Category Archives: Satire

Every Picture Tells A Story???

Sometimes a picture just…well y’know….it begs a comment:

Flirty Singles

(the following dialogue inspired by the great Bob Newhart)

‘Ah Good Morning Miss Singles. Welcome to the job interview. Can I get you a glass of water? Tea? Coffee? Sure coffee! And, black, yea. No sugar, sure….Just a spoonful of salt? (nervous laugh)..well that’s different…Eh keeps you focused does it? I’ll have to…err…look into that.

Now construction site work. What a lot of folk don’t realise that in addition to being quite labour intensive, a lot of skill is needed so I hope you don’t mind if some of my questions seems a measure intrusive…Err would you like a tissue Miss Singles..looks like you got something in your eye..Ah I see, that just a twitch..Yeh! Quite twitch. Guess it’s dust and pollen……. and maybe the gun powder? Make your own bullets do you? Well I make my own flies for fishing, so… …Anyway. Now I have to ask (laughs). Your first name there, it’s…… I see….uhh-huh…Yeh grandparents sometimes make some freaky requests of their children….Oh made their money in the 1960s on the West Coast, yeh…kinda makes sense now….Have you ever discussed this with them. Ah, both died in a house fire…I’ll just get your some paper towelling, you spilled some of your coffee when you were giggling. And your parents?….Those creeps are still alive y’say….Well I guess that ties up that line of enquiry.

I see you went through twenty schools. Did you parents move much? No. Hmm, some places can be picky can’t they? Did the kids call you silly-nick names….Yeh I guess it would have gone better for them if they had….. Sports? Gridiron, I didn’t know some schools had girls’ teams…..Not in a girls’ team… Offensive tackle? No kidding, they are usually kinda taller….You say it an’t needed when you jump at the face….Yeh that would be different…Hmm…Now my opinion is those guys were being a bit whinny, it is a contact sport after all, just as long as you didn’t try and wrench the helmet off….Only the once…He used your first name did he? How did I know?….oh….. just a lucky guess.

Ah I see here you signed up for the Marines…..And were dropped out of basic training because your drill sergeant and the rest of the squad were getting nightmares…. Special forces said they needed stealth not banshee screaming. Geez, I hate to come across as sounding stuffy and cranky but they don’t breed them as tough as they did in my day…Nah…cooks and that’s no walk in the park I can tell you! Now this rejection from the Chicago Police Department to my mind just isn’t helpful, I mean what does ‘Hah! Not until Hell Freezes Over’ offer to the applicant? It’s just not helpful.

OK, before we go out and try out on site there, if you don’t mind me asking, who took the photo? It’s only just first impressions y’understand but…..ahhh…doesn’t seem your style. Oh….right.…..So your mother…Sorry, as you wish…This three-dammed witch…. is good at photoshop and all that..stuff…Oh on FaceBook and Instagram……Gee that’s tough. But I guess that mothers for you trying to get you married….My, that is some twitch!

Well anyway, here we are. Office being on site. As you can see a lot of construction going on here….HEY guys! You might wanna tone down the remarks….YEH? Well Joe it’s my opinion you’re damn lucky you are up there and not down here! Don’t worry I’ll have a word with them at lunch break….Sure…ha-ha….for their own sakes.

OK, so this is Harry our site foreman. No Harry I wouldn’t make too much of that twitch if I were you. I’d be careful there Harry…Yeh I kinda guessed she’d have thought sorta grip in her handshake, put it in cold water after, swelling’ll go down. So this is Miss Singles…No Harry, her first name isn’t important, truly Harry you want to trust me on that one. Remember how I was right about that gas leak?…Well it’s the same kind of situation Harry. Yeh, glad you see it my way.

Sorry Miss Singles, just a little bit of construction site chat there. Now I’d….You like to try out with the sledgehammer? Oh sure, if you feel that way. That piece of old granite foundation there …Yeh….I guess if……OK, then, there you go…..Yeh I know Harry, that’s one hellava swing there…..No I don’t know what she’s putting on the rock, some, I dunno, looks like a photo…..Yeeaaaaah I gotta feeling it might be an old family photo and…WOA!..No I don’t think was a lucky strike there Harry, and you should come out from behind that truck and see her swing again! No I think you’re exaggerating there, I reckon you did see worse shrapnel in Iraq! Geez-Louise willya look at that, split straight down the middle! I don’t see you need worry about the scream when she swings Harry, I mean you watch those tennis players on the tournaments, the racket they kick up…..Hey! The Racket! Didja get that one Harry?…Oh c’mon Harry you are the site foreman, just ducking when Miss Singles swings isn’t good for your image……JOE! Look I warned you about your comments, that’s just not appropriate……..Now y’see Joe you just provoked that! Thinking she couldn’t hit you with a chunk of granite you being two stories up. Well more fool you fellah!…..Wassat Charlie? Well if your daughter’s little league team needs a new pitching coach, I guess you’d better discuss that with Miss Singles after your shift there, not my business buddy.

Ok Miss Singles, that block of granite looks like it’s ready for the bagging and spreading on someone’s pathway now, you might want to stop…Yeh, if there’s still bit of the photo left, when you’re ready then. But I’m convinced we can use you around here….Pardon…..Oh sure you can take the sledgehammer home to prove to your parents you got the job. The way you’re stroking it, you obviously like the…..We call it a tool on site Miss Singles, not a weapon…….Excuse me a minute…..Joe! Now fellah it’s no use you  clinging to that girder and whimpering, you’re getting in the way of Bill’s riveting there….Boy some of these guys are such cry-babies!

So you start tomorrow then Miss Singles. Pardon…Oh no, you don’t have to be so formal and call me Mr. Nightly…..’Jay’ will do, just like the intial…Uh? Nah I never use the full name, that was my parents’ fascination with east European culture..Jerkov, yeh….yeh! No they aren’t around anymore, died in a tragic freak car accident. Apparently an electrical fault, caused  a petrol explosion….Yeh…Tough break.

Well, then see ya tomorrow! Y’know I got a feeling you and I are going to get along just fine!

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‘Of Patchwork Warriors’: The Chapter Seventeen Incident- An Appeal for Discernment

Good day to you all at The Word Press City!! It’s really nice of you to take the time out of off your own projects and efforts and listen to what I have to say.

Firstly I’d best introduce myself, I’m Merklin Silc, brother of Grenaww, known to you folk as MR Silc. He takes care of the family business, that’s the trading and a few family emporiums whereas it was decided I could best serve our hometown of Elinid by endeavouring to gain a seat the City Council, which currently it is my honour to do so. Between us, I feel we are contributing to the city which gave birth to us.

You don’t meet me very much in the books. It’s not my role to be there. How could I hope to emulate those heroics and efforts of the other characters?  No, here I am happy to be in the background to serve by ensuring things go smoothly for all the communities in our colourful city. It’s so rewarding to help people and to enlighten them as to the complexities of the running of a big city.

But even if you are involved in mammoth tasks like that, you should never think yourself too above the ordinary day-to-day business of those ordinary folk who are the very foundations of life. So when one of my brother’s employees came to me to express concerns over what could be seen either as a minor commercial effort or arguably a civic drive I just had to take time out.

It involves these very difficult transactions between Your World and Ours in the matter of writing books. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about how the whole things work. Such as how our folk get into your novels, or who has control of which part. I am simply proud to see we have a measure of co-operation going on in what is the area of The Arts. I do wish I had more time to spend appreciating them, but the demands of office are many and continual.

However, regarding the problem. The author of this book ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ by R J LlewellynPatchwork

a writer of determination and perception is quite the valiant independent, something I feel you will agree we must all salute. Sadly in striving to attain his goals certain errors arose. Personally, I do not feel they were very important, not when you exam the circumstances. For has he not given away many copies and those sold were sold at very low prices? Some might be annoyed at the duplication of a chapter, I would say to them ‘Mistakes were made. But lessons were learned’. I have had a chance to discuss with worthy experts the methods of transfers of information between our world and yours, and I am quite satisfied the minor errors arose through the implementation of the forces of The Stommigheid which as you realise by now are very complicated. The matter will be rectified, and a new edition will be launched by the end of what you can a month.

In the meantime, to prove his generosity and good-will if I may use his name, Roger, has allowed the current flawed copy to be given away free for the next two days. And may I say, this is typical of the spirit in which he writes. I have read something of his, as you call it, blog and he is a fellow who strives for every writer to have their say, a true champion of the cause. Something as a public servant I truly recognise.

I’m sorry but I will have to leave you now because there are matters of council business which will not wait any longer, this is the burden you’ve got to shoulder….

Sorry….just bear with me, a message has arrived……Hmm…

Well, well!! This is a surprise! It would seem we will be getting to know more of each other. I’ve just had a message from Roger, it seems he wishes to feature me more in the later works. Now that is a surprise! I’m quite stuck for words!! It really is such the honour!! I can’t think why he would want to do that, just well…I shall do my best.

Good wishes to you all

Merklin Silc

(Councillor of Elidian City, Chairman of Civic Ways and Means, Secretary for Fiscal Appointments, and Advisor to Guild of Notables. Entitled Honoured Citizen. Civic Worthy by Proclamation and Indentured Friend to The Distressed)

Don’t forget now….

Patchwork

 An Author’s Concerns

‘Ullo Everyone! It’s proper ‘Patchwork Warriors’ time!!

Mr Silc wants to have a few words about ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’

‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ Wigran Hendrechan explains something of the forces at work

‘Guess y’all kin call me a Patchwork Girl’ LifeGuard Arketre Beritt reflects.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ullo Everyone! It’s proper ‘Patchwork Warriors’ time!!

Hi Karlyn here!!

‘Lo everyone! I said I’d be back didn’t I?

For meself, speaking personally, I was pleased  wiv’ the way ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ went. There was a lot of running about, thumpin’ blokes wot deserved it, stabbing a few an’ I got to climb up as many trees as I wanted to AN’ talk to so many really interesting and clever bees and butterflys. AN’ a made a really best good friend Trelli, who understands me. And is kindly an’ sweet.

AND ‘course there was (hee-hee) Flaxi, whose proper name is Arketre but she’s got this lovely blonde hair! So my pet name for ‘er is Flaxi!….But I’m not supposed to say too much ‘bout us ‘cause Flaxi’s particular about HOW much you lot should know. She says ‘I don’ want to go a walkin’ about their bedrooms do I naw? So they can jus’ use their Good Lord God-given imaginations!’– she can get a bit snippy y’know.

Anyways, so this lad Roger gets sniff of all the tydes and such wots and starts to put them together, us putting him right from time to time. Sometimes I had to give ‘im one of them allegorical smacks on the ‘ead. I told him straight ‘I don’t care wot a rommm-Kommmm is in your world sunshine, it won’t do for us!’ then he got in a sulk an’ then a panic and starting wibblin’ about the place ‘bout ‘is own ideas! Well I just laughed, harshly, an’ threatened him with a half-finished book. I says ‘We’ll walk out on y’know. Leave y’ Bee-refted an’ all forlon, just like an unwatered flower!’ so ‘e does as he’s told (Well, actually ‘e had Flaxi lurkin’ over his shoulder an’ whisperin’ fings like ‘Dontcha y’all go writin’ no stuff for the boys to get over-excited about naw,’).

An’ then later on he got another bit of panicky ‘bout ‘ow I was like some characters in more well-known stuff in ‘is world, then I says ‘Huh! If y’’ asks me seems like they’s more like me! Only not as variable’ well that confused ‘im, so he shut up and got on wiv writing, like a good lil’ doggy.

Mus’ tell you! We ‘ad so much Hooo-Hah wiv the cover! Y’see Roger thought ‘e’d try ‘is own an’ did all of these photographs, which I ‘elped ‘im wiv, ‘cas although the lad is a sproggle-head like me ‘e’s all for allegorical an’ symbolisms. But when I shows the rest of the folk  the draft photos there was all sorts of grumblin’ and objections. Trelli wanted to know if that was supposed to be ‘er undershirt, ‘cas it looked common an’ unsanitary, an’ Flaxi complained the whole fing looked like ‘alf of the latrine pit was showin’. Then The Captain (that’s Dekyria), well ‘im being all stern and correct says there should be outlines and silly-outettes of grim lookin’ figures with swords an’ stuff. Well, I told ’em all straight, ‘Look’ I says ‘We’ve got a noodle-hutch doin’ this. Do you fink ‘e can organise that sorta clever stuff? You’ve been wiv ‘im for a year now..right?…If we push the lad too much, ‘ee’ll jus’ go and panic an’ take one of them Amazon stock photos an’ claim everyone will get the Hi-roh-nee!’ Now that put ‘em all in line!

Then our brave author finally gets the whole thing on Amazon on the Kindly only to think that is the end of it! So we have to tell the boy all ‘bout marketing an’ raising profiles. Then ‘e does ‘is annoying ‘Yes. Of course. I’ll get on with it’ and puts some stuff out on the Wordly Press an’ reckons job’s a good ‘un! SO we have to good back an’ ask him wot ‘bout Twitter, Tumbly (or sum fing) an’ that Face Book. He tries to sneak out of that by getting on a box an’ going on ‘bout the tox-i-city of Social Media, whatever that means!

Then he starts giving books away (or downlumps, I dunno) an’ that gets The Guv’Nor (That’s MR. Silc to you lot!) cross, him bein’ all for for money in the bank, but you’ll be readin’ from MR Silc soon, so watch out!

Anyways, I’d luv to stay an’ chat a lot more ‘bout all the good stuff we got up to, an’ answer yer questions but ‘is Sproggleness is workin’ on the second book an’ ‘e’s getting’it all wrong again, so I gotta go an’ do some allegorical ‘ead-smacking, if y’ know wot I mean.

There’ll be some more folk along wiv’ their piece to say, probably more ‘bout marketing and making everything know more…. I reckon it’s a b it of an’ opeless task and we gotta play the long game an’ maybe in like a ‘undred years it’ll all get discovered…. Well a ‘undred of your years, not ours ‘cause we’s different.

See ya!

PS: Don’t ferget to tell everyone one ‘bout us! Y’ can tell we’re more lively than ‘e made out!

Book Cover 9An’ this is the book…. ‘Of Patchwork Warriors!’ S’ on Kindly. An’ it don’t cost that much, so wot you gotta loose I says….And if anyone says in that snotty sorta voice ‘Oh five How-Wars of my Life which Hi shall nevah get back’ an’ then think they’ve been clever, I’ll be ’round to talk wiv’ em if y’ get MY MEANING…. I can y’know, being Eeefereal an’ all.

An’ I gotta a body-count too.

Bye-bye

An Author’s Concerns

Sleeping Beauty. One Foot Soldier’s Account (A Tale in II Parts)

          I’m a great fan of the original Disney Film (No one’s bettered the transformation of  Maleficent into a Dragon)… and ‘Maleficent’ staring Angelina Jolie?…Magnificent!, then there’s the TV series ‘Once Upon a Time’. But y’know they all focus on the folk at the top, The Royalty and the Magic Folk, well they’re not the only ones in the story…..So let’s get down to basic, reality and hear from one of the folk who really had to bear the load……..

Scene: A Recruitment Table in a shabby town….

             ‘Yeh. Yeh that’s right. 18 years under my belt. I was a sergeant myself. What am I doing up here in the north-west? Oh boy! Just trying to get away from those flakes in my homeland, that’s what!

            So what do you hear? Uh-uh-uh. Yeh, that’s right. Yeh, the beautiful Princess Aurora. Cursed by the wicked witch, rescued by the handsome princes and they all live happily ever after. Oh sure, that’s the official line, trouble is they left out a few details. I mean, like Important Details. Lemme explain.  

            I’d just put my first year in, place guard. Not so bad. Y’know the score, standing about like you’ve got a stick up your butt. Anyway, there’s been this big oooh-hah on account of the queen finally getting knocked up. She and the King had been together for like fifteen years, and folk were starting to talk y’know? But I say what goes on in the royal bedroom is none of our business, how’d you like having a bunch of old ferts asking your old lady indelicate questions every month or so?

            So, getting back to the narrative, the queen gives birth to a daughter, and she’s such a cute little button no one is bitching about her not being a boy and heir to the throne. All looks rosy and there’s gonna be the usual fancy ceremonies where all the nobility get to do their grovelling and pile on with the gifts. Now this is when it gets tense, because the fairies have to have a look in. I don’t know what their like here, but in my home land we got these old biddy types see, nosing around and lecturing folk. Three of ‘em turn up and start with the wand waving and bestowing all the goodies, two of them are done with the beauty, good nature, yadda-yadda, when suddenly the main doors burst open.

            And in she comes! Tall, slender, a walk that shows off all the best features, long black hair flowing out from under this horned helm, high cheek bones an’ smouldering eyes that could burn a carpet. Everyone is gasping, the women giving her ‘the look’ and the men all wishing they could be treated badly by her. Yep! That Maleficent was some package. Turns out no one thought to ask her if she wanted to be there, her being a witch an’ all, but it’s like I say ‘Ya gotta hear the other side of the story first,’ ‘Course she’s pissed, or maybe she was just looking for a reason to be pissed. Maybe she knew the king when he was still young and unattached, and, I mean…who’s to say?

            She does a few crowd pleasers with lightening bolts, then launches into a curse on the kid, something about a nasty end, the usual drill. Well the third old biddy, she’s not got ‘round to her business. Now why she can’t undo the curse, I don’t know, like do I look like I got wings? But she puts a rider on it. She must have been getting soft in the head with advancing years, because, get this. She says, the only thing what would go wrong was if before she got to be sixteen the princess knicked her finger on a spinning wheel, then she and everyone else would fall asleep. I know! Go figure!

            By now our captain has decided he’d better show willing and gives us the order to charge Maleficent, but lucky for us the looker disappears in a cloud of smoke.

            Then everyone gets to running about, and as much use as paper hats in a thunder storm. If this wasn’t bad enough the king, who until now been standing about like he was posing for a royal portrait has this idea. I tell ya, it’s a bad as the one the third old biddy came up with. He decrees, right there and then, without asking any advisors or running a focus group on the subject that every spinning wheel in the kingdom is to be collected up for the duration. I know, I know! Why didn’t he and his wife just resolve to educate the kid not to go near the dam’ things? 

These royals always putting it on the backs of us!

            And here’s the things. Every spinning wheel in the kingdom? Who do you think has to collect them?….You got it! Us poor dog-faced grunts. I mean you can imagine, all the lumps we got! The riots!  Those old grannies can be pretty mean where they jab you with their sticks. And of course, there’s always the farmer’s wife who is the village log-splitting champion! As for the guilds of weavers, spinners, and the whole clothing industry, we left that up to The Chamberlin’s Office, by then we were too busy patrolling for smugglers of clothing and yeh, you got it spinning wheels!….. Nah, we sure as hell didn’t get them all. What with the kick-backs and the girls who sweet-talk you into them keeping theirs…well pay and conditions weren’t exactly top-range in our kingdom, so you gotta get it when opportunities arise. 

            There we are, us tramping up hill and down dale, in all weathers, and what else does the king do. Get this? He places the daughter in the care of those three old biddies! No kidding! Like his poor wife has only just got a baby and suddenly- poof gone! Needless to say, there were no more kids on the way out of that royal boudoir!

            Now, this is where it really gets interesting. This part is on the hush-hush. You direct me to the nearest noisy tavern nearbyes where two old sweats can have a decent tankard, and you all truly gonna hear something!

 (End of Part I)…. to be continued.

Interludes with Cortana

So, new Dell laptop. Fearlessly and without the aid of any children or grandchildren I switched it on, and at once was assailed by this maiden of loud cheery voice who informed me her name was Cortana and could she assist me. She was astute enough to suggest I might want not to have her talking to me, and that was ok by her, which was fine by me, cheery voices are not required when setting up a new computer, not in this house anyhows.

Now all was well, save for trying convince McAfee I have a two year subscription in force and not their tweedly 28 day free one…I sense phone calls are in order, never much fun when contacting computer helplines, no matter how much info you have prepared for the call someone always manage to find some obscure question to ask you.

Well, truth be known that WAS my only problem. I have a new one; this lady Cortana. She has taken to asking me odd questions. I was about to check something  and Type Search when the following announcement appeared:

Remind me at Saturday 6pm

Convert 172 inches into centimetres.

This troubled me greatly. In the first instance I could not recall having put aside any time at 6pm on the coming Saturday for anything whatsoever, it was a possible blank piece of the day for me to do so as I wished. Then there was this question of converting 172 inches into centimetres. Why should anyone should think I wish to know how many centimetres are equivalent to 14 feet 4 inches was beyond me, there seemed no possible use to the business to my mind. Admittedly if you are one of those people who concern themselves over quantities of the consumption a particular species of edible fish and wished to demonstrate this in terms of length there might be some use. But for myself it was a random subject of no interest.

By good fortune though other domestic matters took my attention, such as trying get my other computer out of its state of complete cantankerous faux-collapse. As the fiendish device had been foiling my attempts at productive work for weeks and I now had a more sober and responsible machine, this task I set about with a cavalier attitude and the craven thing sank into meek submission.

Feeling quite superior, I went to checking with my new model and found Cortana was now advising me

My groceries are arriving

Flight BA 196

At this stage it was obvious the young lady was getting quite giddy in her attempts to be helpful. If she had troubled to consult a Google map or whatever else, she would have noticed the nearest supermarket of note is but three miles from our house and does not have a runway. This however did not occur to her for in her excitement she had now imagined a stalwart pilot had manoeuvred their craft into a 90 degree climb to be over our home, at which point bold members of the crew would be deploying parachuted goods to land all over our street. As I had not been consulted over the order, goodness what Cortana assumed would arrive. Happily the air space above our home was only intruded into by one light aircraft about its own business.

It now remains to be seen just what the lady will have believed to be of import to me, there are obviously a myriad of possibilities, and to suggest one might seem rude and spoil her fun.

Once the initial shock is over, the best strategy is to accept these little eccentricities for what they are.

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 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 Chapter 13. Henry IV a king of II parts.

Introduction and overview.

Although Henry IV is famous for deposing Richard II, not much else happened apart from folk who said Henry IV should not be king.

One of the good things about Henry (The IV) was because his reign was so busy and turbulent he thoughtfully divided himself into Parts I (1399 to defeat of rebels at Shrewsbury 1403) & II (the rest to 14the March 1413) thus making the task easier for historians.

As it will be recalled from Chap 8 Richard (the II) Henry (to be the IV) became king because;

Richard had killed off some of Henry’s relatives

Richard had had Henry’s bollins broke

Richard had exiled Henry.

Richard was doing similar things to lots of other nobles.

Because Henry was sturdy, handsome, good at jousting, not had the chance to do mean things to nobles they thought he would be a better king than Richard, who Henry eventually captured and imprisoned. At this stage it is not sure whether Henry had Richard starve or Richard being just plain awkward didn’t eat anything, anyway he died horribly, but because Henry was sturdy, handsome etc most folk let him get away with it.

During this turbulent time, he let himself be convinced he would be a Good King.

To make sure everyone did not confuse Henry with any previous Henry, he said he was from a house in Lancaster which had belonged to his mother Blanche and also he was the first King of England to not properly understand French and so would be a Good English King.

This might have been a promising start but several folk, who had either done well for themselves in Richard’s reign or didn’t like Henry as a IV were wont to plot and scheme.

Henry a Part I- A Successful  Succession and A Coronation (and Some Plots)  

Henry and his new friends said his claim to the throne was right because his father was John Gaunt. Although John (Gaunt) was but the 4th son of Edward III, all the others had died off, and only Edward (oldest and of black armour, who died of campaigns and not washing hands) had had a son Richard II (fancy clothes, washed his hands, died of Henry IV), but Richard didn’t have a son, only a behest which was not the same thing.

Henry now quite the IV went to be coronated, but because he had lice the crown kept falling off, since Henry had an army the clergy decided to overlook The Lice. This only served to cause discontent and rebellions, as listed below

The Epiphany Rebellion (1399) Some of those lords who’d done quite well out of Richard II and might not have had lice, planned to slaughter Henry at a joust, and free Richard (who was still alive and thus II). Henry didn’t turn up. They fled west, were not much supported and were beheaded both officially and unofficially. Richard II died.

Owain Glyndwr-A Welsh Rebellion- This started out in the usual way with an argument over land. Owain defeated his English neighbour and one thing led to another. He decided the welsh declines of the previous century should be stopped and learning that lots of English didn’t like Henry for being a IV turned this into a proper rebellion. The revolt was so successful and Owain so inspirational a leader even folk from South Wales joined him, thus forcing Henry IV Part II to take part. In 1405 the French thought he was a safe bet, but didn’t do anything much. Unfortunately, the English started being unfair by not fighting but blockading, as there were more English than Welsh this resulted in large well-fed (and fattish) armies defeating small and hungry gallant armies. Although Wales was finally defeated Owain slipped away, vanished and thus became a legend. As some of his supporters who were from the Tudor family History had not however seen the last of The Welsh….

Scots Wars (1400 – 14something or other)

Although Richard II had tried to be sort of reasonable with Scotland, Henry IV was not inclined upon this and adopted  New king, New rules policy thus both started raiding each other. English won at Homildon Hill in 1402, but both sides kept on invading each other some for some. The English captured a scots king James I but Henry IV wouldn’t give him back. Whether James caught lice has not be recorded.

The Rebellious Percys

The Percy family owned a lot of the north, the rest being owned by The Nevilles, when they weren’t fighting each other, they fought those Scots who weren’t fighting each other. One Percy also called Henry felt Henry IV owed him gold or land for helping defeat some Scots, Henry IV felt Henry Percy should have fought for him as King. Henry (The Percy) got quite angry and hot about his spurs and since Owain (in Wales) was rebelling thought it a good time to join in. Some Percys and of course some of those (surviving) nobles who had done well out of Richard II, got as far as Shrewsbury where they were defeated in 1403. This was a confusing battle as both leaders were called Henry and both were thought to be killed. Henry IV had more men and so won. Many rebel leaders were killed in battle, others captured and beheaded or fled to Scotland (with or without lice). Henry IV at this stage decided to solidify his rule by being Part 2.

Henry Now a Part 2 (more rebellions and health issues)

Henry apart from the lice continued to have other problems, such as

Richard Scrope

who was a Percy and a Bishop thought Henry IV was not a good king, and helped a few lords who had managed to survive to rebel in 1405. Although they assembled an army Henry (IV) tricked them into thinking he would forget the whole thing. He then captured and beheaded them, including Scrope (it was a rule of the 15th Century that any king who captured a Scrope could to have him beheaded). As bishops were not supposed to be executed, only exiled or imprisoned Henry was excommunicated by a pope, but another pope said due to a printing error it didn’t count and unexcommunicated Henry (and his lice) in 1407.

In 1408 Henry Percy’s father,

also Henry who was Earl of Northumberland who had previously fled came back and confusingly invaded his own land of Northumberland, though since he had scots allies it probably counted. He marched as far as Bramham in Yorkshire however unlike his son he was not nobly confronted by Henry (IV) but by local men led by a sheriff (and no doubt some lice), as he was armed with Scotsmen who were used to be gallantly slaughtered by English archers, he lost and died in battle.

Health

Probably because of having to put down rebellions (and lice) Henry (still a IV) accumulated lots of diseases which would be of interest to medicine in this era, but wasn’t much fun for him. What made things worse was lots of sanctimonious clergy were saying it was because he had beheaded a bishop. He spent his declining years arguing with his son Henry (eventually to be a V) and dying.

In March 1413 he said he was going on a crusade to Jerusalem and having made a pious statement promptly died, leaving no room for a Part 3.

Although there were other folk who reckoned they could be king, no one was going to argue with Henry IV’s son Henry V.

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 Chap 11- The Scottish Way of Managing Things

Forewarned

As previous chapters have covered much of the activities of the Scots and how they upset or distracted the kings and northern nobility of England, there will be some brevity hereabouts

Initial Overview

In the previous volume it was annotated, recorded and generally written about, over the long history of these Isles the folk who lived in the part we call Scotland were wont to march south to raid, enslave, loot or conquer folk in places we now call Northern England. If we go even farther back to about half way through Volume I they did the same to those who were what we would call Welsh, only they were Britons and lived in a place called Strathclyde. Being a fair-minded folk The Scots of the lowlands of Scotland did the same to those who lived in the Highlands or the Islands (as opposed to Ireland, which is another matter). Thus, the Scots in general were a busy and industrious folk who when they had no particularly serious issue with outsides (or Highlanders or Islanders) fought amongst themselves for land, heritage and if they were ambitious enough the Scots throne.

The Perceived Wisdom of the Scots of the Middle Ages

It was an acknowledged fact of Scottish politics that no matter what had been done by whom and when, if the fighting involved the English (or to be precise the Norman Kings and nobles), at least one side was fighting for Scottish Independence, even if they had started it by invading England. As we will see this was used to good effect.

The problem facing those who survived long enough to be a king of Scotland was the number of other folk who wanted to be king and kept on asking some of those Norman lords (aka English) to the south if they could lend them a retinue to bolster the campaign. This became very irritating and Alexander III last of the Dunkeld had some very strong words with Edward I but did not invade, preferring to visit nuns, widows, virgins and in fact any women and as recorded previously died 1286 in a hurry to meet his new bride.

The Rise of The Bruces

Not happy with the other twelve or fifty candidates for the throne or people asking what an English king thought about it, The Bruce family acted. The Bruces from 1306 started by killing John III of Comyn who was Scots but might have wanted to be English

As John had been killed in a church Robert Bruce was quick to say this was only done to protect Scotland from being taken over by the English. In the confusion he then said that all his wars were against the Kings of England and various rouges bought by English Gold and so everything was a war of Independence which gave him the rite to invade not just England but Ireland as well. This worked quite well in Scotland but as noted previously did not do so well for Robert’s brother Edward who died of unconvinced Irish. Robert however defeated the English and their Norman kings, nobles etc at Bannockburn in 1324 on the 23rd June. A peace treaty was signed in which it was clearly stated that only scots nobles could massacre other scots nobles but that Robert could not be held responsible for cattle raiders. He then ruled Scotland but made a hobby of acquiring various ailments and so died in 1329, but the pope at the time said Robert could be buried, so all ended well.

A Time of Turbulence and Then Stability and then Not So Much

Because there was no Son The Bruce, matters were somewhat tempestuous between 1329 & 1356 when David (The II and a Bruce) and Edward (Not a Norman one but a Balliol) disputed who should be king. A lot of time was wasted with small battles, one king escaping from or imprisoning the other until Edward noticed no one was supporting him anymore and he retired.

With all this practice David (The II and no one arguing about it) set to massacring or just punishing disagreeable nobles and inventing a Treasury by which means he was able to prove that Scotland was very wealthy. Thus ahead of the game he cannily died in 1371.

Regrettably there was no David to be the III, so a nephew named Robert but who was really A Stewart was crowned The II. England and France at the time were having peace talks and Robert (The II) wanted to join in. This did not go well with his sons or other nobles and he spent the rest of his life losing his throne to various claimants until 1390 when he expired of coups.

In this unhappy situation Robert (the II)’s son, John said it was in order that he should now be king, because he had had experience at trying to depose David II and/or Edward and also rebel against his father. Although he convinced the Scots parliament to allow him to be called Robert and thus be The III, the nobles were not convinced. Considering some of these had splendid names such as Black Douglas, Red Douglas (possibly an early socialist) or Archibald The Grim it is easy to see why. He was also blamed for failing the pacify the west and north of Scotland where folk were wont Gaelic and opposed to Scots. It is likely he would have been deposed or slewed but for the king of England being Richard The II, The Hopeless and The Deposed. This allowed the nobles in the south of Scotland to raid, pillage, slaughter etc the north of England and not really care who might call themselves King of Scotland. He was to eventually die in 1406 0f ill-health possibly bought on by a series of Douglases.

The Church in Scotland    

Whereas the Scots had been properly Christian, they had to put up with the Archbishop of York telling them what to do. What with Scottish nobles raiding across the border this was not always an effective means of religious leadership. The Papacy in 1192 attempted to sort this out by telling Scottish bishops they didn’t have to speak to the Archbishop of York anymore. Regrettably due to a clerical oversight no Scots’ Archbishop was appointed even though the Scots’ church was titled Ecclesia Scoticana which sounded very important. For some obscure reason they were known as The Special Daughter of Rome even though they were more than one and naturally men. Thus, somewhat confused and not a little depressed the church in Scotland generally restricted itself to religious matters.

The Scottish Parliamentary Experience  

As was fashionable in parts of Europe various knights, local important un-nobles and folk with money felt the nobles were having far too much say in the running of things and so grumbled together. Kings liking the idea of having folk who were not nobles around the place allowed them to form parliaments. The idea unravelled a bit when these folk stopped just talking and gained powers.

In Scotland to avoid the attentions of nobles disagreeable or otherwise, these used never to meet in the same place but in various towns, then tell the king what they thought of things. By deft manoeuvring they even managed to gain some powers of taxation and telling the king what his name should be (See Robert III).

Unlike later commoners (see Oliver Cromwell) they were never able to gain an army and so their role was often marginal.

Clans

In the not uncommon circumstance of the various Middle Ages there was no shortage of folk to fight, the Scots very cannily invented the Clan. This was based around the family of a chief. However not only his family, but followers etc could join and all use the same name. This made raids, squabbles and wars a much neater affair as everyone knew which side they were on. Something not always shared in England and Ireland (Wales being in a bit of a sulk). Because the ordinary person gave loyalty to the Clan they did not have to listen to The King. Whereas this seemed a smidge democratic it meant that kings of Scotland developed aggressive tendencies, or went into a sulk neither of which boded well for stable or healthy long-term government. However, as the Clans survive to this day, theirs, it must be argued, was the better arrangement.

France

Because English Kings felt obliged, for many reasons, to fight both Scotland and France it was understandable the latter two should form an alliance. In Scotland, this was called The Auld Alliance, and to ensure everyone Scottish knew who was who The English were titled The Auld Enemy. This arrangement allowed the French and Scots to be very sentimental about each other and when it suited kings of either nation they could join with the other in wars with England without footling about with new treaties.

Conclusion of The 14th Century.

Although far from united, The Scots were able to maintain the argument that whatever they did was to ensure they remained independent from England. This enabled Scottish History to be Romantic so more socially attractive than England’s which was deemed only to be Eventful and Turbulent.

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

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

 

 

Something of an Introduction

As the narrative has now reached the commencement of the 15th Century and has dealt mostly with the events and kings of England (with Scots’ interference) it is essential we now look back over the 14th Century and events in Ireland (with Scots’ interference), Scotland (with their own and English interference) and Wales (which, quite frankly went into a bit of a sulk).

In the spirit of fairness, equity (and mischief) a separate chapter will be given over to each nation. This is chapter is therefore simply an overview and background.

Of Disclaimers and Justifications

Whereas and hither to thereupon, any history of the Celtic races of these Isles is bound to cause offense to someone or other, in advance the author asserts the right to make harsh judgements and controversial statements on the grounds that he is:

Welsh and thus, apparently Celtic, so can’t be said to be English and therefore entitled to say anything he wants to about apparently fellow Celts

A socialist and thus has the predisposition to be critical of any royal or titled household of which there were a positive surfeit until the 20th Century; irrespective of what allegedly noble causes they claimed to have espoused while grabbing more land and power.

A dedicated misanthrope and thus entitled to be dismissive of any accounts or heritages which show the slightest hint of romance or alleged acts of the proto-democratic nature on the rather obvious grounds that we are discussing the 14th Century ( and earlier)  in Europe.

Catholic– which hasn’t got much to do with anything in this chapter but might irritate people who deserve to be irritated.

The Basic Histories

A Sad Fact of History

To look back upon the history of the Celts, one aspect which cannot be avoided is the Celts invaded someone else’s land, massacred, subjugated or drove out the native folk. Some historians of Celtic history are a bit queasy about this and prefer the term ‘Settled The Land’. Actually, they should not be so squeamish, as on a world-wide basis aside from a few aboriginal peoples on the very margins of lands discovered by humans, everyone did it. By all means one should complain about being massacred, pillaged and enslaved. However, they should not carry on so as if being conquered was personal and only happened to their people.

A Brief Overview of The History.

Once the Celts had spread out all over the Isles they set to fighting, betraying and subjugating each other; which in Human terms was the usual business. There was a brief interlude (in historical terms) when the Romans arrived and being very civilised took advantage of local rivalries conquered and subjugated a large portion in a very formal way, massacring being reserved for those who would not co-operate. Those living in the large portion generally liked this, until one day the Romans declined to subjugate them anymore, went away to fall and left the lands to deprivations of various peoples some Celtic, some not.

Eventually as narrated in the previous volume some Celtic kings invited Saxons over to help the Celtic kings with their attempts to be bigger kings. The Saxons stayed, did their own conquering and subjugating, until the Vikings and Normans turned up.

At this stage the Celtics had organised themselves in Welsh, Scots, Irish and Cornish, with no one paying any attention to those who lived on The Isle of Mann. Although the Vikings did some subjugating of anyone who had survived their conquering, they were far too restless and angst ridden to stay very long. This did not apply to their descendants The Normans.

The Normans had been Vikings but since they’d settled in France they felt sailing about and pillaging as a means of government was now beneath them. So, they stole lands and fought amongst themselves and the locals, in the meantime inventing Aquitaine, Anjou, Maine, Brittany, Normandy, etc. Thus, by the time and opportunity came to invade and seize the throne of England they were fairly well versed in the professions of conquering, subjugating etc, whereas the Anglo-Saxon and Celts were still steeped in the lesser arts of squabbling and betraying. With these advantages The Normans conquered England, Cornwall, parts of Wales and discovered there was also Scotland and Ireland.

It can be seen, therefore that conquering, subjugating etc were part of the Historical Process, which was of no comfort if you happened to be in the way of The Conquerors and Subjugators, particularly as their followers and hirelings were usually Pillagers, and Slaughters.

The Harsh Truths

There Were No English       

Unfortunately for Celtic folk in terms of accuracy concerning romantic ballads, legends, etc in the formative times of the Middle-Middle and Early-Late-Middle Ages, this was the case. There were indeed Folk and Communities, along with a few Tribes, but no nationalities as we would recognise them. To be accurate there were peoples who lived in places we now have clumped together as countries and that was that.

In these times Normans Who Followed William (The I or Conqueror) were given lands by William on the basis that he had won a battle and a crown and also that was that. Wherever they might be, the Common People were common and to be pushed around and thus again that was that. This trend was to continue until experiments by Henry (The V) who chose recently deceased folk to block up walls and granted them the posthumous title of English. This system quite fell apart when he died, and was buried not used to fill gaps in places.

In point of fact when one considers England, folk only looked as far as six villages in either direction, and anyone beyond spoke funny and was foreign. To suggest to someone living in Kent they were associated with someone who lived in York would get you at least dumped in a pond or at worse suffer farming implements/ tools of their trade.

All deprivations, privations, complications and implications were therefore the results of the actions of kings (remote/ couldn’t give a dead bishop’s socks about you/ So what? They’re common) or local lords (regrettably not remote/ grasping/ greedy/ couldn’t give a dead bishop’s socks about you, etc). A sensible commoner thus gave loyalty to their lord (opportunist/ conniving/ the one with the armed men, etc).

Under this system nationalities were therefore the preserve of kings who decided who was who, when and why.

Who Cares Who Your Grandparents Were (If you were common, that is)

As in general throughout History, for a leader the idea was to grab influence, authority and land. The rest was all useful stuff to get the Common Folk thinking you were worth following. For the Common Folk following a leader on a knobbly cause was a great opportunity to grab other people’s stuff without being punished, unless you got the tough break and were involved in a battle. It didn’t really matter who you were assailing or in which direction you were marching, that sort of stuff would be left up to later generations of chroniclers, balladeers and folk who wanted to start up their own cause.

Celts Didn’t Learn

We shouldn’t be too harsh on the leaders of those times (allegedly romantic), because various emperors of great civilisations (Roman, China, Persia, etc) had done the same thing.

“ie- We’re having trouble with Rebel Lords, Common People, Rivals etc, let’s get a few of those tough folk from over the border to help us out and pay them- no gold? No problem we’ll give them some of that scrubby land we don’t really need”

The flaw with this sort of plan was that the tough folk from over the border were led by people just as grasping, conniving and cunning as those issuing the invitations, and had lots of tough followers who knew what to do with swords, spears, bows, etc. So, once you got them in, you couldn’t get rid of them, and they would decide

“Hey. This is just what we were looking for. Move over loser we’re taking charge”

Naturally there would be some locals who having been honed on generations of in-fighting would object to this and so later generations of chroniclers, balladeers etc could dress it all up as a knobbly cause for freedom, justice, national identity (whatever that was) etc. Whichever way you looked at it, folk grabbed land, followers grabbed stuff and the poor folk in between got stamped on.

As we will see in later chapters successive waves of Celtic rulers really got their people a large amount of misery for this sort of business, although this part didn’t really trouble them too much, just so long as they got their land back (or better still, in the chaos, more of it)

The Celtic Identit(ies)

There were two great advantages the folk resident in what we term today as Wales, Ireland and Scotland had:

Romantic Nationhood

The first had foundations in strong leaders knocking (in most cases literally) into the heads of populous the notion that the bigger your tribe, the better chances you had. The Celts had been experimenting with and refining this since the Romans had turned up. Progress had been patchy due to arguments over whose tribe was the biggest, rebellious relatives, savage but indeterminate invaders etc.

When things had settled in Europe  Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Vikings Normans, etc came in by ship and like all invaders didn’t see why they should care two stabs of a sword why they should adopt local customs. Some of the more recalcitrant surviving local lords said these new folks were particularly foreign. This proved useful when the said lords wanted to stir up a land-grab, try for a throne or title or just fight back because the Saxons, Vikings, Normans etc ‘were who they were’. This excuse could be passed down from generation to generation of lord, noble etc and anyone who didn’t join in was a traitor to The Nation (whatever that was at the time).

The Arts

The second and more important being The Celtic Cultures.

Since the Celts had got rid of the locals very early on they had had a long time to utilise arts, crafts, writing, music, folk tales etc. This allowed whoever you were, whenever to record or have recorded in some shape of form yourself and your ancestors in the best light, and throw in a few villains for dramatic effect. It also allowed you to turn around some embarrassing defeat, betrayal, switching of sides or downright villainy into something heroic and even better tragic.

Because of the geographical separations of the three principal Celtic groupings this cultural significance diverted when it came to literature and music.

The Irish could turn individuals irrespective of their actual historical background into cheerful, irreverent fellows who if they were feeling a bit down just went out and slaughtered foes. In later ages, these sorts became more pernickety and only fought and or slew those they thought to be English. There was a divergence in this art form in that some subjects were wont to brood and stride the lands and slay supernatural creatures, or English. Either type of hero was possessed of wit, wisdom and a big sword.

The Scots developed that most fearsome of lyrical weapons, The Lament. Through this style Scots balladeers were to record any defeat or set back in such magnificently romantic and forlorn tones that even those who had bested the Scots loved the lament so much they sung it too. Thus in Scottish history there were only ever heroic defeats which wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been traitors and English gold. In later times the subjects became individuals who normally lived in the Highlands and had annoyed some lord (always English) so much that the hero was obliged to travel overseas and wander this way and that, singing about home.

The Welsh having laid claim to the assertions that they were the original Celts, had a language even older and more classical than Latin and allowed to lurk in mountainous regions of the western bumpy bit of the main island did utilise druids. These druids were the cultural and intellectual foundation of the culture and were such an encompassing influence within, the Welsh affinity with the arts reached a high level embracing poetry, music and song to an extent unsurpassed. In this milieu indivual heroes and defeats were not included unless there was enough material for two or three volumes or a song which could only be done justice to by a choir and a harp. Eventually religion was to a valuable source material.

Bottom of the League

The English being still uninvented were unable to cope with this. Luckily a fellow called Chaucer did record some tales, he was so unique they still survive to this day, even if unreadable in the original form. All was patchy though until Shakespeare turned up, and even then it was not until the arrival of The Romantic Poets, Jane Austin, Jerome K Jerome, Kipling and Turner that the English could truly say they had a grasp of The Arts.

Conclusion

Against this backdrop each people’s doings in the 14th Century will be examined in the next few chapters.

 

A True History of The Isles Part 10 – The Fall of The Britons