a bastard boy, the lad was sent from England to Europe, but it didn’t say much more. He finished the letter confirming beyond doubt that having followed the lineage of that boy from Charles I sent away right through to the current member of the Royal line which was a young boy. He would explain more and show the archbishop the evidence when he arrived home. It was simply signed Paul.

Sir Steven inwardly smiled as he saw Lord Bedford’s face paled.

“Good God, if this is true we could be facing another civil war, and how on earth did the letter get into your hands Sir Steven.”

“Well my Lord for now I would prefer not to disclose the details but I can assure you it was indeed taken from the Archbishops office.”

“Hmmm I see, before or after he was murdered”

“My Lord please let us not lose sight of what is being suggested here, but there is more.”

“Well by all means Sir Steven go on”.

“I am sure you know Sir Edward Anders of Lyndhurst County.”

“Indeed I do, a very industrious family if what I hear is true” replied Lord Bedford.

“Well I prefer to call them treasonous rather than industrious my Lord.”

“Indeed Sir Steven treason you say, now that is a considerable accusation”.

“Yes my Lord you are quite correct but I am sure you will understand when I tell you the rest.”

“In Lyndhurst there is a town called Beaulieu, that town has in last few weeks just gained a new church minister, his name is Father Paul. Now I have done some checking and it seems this father Paul spends a lot of his time in the company of Lady Adair, Lady Adair has a son called Paul who has been missing from Lyndhurst for a number of years. Her son Paul had a reputation as a “hard man” he was a known thief and ran into trouble with the law more than once. I like many others just assumed he had simply been thrown into prison, but I now believe father Paul is lady Adair’s son.
It now appears this son is quite talented, I am told he speaks several languages including Latin, German, French and Spanish, hardly the mind of someone who has spent years in a prison
I am sure my Lord you have heard the same rumours I have, that the archbishop had a secret group of men who he sent out to investigate the applications of nobility, but I believe he was also working on another project. He was looking for a missing link to a Royal family, I believe this Paul found that link in Europe and has returned with him to England. Furthermore I believe the boy he refers to in the letter is now living in Lyndhurst County.”

“Pray tell me Sir Steven, why do you believe that?”

“Because my lord, General Sir Leopold Anders returned from Europe about the same time as father Paul reappeared in Lyndhurst, but even more interesting is that Sir Leopold has returned with a young German lady and her son. It is claimed that this young lady, who is by the way a lot younger than Sir Leopold is his mistress. Now I have not seen the boy, in fact my people asked questions and it appears no one has seen him apart from glimpses through the new high fences Sir Leopold has erected around his new estate which is called “New Park.”

Sir Steven paused for breath, Lord Bedford seemed entranced, and so Sir Steven continues.

“I believe the Paul in the Archbishops letter is the same Paul now Minister in Beaulieu recently returned from Europe and even more recently placed in Beaulieu by the Anders, further more I believe he found the missing Royal and for whatever reason has brought him back to England. I admit I don’t know how Sir Leopold became involved in this, but I do believe he very much is involved up to his neck”.
I suspect they are hiding this young Royal who if he is descended from Charles I and as such would possibly be a great-great grandson of the King, and certainly a solid link and possibly a solid claim to the throne.
I don’t think the Anders are fools my Lord, I believe they are building a powerbase of their own, both political and commercial, once they feel strong enough, that is with enough allies then they will make their move and place the boy on the throne under “their protection and guidance, perhaps a regency my lord.”

“So are you saying the boy that is the so called missing Royal is the same boy that lives with Sir Leopold?”

“I am speculating he is one and the same but I don’t have proof yet, but when considered with the other evidence it certainly goes beyond mere coincidence that all these events should occur in Lyndhurst not long after the Archbishop was murdered and that this letter came into my possession.”

“Now Sir Steven I have to confess what you say does indeed intrigue me, before we go any further I want to know what it is that you want?”

“My Lord I want Lyndhurst county, and if the Anders are proven to have committed treason then Lyndhurst would become vacant and I would like your promise it will be given to me, I want nothing more or less.”
“Treason you say, yes hiding a royal in England is grounds for treason under the law laid down by the ruling council, but we would need to prove they knew the boy is a royal and not merely Sir Leopold’s mistress’s son.
It would seem to me the only evidence that this Paul mentioned in his  letter is either with this Father Paul or with Sir Leopold, failing that we would need to have someone try to track the family lineage ourselves and that could take months, even years.
Simply proving Sir Leopold knows this boy is a royal would only prove he alone knew and no one else did, thus Sir Leopold would hang but Sir Edward would not but you could be sure he would become your enemy for life, and I don’t think I would want that man loose and my enemy.
Secondly I would have you tell me, did you have the Archbishop murdered?”

Sir Steven smiled,
“Now my Lord if I answer that in the affirmative that would place me at your mercy, and possibly you as an accomplice in knowing details of who murdered the Archbishop without reporting it. Perhaps my lord it is best if I say I know who did murder him and I can go on further to say that it had nothing to do with this boy King that particular discovery came about merely as a consequence of the deed.”

Lord Bedford paused for a moment, obviously deep in thought.
“Well Sir Steven what you have told me does indeed interest me a great deal, and I believe we may be able to do each other a service, but it will take time and we will need to discuss this in greater detail. But we do need to keep this close to our chests Sir Steven.
For now I need to discover more about this missing royal link and I need to find out if this boy in Lyndhurst is a royal or just a boy. But more than that if you are correct and the Anders family has been laying the ground work then I need to know who they are talking too.”

Sir Steven moved around the balcony, occasionally glancing over the side as if to reassure himself no one was hanging on to the balcony edge listening to their conversation.
“Well I can be of service to you there as well my Lord.”

“Good grief, you are becoming a wealth of knowledge, pray tell me what you know, and Sir Steven you can be assured I do honour my debts.”

“Indeed my lord and I am most pleased to hear that. Well my lord it appears when Sir Leopold returned from Europe with his mistress, he also returned with some friends he met there. Now the friend is a money changer and he has developed a considerable stake in Lyndhurst County, he also is a silk merchant and is developing markets both in Lyndhurst and here in London. By all accounts he has only been here a few months and already has established quite a clientele.
In fact I believe he is now the estate manager of your future daughter-in law if the rumours circulating are true.”

Lord Bedford went white, so much so that he became visibly shaken; Sir Steven rushed to grasp him by his elbow to help steady him.
“Good god my Lord are you alright, should we go back inside?”

“No dammit I am alright, don’t tell me that this man is a Jew called Rothschild?”
“Indeed he is my lord, he is the Anders family financier and I believe he is also now involved with my Lord Essex’s family finances as well, I hear he is very well connected in Europe, apparently he comes from quite an extensive family all of whom are involved in finance in one respect or another.”

It was then that Lord Bedford realised he may have made the most grievous mistake of his life, by tying his family’s future to that of Essex’s he was in fact making his own position vulnerable. If Essex and the Anders have an understanding then it could go far beyond a business arrangement, all of a sudden his dreams and schemes to have a King Bedford on the throne of  England seemed  to have become very complicated.
The one advantage he had was at this stage neither the Anders nor Essex would be aware that he knew of their plans; if indeed they did have plans. It then occurred to him that he now believed Sir Stevens’s story, as bizarre as it sounded in the beginning now it had a ring of truth about it. If so he had to find a way to manipulate events so the council of nobles came to realise there were treasonous plans being made within it.
He had to work this to his advantage, if he planned this right not only could he have the Anders accused of treason, but he may also have Essex condemned in the same way, and even if he wasn’t, being associated with a traitor would do more harm to the Essex family fortunes than he could ever hope to achieve on his own.
But first he had to distance himself from Essex, and now of course that was even more complicated because he had stupidly just allied himself to the Essex family, the one thing was certain, this marriage could not possibly go on.
Damn Sir Steven, why couldn't he have come with this information sooner, and even more worrying is how none of his informants never picked up on any of this.

First things first, he had new plans to make.

Lord Bedford looked at Sir Steven, he offered his hand and as Sir Steven took the hand Lord Bedford said

“Thank you Sir Steven, you have done me a great service and it will not go unrewarded, we will need to talk some more about this but for now all you know must remain a secret until I discover just how far this rot has spread.”

Sir Steven bowed and together they returned to the great hall.

As the Duke of Kent crossed the floor approaching the table, the Duke of Essex noticed Lord Bedford coming in from a balcony followed by Sir Steven, a frown crossed Essex’s forehead but then he noticed Lord Bedford looking intently at him.
Essex raised his glass in salute along with a large smile.

Lord Bedford smiled back, and reaching his seat once more he sat heavily down.

His wife, leaned over and touched his hand,
“Isn’t this a most marvelous evening my Dear”
The Duke looked at her, “Shut up woman you have no idea of anything.”

He sat there looking at the lords, knights, ladies and all the creatures that made up London’s high society. He felt angry, not at those bastards on the floor but at himself. He had been so full of his own ambitions and plans he had not seen that he himself was being manipulated, now he was not sure who he could trust; he wasn’t even sure who weren’t secretly laughing at him knowing he had just been made a fool off.
Was Stevens part of a bigger plot to entrap him, or if what he said was true and Essex and the Anders were allying who else in the council were with them; the biggest puzzle of all was if Essex was in the plot why would he allow his only daughter to marry into the family he plotted against.

The more he pondered on this the darker his mood became, the one thing was certain now, the Duke of Kent had an enemy in Sir Anders and the Duke of Essex, but he had to quickly shore up his own allies and try to find out who was supporting whom.

Sir Edward had arranged interviews with Lord Castlemaine before the Council of Noble meetings, he had hoped to catch up with the Dukes of Cumberland and Cornwall sometime after the meeting.
The interview with Sir Robert Castlemaine, Duke of Berkshire was promising, but like all the Lords he was non-committal until he saw more positive action. He pointed out to Sir Edward that he had enough enemies on the council now without inviting the rest to climb in on the struggle for London.
Lord Castlemaine was mostly concerned about the number of attacks on Catholic churches in and around London, his policy on religious practices in the areas of his control was one of free religious choice, but in the last few months there was a developing trend of attacks first on Presbyterian chapels and more recently Catholic churches and cathedrals.
These attacks were beginning to cause considerable unrest and on more than one occasion he had to call out the guard to restore order.

Sir Edward remembered the conversation with the Duke of Essex and his comments that the Lord Hackett had made just a few days ago. He pointed out that in his conversations with individuals on the council that the Duke of Kent was intent on causing trouble for Lord Castlemaine.
Lord Castlemaine indicated he knew very well of the origins of the troubles his provinces were experiencing but there was very little he could do to stop it, apart from curfews and troops in the city, which would have been unacceptable to the citizenry of London and its environs.

Sir Edward finished the interview remarking to Lord Castlemaine that he might consider that he needed allies quite urgently than he expected, both on the council and militarily because if the attacks continued it would only be a matter of time before a neighbouring Lord claimed he was forced to move into Berkshire to restore order in the nation’s capital city.

The evening before the Council of Nobles meet, Sir Edward took himself off for a walk through some of the streets of London, it was a rare chance to see people and how they lived; it was an experience that
Reminded him just how far removed from the people of England the council of Nobles really was.
The one thing that was becoming clear, if young James was to have a chance to become King he could not rely on the support from the Nobles. Some may go through the motions of supporting him, but they would all want to control him, or worse turn him into a sop to the people; a figurehead King.
Edward walked amongst and met many people that evening, some were merchants closing their markets, traders and a few poor people.
He spent time in a tavern talking with some of the inhabitants, none of them aware that they had a noble in their presence.
When he returned to his town house later that night, Edward knew things had to change, but it had to be a complete change, and it would start tomorrow.
He summoned one of his best men a young officer he knew he could trust totally  and quickly wrote a note to his brother Leopold.

Raise the Militia and close the borders prepare for trouble, tell Paul we need the proof to be ready, under all circumstances keep James close.
Tomorrow may be the first day of our long struggle, it is sooner than I expected but events are such that we may need to move quickly.
May God keep us safe and give us strength.
God save the King.

He instructed the officer to take 20 men and ride urgently for Lyndhurst and deliver the message to Sir Leopold.

Meeting of the Council of Nobles

Sir Richard Hackett, Duke of Essex had the chair for this meeting of the council of Nobles. Generally the first meeting in spring was one of administration rather than any really progressive suggestions not that any meeting had many of progressive suggestions anyway.
There were the reports from the ministers to consider, and generally it was as it always had been for several years. The ministers read out the reports, the nobles voted automatically to accept them and business continued as usual.
The wars in Europe continued with fortunes fluctuating, while at the moment England had a defensive treaty with Prussia over Hanover it was neutral in the greater expanse of the European wars. Two years ago the England had been in an alliance with Austria against France and Prussia, but the drain on English resources had been so great the alliance had to be broken.

In regard to the nation’s finances England was barely breaking even, what the minister for treasury was pointing out in his report to the council in a very vague manner was that some taxes within the provinces was being “redirected”, which meant the Governments income was severely jeopardised because of the shortfall.

Sir Edward asked the Minister why the difference between the nation’s incomes from taxes and its ability to pay its debts was so far out of balance and what he meant by redirected.

This was a subject that no one on the council openly discussed, the reasons were well known in that the taxes were simply taken by several Lords, but those Lords were powerful men no one wanted to buy in a fight with them. It was therefore quite a surprise to most as to why a minor Knight such as Sir Anton would question why the accounts did not balance.

The Minister for the treasury Sir George Ramsey was being placed in a difficult position; if he lied to a member of the council he was at the least committing perjury, at worst treason; yet if he told the truth his life was measured in hours, or at least his future as Minister would be measured in the time it took to leave the building.
Sir George fumbled with vague answers, using the usual lines of reason that there were unusual complicating factors, the feeble excuse continued and became obvious.
Finally the Duke of Kent had enough; he stopped Sir George mid sentence in one of his rambling answers to Sir Edwards questions, he asked Sir Edward whether was he accusing Sir George of misappropriating funds or was he accusing members of the council of misappropriating funds.
Sir Edward realised that this was the moment that his future and that of his county balanced on.

He replied
“My Lord I am making the suggestion that we know what should be coming into the treasury by way of taxes and other charges and we know the figure that is actually coming in is seriously a lot less than it is supposed to be. I am simply trying to find out why.”

That suggestion opened the doors to chaos in the meeting; everyone almost at once was clamouring for a point of view; finally a very annoyed Lord Hackett restored order literally by standing and thumping the table with his usually ornamental hammer, he struck the table so hard he broke the handle sending the ornamental head flying into the crowd of Nobles.  He was puzzled and damned annoyed at Sir Edwards’s line of questioning because it threatened the status quo of the council. The old rule of what happened in council stayed in the council was now being seriously jeorpardised.

“Sir Edward this line of question is out of order, if you have charges to make you should bring them to the council in the appropriate manner; that sir is by the judicial committee, but simply slandering people with vague accusations is not an appropriate use of this council”.

Sir Edward replied.
“My Lord I am not slandering anyone, nor making accusations, I am merely asking the minister for the treasury to account for the difference in expected income and what he has on hand to spend, it is a simple matter of housekeeping my lord.”

Everyone knew this was not a question of simple housekeeping, this line of questioning went to the heart of the matter, the integrity of the council, it was perhaps about then that several members of the council realised what Sir Edward was doing, one of them was the Lord Hackett and he was not pleased, the other was Lord Hugh Castlemaine and he was ecstatic. Others were literally furious, mainly because indirectly or otherwise the suggestion of misappropriation of taxes would affect them.

The Duke of Kent rose to speak, he deep voice overawing all others.
“My Lords. Sir Knights, this matter raised by Sir Edward is a matter of serious breach of protocol, as the Chairman my Lord Hackett has pointed out these matters should not be discussed in open forum, therefore I suggest Sir Edward return to his seat and deal with these matters in the appropriate manner or the council eject him from the building for bringing actions that would undoubtedly bring disrepute to council.”

Everyone stopped, first to listen to Lord Bedford Duke of Kent, and then all eyes turned to Sir Edward.

Sir Edward rose from his chair to speak,
“My Lords, Sir Knights everyone in this room has known that the finances of our country have been in chaos for decades. In the past there have been suggestions and proposals to make changes and each time they go to committee’s and there they are buried; never to resurface and so nothing changes. Over the years it has meant many millions of pounds have literally disappeared to be unaccounted for and yet we as a council supposedly responsible to the people of England do nothing to correct this inequity.
I have not made any accusations so therefore there is no need for this to go to a committee, I have a right as a member of this council to question any minister of the nation and today I am asking him to explain why there is a marked difference between what should be going into the treasury and what actually is going in.
Is that really an inappropriate question, in fact I am surprised none of you have thought to ask this very question. We as members of the council are or should be responsible to the people of England, we have a duty to be open and honest in our dealings, our ministers therefore have the same obligation to us to administer their public affairs in the same manner.”

The room went quiet for just a moment, it was then that Sir Steven Ferguson rose to speak
“My lords, sir Knights I am left wondering why Sir Edmond who has been a member of this council for many years would question right now the administration of this council. If we are as inept as he would accuse us, then is he not too equally guilty of the same.”

Sir Edmond responded,
“Sir Steven is quite correct, I am as equally guilty of allowing this inefficiency to continue for years as any of you, but it has reached such proportions that I cannot in all clear conscience let it continue unchallenged.”

“Is it your conscience, that has caused your unjust accusations or could there be an ulterior motive?” Sir Steven asked.

“I have no ulterior motive other than what is just and proper for this council as well as England.”

“Could it be Sir Edmond that you are attempting to bring disrepute to this council just at the same time it is rumoured you have a royal hiding somewhere in Lyndhurst”.

The room fell into a deathly silence, everyone realised that the meeting had just gone from a normal business as usual into something far more serious.
Sir Edmond calmly rose from his seat,
“Sir Steven I am questioning the council on a fact, a fact sir; do you know the difference between fact and rumour. I am asking the council to investigate the fact that a sum of money seems to be disappearing every year, you on the other hand are dealing in rumours which I can only assume are of your making.”

Sir Steven thumped the table,
“Do you deny you have a royal of the English line in Lyndhurst?”

“Sir Steven, you are asking me to answer a rumour and as such can quite categorically answer yes I do deny the rumour. Furthermore I can say no one in Lyndhurst claims to be a Royal and no one claims to know a royal, but sir I suggest you consider your motives and line of questioning very carefully for you are close to accusing me of treason.  I assure you if you go down that road we will deal with that matter outside of this house. Now I suggest you apologise for initiating a rumour that borders on treason or you back up your baseless accusations with facts.”

Sir Steven was now unsure how to progress, he looked to the Duke of Bedford who conveniently looked away in absolute horror that Sir Steven could have been so stupid to have opened a can of worms that he could not possibly substantiate, other members had noticed the glance and a few remembered the night of the betrothal when they had seen Sir Steven and the Duke talking quietly out on the balcony.

Sir Steven all of a sudden realised he was on his own, Sir Edmond looked at him,
“Well Sir Steven apologise or back up your accusations.”
Sir Stevens pride would not allow him to back down, even though he knew he was in an untenable position, so he did all he knew - he attacked, and the Duke of Bedford sunk even lower in his chair.

“We all are aware that the late Archbishop of Westminster just before he died had news of the existence of a English royal in Europe, he didn’t have any evidence on hand but he was waiting for that evidence to be returned to England by one of his acolytes who I believe was a brother Paul,
Now we know the poor archbishop died either in the fire in his house, or as it has been suggested he was murdered, so the evidence he was waiting never arrived in his hands.
However my Lords, Sir Knights, I do know father Paul has arrived from Europe, he is currently a minister in a chapel in Beaulieu in Lyndhurst, furthermore he arrived with a young boy and his mother.
I believe that this young boy is the one and same boy that the archbishop so confidently announced to be the supposedly missing English royal.
Further to th, the boy and his mother have been living with Sir Edwards brother General Sir Leopold in the General’s Estate in New Park, it just so happens that in the last week or so Sir Leopold’s estate is now protected by a ring of troops and a garrison is situated next door. It is clear that this boy, whoever he is being protected or hidden away”.

Everyone in the room waited, Edward waited for a few moments and when he realised Sir Steven had finished he rose to speak.
“You mean that was it, that is what you are basing your accusations of treason, Sir Steven you had better have more evidence than that or I am demanding satisfaction”
Sir David Crawford (Knight of Worcester) asked,
“Well Sir Edward do you deny that there is a royal in New Park, and if you do why the precautions.”

Sir Edward replied
“I do have a confession to make, it is not one that concerns this council but it does concern my own county, but in response to the baseless accusations made so far I will clarify.”

Edward went on to explain James connection to Frederick the Great and these precautions were made to protect the boy from foreign agent’s not English ones.
The whole council just sat there looking at Sir Steven who simply replied
“Well Sir Edmond if you had simply been more forthright with us these rumours could have been discounted very quickly.”

Edward replied seemingly rather peeved.
“How could I be more forthright when I didn’t realise you spent so much time spying on me and my family sir, if you had concerns it could have saved you from considerable angst if you had simply ridden over the border and asked. Sir Steven the only rumour I have heard about a royal in Lyndhurst has been from your mouth, so I again ask you to apologise or I demand that you be removed from the council for making false accusations of treason”

Sir Steven knew he was beaten, he simply had no proof and he had let his temper get the better of himself.
“Sir Edward I do most sincerely apologise for any suggestion of treason.”

“I accept your apology Sir Steven but the fact remains you knowingly falsely accused me of treason, I move that this council at least censure Sir Steven for that, or more appropriately he be dismissed from the council.”

The council went into an uproar, Sir Edward sat very straight faced looking directly at Sir Steven the whole while the council argued back and forth, in the end it was decided that indeed Sir Steven did make unproven accusations and that he was noted as being censured by the council.
Sir Edward then rose again,
“My Lord and Sir Knights we still have the matter of the nation’s finances to discuss?”

There was a resounding sigh of disbelief from the council, Lord Hackett spoke
“My Lord and Sir Knights’ I am calling the meeting a close for today, we will continue tomorrow when passions have had a chance to cool off.”

As the council members broke up into their various cliques and left the chambers Lord Hackett made his way to Sir Edmond,
“What the hell are you up to Sir Edward, this situation with Sir Steven was nicely done and I doubt we will hear much from him, but this matter of finances can only harm the council. You must back away from it if you wish to gain any support from me or other Lords.”

“My Lord with the greatest respect to you sir, I am sick of the double dealing double standards that we as have nobles become accustomed too as being normal. Is our depravity so craven, our corruption so bad that we cannot see what we have become?
Did we not cut the heads of Kings, kill dictators because they assumed so much power or had themselves become so corrupt yet here and now while we stand so deep in our own filth, we still claim the innocence of the lamb.
No my Lord, I will not sit quiet any more, and in regard to your support I most earnestly hope and pray you will see wisdom in whichever path you choose.”

“What has caused this sudden burst of innocent enlightenment Sir Edward, is it because you have James on hand and you see a place for yourself in a higher role than you can achieve with the counsel, surely it’s just not a simple case of envy.”

“Nay my lord, you would do me an injustice to accuse me of wanting a higher place than where I am at present. This sudden burst of awareness or enlightenment as you call it has been sitting heavily on my soul for a long time, but I saw no way to change things; at least with James we have a chance, a small chance albeit; but it must be taken. We must purge ourselves of the past and start new.”

“I thought I understood you Sir Edward it seems I am wrong, you are a mad man if you think things will change, who and what will stand up to the council; certainly not you and Lyndhurst; it saddens me to say you can no longer count on my support.”

“My lord that grieves me more than you think, I ask you to reflect on your decision. You asked me not so long ago to guarantee that your lands will remain in your daughters hands, that she would be raised up to a Princess and these things in the name of John I have guaranteed you. If you choose to stay with the council my Lord, what future will you leave your daughter?
She will be married to a man who fornicates with every loose woman in the city, she will be ignored or at worse abused and her lands and those of your clients will go into the hands of your enemy the Duke of Kent. Is that truly the path you knowingly choose for her and your memory?
Then my Lord you ask what force will stand up to the council, I would suggest that in a week’s time you walk out of your house and walk the streets as I did last evening, that is if you dare; and you will see where the force is going to come from. It is the people my lord, the unseen, the overlooked people of England who have nursed resentment against us for decades, they are the powder keg waiting to blow and the wick is burning. When it blows up there will be a new England, fresh and stronger, the council will be a thing of the past and there will be a King for the people to believe in.
But the King will need advisors and counselors and that is where people like you can still be of assistance, if of course you are a true Englishman and not simply another pig with his snout in the trough.”
‘How dare you Sir Edward, I could squash you without moments regret, how dare you accuse me of the same greed as Exeter and his like.”

“My Lord I accuse you of nothing and yes maybe you can squash me without a moments regret, that would likely be in the same manner your daughters inheritance and hopes for happiness will be squashed by the Duke of Kent and his son, she will be cast aside as a worthless woman all because you failed her when it mattered most.
But what surprises me my lord is that you think that the council will continue much longer, there is no basis for it, the only reason it remains in power is because the people have not had a choice for an alternative but if it’s a choice between the old corrupt council that has for decades fleeced them and a new chance for change with a King, the Council or at least the Nobles will only be swept away by the force of a revolution.”

Lord Hackett donned his hat, snatched his coat from a waiting butler and stormed away, he left the council chambers and as he waited in the foyer for his coach to arrive outside, he noticed the windows of the foyer crowds, they just stood outside sneering and mocking as the Lords and knights as they left the chambers and for the first time he saw them as people not a milling crowd that annoyed or delayed him. It scared him because for the first time when he thought of the results of what Sir Edmond had said.
This mocking and sneering was nothing new, they had all experienced it, but some like he and Kent more than others, but in the past it was an annoyance, but now it felt different; it was menacing.

These people, this crowd would pull him out of his coach or indeed this building and murder him without a moment’s thought if they knew they had a chance for a new start, a new Government. Once it was known there was royal in England the Nobles will be swept aside unless they combined and overawed their countrymen by force, but what force when the soldiers they would use would as most likely be seeking their heads as well. The result would simply mean they would have to bring in foreign troops and the moment they did that all thought of a free England was gone.
Indeed he thought to himself, I am trapped by my past and by my daughter’s future, and it is all because of that boy and Edward Anders.
He had to make a decision and quickly, but first he had to talk to his daughter before tomorrows meeting.”

As Lord Hackett stormed away Lord Robert Castlemaine walked over to him, he slapped Sir Edward on the shoulder,
“Well done my dear Sir Edward, an admirable performance, quite spectacular. You have my support my dear man full and unqualified, for whatever its worth.”

“Thank you my Lord I am most appreciative but if I may ask my Lord what made you change your mind?”

“Well two things Edward, you are quite right about what the council has become, and like you in the past there was little I could do about it because there simply was no alternative to it, secondly if you will forgive me I overheard part of your conversation with our dear Lord Hackett and yes you are quite right. Once word gets out that a royal exists there will be a revolution in England, god knows where it will end and we along with your would be boy King may be swept aside by it, but it has to be better than what we have now.”

“Yes My Lord that is true, but only if word gets out far enough.”

“Oh I wouldn't worry about that Edward, I am sure it will spread like a wildfire” Lord Castlemaine replied, in fact I would not be surprised if it is already being spread around the city.”

Lord Castlemaine took his coat from the butler, in his mind he was already planning the story for his newspapers and pamphlet writers, yes word is out and may god forgive all of us for what is to come.

Sir Edward Anders woke to hear quite a ruckus coming from the streets outside his town house, being concerned that perhaps they were in the process of being attacked he quickly began to dress, there was a knock on the door and his manservant the burly Tom McGregor stepped into the room.
“What the hell is going on Tom, are we being attacked?”
“Well no soirer, it’s not an attack we are having, it’s more like a bloody siege.”

Tom walked over to the window and drew back the heavy drapes, the morning was early and the day had barely started to lighten but looking out the window Edward could see what must be hundreds of people.
Remarkably they were not attacking, they were just standing and talking, occasionally there would be a chant of some sort but he couldn’t make out what it was.

“What the hell is going on Tom, why are they here?”

“Well soiree it seems that little speech you gave yesterday has stirred up a bees nest to be sure, these people are sick and tired of them high and mighty lords if you be excusing me m’lord, and whatever you said at that meeting soiree seems to have made you their hero, that an the fact they want to see their new king”

“Bloody hell, how the hell did they get to hear about a king?”

“Well soirer it seems some bugger went and wrote them pamphlets didn’t he, and in them there’s all sorts of ideas about a King that you have tucked away back home in our Lyndhurst soirer. If you don’t mind me askin’, do we have a King tucked away somewhere m’lord”.

“Bloody hell Tom, this could get out of hand, and very quickly. At they seem peaceable but it would only take a rabble rouser to set amongst them and it could get kind of nasty.”

“”Well soiree it’s like this, you is their hero it seems, and they wants to see you; but soiree I am not having you wander out there for a chat an all. Some of them are kinda warm and fluffy towards you and there be no doubt about that, but some of them buggers will likely want to nobble you if you know what I mean soirer”.

Edward finished putting on his dress jacket, turned to look out the window once more.
“Indeed Tom, nobble me you say” replied Edward with a smile.

“Well Tom as its far too early to think about leaving for the meeting I think I would like some breakfast, I will take it in the dining room if you will, and have the papers arrived yet, I expect it’s a little early”

“Indeed it is early soirer, but we have some of these”.
Tom handed a small stack of pamphlets from the side table that must have been circulating throughout the city overnight.

Edward flicked through them and they were all alike, they reported how Sir Edward of Lyndhurst had condemned the Council of Nobles for its corruption, it even reported that he had called out Sir Steven over a matter of honour over the issue.
However the more serious issue was that a few pamphlets suggested that a young boy reputed to have proven links to Charles I had landed in England and was currently being protected from the Nobles in Lyndhurst.

“Good God, how the hell did they make the connection between James and Charles I, ” Edward murmured to himself.

Edward became aware that the noise outside was increasing, he walked across the dining room and pulled the drapes back, outside the window were the 20 men of his personal guard lined up just inside the fence, the remaining men from his guard were in Lord Castlemaines barracks on the outskirts of the city. Lords and knights were not permitted to have more than 20 men as escort in the city limits which was generally recognized as within the old city walls.
However the cause for the extra noise was a troop of Castlemaines dragoons were pushing the crowd back from the fence line, Edward saw a young officer dismount and make his way through the gate, he was momentarily stopped by one of Edwards own officers and then allowed to pass through.

Edward returned to the table just as Tom was bringing in a tray with his breakfast on it. As Tom leaned over to take the plates off the tray Edward noticed that Tom had a Pistol tucked into his belt and under his jacket on the other side he had a cudgel.
“Good god Tom get rid of those, if that crowd went berserk and got past our men there is little you can do with a pistol and cudgel, now just go and put them aside man.”

Tom crumbled and growled as he removed the weapons and but placed them handily on the desk by the door.
There was a knock on the door so Tom went to answer it, moments later he returned.
“Sir there is a young gentleman here to see you; he says he is from my Lord Castlemaines personal guard.”

“Indeed Tom, please show him in.

Tom returned and opened the door for the officer to enter and then closed it behind him.
The officer bowed,
“Captain Christopher Fairfax at your service Sir Edward, I am here with my Lord’s compliments Sir Edward.  I have been sent to escort you to the chambers when you are ready, meanwhile my men will keep that rabble away from your property sir. I must apologise for their behavior but I suppose we cannot expect much more from the unwashed.”

“Indeed Captain, well thank you for your kind services and I am grateful for the escort, but I can assure you I will be fine with my own men, and please thank my Lord Castlemaine for me.”

“Are you telling me you don’t want an escort Sir Edward, but surely sir the moment you step outside you and your men will simply be over run, that rabble will tear you to pieces Sir Edward; at least my men on horses can keep them away from you sir.”

“No captain I will be fine, now please go and pass on my regards to my Lord and assure him I will see him at the meeting in a few hours,”

Captain Fairfax seemed stunned, but he did as he was instructed, he bowed slightly and retreated from the room, a few minutes later the troop of dragoons departed much to the cheering and jeering of the crowd.

In the Foyer of the Council Chambers
The entire road outside the council chambers had been blocked off, Lord Castlemaine had called out his entire Army of 4 battalions of Infantry and 2 cavalry regiments, he even had two cannons pointing along the road way. Most of the infantry were surrounding the Council chambers and protecting vital buildings such as embassy’s and Government officers, the Cavalry had been all morning escorting the various nobles and knights in from their respective town houses or lodgings that they stayed at overnight.

Lord Bedford had arrived in a much disheveled condition; his coach looked as if it had crashed through a storm of rotten vegetables, fruit and eggs. Instead of a vehicle that was ornate in design and colour it was now looked a wreck, and a smelly wreck at that.
Lord Bedford was not much better, he was visibly shaken and out of sorts, when he arrived he had ranted at Lord Castlemaine about allowing the riff raff to threaten and attack his coach, even threatening to raise the matter in council; perhaps even having a vote of no confidence in Castlemaine and thus having him voted off the council.
Various members were already suggesting similar actions should be taken against Sir Anders, but when they got down to details they discovered there was little they could accuse him off.

Lord Bedford had just seen the Duke of Essex arrive and he too looked a little worse for wear, but at least he had a smile for his fellow council members.
“There you are Hackett, what the blazes do make of this bloody chaos?” demand Lord Bedford.
Lord Hackett was still laughing having just seen M’lord Bedford’s coach,
“Good God Charles you and your coach look like you ran crashed your way through every market place in London.”
“Damn Disgrace Hackett, that’s what it is a damn disgrace and I’m going to get some action. I can’t understand why Castlemaine doesn’t let loose with the cannon dammit, blast the riff raff off the road I say, damn their hides.”
A lot calmer than Lord Bedford the Duke of Essex sighed deeply,
“Well Charles if anyone fires on that crowd we will have a revolution on our hands, and we would be its first victims, for the moment they are rowdy but generally good natured, once we have finished the council business and all go home, they will quieten down and things will return to normal.”

“Well what about these damn pamphlets, I’m sure you have seen them they are all over town, they are Castlemaines work.”

“Indeed Charles I couldn’t agree more, no doubt Castlemaine is enjoying his moment of glory. Of course you know we haven’t endeared the man to us, he has been marginalised by us in the council because of his republican views. He is using Sir Anders and this King issue merely as fuel for his long awaited revolution, I don’t believe for a moment he cares about a King, he wants his much cherished republic and to get that he must have a revolution.”

“Well I am putting up a motion of no confidence in him, damn the man; and I expect your support Hackett.”

“Well Charles on that matter I will have to declare I will wait and see, I quite like the man, but I do agree that these pamphlets are damnably annoying”.

“Dammit all Hackett if I can’t rely on you in the council who the hell can I rely on, If I don’t get your support in a vote of no confidence in Castlemaine you can forget about your goddamn daughter marrying into my family.”

“Indeed Charles, now that is food for thought” replied Lord Hackett with a smug smile on his face.

They were then interrupted by gasps of the nobles who were gathered in the foyer, cries of
“Look at the bloody man, he looks like bloody Caesar,” and “The nerve of the man, who does he think he is?”
Both Lord Hackett and Bedford went to the windows to see what was causing the commotion.

In the distance and just visible through the throng of crowds Sir Edward Anders could be seen walking through the cordon of soldiers, his escort of 20 men was marching in file either side of him.
Lord Hackett made his way through the gathering Nobles until he was outside on the steps, there he had a much better view of the spectacle; he was joined by Lord Bedford.

Sir Anders was covered in flowers, his men arms sloped were equally covered in rose petals and flowers of all sorts, the whole Lyndhurst escort was itself being escorted to the chambers by the “riff raff” of London.
The crowd were chanting “he is a jolly good fellow” and long live the King”
Lord Hackett smiled as Sir Edward approached the steps,
“Well Sir Edward a very royal progress I would say.”
Lord Bedford snarled, “Damn it all Anders what the hell do you mean by creating a spectacle like that, the situation is dangerous enough as it is without you showing off.”

Sir Edward smiled at Lord Hackett, he then and turned just as his escort stopped at the bottom of the steps, the men snapped to attention, all with smiles, covered in rose petals and perhaps only a few unkissed. Sir Edward then noticed Lord Bedford’s coach to the side, covered in all manner of rotten food and such.
“Good god my lord, what happened did you crash into a food market on the way here.”
Lord Hackett burst out laughing and returned to the foyer, the others following him, Lord Bedford beside himself with rage stormed in behind them.

About 30 minutes later once the last of the nobles had arrived the council was summoned to begin, the members all too aware that this meeting was most likely the most important of their lives thus far.

The Meeting

Quite a few of the Lords and Knights that assumed their seats in the Chamber ready for the second day of what had started out yesterday as a business as usual meeting, however overnight it seems to have taken on a life of its own and it was now very much a crisis meeting.

Once again the Duke of Essex Lord Hackett had the chair for this session he tapped the new ornamental hammer on the podium table to bring the room to order.

He began,
“My Lords and Sir Knights everyone in this room is acutely aware that overnight our nation has slipped closer to anarchy.”
There were a number of “hear, hears” and the nodding of heads in agreement to the observation.
Lord Hackett continued.
“I am sure in today’s session we can all behave like the gentlemen we are, we must all remember we are here to steer this nation away from a crisis not deeper into one. I am equally sure there are a number of contentious issues that we need to discuss and thus I will remind members that we do have a procedure of standing orders and any member of this council that does not adhere to the discipline and procedures within those standing orders will be expelled from this room.
Now we have business carried over from yesterday that was not finished, that is of course Sir Edward Anders question on the discrepancy of financial incomes from the annual taxes and charges, Sir Edward to you wish to take the floor?”

Sir Edward rose to speak, but before he could open his mouth the Duke of Kent Lord Bedford rose from his chair, Sir Edward noticed he had managed to rearrange his clothing and wigs so that once more he looked the aristocrat he was rather than a mobile fruit stall.
“My Lord Hackett, if I may I wish to put a motion on the floor for the members to consider, that motion is
“Due to the seriousness of these questions and considering the delicate mood of the nation at this time the matter of financial discrepancies be placed in a committee and not be discussed in open forum where passions will once again run rife.”
Sir Steven Ferguson quickly rose with a smile on his face as he glanced at Sir Edward,
“I second the motion.”

Lord Hackett looked to Sir Edward and indicated to him he should take his seat,
“We have a motion by the Duke of Kent and seconded by Sir Ferguson of the Duchy of Romney that the matter of financial discrepancies be placed in committee, how do the members vote?”
The motion was passed by a handsome majority and the matter of finance was buried for another year.

Once the first vote was completed The Duke of Warwick, Lord Stephen Fraser rose to take the floor,
“My Lord Chairman I wish to place a motion on the floor, that is that this council vote to dismiss my Lord Robert Castlemaine from the Council of Nobles for bringing the council into disrepute, for placing the nation in danger of insurrection and by way of his rag commonly known as “The Voice” claiming that a Royal is hidden in the County of Lyndhurst when the member of Lyndhurst only yesterday denied the existence of such a royal in his country”.

The Duke of York a well known ally of the Lord Fraser rose, “I second the motion.”

Lord Hackett drew a deep breath, he thought to himself, well here it is, the Duke of Kent faction will go through the council and try to rid itself of all opposition, this was clearly an orchestrated strategy, however there was little he could do at this stage unless someone could stop the Kent faction in its steps.

Lord Hackett rose,
“The motion is placed on the floor that the Duke of Berkshire my Lord Robert Castlemaine be removed as a member from this council and as a consequence his land be declared vacant, the motion has been seconded by Lord Fraser.
As this is a motion of dismissal the floor is now open to debate the issue.”

The Duke of Warwick rose to start the debate and his accusations took a predictable path; Lord Castlemaine was undeniably the author of the pamphlets that circulated through the city overnight, they were he claimed full of slanderous lies and half truths.
The large unruly crowds in the streets of London were clearly created by his foolish actions and he even went on to accuse Lord Castlemaine of orchestrating the crowds so as to threaten certain Lords while favouring others. In the Duke of Warwick’s mind this was a clear attempt at intimidation and that alone was a reason for dismissal.
He then went on and raised the subject of the royal in Lyndhurst and how Sir Edward had denied a Royal was in that county and despite that denial Lord Castlemaine wrote the article as if it were a fact, a clear attempt to create division in the Council and the nation.

It was at that point Sir Edward rose with a point of order.

Lord Hackett acknowledged the point of order, “Sir Edward what is your point of order?”

Sir Edward drew in a deep breath,
“My lord Warwick is partly wrong in what he claims I said yesterday. I was asked yesterday whether I knew of a royal person or if I knew of a person claiming to be a Royal was in my county of Lyndhurst and I answered that I did not.
However that is not to say that a royal is not in Lyndhurst or that there is not a person living in Lyndhurst who claims to be a royal, the point of fact is I was asked if I knew of either of those two conditions and I said no. I did not know of a royal person  and I did not know of anyone actually claiming to be a royal.
What my Lord Castlemaine wrote in his paper could be perfectly correct; there could be a royal in Lyndhurst there could even be a person claiming to be a Royal in Lyndhurst, the matter of fact is I do not know of such a person.
I do know my lord, that a young boy is in Lyndhurst that has come from Hesse, that young boy is a nephew to King Frederick II of Prussia, I have heard he has authentic papers that link him to Charles I the murdered king of England, I have not seen those papers myself so cannot vouch personally for them and as such cannot vouch whether he is a royal or not. However my Lords neither that boy nor any of his entourage have claimed he is a royal of England, so obviously I cannot know for sure if he is even a royal so my answers of yesterday are perfectly correct. It also infers that my Lord Castlemaines claims could be correct in that he has information I have not seen or that he is merely repeating rumours I have not heard.”

For a moment the room was silent as each member tried to work through what was being said. Lord Bedford rose,
“So Sir Edward are you now saying there could be a royal living in Lyndhurst?”

“My lord I am saying there could be but I have not meet a person in Lyndhurst that I know  for certain is a member of English royalty so the answer to your question is yes there could be, but by the same token there could be a royal in any of your counties and you do not know of his presence.”
Lord Bedford replied, “You can be damn sure if I had a royal whelp in any of my counties I would know immediately.”
“Really my lord and how would you know if said royal was on your land or passed through your lands if they or no one else claimed them to be royal?’

“Don’t play games with me Sir Edward, I am not the one being accused of harboring a royal?”

“Am would I being accused of harboring one my Lord Bedford, you be wise to choose your words carefully if you so do accuse me.”

The room went deathly quiet, never had a knight thrown a clear challenge to a Lord of the council, but then Sir Edward continued.
“However clearly the motion placed by My Lord Warwick that my Lord Castlemaine falsely claims that a royal is living in Lyndhurst is not necessarily wrong unless of course Lord Warwick has evidence to the contrary.
Secondly My Lord the motion that Lord Castlemaine pamphlets are full of lies and half truth would seem to be a matter for a court of law to settle, what I read in the pamphlets that he reported yesterday’s proceedings of this council, he reported the accusation that there is an element in this house that is guilty of corruption. All the points he listed in his pamphlet actually happened and were so claimed yesterday, so where are the lies and half truths my Lord.”

Sir Robert Castlemaine rose to speak,
“I thank Sir Edward for his gallant words, but I can assure everyone in this house I am quite able to defend myself, however as Sir Edward has so ably and clearly refuted the claims against me I am asking My lord Warwick to produce clear evidence against me or withdraw the motion.”

The arguments continued back and forth during the morning session, the motion to have Lord Castlemaine removed from the council was finally defeated albeit closely.

The council closed for the midday break but it was clear that over the break both sides would be drawing new plans and new strategies.
Edward had decided to retire his office in the chambers for a quiet lunch rather than go to the dining room. He was very surprised when he walked into his office to find his servant Tom there along with his eldest son Colonel James Anders, Sophia Schiller young James’s adopted mother and father Paul, there was another person Edward did not know.

“Good God how on earth did you all get in here?”
“Well father you are not the only Anders you know.”
“Hmm well alright but what are you doing here, this is a very dangerous time and place, especially for you Sophia and Paul.”
He turned to the other gentleman in the room,
“I am sorry sir, I don’t believe we are acquainted.”
James said,” I am sorry father this is the Prussian Ambassador to England Count Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein”
The count bowed “It is a great honour Sir Edward, I have heard much about you, even before this episode regarding his highness Prince James.”
Edward looked or rather gaped at the ambassador and then to Sophia,
“The Royal Prince, good god don’t tell me you have announced that he is a prince already?’

Sophia quickly replied, “No Edward but King Frederick has announced that despite his illegitimate birth he has recognised James as a Prince of Prussia, but he will not be placed in the hereditary line of the Prussian Monarchy because he has a prior lineage to the British crown.”

At this point the Prussian ambassador stepped forth with several documents in his hand,
“I have here Sir Edward several testimonials including that of Princess Wilhelmina as to his birth as well as evidence of his ancestral lineage.  Despite the Father Paul’s very clever attempts to divert the path of anyone following young James true lineage he overlooked the fact of Prussian and German efficiency, in that we have duplicate records so once it became clear someone had altered the true records we decided to check our own records as to why. It was in doing this we discovered independently of English efforts that James was in fact a great-great grandson of Charles I, interestingly we even have a letter written by Charles II asking our ambassador to England if we had heard of a illegitimate son his father may have had, so clearly someone back then did know of the possibility of a hidden child.
I must add that our ambassador at the time only paid little or no attention to the request and it went unanswered before the King and his family was so foully murdered, the letter was filed and buried in our records until just recently. I have duplicate copies here if you wish to read them”

Paul then stepped forward smiling at the Prussian ambassador, “Sir Edward I have the originals here if you wish to finally see them and no doubt compare them.”

Edward looked around the room, taking the records offered by Paul and the ambassador he sat at his desk,
“You all realise that if I read these documents I can no longer deny James existence and his heritage, are you already for that, especially you Sophia my dear.”

Sophia nodded, “Yes Edward, it is not something I wish, but I am now convinced whether we do this or not my sons life will always be threatened, so it is better that he reclaims his true heritage and he makes the attempt to make things better in England both for him as King and for his people. Both Leopold and I have talked this over with James and he understands everything and even though he is young he is prepared to face the consequences.”
“Yes well that may be Sophia, but we all will face the consequences, and we are in fact guilty of treason by knowing there is an English royal in Lyndhurst.”
Edwards son Colonel James replied, “Well actually father he isn’t in Lyndhurst, he is here in London.”

Edwards face reddened, “Here in London, good god have you people taken leave of your senses, this city is a cess pit of lies, double dealings and murder and yet you bring him here.”

Col James said “Calm yourself father he is perfectly safe, he is in the Prussian Embassy and they are guarding him very closely, but we will need him here in London father.”

At that moment there was a knock on the door of the outer office, Edward quickly shuffled the documents into a drawer in his desk and then nodded to Tom to see who was there.
Tom came back in to Edwards office and said “Tis  My Lords Hackett and Castlemaine Sir Edward”.
Edward looked around the room and then nodded to Tom, “Very well Tom you best let them in and if you will, please remain outside in the outer office we do not want to be disturbed”.
Tom nodded and then left only to return with Lord Hackett and Castlemaine, he quietly closed the door behind the nobles.
Lord Hackett looked around the room, he instantly recognised Count Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein.
“Good Lord Sir Edward here we were wandering why we missed you in the dining room, I see we intrude.”

Sir Edward rose from his chair, “No my Lord, in fact this may be a timely meeting”.
Edward then introduced everyone in the room; both Lord Hackett and Castlemaine recognised the Prussian Ambassador and both knew Colonel James.
Lord Robert shook the hand of father Paul with great glee,
“Ahh father we are well met I think, I have heard so much about you, both truth and rumour I suspect”.

Lord Hackett looked at Sophia, then to the count,
“My dear von Finckenstein how is it you are here if I may ask?”

It was then that Sir Edward suggested that he go through the whole story so the two Lords were as familiar with the truth as he was himself, the only part he left out was that James was in London.

As Edward related the story he offered the documents to both Lords and they perused them while he continued describing the events around James birth, his lineage and why he was in England. Both Lord Hackett and Castlemaine asked questions and finally when Edward finished they all sat for a few moments contemplating where to go from here.
Sir Hackett sighed deeply, “So it comes to this, England does have a young monarch, quite a situation you have landed us in ehhh Sir Edward.” He then turned to Lord Robert
“And how does this sit with you Robert, I mean you being a republican and all that.”

Lord Castlemaine smiled, “Well I am a pragmatist, after all I have to be don’t I, here I am the only true Republican in a heathen land of Royalists, Parliamentarian Revolutionaries, Jacobites, Popery fanatics and Presbyterian zealots not to mentioned the land of what my Lord Bedford calls the great disenchanted. If the truth be known I would happily support the monarchy over the council of nobles, but I would only support a constitutional monarchy supported by a democratic Parliament not one solely of the landed gentry.”
Lord Hackett nodded his head, “Yes I agree it would have to be a constitutional monarchy, the makeup of Parliament would need negotiating but yes I do agree.”
Sir Edward looked around the room to the others,
“Well my Lords we have not gone so far as to discuss much about the Kings role and certainly not so far as parliament simply because it has been up till now only the smallest and remotest possibility that James could be King. For us it was more about how to keep him safe.”
Lord Hackett continued, “Yes Sir Edward I can understand that but I think you need to decide before we leave this room whether you are serious about this or whether we look at other more limited options”

It was Sophia, who butted in,
“My Lords my son becoming King of England is one of the most horrific possibilities I could think off, I know his chances of surviving long enough are remote and that frightens me beyond all belief. There is something that frightens me more though and that is if we don’t try to make changes one day someone will kill James anyway just because of who he and what he represents. So as his mother all I can do is beg you to keep him safe, but I do believe he has to try and become King and as King help him make England a better and safer place for him and all Englishmen.”
Lord Robert spoke,
“Well said madam and like you I think the best path for James is as King, rather than as a young man that will forever be looking over his shoulders. There are no guarantees once we take the path of announcing the existence of a royal prince, all our lives will be at risk so like James I would rather risk my life fighting for a better England than just being murdered in my bed one night and not making any effort.”

Lord Hackett placed the documents back on the desk; he then looked around the room.
“Well enough about who is to die, we have a massive task ahead and if anyone is going to die let it be those who stand in our path, right now we have some decisions to make for this afternoons session.”
He paused for a moment, seeing the documents sitting on the desk he looked at Sir Edward,

“You know Sir Edward you actually could have placed me in a awkward situation, you are on oath as having declared you have never seen the documents.”
“No my Lord I am on oath as saying I have never read any such documents and I am still in that wonderful stage of innocence”.
Lord Hackett was puzzled, as he pointed to the documents on the desk, Sir Edward continued
“I still haven’t read them, all I have been told is that these documents support his claim, I was about to read them before you came in, in fact my lords you are in more danger of treason than me, considering you have read them and I have not.”
Lord Hackett smiled “Good God, we have been duped,” and then he burst out laughing as did Lord Robert.
They then all sat down to make plans for the afternoon session.

The afternoon session was resumed at 2pm, it started in immediate confrontation when Lord Hackett announced to the assembly that Sir Edward Anders had a statement to make to the council, it wasn’t so much the fact that Sir Edward was asking leave to make the statement but that he was joined by a woman and the Prussian Ambassador.
Lord Bedford raised several objections based on points of order but all were declared irrelevant and in the end the assembly voted to hear the statement.

Sir Edward read out a prepared statement where he disclosed the existence of an English King James III. His declaration was met by howls of “Liar, traitor, and treason”, he then produced the copies of the documents and they were laid on the chambers central table, so the nobles could come and read if they so wished, most did not.
Meanwhile Sophia introduced herself and explained her role in bringing James to England and also explaining that at the time of him coming here no one knew of the royal link including her.

It was then the turn of Father Paul to explain his role in tracing the missing links to Charles I, and the finally the Prussian Ambassador explained that his own government under instructions from King Frederick II had conducted a similar investigation but using different records and that confirmed Father Paul’s findings, that James was a German Prince but first and foremost he was the sole remaining royal link to the English throne.

There were more cries that all this was a charade, that the Anders were in league with Prussia to take over England and again the calls of traitor, treason and also cries from Sir Steven Ferguson that any one declaring himself King would be killed like the other traitorous Royals.
At the point the Prussian Ambassador rose and stepped into the centre of the floor, he pulled a document out from inside his jacket and declared that this was a formal letter from the King Frederick II to the Noble Council of England.

Essentially the letter said that King Frederick declared himself and that of his government independent of what England does in regard to forming Governments or Kings, however he reminded the council that James was also a German Prince and should any harm come to him, Prussia would hold the perpetrators and England responsible. He went on to say that if England unanimously decided it did not want a King then James should be sent to Prussia unharmed, but if there was support for him in England then that was an English issue not a Prussian one.
Lord Bedford rose and gathered all his aristocratic dignity that he could reasonably assume given the events of the day so far, he walked to the table where the documents lay, and the letter just placed by the Prussian Ambassador. Taking the letter he waved it to the council,
“Prussia, dares tell us what to do with German pretenders, who does King Frederick think he is to threaten us, England who has in the past spilled blood in the defence of his realm. What will this German King do, build a fleet and challenge the might of the English navy, I very much doubt it. Again waving the document in the air he declared that this letter like the fact that someone claimed there was a German Prince assuming the English throne was all just hot air, England has nothing to fear from a little Prussia.

Count von Finckenstein stepped up to Lord Bedford starring him eye to eye and simply said
“Hanover, it is one days march from my Kings army as we speak, Hanover that Prussia has held and defended for England these last 5 years. You say you do not fear Prussia, then think of England without Hanover.
North America where German troops are defending the English colonies from French aggression, think what will become of England without its North American Colonies. My friends England would simply be a little island without its colonies, yes my friends you have every reason to fear what will become of England if one hair of Prince James is harmed. Remember the words of my king my lords, whether you want James as an English King which he is legally entitled to be or not is an English decision. If you reject him send him back to Germany unharmed and all be well. Harm the Prince and England will pay dearly.”

At this point Sir Edward noticed his son Colonel James had walked back into the council chambers, he nodded to his father.

Sir Edward rose and asked the chair permission to speak, Lord Hackett said yes.

“My Lords, as you all know I have become disillusioned with this council, both for its corruption as well as the inefficiency in the way it has governed the nation. We have people who are starving, and while they starve the nobles and their families live and eat extremely well. We have become a nation of poor people and while the people struggle with a failing economy the Nobles are making huge personal investments with the money that should have been used to create industry and encourage agriculture, our soldiers and sailors rarely get paid with any regularity, the country is almost bankrupt because so much wealth has been stolen, and yes I do say stolen by some of the nobles here.
Because of this I am declaring I am withdrawing from the Council of Lyndhurst and supporting James III and a new Parliament of England”.

There were cries of traitor, Sir Steven stood with a smiling face,
“And therefore Lyndhurst is vacant and I declare the rightful ownership.”

Before he sat down Sir Edward turned and replied, “Come and try to take it if you have the stomach for a fight Sir Steven, which I doubt you have”.

Then Lord Castlemaine rose, “I Lord Castlemaine announce that I am withdrawing from the council of Nobles and supporting our rightful King James III and a new Parliament”.
The hall went quiet, as it became clear that something terrible was happening, and then Lord Hackett rose.

“It pains me greatly to realise that late in my life that I have lived a very selfish life, like many of you here I have looked at the council as means to further my personal wealth and power, regretfully I realise I was so wrong so very wrong.  I now vow to one and all that all I own and all that I am will be used in supporting James III and a new Parliament”.
After that announcement the hall broke out into chaos, it was then that a group of men ran into the chambers looking for Lord Bedford, moments later the news spread that soldiers claiming loyalty to the new King James III had seized the London arsenal, the arsenal that by far had the greatest store of military equipment in England and was normally under the joint control of the Council.

The three nobles who had withdrawn from the council drew together at the end of the hall, they were joined by the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Cornwall, Sir Reginald Skippon of Fordingbridge county and Sir John Brent the County of Salisbury. Together these men turned and left the chamber they walked out onto the steps of the Chambers each declared before a very vocal and excited crowd that England had a new king and once peace and calm were restored it will have a new parliament which will have members based on skill and intelligence not just landed gentry.

In the next few days these men who would simply become known as Royalists would be joined a several more Knights and nobles, the remainder made a quick and quiet escape from London, they would congregate again in Norwich in a few days to plan their response these rebellious desertions from the council.

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.
Outside the 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 streets.
Lords 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.
His first 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 escaped London.

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.
Sir Edward 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.
The Captain 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.

Edward 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.
As he 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
He stopped at the top of the steps as his father approached, James realised just how tired his father looked.
“Evening father, well this place is a step up from the town house.”
Edward nodded to his son,
“Yes well it needs to be son, but tell me who the hell decided to bring James to London?”
“It was 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.”

Edward 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 only increase.
“Now listen to me James, we are in great danger here, we are for the moment virtually prisoners and we have to be very careful.”

“Prisoners father, whose prisoners?”

“Well almost 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.”

“You don’t trust Lord Castlemaine father?” James asked.

“At the 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.”

“You really 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.”

James turned 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.”

“Leopold 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.”
Edward wiped his brow, for the first time today he realised how tired he was,
“Son, the 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.”
“Well if they can’t govern them who will?”
“Parliament 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,

“No easy task then uncle.” It was James, soon to be James III but for now simply James.

                                                                 James III
Edward 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.”

James came down the stairs pausing on the stairs a few steps from the bottom,
“And what price will they demand for giving up their lands and wealth?”

“Control of 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.”

James mother came to the top of the stairs having heard the voices and as she descended to stand alongside her son she said,
“Well that is the one thing they won’t have.”

James looked at his mother and smiled at her

“But mother 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.”

Edward 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.
“Indeed James 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 his Uncle

“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.”

He then turned and marched up the stairs followed by his mother.

Edward 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.”

Edward 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.


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 Jacobins 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.


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.

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 signaled to his men 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 travelers 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.
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 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 he saw 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.
“Jeesus 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, once they all 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 signaled his first mate Harris to take 4 men to deal with them. He then signaled 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, they lay there for a few minutes, when there was no movement from the Guard posts nor from anywhere else his men once more slowly rose 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 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 was already struggling with Harris and his men who were severely outnumbered and were in the process of being overwhelmed, however with Barkdale’s reinforcements they would soon take care of them.
.Barkdale ran into the melee thrusting his sword into the back of a Lyndhurst soldier.
“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 to get the infantry formed up and ready to move to the manor house, he saw 5 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 and

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 he thought. The smell reminded him of his home where his mother dried 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 they charged the 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 so taking their muskets like clubs they charged out of the broken doors and windows, the once beautiful formal gardens now became a 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 10 men 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 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 the General 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 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”.

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 70 Lyndhurst troops dead and 30 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.
Die rolls determined whether patrols located any of the raiders which didn’t occur.
All Barkdales “marines” were rated Elite, thus they fought to the last and were excellent in Melee.

The Lyndhurst infantry that attempted to get out the gate of the main barracks 7 men 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.


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


Strategic Situation

Having the inaugural meeting of the Parliamentarian Confederation over, the various Nobles departed for their own lands. All were aware that in some cases it was inevitable their lands would be over run, but the view was this was for the short term. There were no doubts in any of their minds that with victory would come even larger lands and greater prosperity for those who were committed to the anti royalist cause.

Lord Bedford had pondered his own situation with some nervousness, it did not take a great military mind to realise that his own lands in Kent were isolated from the main Parliamentarian armies and that as a consequence he could take a defensive stance and hope that by tying up royalist forces in defending his territory the Parliamentarian army would gain vital advantages elsewhere, especially in the Midlands where it was known the Royalists were weak.
Being defensive was not in Milord Bedford’s nature so he would seek to apply pressure on the Royalists at every opportunity.
The only ally he had close who may be of some assistance was Sir Ferguson and Lord Bedford was still in the process of deciding whether Ferguson was a benefit or a liability, certainly Fergusons army was negligible and would not even be capable of holding his own territory of Romney on its own let alone help in an offensive.  Sir Ferguson was clearly a ambitious and ruthless radical, but in Lord Bedford’s mind such a man could come into his element in a civil war, so for now he decided he would hang on to Sir Ferguson.
The next step was deciding where to attack, London was the obvious choice, but it was too heavily defended and it was likely a losing prospect to attack the city at this early stage, especially with the small numbers he had available for the moment. Later it would become a likely prospect especially when he was reinforced  with French troops, if they agreed to become involved. So the next logical opportunity was to the west into Lyndhurst, but to move most of his army to the western borders he had to be sure the Duke of Norfolk Lord Allen Ashley would pin the London Royalist army down.

The first real bad news for the Parliamentarians came a month after the James III was made King, somehow the new Royalist treasurer Amschel Moses Rothschild had raised a loan within Europe very quickly, a fact that was as remarkable in its possibilities given Europe was war weary and near bankrupt as it was for one man and his family to have gained such financial and political coup.
Of course the financial coup was made much simpler by the fact that the Bank of England and all its infrastructure was based in London, so assuming the financial controls of England had been much easier for the Royalists for whom London was a strong base.
It was a blow to the Parliamentarians for several reasons, first it meant there were now those in Europe who viewed the English royal whelp as a viable ruler thus giving the royalists considerable prestige, but secondly it gave vital energy to the Royalist cause in England.

The first clear and obvious consequence of the new funds came when the Minister of War Sir Edward Anders announced that they were paying the back wages of the officers and men of the Royal Navy; as a consequence all most to a man the Royal Navy went over to the Royalist cause. This meant in one blow the Parliamentarians were going to be restricted in their movements and manpower, it meant their own coasts would now be threatened thus opening a new dimension in the war.

To add insult to injury the Royal Navy sent several ships with royal banners flying up the Thames to London, just to “Show the flag” for the new King. The people of London came out in their droves to join in the celebration of both the coronation and the naval display.
                                         The Royal Navy joins in the Coronation celebrations

For Cardinal Cartwright who was in France negotiating on behalf of the Parliamentary Government with the French First Minister Cardinal de Fleury the Royalist financial coup came as an obvious body blow. His main line of argument had always centred on the fact that the Royal whelp was a Prussian puppet and if he was permitted to gain the English throne unopposed France could expect to see all the resources England could muster being thrown behind the Prussian King. This would mean a continuation of the colonial wars, blockades but even worse financial assistance to the Prussians and other enemies of France. Now that European financiers felt confident enough to support the Prussian pretender it meant he was a long way towards being seen as a legitimate claimant to the English throne in the eyes of other monarchs.
Also with the recent news he received from Lord Bedford that the Royal Navy had joined the Royalist side, it was likely the blockades of French Ports may very well resume shortly.
 France was almost at the point of fighting itself to a standstill. Prussia and Austria had signed a Peace treaty though no one expected it to last; however the treaty left the Austrians, Saxons, Bavarians and the Dutch now free to concentrate against the French. The Bavarians had deserted the French and for the moment were once more Imperial Allies; the Russians were involved against Sweden so this left Prussia free to rebuild and prepare for the next round of war. If the Royalists were to win in England France would be forced to face a refreshed Prussia possibly with English arms as well as English finance.
Cardinal Cartwright emphasised the need for France to make peace with the Imperialists so as to ease their own burden and to send at least a minimum of a Brigade of troops urgently, preferably more, as well as financial assistance, though realistically he realised the later was most unlikely.

In discussions with King Louis Cardinal Fleury advocated supporting the Parliamentarians, it would be far easier to squash the English King now and ensure a friendly parliamentarian English Government than it would be once he gained sole power of England.
Finally King Louis agreed that France would support the parliamentarians on the basis they sign a treaty that a Parliamentarian Government will support France in the European War, further more a secret clause was included in which England would support Frances claims on Hanover. Cardinal Fleury was already negotiating a peace settlement with the Imperialists but there were several significant issues preventing a settlement at this stage, so the war continued.
For the French the only real positive news had been that the Ottomans had once more returned to the offensive in the Balkans so this would add to the Austrian woes. Also Spain was for now firmly in the French camp.

Charles I, formerly Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel had been made Elector of Hanover following the deaths of the original Royal family. Charles I was very pro German and adamant that he nor Hanover would ever make any claims on the English throne, further more his hold on Hanover was supported by Prussia. (The “Treaty of Cumberland” negotiated by Charles I and England regards the succession of any Hanoverian Royal being forbidden to ever make a claim on the English Crown.)
Great Britain had as part of the agreement of Cumberland maintained a British garrison in Hanover and at the time of James assuming the English Crown there were 12 Battalions (66th – 77th, 112th,113th) and 2 cavalry regiments the 11th and 12th Dragoons.
Charles I now Elector of Hanover on hearing that James had assumed the English throne sent him his congratulations and once again affirmed that he had no claim to the English throne, what is more he was asking that James confirm that the English Garrison would remain in Hanover to assist in its defence. There were great concerns that one side or the other involved in the civil war would pull the British Garrisons out of the civil war, so Charles I reminded both sides that if the British garrison was removed or weakened the Treaty of Cumberland would apply and he was free of any restrictions regarding the English crown.

The Dutch were bearing perhaps the greatest proportion of the war against the French, for many months it had gone badly for the Dutch Army but with the Bavarian desertion from the French alliance many of the French troops used in attacking the border fortresses had to be quickly moved to the East, thus for the moment the war in Flanders was almost at a stalemate stage. The Dutch had used the stalemate period to start recruiting German mercenary units to assist in rebuilding their forces.

Scotland’s Parliament had never ratified the treaty of Union with England thus instead of a treaty of Union the two nations negotiated several commercial treaties in which Scotland would enjoy advantages of a expanding English Market on the basis they did not support any royal claim on England.
With James assuming the English Crown Scotland adhered to the agreement and its Parliament declared it had no interests on either side in any English civil war. Both the parliamentarians and the Royalists had sent commissioners to Scotland to persuade them to join their respective sides but to date Scotland has refused to do so. It merely warned both sides not to attempt to involve Scotland in the war nor to make any military moves over the border.

North America
For England as well as France, North America was becoming a distant and isolated issue, particularly since both did not have the troops to reinforce their armies on that continent.
The situation for the Thirteen English colonies in North America was becoming desperate, the French being virtually unmolested had encircled the colonies and was pinning them to the Atlantic coast. However as much as it was desperate for the English colonists it was equally becoming troublesome to the French who have found  by expanding so quickly they were having issues with the Indians who realised there was only a  limited French military presence were taking advantage of this weakness.


A Surprise for the Surprise attack

“Wake up General, its time”.
General Sir Steven Ferguson could hear the words but surely it was a dream, no a nightmare, god I have only just gone to bed he thought through the fog of a very heavy head.
“What is it Evens, who the hell told you to wake me for god’s sake?”
“You did sir, its 3am, and you told me you wanted to be up and ready by four and that I was to wake you at 3am.”
Damn, thought Sir Ferguson, damn, damn. My god my head hurts, it must have been some party last night. Memories were slowly coming back as he rose and sat on the side of the bed, his head in his hands, god my throat is a sewer.

“Evans I need some of your reviver” General Ferguson demanded.

The General was not sure what the reviver consisted of, all he knew was it worked and within 30 minutes his stomach would be settled and his hangover might even be gone.
His servant handed the General a small glass, Sir Ferguson reminded himself, don’t smell the stuff straight down. Taking a deep breath he swallowed the foul tasting elixir down.

His servant handed him a cup of tea,
“Now wash it down with this sir and in a few minutes you will be as right as rain”.

As his stomach protested at the intrusion of the foul elixir he remembered that his staff had put on a surprise party to celebrate the news that came by courier yesterday, the Parliamentary High command had promoted him to General.
Then he vaguely remembered being presented to some woman, he quickly looked over at the other side of the bed,
“Where is the Lady Evens?”
The errr lady went back to the village a few hours ago sir, she wanted to be home before her husband woke up.
“Quite right too Evans, right then help me get dressed and then summon the staff and commanders”.

“They are already here sir, down stairs and might I say a sorry sight they make, and before you ask General I don’t have that much Elixir to cure them all.”

“Well damn them let them suffer, it’s their fault anyway.”

The newly raised General fully dressed and stomach finally settled made his way down stairs of the Hounds Tavern, assembled below were the staff officers and commanders of his units, and it was easy to see which were the staff officers, many of them looked rather green and very hung-over.

“Right then, Colonel Sorensen, the maps where are they?”

Colonel Sorenson was Lord Bedford’s man, he was Sir Ferguson guessed placed as his second in command to spy on him and make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.
“The maps are already here sir, on the table.”

Ferguson eyed the Colonel up, my god he is immaculately dressed and doesn’t look a bit the worse for wear, but then Fergusn didn’t recall seeing him drinking at all.
The General walked over to the table and surveyed the map.
“Right then gentlemen please gather round”
Taking up a piece of paper he noted it was his order of battle

1st Foot, 2nd Foot, 3rd Buffs, 90th Foot, 114th Fusiliers
29th Foot,
103rd Light Infantry
3 Militia Battalions
1st regiment Dragoon Guards (Veteran)
15th Light Horse Regiment (Dragoons)
2 Medium Batteries

“Now then there will be no need for any complicated moves or grand strategies, our target is the town of Lyndhurst, and there are three roads that lead to the town from our positions here in Eling.
The north road via Netly marsh, not a good prospect with all those marshes and waterways, the southern road via Deep Leap ridge, which means easy defensive terrain for the enemy and finally the centre road over Hounds Down Ridge.
Obviously Gentlemen we will be taking the easiest and shortest route to Lyndhurst, the centre road.
Colonel Mackay has the 15th dragoons out on piquet duty on Hounds Down ridge, what have you to report Mackay.

“There have been no signs of the enemy apart from a squadron of enemy cavalry on their side of the border, like me simply on Piquet duty. We interrogated a few travelers yesterday and they report enemy infantry were arriving in Lyndhurst we have unsubstantiated estimates that would place between 3-5 Battalions in the area.”

“Very well thank Colonel, now apart from the 3-5 enemy battalions in the town we can expect to find more cavalry and perhaps a battery of guns.
Now this is how we will advance, Colonel Mackay along with Colonel Murray of the 103rd Light Infantry will lead the advance, I will be with them.
Colonel Sorenson will bring up the rest of the main body. Now gentlemen the enemy may know we are coming, hopefully they don’t but I cannot expect to be that lucky; so this will be our first battle in this war and I and all free Englishmen will be watching, so don’t disappoint me or them.
We had the victory party last night, now it behooves us to win the battle, now go and get back to your commands and get them moving, Speed and audacity gentlemen, speed and audacity.”

As the men filed out of the tavern, Corporal Evans handed his General a plate of eggs and bacon, a toothless grin on the servants face; the sight of the greasy meal made his stomach rumble in protest.

“Don’t push your luck Evans, you are still not too old to be put back in the front line” General Ferguson snapped as he stepped out and joined Colonel Sorensen who was already mounted.

The general was just about to give orders to Sorensen when he was interrupted by a commotion further up the village, quickly he strode up to where 2 Dragoons had just ridden in, they were speaking with their Colonel who had been about to leave for his command.

“What the hell is the matter Colonel?” General Ferguson demanded as he stormed up to the dragoons.

“Sir these men are from my command, they have been sent back with a message, the 15th Dragoons have been pushed off Hounds Down Ridge.”

“What the hell do you mean pushed off ?” General Ferguson demanded, looking at the Dragoons

One of the Couriers a sergeant saluted,
“General we were surprised by two Royalist Cavalry regiments and a Light Infantry Battalion; they attacked around three o’clock this morning. They were upon us before we could react and we simply hustled from the ridge. The major sent me and Tompkins here back with the warning.”

General Ferguson was stunned, his staff had gathered around and word was spreading that the Royalists were attacking.

“Sergeant where in the hell is your regiment now then?”

“Major Harris has formed them up near the bottom of the ridge sir, they are dismounted and preparing to defend the hedges, but when we left the Royalists weren’t advancing, in fact they seemed content to just sit up on that ridge, Sir.”

General Ferguson turned to Colonel Sorenson,
“Colonel take the 103rd , the 1st Dragoon Guards and the artillery and join the dragoons, for  god sake stop the bloody Royalists from advancing, I will come up with the rest of the army.
It could be just a raid; why else would they have stopped?”

“Indeed sir, either that or they are waiting for more light, but either way I will make sure they don’t come any further General.”

“Well make sure of it.” The General added as Colonel Sorenson set about gathering the advance guard.

General Ferguson ordered his bugler to sound the assembly.

As he strode back to his horse he couldn’t help but wonder why the Royalists had chosen this day to attack and what luck to have advanced an hour before he intended to attack. One thing was for sure, he had to retake the ridge, the Royalists could not be allowed to fortify it or the Teste crossing behind Eling would be threatened; besides there was the shame of having to defend when he had announced so damn loudly to all and sundry including Milord Bedford that he would be in Lyndhurst Township by this evening.

Well he pondered to himself it simply means the battle is earlier and not later, but that damn ridge could be a beast to retake.

Hounds Down Ridge

Soldiers of the Royalist 1st Light Infantry make a surprise attack on Hounds Down Ridge

General Leopold Anders was extremely pleased with his morning attack on the ridge, everything had worked like clockwork, his men had taken the ridge with only 2 wounded, sadly the enemy only suffered a few wounded and lost a few men as prisoners, so it could hardly even been called a skirmish. However whatever it was called he now had the ridge as a blocking position. Later if that damn General Ferguson was too afraid to attack, the ridge would make an excellent launching site for his own attack on Eling, but for now he wanted to wait and let the bloody murderous scum of a General try his luck against a prepared enemy.

Now as he looked down into the valley below in the early dawn light of day he could just make out a few enemy dragoons hiding behind some hedges.
He sat there absent mindedly rubbing the stump of his arm, a arm that he had lost when the then Sir Ferguson raided his house with a bunch of murderous pirates, in the same raid his nephew had been murdered, so yes this was payback time and he intended to teach the play General what it was to fight an enemy that knew he was coming.

The Royalists had plenty of warning, weeks ago they had sent spies into Eling with orders to sit and wait. A few days ago he received word that the Royalist army was gathering in Eling, and as late as  last night one of his agents had sent a message that Sir Ferguson had just been promoted to General and they were having a party to celebrate, the woman who passed the message also noted the enemy would be attacking at 4am this morning. So it had been an easy task for him to move his own army forward an hour before the enemy themselves advanced. It had surprised him how easily he had taken the ridge line, clearly the enemy piquets had been asleep. No matter it was to his advantage.
As he looked behind him, moving along the road  from Lyndhurst his army was gathering, on the ridge line the artillery were already deploying, yes this was one battle he looked forward to with some relish.
He knew his order of battle of by heart

1st   Infantry Brigade: –
1st Lyndhurst Light Infantry Battalion
1st Regiment = 25th Foot, 26th Foot,
2nd regiment = 27th Inniskilling 99th Foot
3rd Regiment = 28th Foot, 102nd Foot
4th Regiment = 30th Fusiliers, 104th Foot

3rd  Dragoon Brigade
3rd Dragoon Regiment
4th Dragoon Regiment

2 medium Batteries

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