A True History of The Isles Part 20- The England Has Its First Henry. Scotland an Edgar, an Alexander and a David.

As it will be recalled from the previous seminar King William The II had died from a quite explainable hunting accident very neatly in the year 1100 and by very good happenstance (God Be Praised) his young brother Henry just happened to be around at the time to take charge. His claim being based on the fact that his father William (the I, Conqueror etc) had been a king when he was born, while only a baron when elder brother Robert arrived. Robert thought this too picky by half, but before he could raise an army, and bribe barons Henry had been crowned and bribed the barons and thus was The I which allowed him to imprison those who wanted bigger bribes or preferred a Robert to be king.. In addition, Henry had the advantage of being able to read and also write legibly, which meant he could produce his own proclamations quickly and not have to wait around from a monk to turn up.

With this attended to, he then married Matilda daughter of Malcolm The III who had been a king of Scotland and to re-cap had died of a severe case of vengeful Norman barons in 1093. Henry wished to show this had nothing to do with him. And initially had no cause to upset the Scots whose king was Edgar (The Only) who cleverly remained obscure, his only mistake in this policy being to succumb to a fit of generosity brought on by a case of Crusades, during which he gave a king of Ireland a camel; this doesn’t seemed to have any impact of Irish politics at the time.

Initially as was the customs of those times Henry had a lot of trouble with his brother Robert, who understandably felt he should be king. At first Henry paid him money to shut up, but Robert ravaged parts of Normandy that were not his, obliging Henry to go and unravage his bits and ravage those that belonged to Robert. Eventually Robert got the point, and behaved. Henry then showed his generosity of spirit by only arresting and persecuting those who had supported Robert and not Robert himself.

Civil Administration under Henry

Henry surprised and upset a lot of the nobility by telling them they had to obey the law and this included not pillaging villages when they felt like. However, as Henry was cunning, ruthless and able there was not a lot they could do about it. He also punished folk who had been doing things he thought illegal; as he could read and write and find obscure bits of law to prove he was right there was little most of them could do to argue against this. Not trusting the nobility, he brought in a large number of ‘new men’. While the established barons were trying work out what was new about the new men they took control on Henry’s behalf.

The Church and Henry

Although Henry donated much to the abbeys, monasteries etc and had a spiritual side to his nature, as was common in those times he did not care for bishops and archbishops who insisted the pope was more important than he was. After a great deal of arguments, exiles, prisons etc the clergy and Henry agreed: He could not appoint Bishops, Archbishops etc and leave nuns alone (see Personal Life). The Bishops, Archbishops etc should turn up every so often and agree that he was the King of England (and the nuns were to stay away).

Politics

During Henry’s reign Wars with French Kings were invented, initially because of Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Aquitaine etc, but also because of the Holy Roman Emperor who was German and thought Popes were far too intrusive; this was the forerunner of international politics, Henry imposed his authority by having his daughter Matilda married to one of the emperors, and so show her show at social gatherings as ‘My Daughter The Empress’ (Until such times as she would naturally go to war with him)

Wales and Scotland.

At this time because of his literacy, ruthlessness, cunning and scots brothers-in-law (Alexander and David) Henry wrote up an argument which proved conclusively that he was the top king in not only England (full of Anglo-Saxons and thus in need firm leadership) but also Scotland (by marriage) and Wales. The latter because the various kings of Wales were being nuisances, insisting they were independent so and could raid across the border whenever they felt like. Henry gathered one or two armies and with the aid of the Scottish King Alexander invaded Wales so much that all the welsh kings and princes were obliged to see Henry’s point of view. Henry then built some more castles to make sure they didn’t forget.

In Scotland, in keeping with Henry’s trend Alexander was the first Scottish king to be an Alexander and although he had a brother David and they disputed over land oddly enough he did not go to war with David. This might have been because both men were very pious or because of Vikings who would not go back home, and because Alexander was often obliged to make war on folk from the Islands (as opposed to The Highlands), which he did with much ferocity. This done, he then died to make way for brother David. David who had had a very exciting childhood fleeing from relatives, Vikings, rivals etc continued with his brother’s business of sorting out the folk from The Isles, any difficult relatives and Vikings who were still hanging about the place. He was astute enough to be on good terms with Henry, who was willing to overlook the odd cattle raid, minor incursion etc. David in keeping with his brother’s habits also continued to be pious and only slaughtered folk in the correct manner and with good cause, which as he was king meant he was perfectly positioned to decide what was a good cause.

Back to Henry-Personal Life

Although apparently quite fond of Matilda (wife-Scottish), Henry also had voracious appetites, as these particular appetites involved women the Church could only disapprove and not condemn. Had Henry concentrated his appetites upon Matilda (the wife-Scottish) he might not have ended up with only two legitimate children, Matilda (the daughter and now empress) and William (intended to be the III). All would have gone well had not in 1120 William and some others not been travelling back to England from Normandy on The White Ship. Accounts here differ, some say everyone on board was drunk, others say it was only the helmsman and that Williams and friends tried save the ship and then William being very noble tried to save an illegitimate half-sister. Whatever, everyone drowned. Henry was distraught. At not having a legitimate heir. As Matilda, had died in 1118 he married Adeliza of Louvain who being younger by 35 years might have been able to bear him sons. She didn’t but did promote the arts.

Henry meanwhile was obliged to go campaigning against various Normans and as befitted a family tradition other relatives, to bolster up his strength he ate more than the medically safe number of eels and in consequence died. This may also have been a result of other but less interesting appetites.

This event threw England and some parts of Normandy into a state of confusion as to who should be king next and also how many eels you could safely eat. The ramifications of which we shall discuss in the next seminar.

The succession that is, not the eels, The latter remains a topic of controversy to this day.

 

A True History of The Isles Part 19- William the II (The Man who should have been Rufus the I)

A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1

 

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Seasonal Messages

Well hello there fellow WP-ers! And hippy-hiddy-happy-holidaze-to you all!!

I thought I get that that out of my system, as for some reason this year I feel more seasonal than usual, which could be tempting Fate as it is 10:30am UK time on 24th December and as everyone knows there are so many things which could go wrong between now and whenever the holidays are concluded. So let’s get down to the basics of the message.

 

In the first case, for many folk this is going to be just one day in a litany of misery and pain, for others a random event has or is taking place which will be the opposite of a Merry Christmas and they are going feel pain and isolation as everyone else jollies around. (Like sitting in a hospital cafeteria wondering if your child is going to live, while staff chat and hang up the Christmas decorations- 1992). For some Christmas is lonely, no day at all. For others Christmas is a painful reminder. And there are many places in the world where the event is just simply not going to be celebrated because that’s the place some have chosen to fight a war. So here’s a few moments of thought for them. Yours and my holiday might not be perfect, but treasure the good parts and remember if you are not in any of the above then your life is not so very bad. In conclusion, to this part; whoever, wherever, whenever (time zones) you may be I wish you well for this season when there can be such a sharp divide between people’s circumstances.

 

On a lighter note for 2017. Yes, I am straight out of the starting blocks for the New Year’s Resolutions. This year I really am going to try to be a more nuanced and balanced person. Rage will not be allowed. Judgemental pronouncements will be stifled. Hasty conclusions on folk and peoples will not be tolerated. Instead it’s time for trying to be friendly, listen, discuss and be not acting to type (though what type a very left-wing socialist convert to Catholicism who reads comics, indulges in wargames, literally talks to trees, studies history and prefers animation as a film media, brit is I am not sure) I will still however reserve the right to heap Full-Metal Jacket Gunnery Sergeant style language upon my printer when a piece of paper jams; it’s no better than it deserves.

 

In conclusion I wish all those I chat or exchange views with all the very best. My thanks for enlightening, entertaining and encouraging (there are two projects on the way thanks to the latter). Above all thank you for your friendship. If I haven’t been in touch with you recently; firstly sorry ‘bout that but the characters out of my book have been dragging me about insisting I finish the tale: secondly what have the Daffy Duck have WP been up to of late? I know they can be quirky but, well!!!…………. go to Reader and up pops my profile; try and reply to someone and I am advised who is following my blog; according to my e-mail the only activity on WP relates solely to my own blog and no one else is blogging…shheeeesh!!

So folks, take care-here’s to you hope it works out for you.

Roger

 

A True History of The Isles Part 19- William the II (The Man who should have been Rufus the I)

In this seminar, we will consider the oft-overlooked and consequently under-researched reign of William (The Conqueror) I’ s son, William II and how this affected the Isles in general.

When considering the relationship of the Norman kings with their sons it is important to remember that not only was there the English throne but Normandy and bits of what is now France that were close to Normandy. As we will have read earlier the latter lands were places where ambitious nobles, intrusive bishops and unwelcomes kings (usually of France) were forever stirring things up, and as the Kings (of England)’s sons had lands in Normandy (and other bits) when they argued with the old man they could just sail off across the channel and be revolting. His eldest son Robert was very good at this sort of thing.

In those days the eldest son did not always get the throne and fed up with Robert’s rebellions William (the I) Conqueror of England said Rufus should be king since he had once emptied a chamber pot on Robert’s head. When William (The recent Conqueror) and still The I died in 1087, Rufus acceded to the throne.

His Uncle (sort of) Ordo, a bishop of Bayeux who preferred to solve theological problems with a large mace had been arguing with William (The historically remembered) for some time and out of sheer spite thought Robert was just the sort of king England should have, as did some barons who appreciated someone who was always revolting. Thus was the Rebellion of 1088. Although this lasted several weeks the enterprise was hampered by the fact that Robert didn’t turn up for his own try at the crown. Somewhat embarrassed Ordo was allowed to flee England and in 1097 died of Crusades a common ailment in those times.

Rufus had been looking forward to being well-known as Rufus The I and thus not confused with other kings, however much to his chagrin he found due to the laws of the time he was obliged to be a William and thus just an II. This put him in a bad mood and thus his face was always red, even when he was enjoying himself by hunting, fighting and the common pastime of kings of those eras, Interfering in The Church. The latter he was particularly good at having nominated the theologian Anslem with whom he could argue with as much as both men liked in the usual unchristian fashion of the times.

In his civic business, William, the II (latterly Rufus) was very much like any king of the time by imprisoning or blinding and castrating various rebellious nobles. As he seemed to be good at annoying folk he didn’t get around to marrying. Some in the Church suggested he had ‘unnatural appetites’, his nobles paid scant attention to this. Nobles of those times didn’t see any appetite as being unnatural and anyway he was good at one of the most important duties of a king of England. See below.

 

Scotland

As it will be recalled the king at the time was the third Malcolm to hold the Throne and was so good at it, he was known as a Big Chief (something lacking in scots’ poetical allusions at the time). His problem was he couldn’t get rid of the Vikings in the north of Scotland. So to enhance his bigness he did what previous Scottish kings had been doing for many a century and invaded England. This did not go well as Malcolm was killed at the battle of Alnwick along with his son Edward. William The Rufus (and II) was not there, but Robert de Mowbray was. His lands had been ravaged by Malcolm and his army so Robert was rather intent on making his feelings known. Thus William II (Red and Rufus) was victorious over the scots and his nobles were content. Meanwhile Malcolm’s surviving sons being typically Celtic went to war with each other leaving William the II (and his appetites) to attend to other matters. See Below.

Wales

Historians are in disagreement as to whether William the II (ex-Rufus) invaded or simply made incursions into Wales. The Welsh at the time decided on the former and he was thus obliged to build more castles and claim he ruled Wales. Under King Gruffud ap Cynan and with assistance from the Norwegian king Magnus the III, a very austere and thrifty man who eschewed footwear defeated the Normans at Anglesey (which was pretty durned far for an incursion). Having come that far the Normans became very disappointed at went back to England, and the welsh back to fighting each other.

 

In the year 1100 on the 2nd August William (the next one) was hunting in The New Forest when he was ‘apparently accidentally’ shot by a crossbow bolt from one Walter Tirel who mistook him for a stag. At least that was the official story. William’s younger brother Henry just happened to be in the same hunting party and although not finding the body seemed possessed of the urge to ride to London and proclaim himself king; just in case. So with the Church saying it was obviously an act of God who was not available for comment, the throne passed to the youngest son of William the I (and more famous) who not only became king but was the first called Henry and thus supplanting his brother in the I stakes. As there no black horse, or cart seen speeding away from the scene , and there was no United States of America have an intelligence agency with  conspiracy theories have not gained much credence

Apart from not being popular at subsequent hunting parties Tirel suffered no consequences.

 

The next seminar we shall consider the rule of the youngest of William’s sons and what he did with it and what the rest of the isles thought of it.

A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

A True History of the Isles Part 17- What Everyone Else Was Up To 1000-1066

Do Scarecrows Dream in those Fields of Yore?

One heck of a good short story.

~Burning Woman~

                                                          [a short story by Sha’Tara]

I’m thinking about those scarecrows alone out there in the fields of yore, abandoned to the extremes of winter storms, half buried under snow drifts, no birds to speak to, to speak of.  Must be pretty lonely, huh?

Yes, it is quite lonely.  I happen to be one of them.  The one thinking of scarecrows also.

The last wagon with the last team, wallowing under a heavy load of straw rolled past some weeks ago now.  It didn’t stop to pick me up. I don’t blame it.  Or the horses for not stopping.  It was late, getting dark and horses cold and hungry.  As were the people, the makers, the creators, those strange creatures that try…

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