Book Promotion!! -A True History of These Isles (Vol. I & II)

For all folks new to this blog.

I put together these two volumes of the history of the Isles which form up The UK and Eire. These were a great deal of fun to write and were an antidote to some of the dafter arguments circulating in cultural and political circles of these Isles.

They were also a tribute to the incomparable Sellar & Yateman’s ‘1066 and All That’ and Richard Armour’s ‘It All Started With….’ Series in their shared refusal to be respectful to figures of history.

In my volumes nothing is taken seriously, unless I decide to. No caps are doffed to any king whatsoever, although a few nods of respect are given to some of the queens who had to try and keep the whole thing together while all the men made fools of themselves.

There is very little quantifiable analysis of economic, religious, political or social trends on the basis that since no three historians can truly agree on anything; thus… Who Cares?

There are no maps, details of strategy and tactics of military issues as all the accounts of the time were written by the winners, hired bards, clerics who knew which side their bread was buttered on and sometimes Shakespeare. These make the basis for splendid works of fiction if you wish to try your own hand at such a book. They are, however, somewhat short on narratives from those on the business end of a sharp piece of metal and thus not much use for my purposes. So, I made up my own conclusions like everyone else.

That said these histories are possibly (or not) as relevant (or maybe not) as any other for general guidelines as what may have (or not) taken place. All speculations and interpretations being as relevant as any other.

They do prove conclusively that the current mess the UK is in due to Brexit, is nothing new to these Isles.

On this neat tie-in; in celebration or lamentation of two years since the result of that most badly organised and argued political campaign; ie the Brexit Referendum for three days (and knights) both volumes with be free through your kindle and applications for a pdf via e-mail will also be given consideration to.

Thus from Sunday 23rd June 2018 to Tuesday 25th June 2019 you have an opportunity to read Two volumes of A True History of These Isles (up to 1485-ish that is) all for free (well as far as I am lead to believe)

Impress your friends and fellow party-goers with incisive snippets starting with such stunning openers as:

‘Previously I would have agreed with you , however R J Llewellyn in his ground-breaking A True History of These Isles asserts….’

Or

‘That may be one viewpoint, but as R J Llewellyn argues in his seminal A True History of These Isles….’

Or even

‘Oh that’s a load! You wanna read ‘A True History of These Isles’ an’ get ya facts right!’

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History Vol II

A True History of These Isles Vol.I- relaunch

Book Launch!- A True History of These Isles Vol II (or 2).

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A True History of These Isles Volume II Chapter 17- The Wars (Roses of,) Actually Start

Between 1450 and 1460 turbulences reached new heights or depths depending on if you were on the wrong end of the sword. These are the essential episodes.

Henry’s Health- Richard in Ascendancy

Because Henry was incapacitated a new council was formed. Suffolk had been one of those put in and out of the tower and Henry had been obliged to banish him in 1450, some folk thought this a feeble idea and executed him at sea which Henry couldn’t do much about. Thus,Somerset by himself tried to stop Richard being on the council, but failed and ended up in the Tower, Cardinal Kemp died in 1454 which no one would have worried about (apart from popes, bishops etc) had he not been Chancellor, a person who was so important kings had to listen to (or execute) them, only kings could appoint one and Henry was not able to. So, since Somerset was in the Tower Richard was made Lord Protector, but wasn’t allowed to sit on the throne.

Queen Margaret Takes Centre Stage

Margaret was intelligent, quick-witted, determined and independent; qualities in women only appreciated in places like France, Italy and Spain (and Sometimes Scotland). Richard being very English thought she should just be quiet and give birth to heirs, Margaret being Margaret thought Richard should do as he was told. They didn’t get on and this was one of the major causes of Roses, The Wars of; Richard suspecting that Margaret was actually being the king (de facto, ad hoc, etc).

Henry’s Health Improves- That of England’s Doesn’t   

In 1455 Henry recovered found he was a father, said everything that Richard had done was wrong and Somerset should not be in The Tower. In this, he was supported by his wife Margaret (Queen and, Of Anjou)

At this stage it was obvious war would happen and everyone chose up sides. To make it easier, if people supported Richard, Duke of York, they were Yorkists; if people felt a king was always right and as Henry VI was of the house of Lancaster (Henry IV, of Parts I & II), they were Lancastrians. Yorkists went about telling people they should not be queasy about rebelling, because Henry IV (both parts) had tipped Richard (the II, not York, Duke of) off of the throne, and hadn’t been a proper king. (but that wasn’t Henry V’s fault-beyond reproach etc). No one actually picked flowers waved them at each other, this would have been thought frivolous.

The Wars of, Start

Not caring to be placed in a tower of any sort Richard assembled a much bigger army with a few more nobles, including the up and coming Warwick who had supported Henry VI but not Somerset, Warwick was also named Richard this appears to have no effect one way or the other. There were also Nevilles on one side and Percys on the other and was probably the reason for there being fighting.  Both sides met at St Alban’s on the 22nd May 1455 for the first official battle. Somerset was killed, neither Richard was, it was a famous Yorkist Victory, after which both Richards and other nobles rushed to Henry (the VI)’s tent and pledge loyalty to him and tell him he had been rescued. Henry being confused by so many Richards he believed them. And York, Duke of was back in charge.

Margaret Strikes Back

However, Margaret was having none of this and she convinced Henry VI to act normally. In 1456 York was told he was in wrong again and could not rule as the king and queen had found a new Somerset (Duke of), who importantly was also a Henry, which balanced thing up. York (the Duke) was packed off to Ireland and the Nevilles and Percys were told if they must fight they were only allowed to due this in the Far North, where only the Scots would be inconvenienced.

In 1458 Henry (King & VI) had an idea inspired by a Bouchier (Bishop-Arch, Canterbury, of). They both thought it would be a good idea if both sides walked along arm in arm, pretending they were all friends led by the king to St. Paul’s Cathedral. This would be a ‘love day’, preceeding by 310 years events in San Francisco (which to be fair had not yet been invented). As those taking part were mostly ruthless, conniving, battle-hardened men whose capacity to bear grudges was legendary this was not a success unless you count the fact that none of the participants killed each other on that day.

Warwick & York Assemble- It Doesn’t Work

Because the French had had success as pirates along the English south coast Warwick thought he would try his hand at this, but new at the game kept attacking Spanish and Hanseatic League (Germans, mostly) ships and was commanded to explain himself to Henry (VI, not Somerset, although it might as well have been). Instead, he opted to meet up with York and his eldest son Edward (note that name for future ref). The Yorkist army was bigger than the Lancastrian when they bumped into each other at Ludford Bridge, Ludow on the 12th October 1459 and should have won, but embarrassingly for Warwick a number of his men led by Andrew Trollope (Sir) who was secretly loyal to Henry (VI) deserted. Thus Warwick (Richard) with The Yorks were obliged to flee to Wales and then to Ireland although Warwick ended up in the West Country, due to the wind.

York & Warwick Assemble-This Time It Works

Although it seemed England was now back in the Lancastrian hands Henry started acting oddly again while letting his supporters get rich and corrupt in the usual way. This made the Common People angry (again).

Regrettably, for French people living in and around Calais, this was still in English hands and both Yorkist and Lancastrians would hold it, besiege it or flee there, sometimes all three at once. In 1460 the port was held by Warwick who practiced more piracy and arranged with Richard (the York one) to land in England again at Kent with his son George who was entitled to be Salisbury, Earl of, whether Lancastrians liked it or not.

The Yorkists then marched north (to York probably), Henry VI was sort of leading a Lancastrian army, and they bumped into each other on 10th July 1460 around Northampton. It rained and made the Lancastrian cannons soggy, thus the Yorkists charged victoriously. Although several loyal nobles nobly died defending him Henry was captured again! At this juncture, once again Richard, Warwick etc swore loyalty etc unto Henry. Although thinking there might be a troubling pattern developing here Richard began to consult family trees to see if he might be able to be king; this caused concern in some Yorkist ranks as they liked having an unworldly, vague sort of monarch as long as they controlled him.

Margaret Is Not Finished Yet

This, of course, did not suit Margaret (of Anjou, Queen, sometimes King, England of), who with son Edward (not the Richard of York’s one; her own) travelled north to Scotland. At this time Scotland was being run by Queen Mary (once of, of Guelders-in the area of Netherlands-Germany-fought over a lot). Her husband James II having been blown up by one of his own cannons and her son James III being too young. If there was one thing Richard and the Yorkists did not need was two intelligent, independent, determined, able Queenish sort of women getting together. Margaret asked for an army, Mary said she could have one if she, Mary could have Berwick, Margaret didn’t feel any particular attraction for the place and agreed. Margaret’s mistake was a failure to realise that England and Scotland had been scrapping over that area for centuries and just giving it away to the Scots angered many English folk, even if they lived in the South and didn’t know where Berwick was.

A Yorkist Tragedy. Margaret as Henry V (the unromantic side of his character)

Thinking he could settle the business Richard (still of York and thinking about being a Richard III) marched north. This time the armies actually met at Wakefield on 30th December 1460. Because of treachery and the Lancastrians having Trollope (see above Ludford Bridge etc.), Richard rode in the wrong direction and he and many Yorkists were slaughtered, including his son Edmund and several nobles.

Margaret then marched south telling her scots and very northern soldiers they could plunder as much as they pleased when they reached the south, they decided anything south of Wakefield was fayre game and much harm was done to the Lancastrian cause….

Meanwhile Richard’s Son- Edward had survived and was in London scaring people about Margaret’s army, which to be fair didn’t take much doing.

The results will be looked at in the next chapter…

A True History of The Isles Volume II Chapter 16- War of the Roses- 1421 to 1453 An Era of Councils (and a sort of king)

A True History of The Isles Volume II Chapter 16- War of the Roses- 1421 to 1453 An Era of Councils (and a sort of king)

It must be stressed this Chapter of The Wars of the Roses does not contain any battles or wars even those in France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales etc. These may or may not have had an impact on The True Wars of The Roses, but weren’t actually part of The Wars of, more a case of Wars During Of The Roses. It is essential this difference is kept in mind, because of the numbers of persons, families, factions, and bishops involved in the actual Wars (of) of The Roses, which at the time was not called The Wars of anything in particular. Or might have been termed The Cousins’ Wars by those not related to anyone involved.

I thought this clarification was necessary.

As stated previously although there were kings (Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V (not much) and Richard III) they were only part of the whole business, but are useful as headings for certain episodes.

(In point of fact it was only when Henry VII (Tudor- Bosworth, Battle of, etc) came along did royalty actually take complete charge again.)

Henry VI- The Start of It

The Minority- Organised, Sort Of,

This Henry was born on 6th December 1421 and because his father Henry (The V, Agincourt etc) died not long after was sort of made a type of king on 31st August 1422, not that he noticed. As he was still obviously not able to sit on a throne much less wear a crown it was necessary to appoint a council to rule for him. Naturally the council was divided, and members hated each other, basically, the principal division was between:

The Peace Party who wanted to stop fighting The French, make as much money as they could by one means or another and were possibly corrupt. The principal organiser was Henry Bowlegs Bishop of Winchester but had to put up with Humphrey (Gloucester Duke of) who said he was entitled to be in charge of England, sort of. The latter was a jovial fellow and naturally more popular than a bishop.

The War Party who didn’t want to stop fighting The French, and were not corrupt but stern war-like men. These were sort of led by John (Bedford, Duke of) who said Henry (VI of) was also King of France because John said so.

This is one occasion where a bunch of self-serving corrupt men might have been the better option; at least if you were a French peasant

France- A Problem

France had never been as easy as Henry (The V, St Crispin’s Day etc) had made out. King Charles VI for some time had been colourfully but not amusingly mad. This had naturally resulted in a family feud over power in which Charles’ cousin John (The Fearless, apparently) Duke of Burgundy in 1407 had Charles’ uncle Louis (of Orleans and Armagnac) murdered. Thus, without Charles’ knowledge, a war broke out between the Armagnacs and The Burgundians and the English and although the latter two were supposed to be on the same side, everything got mixed up. Particularly as in 1419 John (still fearless was assassinated right back)

The Peace Party’s suggested solution would have been to accept a large bribe from the French (of either side) to go away (and take whatever moveable valuables they could snatch and become even richer). This would have been a more sanguine option

Things were made even more complicated when in 1427 a peasant girl Joan (Jean in French) said God had given her the task of chasing the English out of France. On certain theological grounds, this made sense as the thought of two bombastic, conceited, and aggressive nations united under one king (of either nation) would have been far too much for Europe to bear. Joan was very good at this, and in fine heroic tradition was betrayed, captured and martyred on 30th May 1431 which rallied French people and gained the Armagnacs (without Charles VI-now the dead) the moral high-ground and Bedford would eventually died of Joans etc.

Because Joan had managed to get Charles (The VII-quite sane and cunning) crowned king in Rheims on 17th July 1429, the English response was to plonk an English crown on Henry (the VI) little head on the following 6th November then get the kid off to Paris where they crowned him a King of France on 6th December 1431. By now, however, many French people were not willing to be ruled by English people and Henry was shuffled back to England quickly.

From then on, The English began to lose bits of France and The Burgudians weren’t so keen anymore. At any news of which Henry used to burst into tears which was not very encouraging. Naturally, all the nobles blamed each other as at this stage they were not allowed to blame a king.

The Era of Henry The VI A Ruler (Sort Of)- (1) Peace & Marriage.

In 1437 having reached the age of 16 Henry was supposed to be able to rule by himself, but didn’t. His council were still arguing, lesser nobles were engaged in very smallish wars with each other, ragged soldiers back from France and robbers were robbing, Scots were defending Scotland by invading bits of England, and the French were doing very well, by using large cannons which although not as romantic as ranks of bowmen, were more effective.

By now Henry (VI-ish) was fed up of Bad News From France and was persuaded by (Now a) Cardinal Bowtie and the up and comingly conniving Earl of Suffolk, this could be stopped if he married someone French and gave a few fiddly bits away. Margaret of Anjou was trotted out, all was arranged by Charles VII (still of France and doing quite well, thank you). Thus the pair were married on the 23rd of April 1445. Although there was official rejoicing there was actually a lot of grumbling, which caused Henry to dither, but Margaret being of sterner stuff made him stick with the territory bit of deal.

The Era of Henry The VI A Ruler (Sort Of- (2)- The Nobles Who Really Ran Things.

At this juncture Henry was being strongly advised by Dukes Suffolk & Somerset, the former being cunning, the latter being a Beaufit and tied to Cardinal Beaupeep. Both were not popular and kept on losing bits of France which were still English to The French with whom England was at Peace (or War) with. They were also getting richer and letting their supporters fight unlicensed wars and of course pillage. They were  dreadfully cruel having plotted for jovial old Humphrey (Gloucester, of, Duke) to be arranged for Treason (though actually for the worse crimes of being jovial and popular with the Common People). He was so shocked he expired on 23rd February 1447. Because he had been so jovial this was probably brought on by eating, drinking, appetites, etc, but The Common People said he had been poisoned and hated Suffolk and Somerset even more.

Growing in opposition was Richard Duke of York, as he was a great-grandson of Edward III some folk thought he would be a good king. For he was stern, a loof (in those days considered an acceptable branch of Christianity) and had been fighting the French, nobly and well, but at his own expense, whereas Somerset was paid a lot by Henry to fight them badly. Richard began to ask for his expenses and complain about Somerset and Suffolk, but being too powerful to be arrested, was sent in 1447 or 9 to Ireland, which didn’t stop him at all as he made ‘alliances’ there.

So  frenetic were events that nobles began to arrest and place each other in the Tower of London then say they ruled in the King’s Name, but as they all said they were loyal to Henry those in the Tower were freed, so they could arrest those who had arrested them.

To add to the confusion in 1450 more of France was lost and a very common person called Jack Cade rebelled, arrested London and hung nobles and clergy. He might have got away with it had he not started acting like a noble and so was defeated and massacred.

By 1452 Richard had quite enough and assembled; Henry was told by his advisors to do the same, when they both assembled at Dartford (Kent) Richard found he had fewer troops and even fewer nobles than Henry, so had to go away.

After all this and still more losses of bits of France, Henry quite understandably suffered a breakdown in 1453 and justifiably didn’t speak to or recognise anyone.

Thus the stage was set…….

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 15- The Wars of the Roses as advertised by Shakespeare, William.

A True History of These Isles Vol.I- relaunch

There is a somewhat confused picture of the history of ‘These Isles’, no more so than amongst the inhabitants. The intention of this and subsequent volumes is to put the business straight….

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As all authoratative works must have good presentation to maintain the veneer of credibility there has been a revision in terms of typing errors, one possibly misleading statement, and an overall tiding up in presentation of Volume I of ‘A True History of These Isles’.

The work covers the history of the Isles currently encompassing in alphabetical order England, Ireland, Mann, Scotland and Wales. This volume leads from the original colonisation up to 1216 AD/BCE (ish)

To make up to the folk buying a faulty copy, the revised edition is being put out on Kindle for free up to and including Thursday 18th January.

Although I am somewhat pleased with the content, as opposed to the quality of presentation I do admit to a certain disappointment that no historian has felt the need to launch a scathing criticism. For it is an acknowledged circumstance of works of history that to have true value someone must call into question their authenticity.

Still, it has only been in ‘Kindle’ since March of 2017 so there is still time

Links to extracts follow:

A True History of The Isles Part 4- The Romans (Part I) time.

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

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 15- The Wars of the Roses as advertised by Shakespeare, William.

Overview

Because the Wars of The Roses are very interesting, long and confusing they had the historical effect of making kings’ reigns part of them and not as was usual the other way around.

As it is important that the wars are addressed as the main topic we should therefore bear in mind that although they started (sort of) in 1455 and sorted ended almost in August 1485 at Bosworth Field, Battle Of; the whole business didn’t really stop there and slopped over even until Henry The VIII.

Causes for Origins

The build up to the actual wars was a long and complex business and is best consider from Edward III who in addition to invading many places also had lots of sons.

Sons of

Edward, Black Prince,- eldest and easily the most famous who would have been king but he died in France of not washing his hands. Thus kingship eventually passed to Richard II, who though not very successful did have a play written about him.

Lionel Duke of Clarence- he was born on 29th November 1338. He was 7 feet tall and had a daughter Philipa whose height was not recorded. She married on of many Edmund Mortimers. From this union was descended a Richard, a Duke of York who in the 1450s used to sit in Westminster saying he was or at least should be in charge.

John Duke of Lancaster– Born on the 6th March in the very neat years of 1340. He was serious, intelligent, gifted and so very Gaunt. For a while he aided Richard IIand also tried to be Spanish.,

Edmund Duke of York Born 5th June 1341. Richard II said after he had died, but not before Edmund was to be king; others didn’t agree, including Edmund.

Thomas Duke of Gloucester The youngest being born in 1355. He was one of the lords who forced Richard II to say for a while he was doing a bad job. Eventually Thomas was murdered by or for Richard II, who, therefore, can be seen as a wicked nephew

Events Prior To The Wars (Roses of)

When Richard (the II) died of Henry (the IV) he had not left a son (well not one that anyone noticed). This allowed everyone who was a male relative to say they had a ‘claim’ to the throne.

Amongst these was Henry IV (both Part 1 & 2) son of John of Gaunt by his wife Blanche who was a Bowfort, a careless family who had lost their name until it was found by Richard II who had generously said they could keep it.

Although Henry IV (Part I) had been crowned others said as he had only usurped the throne this didn’t count even if he did have two parts (and anyway he’d had lice). After Henry IV died of rebellions (and lice) there came Henry V. Now whereas some had tried to argue with Henry V they had ended up beheaded etc so the matter was dropped, however when he died of campaigning in France he only left a baby son who was was in a minority. The country was therefore run by a council of barons under the following rules and conventions:

They had to officially claim they acted in everyone’s best interests.

They acted in their own best interests.

They had to hate at least two other members of the council.

They either had to support war with France or peace with France.

They tried to avoid the king getting involved in government.

This never worked out well.

Things became so chaotic that two grand families who had their house in York or Lancaster tried to be kings.

Kings

During this era there were three and a bit kings these were:

Henry VI- (31st August 1422- 4th March 1461 & 3rd October 1470 -11th April 1471) who was possibly a kindly fellow (most of the time) and very pious, but was a weak king who kept on being captured and rescued and eventually recorded as being in Three Parts.

Edward IV- (4th March 1461 – 3rd October 1470 & 11th April 1471 – 9th April 1483) who was brave, bold and enjoyed his food so much that his brother Richard once playfully called him This Glorious Bun of York. Unfortunately, he had lots of other appetites and died of them.

Edward V– (9 April 1483- 25 June 1483). Son of IV. Who as he was only 12 didn’t get much of a chance and was either replaced or misplaced

Richard III- (26 June 1483- 22 August 1485) who took the whole business of kingship very seriously. He was the last King of England to fight a serious battle in England while famously and seriously being killed doing so. He may have seriously murdered his nephews (See Edward V) which makes him naturally far more interesting than his predecessors. He had a play written about him.

Personalities

Other folk who were as interesting if not more so were:

Edward IV’s father Richard The Duke of York who was not grand and old but stern, austere and told everyone he was king when he wasn’t.

Warwick Earl of; who was loyal to Henry, then Edward, then got fed up with them both and was loyal to himself.

The Earl of Gloucester who believed the answer to everything was to fight the French.

Queen Margaret wife of Henry VI who was French but preferred to be considered Of Anjou

And was easily the toughest of the lot.

Edmund Bowdiddly- A Duke of Somerset who believed the answer was not to fight the French but get very rich instead.

A proliferation of Edmund Mortimers

Naturally, the Scots.

Louis XI King of France, who won the Hundred Years War by cunning, deceit, plots and thus displayed more intelligence than the whole English lot put together.

The Tudors who were welsh who came in several types and sizes and eventually won the whole thing

Naturally there were also grasping rapacious families.

In subsequent chapters all of these will be dealt with in more details

A True History of The Isles Vol. II Chapter 13. Henry IV a king of II parts.

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 8 – The End of the 14th Century and Richard II (well also his beginning too)

 

 

 

 

 

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 14 – Henry V A Good Play but a Questionable king?

Overview and Introduction 

Born 9th August 1386 son of Henry (to be a IV), grandson of John (Gaunt) and great-grandson of Edward (The III and ‘Who Can I Invade next?’). Although a sort of cousin of Richard II, because Richard didn’t trust anyone Henry was once removed but once Henry’s father (Henry of the broken bollens) was exiled and Henry (the son) was only a boy and not in line to the throne Richard (the II), treated him kindly. He was indulged by being allowed try his hand at intimidating the Irish, being but a lad it didn’t work. He gained more experience when his father was king and he spent time fighting the Welsh until 1408, when because of his father’s various interesting ailments he was obliged to take part in government and argue with his father.

Eventually he became king 9th April 1413 when it snowed a lot which may or may not have had any relevance

Controversy over his Youth and Also Some Rebellions   

Some folk said Henry (now The V) had led a riotous and dissolute youth in common company. This would have been difficult when he was fighting the Welsh, then being in government and arguing with his father. This was probably a rumour spread about by folk because of his friendship with Sir John known for his Odd Castle, probably having a counterfeit flag and being a Bollard, whose beliefs asserted that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church were useless. In those days this notion was heretical.

Sir John’s Rebellion of 1414

Despite this Henry (V), was very fond of John (Sir) and it was only when Sir John organised a rebellion in 1414 which was to take place on the 12th night of Christmas when people would be so full of food and drink they would be mumbling and so Henry and his brothers would be easy to capture. Sir John would then proclaim himself in charge while everyone found Edmund Mortimer.  Most of Sir John’s supporters had assembled at St. Giles’ field, since he wasn’t using it. Others foolishly gathered at an inn at Smithfield, thus rather scattered and somewhat merrie they were scattered even more since Henry had found out about the plot arrived with his own army. Most rebels were massacred, beheaded etc, but Sir John fled and when he tried to organise another rebellion in Southampton Henry felt the friendship might be lacking something.

Sir John and Some Others’ Rebellion of 1415

Rather than planning slaughter lots of Churchmen and hide Henry, this plot was to properly slaughter Henry and, since he had been found put Edmund Mortimer on the throne whether he wanted it or not. Because Richard II had said Edmund should be king. As a Lord Scrope was involved Henry’s suspicions were raised (see previous Chapter Scrope- a bishop). Everyone was arrested and executed before they got a chance to say anything noble. Sir John fled once more but was captured in Wales in 1417, hung, burnt and thus reckoned to no longer be a threat. Edmund Mortimer was quite relieved.

Domestic Policy 

Because of an excess of rebellions in the reign of his father and now his own, Henry (The V) was very severe and stern, but in a fayre way. He said everyone who did not rebel was welcome to help him as long as they realised that at the end of the day he was The King. Everyone still surviving got the message.

The Return of The Hundred Years War

Henry’s Claim to The French Crown

Although Henry (the V) carried on with his father (Henry IV)’s policy of speaking English officially, this did not stop him from saying he should be King of France. He based his claim on the following legal points:

The Kings of England had ancestors who were related to French Kings and now the French royal line were beginning to run out of sons, so much so one was Posthumous and for a while France had to be ruled by the whoever was the tallest noble in the realm. Although this crisis had passed the current King of France, Charles VI said he was made of glass and claimed his son was a dolphin. Henry V being serious thought it therefore his solemn duty to take over.

A subsidiary point was The French were supporting Owain Glyndwr in his rebellions and The Scots in their invasions. As the King of England was the most important king of the Isles (Or so claimed by kings of England) it was also his solemn duty to invade France to stop this.

Henry thus wrote a very long letter to the French explaining this. Someone in the French Court who was generally legible told him he couldn’t be king because his ancestors were women and only men were allowed to be ancestors of french kings. One of Henry’s lawyers (naturally a bishop) pointed out the French were using Gallic law, which didn’t really count as it had been invented in a part of France which had been German for a very long time now. And in addition it was pointed out (quite forcefully) to the French that it was a stupid law as everyone had to have male and female ancestor. Henry naturally wrote back and told the French this.

Probably because Henry was now using English in all his correspondence and this was a very complex matter, something went very wrong in translation and the French sent him a box of tennis balls as a reply. By now Henry was so extremely serious (and stern) he decided the only recourse was to invade France.

The Invasion. Harfleur and Agincourt

In August 1415 Henry and a large fleet arrived at the friendly French port of  Have a Flower, but sadly for the citizens Henry was still being stern (and serious) and after besieging it for a while he adopted the tactic of having his army pretend they were all tigers, thus frightening the inhabitants into surrendering. The English then bravely caught all sorts of diseases, so they would be outnumbered by any French army. In the meantime they slaughtered, ravaged and were generally unpleasant. Henry hung a few men but only when they invaded churches. Eventually a large French Army found the small English army at Agincourt on 25th October. Henry cleverly made his army stand still behind a very muddy field, then roused their spirits by telling them that because it was St Crispin’s Day everyone could say Henry was their brother. He then scorned English gentlemen at home saying they were doing naught but holding their manhoods in bed; this sort of comment much humoured the soldiers . Thus, rallied and inspired the English bravely slaughtered the heavily armoured French cavalry who were being very chivalrous by moving slowly through the muddy field.

As a result, the French surrendered and told Charles VI’s daughter Catherine she would have to marry Henry. Because her father had invented a hobby of running around his castles, her mother Isabeau (of Bavaria) was trying her hand at ruling France and the nobles arguing so much they would cram into separate houses to avoid each other, Catherine understandably agreed.

There was much celebration in England.

Political Ramifications

Everyone was so in awe of Henry that the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund said he didn’t think the French having a french King was a good idea and Henry should be in charge. Also, religion was very chaotic as there were three popes; they were so scared by Henry that they agreed there should only be one of them and they resolved to stay in Rome. To celebrate this accomplishment the English gallantly sunk a Genoese fleet which was trying to seize Have a Flower, and then made life miserable for lots of French people who had no opinion on things one way or the other.    

Henry’s Continued Campaigns

After a brief honeymoon, Henry between 1417 & 1420 invaded the parts of France he previously missed and so was not sure if they had surrendered. There are no records of noble speeches;, at this stage he appears to have concentrated on killing people irrespective of station in life and seizing their towns. He must have returned to England at some stage because his son was born Henry (to be VI) was born on 6th December 1421. At this time he was in France retrieving lands lost by his brother Thomas. Thomas had been feeling somewhat low having found out that although he was a duke he was only allowed to rule men who were called Clarence; he’d died as a result of victorious Frenchmen at Bauge in 1421. In consequence Henry rode this way and that in a very stern (and of course serious) manner slaughtering folk and besieging places. Not paying proper attention he did not washing his hands properly and died on 31st August 1422.

Conclusion

Although famous for Agincourt and generally defeating French armies, Henry did not become King of France, was rotten to ordinary French folk and to be honest did not die in a very exceptional manner, thus if it were not for having a play by Shakespeare he might not have been considered a famous king.

And dying so early he left things in England in a questionable state.

A True History of The Isles Vol. II Chapter 13. Henry IV a king of II parts.

A True History of The Isles Vol II. Chap 12. Wales Declining With Artistic Dignity

Introduction

The era we are dealing 1216(ish)-1400(even more ish) marked something of a decline in Welsh fortunes, whereas both the Scots and Irish were getting more difficult for The English Throne; the former with the help of laments and the latter with legends, stories etc The Welsh due an inherent traditional excess of intrigues were unable to turn this round of defeats, errors and squabbles into glorious tragedies and English betrayals. To understand this, it is necessary to briefly look back at the long association The Welsh had with these Isles.

Brief Scamper Through The Past

Going back a couple of thousand years or so everyone who came to these Isles were Celts, after they had supressed, massacred or bred with the original natives they separated into various tribes in various parts. Initially those the Romans first met were The Britons who they conquered after a few massacres and gradually assimilated into the Empire. When the Romans left and various Saxons arrived there was an adjustment and the Britons became either Welsh, Cornish or since they were quite far away Strathclyde, Britons Of. The latter were invaded, slaughtered, massacred etc by someone who were obviously not The Scots as they were far too noble and fiercely independent etc to wipe out another nation. The Cornish suffered from Alfred The Grate who had become so enthusiastic at slaughtering Vikings that he quite forgot himself. In the previous volume we learnt how The Welsh had been the only folk to scare off the Vikings and thus had had the time to set up their own kingdoms and fight amongst themselves and any Anglo-Saxons on the borders. When the 1066 Normans arrived to stay there was something of a change in dynamics.

Welsh Social Structure of The Nobility and the Nation.

 Nobility

On the face of it, it might have seemed quite a sensible and fondly paternal idea that when a king died his land would be divided amongst his sons. However, this system had an inherent flaw in that if a king had, say five sons and each of those sons had four sons that within two generations there would be twenty very small kingdoms and eventually this would have led to a state of there being even more kingdoms than in Ireland. By good fortune for Wales the bonds of fraternal love were very much the same as on other parts of Europe, ie non-existent. So, when a king died surviving sons were quick to go to war with each, marry off sisters who had not been married already and in general try to get their hands on Dad’s throne. This was an accepted way of doing things and previously no great harm had been done done, except by brother upon brother. On the borders with England, for the losing brother there were always the options of (A) He could go and raid English lands (B) He could seek sanctuary in English lands, plot or just show the English the best bits of his brother’s lands to raid. This instability very much concerned the English nobility who were still Normans and thus felt they were obliged to invade all over the Welsh/English border lands, so much so they became known as The Marching Lords.

Geo-Political

One of the little known facts about Wales, unless you are Welsh is that for a very small nation it has an amazing capacity for dividing itself up, this is probably a left-over from the parcelling out of lands to kings’ sons (see above). The most important divide is between NORTH Wales and SOUTH Wales, who over the centuries have not only managed to speak different types of welsh but also enlgish.

At this stage of history there was basically Gwynedd in THE NORTH, there had been Powys in THE MIDDLE, but thanks to Gwynedd was in bits and in THE SOUTH had been, or still might be Deheubarth. The latter had caused much curiosity to the Norman kings William I (ie Conqueror) and William II (ie The Rufus) but they had left it alone. This had not applied to their fellow Normans who said the Welsh were troublesome and invaded in a small way. In doing so they got so confused by Welsh Politics they ended up becoming Cambro-Normans, who eventually wandered off to Ireland.

By the 13th Century Wales had organised itself along a north south divide with a big bit in the middle with very few people. This caused a rift in which the Welsh in The SOUTH pretended to know who the King was in England in order to fight barons he didn’t like, each other and anyone from THE NORTH who came close enough. The Welsh in The NORTH said they were quite independent and reserved the right to fight everybody, including each other.

This all changed with Edward I of England invaded everyone he could think of and after Llewellyn ap Gruffurdd, easily the most important welsh king of the time was slain the welsh nobility were obliged to just be princes. This caused a lot of dismay and disillusionment as noted by one Tomas ap Rhodri who was the descent of Llewellyn. He who could have claimed to be a prince, but lived in England and didn’t. His son Owain Lawgoch however was quite legendary and romantic by being a tall warrior, fighting alongside the French against the now officially English. He returned to Wales to claim to be THE Prince of Wales but was assassinated in July 1378 by a sneaky English spy. Whereas this might have made realpolitik sense from an English perspective, it was not the noble or chivalrous way of doing things, which would have correctly entailed a battle and chopping Owain into little bits. This act is therefore considered as ‘Bad Form’, never mind the fact that welsh kings had been doing that sort of thing in the previous centuries.

During this era, some fool had taught the Welsh how to use bows and arrows and they became such adept archers they hired themselves out as mercenaries, all over the place and were thus able to shoot English nobles without being called rebels. This reached an apogee under Richard II who didn’t trust anyone and so Welsh Archers had a splendid time.

Church in Wales

This had been mostly Celtic and produced a large number of saints (David, Patrick etc) until the Normans arrived. Afterwards Welsh Clergy squabbled with English Clergy over being independent but wisely didn’t try and bother various welsh nobles. Eventually however they had to submit to Canterbury. As everything was in Latin but everyone spoke Welsh no one paid that much attention to the change, and a lot of monasteries were built which was a correct cultural response (see below)

Culture

Going back to the Early Middle Ages 500 (or thereabouts) while everyone else on The Isles was slaughtering each other, except for hired bards who were making the whole business out to be heroic, the Welsh being culturally advanced were inventing literature. This started with some very old poets who invented a Guild or Order of Bards. Under this system anyone who thought they could write and then in verse had to spend nine years proving it. After this they were allowed to become hired by courts or contributing to the easily most important book The Mabinogion.

This enabled Welsh to survive the Anglo-Saxons. By the 12th Century this art had become so advanced and lyrical that every court of nobly, prince king etc needed to have a poet. When Edward I ruined the political system welsh poets did go in for a period of Celtic style lamentations but then settled down to writing for any nobles who could pay, and cleverly converting some Normans into Welsh. Dafydd ap Gwilym in fact was so gifted and lyrical at his work it was known throughout Europe, whereas no one in, say Germany sung Scottish Laments, told Irish Sagas, or cared what a bunch of folk on their way to Canterbury did or said.

Because of this organised and spirited approach, Welsh Literature of those times has outshone and outlasted everything but a few selected works, and it required Shakespeare to put English on the scene.

Conclusion

Thus as Wales had been the first really civilised Celtic nation it was only correct that by the end of the 14th Century she should have been the first to go into a sad, but very romantically memorable decline.

A True History of the Isles Vol II Chap 9 – The Celts A Necessary(Socialist) Overview

A True History of the Isles Vol II Chapter 10. Ireland- One Way of Being Independent In

The Middle Ages.

A True History of The Isles Vol.II Chap 11- The Scottish Way of Managing Things