Advice on Publishing, Markets etc- Look Somewhere Else

There is nothing of value I, personally, have to offer on the practicalities. There are probably intelligent, dedicated and astute writers and bloggers out there in WP who despair of, who are irritated by or have given up on my approach, or lack of when it comes to:

Firstly- The very art and determination in ensuring that their work is as polished as they could humanly manage.

Secondly- The associated effort in spreading news of the forthcoming conclusion to a work they have embarked on; particularly in the correct and effective use of the opportunities afforded by Social Media

Thirdly – The professionalism required either to market by oneself or by contacting professional folk who can assist in this way.

I can evoke, lyrically I might add, the reasons why someone should write. I pride myself on being able to ignite a spark or breath life back in the fading embers of a lonely and uncertain soul wishing to write. I can, allegorically, stand on a podium and thunder with all the passion of a wrathful preacher; railing against badly strung critical reviews; professional critics; the snobbish sorts who look down their noses at self-publishing and anyone else who tries to stifle a new writer. I would sit on the edge of the nest of the nervous person about to start upon those excruciatingly difficult first words and gently ease them into spreading their wings to take flight amongst the breezes and breaths of Creativity. All those come rushing into my mind and my spirit, they are clarion summonings to bear aloft the banner emblazoned with those inviolable words ‘You Can Write’.

But I cannot give practical advice. I know not why, and sometimes do confess wretched sluggard that I am, not to caring to either. For me, the thrill is the creating, the crafting and the completion and then as some person caught up in the joy of a festival or event, once those final words, as chords in a musical event are done, away go I with fond memories. Ah, dear harmless fool; jester for the more focused, sensible and ultimately successful. You have your day amongst the words, the posts and the comments to posts, but the rest will always be vague stumblings……………………..

Errrrr, not too sure where all that introspection came from, but since I spent a good few minutes of my time crafting it, here it is and here it stays. Take it or leave it folks. Be warned. It could happen to you.

Anyway……

To the most important part of the post.

There are many energetic, inventive and determined folk in the WP Community who are kind enough to share their thoughts and suggestions on the matters of actually getting your words out there to the public. These come in all shapes and sizes, differing approaches, particular details, varying personalities; in fact across the myriad of the positive sort of Human Effort. They all have one thing in common though. They are taking very, very, seriously the business of getting their work known to the public. At times, it seems as if once the book is completed then their Hard Work begins. I salute them, I marvel at their adroitness in navigating all the pathways.

Thus, for all the new and uncertain writers there is a treasury of guidance and advice here in WP, without you buying a suspiciously self-aggrandising book by some ‘name’.

I cite you a few examples from posts on this subject which just had to be reblogged

So You Want To Be A Writer

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

The Thing About Writer’s Block

When Your Writing Issue Is…

Newsletter BlitzNew Feature: Writer Rants (with host Dan Alatorre)

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Now some of these links might not actually cover a point in your journey as a writer, but they will guide you to folk who have a wealth of experience, talent and drive and are some of the people you should be reading. I apologise to those who I have left out, ragged that I am.

There we are folks, as the old saying goes

‘Get Weaving’

All the very best in your endeavours, now go and read someone else’s blog for pity’s sake.smile

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 5- The Status of Women in the Middle-High-Middle Ages.

In this chapter we shall take a break off from kings, conniving nobles, fussy church folk and those who liked to pretend they were any of the aforementioned and consider the status of Women in the Medieval era. The reasons for this lurch is that we have just left Edward II who may or may have not been killed by nobles, but there seems to be a common misconception even to this day at that at the bottom of his fall was his cold cruel wife Isabella of France who being a mere woman also fell under the spell of wicked Roger Mortimer.

At this stage, the author of this work would like to say ‘Oh! Grow up!’

So, let us look at the matter in more detail.

The Basic Details

Women suffered from a bad press. Men in general, irrespective of intelligence and education were not inclined to understand the poetical and allegorical nature of parts of the Old Testament of the Bible so blamed women for Eve, or vice versa (it was a source of great theological debate). Also, if they did get around to reading stuff from the Elderly Greeks and Roman which of course had to be classical, these works were all about men apart with a few devious or hysterical women thrown in for dramatic effect; these works being written by men. It was thus concluded women were weak, devious, incapable of thought, emotional and not to be trusted out of your sight.

The fact that this could be applied in equal measure to your average male, in particularly the nobility and the higher officers of The Church was of course blamed on outside influences, especially women.

Thus, women were allowed only to get married and have children, or failing that enter convents. For anything else they had to have the permission of their fathers, brothers or husbands. If they insisted on surviving all male relatives then they were expected to marry the nearest available male. If he was already married she would have to seek another male; the one exception being the nobility; they were allowed to ask a bishop to find out a reason why the current marriage was illegal, immoral or inconvenient.

The Social Structure

Peasant Women.

These had less rights than their male counterparts, which was a bit of a problem seeing as in practice the male peasant was quite devoid of any rights. The law could be very harsh; if it was found out a woman had a child out of marriage, some male peasant had to pay a large fine to the local lord, irrespective if the lord was the father of said child. In addition to having children, cooking and keeping the hovel free of rats, they were also expected to work in the fields, forest etc. Those who survived all this to the ripe old age of thirty-five might be suspected of witchcraft.

Something More Than Peasant Women, Women

Although their status was something similar to Peasant Women, due to legal loopholes some women could keep some of their own property and income. They could also organise their own businesses, as long as a man knew about it. Women could be brewers or butchers, until men started to get queasy about the concept of that the person who brewed their ale could also wield a large axe.

Women Whose Husbands Were Commoners But Wealthy.

Whereas these women were still expected to produce children, they could have servants to boss about. When The Old Man was away for some reason, The Wife was expected to run his business. Sometimes the community and business partners found out she could do a better job than he could and his return might be difficult. Sometimes robbers waylaid him and no questions were asked.

Women With Titles

Generally, a daughter was set up to marry someone by the age they were four. The whole business being to organise alliances between families and of course produce male children. If they survived this they might be chosen to be lesser lady to some higherborn noble woman and either be loyal or insufferable if they were older than the said higherborn. Having a title allowed them at any stage to say they wanted to be a nun and get out of the whole messy business. There were many convents in those days.

Noble Women

Noble women basically had to have male children. If they didn’t it was their fault. If the poor mite died it was their fault. If the kid grew up and became a disappointment it was his fault. The father always wriggled out of the deal.

Very noble women were allowed to rule while their husband was off making a nuisance of himself somewhere or other. This was known as a regency and was a status not a style of ornate fashion. They usually ruled quite well and this was very unsettling for their hubby when he came back. They were also allowed to accompany their husbands on a crusade, whether they wanted to or not. Some were even more noble about it than their husbands. Therefore, it can be seen why some nobles felt more comfortable with their fluffy young mistresses.

Despite every male telling every other male that this was the one time they should listen to the teaching of The Church, there was still the sneaking suspicion that some women were alarmingly capable.

In England whereas the nobility had recovered from the shock of the Age of Matlhildas & Matildas (See Vol I King Stephen), there was still the worrying evidence that The Eleanors were still prevalent. Everyone still remembered how Eleanor of Provence had been worryingly more capable than husband Henry (III and a bit weak and wet) no matter how rude they were about her. Then the Dynamic Edward the I (and very grim) was supported by and so fond of Eleanor of Castile that he didn’t bother with mistresses and mourned her when she died (the fact that she was a canny and ruthless property dealer suggests he, being an invader and subjugator found she was of a like mind and therefore the ideal wife and helpmate). Naturally as both women were intelligent, well read, and capable they were not popular with the nobility who told their peasants why they should think the same way, but neither woman came as close to vilifications as……

Isabella of France (some time in 1295 – 22 August 1358), Edward II’s wife. As it will have been noted in the previous chapter being married to an Edward The II could not have been easy. Isabella and Peers Gaveston (Favourite the I) did try to work together by being so complicated that the barons never knew whether they liked or didn’t like each other. In 1311 she went with Edward on his campaign against the Scots and thanks to Edward nearly was captured by the Scots which did cause some marital strain. After Gaveston was murdered by Lancaster (the noble not the city) or welshmen she did try to raise Edward’s spirits by giving birth to a son. But this didn’t work as he lost a little war to the Barons and then the Scots and Isabella was nearly captured by both. Even if she did give birth to another son, it must be assumed some of the glamour was fading from the marriage, particularly as she, like the rest of the country suffered from the Dispensers. And around this time thanks once more to Edward’s ineptitude was nearly captured by the Scots again!

By now understandably fed up of Dispensers, Scots, Barons and Edward she fled to France where in order to invade England she and Roger Mortimer became lovers, raised troops, invaded England, dispensed with the Despensers and probably enabled Edward to flee England as live and uncomplicated life. She then made a big mistake of trying to rule England with Mortimer without being Just, Fair and Noble and was duly removed justly, fairly and nobly by her son Edward (the soon to be III), though the same courtesy was not extended to Mortimer.

Although she’d been instrumental in getting rid of the hated Dispensers and shoving her hapless and inept husband off of the throne because she was a woman and not allowed to do such things she was thence vilified. Had she been a man she would have simply been a chapter. Of course Christopher Marlowe’s play ‘Edward II’ has not helped, as there are folk who will take plays as actually history. There again being a character in a Christopher Marlowe play is hardly helpful to anyone’s public image.     

Women Who Took Up A Religious Life

Some of course did this out of conviction, others having seen what happened to mothers, elder sisters, cousins and so forth were quick to hitch up their skirts and scamper off to the nearest convent. This was the one course of action a woman could take without men interfering, as to do this might incur the Attention of The Church, which no one really wanted. This is only mentioned to illustrate the option and will be looked into in more detail in a separate chapter of The Church and other religious aspects.

A medieval singlewoman

This was not a unit of counting the population for statistical purposes, but a woman who was not married without being a widow or religious. Usually without a family they were obliged to find their own dowry. This being a system whereby the family of the woman paid a large sum of money for someone to marry her; today there are many parents of teenage daughters who wished this was still common practice. The Singlewoman was obliged to save up for her own dowry, which in some cases could be a pretty good excuse for putting off the event. There were also women who didn’t bother with such trifling excuses, such as Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock (1295–1344) who made a announcement she would remain unwed, whether this was made as a statement with dignity or followed by a vulgar noise has not been recorded, but she has had a book written about her and lived beyond 30 years of age.

Women of Low Virtue

This only applied to women who did not have titles or of nobility. These lower class women were naturally called whores and other demeaning names, which didn’t stop brothels from making money. This class of women couldn’t have been that ill-considered as their testimony in court was valid, particularly if it was embarrassing to some fellow whose rivals were sharp operators.

To say a woman of high birth was as such, was simply asking for you to get to suffer pain in all sorts of manners, unless of course you were a noble yourself and she was involved with a rival. Normally women in such circumstances were known as mistresses and were generally approved of particularly by wives who hadn’t cared for their husbands in the first place. As long as they didn’t try and influence him politically mistresses of kings were very much accepted, particularly if you were lucky enough for your wife to be one; this opened all sorts of doors for you. Sometimes the children of such relationships muddied the accession circumstance, but some nobles found this a useful way of upsetting rivals or even creating a Pretender to the throne; otherwise they were called Fitz-something and given some land somewhere and told not to get involved in anything.

Education

Whether men liked it or not some measure of education was necessary so that wives could look after things when The Old Man was somewhere else. Some nobles insisted their daughters were very well educated not just to impress others, but so they could spy on their husbands for Dad. Some miserable types complained that if women could write they would spend their time sending passionate letters to lovers. These were just sour-pusses because they didn’t get any of that type of letter.

The Church was naturally suspicious, but grudgingly accepted nuns who could write, just so long as they wrote favorable comments about Christianity and more importantly The Church. Any women who started to speculate about questions of theology were looked upon with concern for the sin of Female Independent Thinking and would be made to submit their work to a Bishop who would then get picky about their use of Latin Grammar.

Religion

This will be looked at in more detail in that separate chapter on The Church. Suffice it to say The Church with its Eve fixation was very suspicious of Women as being weak, devious, lascivious and other words they could fit into Latin. Generally, there were two schools of thought:

Younger members of The Church having read Genesis feared that women would either leap at them and tear off their clothes to force their attentions upon them, or by seductive female means would achieve the same end. It was best therefore if women were not allowed to do anything outside of the house, and religious men should only go into the houses when other men were there. These men also kept their bedroom doors locked, just in case.

Elderly members of The Church had the same opinions, they were of a grumpy stony outlook because in all their years they had never been in such dangers and thought that ‘typical’ or whatever Latin word they cared to use. They had given up locking their bedroom doors      

Some members of The Church had more moderate outlooks. They also kept their bedroom doors locked, for quite different reasons.

Warfare

Noble women often gathered or led armies when The Old Man was either doing that somewhere else or the fool had got himself captured. A few women were quite good at it, though men did not care to see it that way (See Vol 1- The Matildas). The English had had a narrow squeak with a welsh princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd earlier on in 1100-1136 who used to go around with her husband sharing raids and chopping Anglo-Normans to bits, but generally in this era in these Isles women did not often get involved with handing out the business end of sharp bits of metal; unless of course they were legendary. Whether any independently minded young women disguised themselves as boys, went off to war and subsequently unsettled hardened leaders of men who found themselves strangely attracted to the new lad is a matter to writers of fiction.

Conclusion

These days, although some men won’t admit it, they yearn for these simpler times, and have to be more subtle and inventive; unless of course they are morons in which case they say they are exercising they right to free-speech (and presumably exercising something else, which is why they keep their bedroom doors locked).

 

In the next Chapter we shall consider the Vigorous Edward III, which will no doubt be of relief to those male readers who are insecure (work it out for yourself for pity’s sake man!)

Edward II, And What Others Did About Him 

A True History of the Isles Part 21- 1135-1154 Who Is Who and Who is in Charge of England Anyhow?

A True History of The Isles Part 27-Eleanor of Aquitaine-Yes Mam! No Mam! At Once Mam!

 

The Absence of a Wandering Writer

I do like Word Press! There is so much going on socially, culturally, creatively, politically, and other-ones- I-can’t-bring-to-mindly. There are days when I spend hours+ reading through other bloggers posts and some would say to me

‘You are following 130 blogs. This is unwise. You cannot read everyone,’puritan-christmas-color

And I would reply

‘Yes, but looking at all the interesting contributions.’ (Unless I am listening to 1960s music, in which I would say ‘Yeh man. But dig all the out cool vibes going down. I mean like Out of Sight man! I mean like ..Heavy man!!… I mean I just got to be There Man!…..I mean…..like….Man!!!’…Those were the circumstances when you could say that to a lady and they would not be offended by having their gender changed; they would simply reply ‘Oh. Far out! I dig what you’re saying Man!’..and so forth)en_greekphilosophers

Ah. Sorry about that I seem to have wandered off topic.

Anyway having stated the obvious that there is so much of value and interest to read, somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice wouldst say.

‘But what about those Three Posts, one of which you specifically said to someone you would do (and it’s a doozy to work into words too!). What about that political site you said you would contact? What about the seriously serious editing you were going to do on the book? How about that notion of producing your own cover which for once is actually relevant to the book? What about the History of the Isles Project, it’s three chapters behind schedule?’trilby

While a more strident, naggy voice spoils by mid-morning coffee ritual, its allegorical arms folded, fingers tapping on the opposing arm, eyebrows narrowed, mouth a thin line.

‘AND,’ it booms (don’t you hate it when that happens inside your head? I don’t know about you, but that echo really disorientates me) ‘When are you going to get around to making your Blog Site look like a worthy site and not some room which has just received its first undercoat of paint? You have a WordPress Guidebook. Why are you not reading it? Why are you not following its advice? You have had this blog for two years now. People are following you- personally I am at a loss to know why- so you had better make the whole thing look presentable!’  (I don’t know where this character came from I’m sure they’re not really part of me; like I’ve been possessed by a spirit of Serious Diligence and Work Ethic).rant

I try and tell the two of them that it is productive to reply to other folk and chat back and forth, and then they gang up on me and tell me that is all well and good, but I, personally, do not have the energy or mental capacity much less creative powers to do the two simultaneously. The inference that I am somehow deficient is somewhat hurting, however they are a persistent pair.

So to shut them up I have to resolve to writing and not reading for a while. This is odd, feels like driving down the wrong way in a one-way street

And while this existentialist threat is being sorted out along comes…….

The Choremaster who reminds me there’s pile of ‘stuff’ to go on e-bay, the trees really need cutting back, and don’t forget the attic needs clearing out, then there’s the ‘clerical’ work…ONLINE PHOTO ENHANCE VILLAN

So what’s this Putting Your Feet up thing when you retire?

Anyway, I suppose all this will have to be attended to. Although to be accurate, some because I want to and some because I have to.

Which will be why if you are used to seeing me replying to your posts and am not over the next few days, sorry about this, sort of cleaning out the back yard, or garden, or attic, or spare room, literally and allegorically.

Now if I could only think of a succinct way to conclude this post………….imagesC0U7V2ED

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 4 Edward II, And What Others Did About Him

Edward is not recorded as being a very good king and thus gives much opportunity for folk to right about his reign.

Had Life and Fate been kinder to him, Edward who became Edward II would have been a merely eccentric minor scion of the Plantagenets noted for his propensity to keep hunting dogs and indulge in rural management and maintenance, however as his three elder brothers died in infancy he was stuck with the job of being King of England.

The Early Years

Born on the 25th April 1284, starting off as being sickly he grew into a handsome, tallish lad. Initially the nobility were not worried; he liked to ride, hunt and care for hunting dogs, these were harmless pursuits, for those not at the business end of the hunt. The nobility and his father Edward (for purposes of clarification The I) did, however, worry when he started take part in the creation and maintenance of hedges and ditches, particularly as he liked to discuss the subject with The Very Common People. Even though he was left as regent in 1296-97 while his father fought in Aquitaine, Anjou, Maine, etc, he could still be found slipping out of meetings carrying his favourite shovel

The Court and The King (Edward the Elder), in the hopes of curing him of these unnatural tendencies had him accompany his father (Edward the I, that is) in 1300 to invade Scotland. The records are not clear if he indulged in any massacring or simply lectured the Scots on the benefits of strong hedge systems and efficient drainage; though it was recorded that he besieged (probably by digging a large ditch around it) and captured the singularly named Strawberry Castle in 1301. The same year he was officially made Prince of Wales and allowed to have the welsh give money to him. By now all the indigenous welsh princes had betrayed or killed each other into legend and their survivors were reinventing themselves as Descendants. Because Edward (to be the II) liked welsh music the population accepted him.

In 1305 Edward (still a prince) and Bishop Long Tom who was also in charge of royal finances argued over how much money he (The Kid) could have; Edward (The King one) sided with the bishop and sort of banished Edward (The ‘Kids! What can you do with them?’), but not so that it mattered. What had truly annoyed Edward (The Old Man) was his son’s relationship with an overly inquisitive young fellow, one Peering Gaveston who Edward (the boy) gifted with airs and graces which Gaveston flaunted. So angry did Edward (king and knew it) get that he pulled the hair from his son’s nose, varnished Gaveston and in 1306 invaded Scotland with an army and his son.

And later died.

Edward (Prince of Wales; II of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and other bits)’s Proclivities

Much has been and will continue to be written about this aspect of Edward (let’s call him the II at this stage)’s private life. Some lament upon the persecution he suffered, others say he was a useless king because of it, and some make a goodly income writing questionable fiction. In actual fact everyone is quite off the mark and missing the fundamental dynamics of the Middle Ages way of doing things.

When not persecuting heretics, other religions or failing to read the Bible properly, The Church disapproved of most things; particularly anything the nobility were doing. The nobility didn’t see it that way. The nobility couldn’t have cared less if their king borrowed his wife’s dress, hired two local young men and played at ‘The Innocent Maid and the Two Cruel, Lustful Robbers’ every Saturday night as long he obeyed the following rules:

1.To ensure there was at least one male heir to the throne and more if possible so there could be a decent power struggle, which all The Barons would benefit from.

2.To listen to and take the advice of The Barons, or at least most of them

3.Not to tax The Barons as a group.

4.To annoy The Church to the benefit of The Barons.

5.Not to execute a baron unless all the other barons said he had it coming.

6.If a war with France was necessary the King had to pay for it himself but if he won he should to pass out lands to The Barons.

7.If The King insisted on fighting The Scots he would have to pay for it, though Northern Barons could take part if they wanted to. But the King must make sure he always won.

  1. The King could have and was encouraged to have Supporters and Factions but not Favourites (See Vol I King John)

As it will be seen Edward (II and no options) was not very good at keeping many of these rules.

As regards the question of ‘Unnatural Proclivities’ it should also be noted this was a favoured means of accusing and hopefully disposing of your rival if you couldn’t afford a big enough army to defeat him and was a common feature of politics of the era.

In conclusion it should be noted, as regards proclivities, that Edward (the Not-The I) sired an illegitimate son, Adam, to whom he gave £13 and some spare change and told him to fight the Scots. Adam died in 1322 somewhere in Scotland, whether it was of Scots, not washing his hands or falling down an improperly constructed ditch it is not known, Edward (father of Adam) to his credit had him buried.            

Kingship The Early Years and Constitutional Crisis

Edward officially became The II on the 25th February 1308. From early on tensions with The Barons were high, but happily for the Isles these were formalised into a game known as ‘Where’s Peers?’. The rules were quite simple; Edward (now King) would elevate Peers Gaveston, The Barons would object and find a way to have him banished; Edward (II and why not?) would then find a way to bring Gaveston back and the whole thing would start again. Gaveston’s role was to flaunt and be rude to The Barons and Bishops. Eventually and unusually The Barons and The Bishops agreed on something and organised themselves and set up a very solid group known as The Ordinary Council who then formularised the rules (see above) but changing Rule 4 to ‘No Gaveston’. This document was known as The Encumbrance and to increase its stature a year was added to it, in this case 1311.

Initially Edward challenged it on the basis that as a king he could use Roman Civil Law which was very classical and thus proper. It was so complex it had to be laid on twelve tables and Edward was fond of picking the bits which suited him. The Council, with the aid of some judges pointed out everything being argued over was taking place in England, which was not classical and so English Common Law applied; being based on what everyone had done before, in England that is.

Edward and Gaveston in breach of Rule 7 went to Scotland where Robert or Bruce refused to help out and didn’t fight, thus Gaveston was obliged in 1312 to flee overseas. This time he did not wait for Edward to think of a reason why he could return and came back by himself. This allowed several barons led by Thomas of Lancaster to capture him. He was then killed by two Welshmen, they being nostalgic for the good old days in Wales when no one took treachery and killing of nobles personally.

Edward was understandably furious. Because Lancaster had gone about saying it was for the good of the realm a few barons were worried in case he might do the same to them ‘for the good of the realm’, thus they sort of shuffled over to the Edward’s side. All might have led to civil war but for France and Scotland.

Edward (II still), The French and The Scots (in that order)

France (and other bits)

Civil war was avoided when it was discovered that because everyone had been fussing about Aquitaine, Anjou, Normandy, Maine, etc  no one was ruling Gascony. Edward at once travelled to France to meet with Philip (IV, King of France, Father-in-Law etc). The problem was solved in June 1213 by the kings sharing a sailing trip up and down the River Sane, agreeing to which bits of Gascony each would rule and promising to reverently massacre non-Christians in The Holy Land, sometime in the future. Philip who quite understood about nobles said he would help Edward (son-in-law) massacre his if it would help. With spirits and consequently taxes raised, 1313 ended quite well for Edward.

The Scottish Question

In 1314 Robert, An Important Bruce began to cause trouble, again. In 1306 he had colourfully slain John Comyn (The Red & The III by the way) in a church; normally this would have been serious. Robert, however, said that John had changed sides and was ready to hand over Wallace (ie The Loyal) to The English, if he’d got the chance; thus John (The Red and now The Dead) had been bought by English gold and should be parcelled up as a rogue. By this argument Robert was able to prove the act to be one of politics and not murder so he was only slightly excommunicated and allowed to be king. This break gave him the opportunity to teach the Scots that actually they had not been invading England for the past a thousand years, but simply fighting off anyone who was on the border who might invade them first, including those devious Britons of Strathclyde who had been speaking welsh in quite the wrong place. Thus he was able to initiate a war of independence and started capturing castles in Scotland. At once (by Medieval terms) Edward (II of course) marched northwards.

The armies met either at Bannock Burn or Bannockburn; the English not sure whether they were fighting Robert, Bruce or Loyal Wallace or all three advanced backwards towards fearsome ranks of Scottish spearmen who were so cleverly organised that the English knights thought them to be hedgehogs. The Scots took advantage of this unsatisfactory state of affairs .and charged, firstly defeating, then slaughtering and finally scattering the English. Edward nobly wished to make a heroic stand but was bundled off by those of his barons who were still nervous of Lancaster.  This left Robert to say he thought he was The I of Scotland and entitled to bother the Pope on the matter. Robert then attempted to free the Irish by invading them and saying he should be their king. As was the custom of those times some Irish agreed, some did not.

Grim Times for Edward (II and so forth)     

All the barons felt the defeat at Burnt Banknock was Edward’s fault, and Lancaster said Edward should listen to him and drew up a treaty to prove it; Edward said it had Leakes in it, but being in a weak position because of famines which he was unfairly blamed for signed it in 1318, not realising in the small print was a clause which said Lancaster had not been involved in the murder of Gaveston. To compound his problems a one-eared man Powdered John, inspired by his cat (and probably Dick Whittington) appeared claiming he was actually Edward, and as a child had had his ear bitten off, making it impossible for him to wear a crown properly and that Edward (The Apparently II) was peasant which explained his fascination with ditches and hedges. Although John and (quite unfairly) his cat were hung this did not stop folk from saying Edward whether he was a II or not was turning out to be a bad king.

It was during these turbulent times that Edward fell under the influence of a family of apothecaries; The Dispensers. These were a devious father and son team who to confuse their foes were both named Hugh. Hugh The Elder took to persecuting nobles and stealing their lands while Hugh The Younger became Edward’s favourite (and so breaking Rule 8). Naturally in 1321 a war broke out, which in typical grasping fashion the father and son titled The Dispensers’ War. Although the barons forced the Dispensers to flee, Edward manage to capture Lancaster, but in an act of clemency only had his head chopped off. The Dispensers came back and with Edward exacted fearful retribution by saying all who had rebelled would know be known as The Contrary and made to wear corsets because Edward ruled they had big bellies, some chose to be executed to avoid the humiliation.

Feeling secure Edward in 1322 tried to invade Scotland but couldn’t find Robert anywhere. He was obliged to go home, only to find that in 1324 his brother-in-law Charles had become king of France and had claimed he could rule all of Gascony, and invaded Aquitaine to prove it; he left Anjou, Maine etc out of it to concentrate his forces. Although Edward gathered a smallish army together he was only able to arrange embassies and truces and eventually had to rely on his wife Isabella to sort it out. Thus, humiliated he returned to England to brood.

The Downfall

In a fit of petulance Edward blamed his wife Isabella, because she was French and while she was trying to sort out the mess he gave all her property to Hugh The Younger and said Hugh could be as rude to her as he liked. In addition, Edward said Hugh’s wife could look after his children. During this interlude Isabella met Roger Mortimer and found they had two things in common, get rid of both Edward and Hugh The Younger. Firstly, to make the business look genuine they indulged in a romantic affair, then gathered an army together and in 1326 sailed for England. Edward promptly made an impassioned speech to all English to gather about him. As folk were still getting used to being English and didn’t much understand each other’s accent, only 55 men turned up and they probably had been expecting to dig ditches and set up hedges. Edward had expected the Dispensers to protect him, but as they were only good at grasping failed dismally. Hugh the Younger being captured and horribly executed (or entertainingly if you didn’t like him), while his father in view of his advanced age was simply hung.

Edward was also captured but since this was not in a battle where anything could happen he could not be killed, as yet. Eventually everyone had to go and ask a Bishop what to do, naturally being of The Church he said that Edward (II,stillish) had been guilty of  ‘unnatural appetites’ and so not a strong king. In consequence, he should stay out of the way in a large house. In the meantime, while his son Edward (The III-in-waiting) was growing up Isabella and Roger Mortimer could sort of take executive decisions. During this period, several nobles used to visit Edward and say what a good, noble and generous thing it would be if he was to stop saying he was king. While Edward was pondering over this several traditionalists who disliked the idea of a woman being involved in government tried to rescue him. It was therefore decided there could be no more Edward II or otherwise.

The Fate of Edward (II)

The salacious and thus preferred version was that in 1237 he was murdered in a horrifying way, which is best not discussed here. This seems most unlikely as horribly killing a king was, as stated earlier, only permissible on a battlefield. This author after many minutes of research favours the idea that not knowing what to do with him Isabella and Mortimer allowed him to traditionally flee the country on the understanding he would pretend he was someone else, while they buried some hapless peasant in his place, claiming Edward had died of remorse because he had finally realised he had been a useless king.

It is therefore nearly, almost certain Edward either hid as a hermit in the Holy Roman Empire which was very big and thus accommodating, or feeling nostalgic for earlier times said he was Welsh and lived in Antwerp which was a very busy city and also easy to hide in. Either solution allowed him to live out his days in a romantic fashion with the option for being decently and enigmatically memorable.

Conclusion

Not suited for kingship but a source of endless literature factual, fictional or dreadful. However, as he was not that good as being a king, he enabled the growth of Parliament and for Robert (or Bruce) to be so incredibly famous that he is even liked in England.  

 

The next chapter will consider the role and station of women during this era. What was expected of them; what they actually did and what men thought about it all

 

The Era of a Pushy King (and some more laws)

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 3 .The Era of a Pushy King (and some more laws)

Holidays over and once more to return to the gladsome but challenging task of writing a True history of these sceptic isles set in a large piece of water with bits of plastic in it…….

As we know Edward I was not really the first Edward to be king of England, but apparently that didn’t matter. As he was possessed of a ferocious countenance and being so tall he was known (behind his back) as Edward Longsocks no one felt inclined to argue with him. He was expected to be memorable though. He did not let anyone down.

Born on 17th June 1239 he was quite grown up during another of those eras of revolting barons and had been obliged to rescue his father at least once. After his coronation on 19th August 1274 he examined the royal records and found his suspicions confirmed in that his father had been a pious twit. He resolved to put some dignity and authority back into the Throne (and probably some new cushions).

Welsh Assistance

If there was one thing which upset the folk of South Wales it was having a prince from North Wales claiming he was prince of all The Welsh. Llewelyn ap Gruffyd had been very good at this, until, as was the custom of those days his brothers rebelled against him. Llewelyn retaliated in the winter of 1274 by saying it was Edward’s fault and refused to give him the customary sausage expected by the King of England. Seizing the opportunity Edwards astutely invaded in the winter of 1276 through South Wales thus doubling the size of his army. As mid-Wales is a place where anyone can get lost Llewelyn thought he might have got away with it, but Edward’s army finally found North Wales the next year. In November 1274 Llewelyn was left with just the North West of Wales, but was still allowed to say he was Prince of Wales, not that anyone in South Wales paid any attention. Thus, was Edward seen as a strong king.

By 1282 Llewelyn discovered that outside of Gwynedd no one was paying attention to him and even in that realm some troublesome folk were claiming he couldn’t tell them what to do because English laws were the proper ones. At this he understandably rebelled, aided by his previously disloyal brother Dafydd who had found out his rewards for siding with Edward in 1276 were pretty feeble. In those days, this sort of action was acceptable and quite chivalrous. The Welsh did quite well until Llewelyn was treacherously pushed off a bridge and Dafydd predictably had his head chopped off.  Although there were subsequent, heroic but small rebellions by 1292 Wales had been sort of subjugated. Edward was seen as a very strong king and in 1301 had his son crowned Prince of Wales; he had achieved this by having his pregnant wife Eleanor placed in Caernarfon Castle in 1284 and not allowed to come out until their son (Edward) had been born, despite this she survived, until 1290

Diplomacy and Wars

Initially Edward tried to be diplomatic and stop bits of France fighting other bits of France, claiming that he knew where Anjou, Aquitaine, Brittany, Normandy, Maine etc should be. In this effort, he was thwarted by the sudden intervention of some very arrogant Spaniards who invaded Anjou in support of some Sicilians who had courageously massacred French men women and children for the outrageous act of living in Sicily. Although Edward had shown the correct respect to the French King Philip by offering him the obligatory fromage he decided it would now be simpler if he tried to declare war and invaded Anjou, Aquitaine, Normandy, Maine etc. To do this he asked some German princes if they would care to join in, but they didn’t turn up, no doubt due to Holy Roman Emperors and some other German princes. Edward by now had lost interest because he had to go back and deal with the Scots.

Scotland (Of Kings and Councils)

All had been quite reasonable thanks King Alasdair mac Alasdair putting up with the English calling him Alexander III because they couldn’t keep track of the right title. Then in 1284 his son Alasdair (Just a Prince) at the age of 20 carelessly died leaving his widowed father hairless. Finding a wig was not an issue but obviously Alasdair (The Elder) needed sons. He married quite quickly and then in a hurry to get the son business started rode off on a dark and stormy  night to meet with his wife and obviously not concentrating rode over a cliff in 1286. The Scottish nobility then insisted his young and frail 7 year old Norwegian granddaughter brought over to rule, not surprisingly the poor child died on the way in 1290.

Because the Scottish William I (The Lion- not Conqueror-see Vol. 1) had been thoroughly dissolute in his relationships with women and the scots nobility were very good at family trees fourteen claimants turned up and there was much long and loud discussion. The matters thus became titled the Great Hoarse. Thanks to efforts of the vegetarians of the realm the number of claimants was narrowed down, they, having removed a Dutch duke with the discouraging name of Florence, someone who was very confusing because everyone in his family was called Humphrey and Eric II of Norway who was scandalously raiding Denmark with a bunch of outlaws. This left John Bayli-Oil who claimed to be related to King David I who had been very saintly and invented government in Scotland. Also, John wanted a college named after him. In competition was a powerful noble who had changed his name from Bruce to Robert; his claim was based Gaelic Frantic law which said not only must a claimant be a man related to a suitably dead king, have four fingers and a thumb of each hand and be of sound mind; this latter qualification obviously removed many claimants. This situation was temporarily made impassable as 50 scots nobles said they wanted a king with four fingers and a thumb on each handd and 50 scots nobles saying they thought a king with a college named after him was a splendid idea. Edward (The I) turned up with 16 scots nobles who hadn’t been initially invited and said John was a grand name for a king while ignoring any comments about his own grandfather. Thus, Scotland had a Johnish king.

John was not a great success as he didn’t have a coat, and gave into Edward’s demands that he pay The King of England his due in porridge. He also found out that in the small print Edward could demand that scots soldiers fight in any part of France he told them too. Feeling insulted many scots nobles told John he wasn’t king but he could flee to France because the French were better than the English. They then advanced on Carlisle and massacred people on the way. Edward gathered an army and in 1296 took back Carlisle, advanced on Berwick, took it bloodily, then did something similar at Dunbar. Due to errors in translation and transcription, he had been led to believe the Scots excelled at high teas, but found out they only had a large stone which in a fit of pique he took back to London and sat on.

At this stage, the Scots wisely opted to record all events in the form of ballads and laments in which they were heroic and the English treacherous. This gave them the moral high ground. Edward didn’t care however, as he said he ruled everywhere on the isles; this claim may have been disputed but those who challenged it were too remote to do much about the circumstance.

Civic Administration, the Continued Growth of The Common Persons and The Law.

What was starting to unsettle the barons and other nobles was the sight lots of the common people becoming wealthy by trade, craft, farming, fishing and crime. The latter was particularly infuriating to the barons as that had normally been their preserve. This re-distribution of wealth also encouraged Edward to listen to the Common People who were starting to complain that those officials appointed by the local nobility such as sheriffs and toreadors were failing even in the most simple of tasks. Edward proved this by citing evidence of at least Hundred Moles being loose in the land.  Rather than massacre the nobility Edward built statues in Westminster in 1275 and 1285 and with the aid of a devoted Italian official Warranto passed a law which stated no one could do what they used to do unless they could prove the king had said they could, and if they couldn’t then only the king could do whatever it was on that person’s property. If a noble still wouldn’t obey the law then Edward with the aid of a classically trained official Emptores would pull their hair until they relented.

It was during this heroically legalistic era that Edward discovered there were more people sitting on judge’s benches than there used to be. To ensure only genuine judges were sitting there he had each conjugate the phrase De Donis Conditionailbus in various tenses, those who failed were made to consume the royal purgative and have their hair pulled.

Finances

Even in those days Banking was said to be sin. But, due to institutionalised stupidity and hypocrisy the Jewish People were forced to operate it. As it will have been seen in the previous chapter everyone liked to blame The Jews for everything even if the Jews had not been involved. Edward wishing to stop the people from complaining about how much silver he was putting into coins, made all the Jews leave England but kept their property, thus demonstrating great piety and a complete absence of knowledge of the New Testament. This was an ill-conceived policy for those times as now the common people had no one to blame but themselves when they did something wrong, which of course they would not admit to.

Edward wanted to fight the French once again for Normandy, Anjou, Aquitaine, Maine etc and also the Scots who had found another man who had changed his name from Bruce to Robert. But he needed more money, since Parliament was allowed to ask him why and so take up time he was in a fix until it was discovered by an Italian pope that banking was not a sin if conducted by Italians as Italy was not a nation but a collection of cities all of which were in quite a state. In this way Edward was able to borrow large amounts of money and solve the Unconventional Crisis of 1294- 1297 during which Parliament had said he could not have near as much money as he wanted. Unfortunately, later on the Italian banks also said he couldn’t have as much as he wanted, so he told The Church in England he would borrow from them as they couldn’t charge interest. The Pope said he couldn’t do that as the Church in England only answered to God and sent a large Vatican official known as Papal Bill to enforce this ruling. Edward countered by claiming that if the English clergy wouldn’t pay money to an English king then he could make them English outlaws, but they could still answer to God if they wanted to. In the meantime, he would refuse to not know anyone called Bill if they spoke with an Italian accent. The impasse was solved when another Vatican official who was also named Bill but to avoid confusion went by the singular name of Elsie reached a compromise which ruled that Edward could ask for some money when he really needed it, in this case to fight The French; which at the time suited The Vatican just fine. However, some self-important parliamentarian Roger Bigfoot remonstrated so loudly he had to be promised by Edward that he, Edward, would fight the Scots as soon as he had fought the French.

The Final Wars

Because there were more French than Edward had expected that did not go well and under the terms of a new clause of Magna Carta Edward returned to fight the Scots; who were led by Bruce (who had changed his name from Robert to confuse the English) and Loyal Wallace. Edward angry with popes, parliaments and his son who insisted on building cottages and hedges, took it out on the Scots, brutally defeated them, hung several in cages and ensured Scottish bards and chroniclers even more steady employment. Edward was not totally successful as Bruce disguised as Robert escaped, raised another army and defeated the English when Edward was not looking. Edward marched back north, in such a hurry he did not think to wash his hands, took ill and died in bag of sand of the 7th July 1307.

Conclusion 

Although Edward had marched over much of the isles, defeating Scots and Welsh armies, he failed to completely conquer either nation, thus storing up problems for future kings of England. He also forgot to go to Ireland which enabled various Irish lords and those Norman lords who had become so confused they thought they were Irish to defeat those lords who thought themselves English (or Norman) until eventually the king’s representative in Ireland was an obscure character named Norminal. Whereas Edward still had bits of Anjou, Aquitaine, Normandy, Maine etc he had failed to stop other parts becoming French. In addition, he had been obliged to listen to various popes. Thus, although a fierce legalistic warrior king Edward must be considered to have been merely significant and not truly great (see Volume I: Alfred, Athel Stain, & William)

 

In the next chapter Edward II shall be discussed or dismembered depending whether you are a student of history or a contemporaneous noble.

 

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 2 – Henry III (Part B. – Piety, Parliaments, Cross Barons and Rebellions)

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 2 – Henry III (Part B. – Piety, Parliaments, Cross Barons and Rebellions)

It is unfortunate that although Henry III was not  magnificent, colourful, much of a warrior or generally bossy king he did reign by himself from 1227 to 1272, during a most busy and turbulent time, so it is necessary to make much of those years

As it will have been recalled in the previous chapter Henry’s minority had been one of  turbulence what with French and Scots nobility marching all over the place and the Welsh Prince Llewelyn being more important than Henry; things had got so bad that his mother had tried to rule for him, although she was a spirited and brave Isabella at the time only Mathildas and Eleanors were allowed to rule England (see Vol I) so she went and married a Hugh who was also an X. However, thanks to the efforts of the Papacy William (a loyal and noble marshal) and Hubert (just a clerk) Henry was able to reach his majority.

At once Henry was faced by several challenges, as follows

France (of course)

During his father’s reign, lots of land had been lost to the French King; the French nobility disputed this pointing out it was their and why didn’t the English stay where they were as there were lots of Scots, Welsh and Irish to conquer. However, under the terms of the Magna Carta, to get back everyone’s lands in France it was a requirement that an English King should make war on French king at least once in his reign, so since there was only a little Louis (IX) and 1230 was neatly configured year Henry led an English army to France. Because his education of the geography of France was poor he marched south instead of north, also Louis was practicing to be a reformer and even worse, a saint which meant Henry was also moral disadvantage. Luckily for him his advisors arranged a truce, so the war didn’t count. He went home.

Revolting Barons (What else)- The First Lot.

Some barons felt that Hubert was acting far beyond the authority of was what expected of a just a clerk and forced him into a chapel, then without asking Henry stole lands belonging to other barons, some of whom allied themselves with Llewelyn (of Wales of course) and fought the first lot of barons. Henry became so confused he thought the war might be something to do with France; he was thus obliged to ask an Archbishop to sort things out. A compromise was reached where all the barons said they would stop fighting if Henry accepted that it was all his fault. He did this and was praised for his gullibility, which was later altered by some sycophantic commentators to ‘humility’

Henry Does Something About It

What with the barons and the French Henry resolved to make himself appear more kingish, he used several stratagems

Kingliness – Henry resolved that whatever he did he should do it with dignity, ceremony, the backing of the Church and some of the more cultured barons, thus even if he actually didn’t make a decision people thought he had and in such a noteworthy way.

Piety and Piousnessability – Because Henry had been crowned twice by The Church which had also excommunicated Louis (Prince, VIII, etc), Henry became very pious. In those days this did not mean being kindly and reserved; a king’s piety was judged by how much money and land he gave to the Church, how many masses he attended and if he persecuted folk who worshipped the wrong way. And just to make sure Henry also went about saying how good Edward The Confessor had been, even if he had been just an Anglo-Saxon.

Marriage– Henry wisely married an Eleanor in 1236, which under historical precedence (see Vol I ref: ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’) meant she could rule when he was away fighting French or Scots kings. As she did a better job than Henry this unsettled some barons who encouraged very common Londoners to throw cabbages at her; she countered by demanding ‘Queens Gold’ which entitled her to pass laws without telling Londoners and then fine them for breaking the laws for as much as she liked and when. Because Henry was devoted to her, no one argued, not because of him, but because Pope’s might excommunicate you if you did. They were so devoted they had many children. As Henry was pious there were no ‘natural children’; this avoided pretenders.

Jews– Due to a universal hopelessly incorrect reading of the Bible and financial hypocrisy amongst the nobility, the Jewish people were not liked. This was known as Anti-Semitism, or under its more correct term Idiocy. Like dysentery it was common Christian kingdoms but was not caused by not washing hands, but bypassing edicts or laws. As legally Henry owned all the Jews in England, he typically was not sure what to do but felt he should do something so he passed a law, which no one understood, but seemed to satisfy the Pope who was supposed to understand the Bible

Henry as King of England and Other Parts

Ireland– There had been an outbreak of death amongst the nobility who had been there for some time, probably caused by other nobles. On advice from his court Henry gave the land to supporters of his, who decided they didn’t want it and gave it back. In this way Henry found himself owning most of Ireland and he gave it to his son on condition that he wouldn’t give it back. No one consulted the Irish, this was not a good idea.

Scotland– At that time the scots didn’t see much point in invading England since they had enough fighting of their own to go around particularly as they had managed to go to war over The Isle lands (as opposed to the Highlands) with Norway which had stopped being Vikings. Henry sent daughters north to marry Scotsmen, and the king Alexander III said whereas he would be son-in-law of Henry, he would pretend not to recognise Henry if Henry dressed up as a king, which Henry pretended he had not heard.

Wales– Because Llewelyn had died in 1420 and his son Dafyd died in 1426 without recognisable sons another Llewelyn from the same family took over, he continued for some time to make Henry wish there was some way he could pretend he didn’t know Wales was there. He was spared further embarrassment when Llewelyn and his brother decided to have their own war.

Henry and International Affairs

Henry was very surprised in 1241 when he found out he had relatives in France who were rebelling against saintly Louis, so hoping the Pope was still on his side, Henry rapidly took a year to invade and didn’t do very well as he’d forgotten which French were for Louis and which ones weren’t. This was such a muddle that the most well known of all the Simon de Montforts being both English and French and having been on a crusade felt so exasperated that he authorised himself to suggest Henry should be re-named Charles, imprisoned and made to wear a wimple, as had happened in 910, luckily for Henry de Montfort went back to crusading. Henry meanwhile on his way back home met Louis and found out they could be friends which enabled their wives, ie Eleanor and her sister Margaret to broker a deal between the two nations.

Back home Henry attempted to be diplomatic and to be friends with the Holy Roman Emperor, buy Sicily for his son Edmund and go on crusade. None of these worked. He had to reluctantly go back to domestic affairs.

Henry and the Economy

Because parliaments were becoming popular and insisting that Henry explain why he wanted money, Henry attempted to try and reform the economy by making the silver coins longer than they used to be and claim that people’s money could go further, he was helped in this by his brother Richard. Once this was completed he then accumulated gold and spent it on Richard becoming King of The German in 1256, which was different from being Holy Roman Emperor, even though it was on the same land. Thus, Henry avoided any barons getting their hands on his gold.   He therefore established a tradition which is now known as Market Trading.

Barons, Revolts and Parliaments

Because Henry had cluttered up his court with French relatives and Simon de Montfort had come back from crusading there was much discontent gathering amongst barons and parliaments. This became more tense in 1258 when de Montfort decided to organise parliament so that the king couldn’t influence it, By June 1258 the barons and parliament had become so powerful they told the king he could only buy his provisions in Oxford. This caused more turmoil amongst competing factions so that by 1259 Henry’s son Edward and some barons said he could only shop in Westminster. Naturally this led to another revolt which would become the Second Baron’s War, though everyone had to wait until 1263 for Simon de Montfort to return to England so they all knew which side they were on. This started quite well for de Montfort and Henry ended up either hiding in the Tower of London or being captured but thanks to the efforts of his son ie Edward and some other barons in 1264 at Evesham de Montfort was slain and slaughtered and Henry was found.          

Aftermath

To spare Henry any more problems several bishops and barons gathered in 1266 to sort things out, this resulted in a rather bad-tempered document known as the Tantrum of Kenilworth.  This said quite plainly that the king could get his provisions wherever he wanted to and appoint who he wanted to and that all the rebels (who had survived) had to pay large fines and get their provisions where the king wanted them to. Also, Parliament should only advise and agree to any taxes the king asked for. As additional penalty on barons, common people were allowed to go back into the forests. All the king had to do was read Magna Carta occasionally. Thus, did peace and stability return to the realm.

The Final Years

Now that he was in his declining years Henry finally had time to go on a crusade and started out in 1270, but half way there reflected that his queen would make such a splendid dowager queen and his son a good king that he both chivalrously and piously died in 1272. His wife, Eleanor hoping he would become a saint dug him up to display the length of his beard, but this did not convince the Church and everyone had to wait until the 1950s before historians thought about writing books about him.

In the following chapter, we shall consider how these Isles had to cope with Edward I

A True History of The Isles (the ones off the west coast of France, that is) Volume 2 (or Vol. II)

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 1 – Henry III (Part A. – The Major Minority)

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 1 – Henry III (Part A. – The Major Minority)

As it will have been recalled in the previous volume during the 18th to the 19th October 1216 King John had died of peaches, cider, not washing his hands, Barons and taxation. But before and after that some pretty important events took place. (Dying of peaches, cider and not washing your hands would not have been pretty at all)

War with the Barons and French Nobility

John got into a war with many Barons who were angered by his tyrannical decisions to make them liable to tax. The Barons tried to gain the moral ascendancy by trying to claim this was The First Barons’ War; a casual view of English history will prove this was simply the First revolt to be given a title. To help them in their cause rather than hire lawyers and accountants they took the singular step of asking Louis, the son of King Philip (The Two and very astute) to be King of England. He and the Barons pretended that because he was grandson-in-law of Henry (The Two and very colourful) of England this was important.

Because John was generally useless at war Louis and the Barons initially did quite well seizing most of Kent (but not Dover) and also finding London. Here, he, Louis, was acclaimed but not crowned, because John still had the said crown. When John died William Marshal Earl of Pembroke having loyally and nobly served kings since Henry (The Two) rescued both by loyal and noble means John’s son Henry (who was but nine years old).  Even though it was done on the wrong day and in the wrong place Good William had Henry crowned King of England with help of a papal widget, which saved vital time spent trying to find a bishop. As the crown, obviously wouldn’t fit on a nine year old, they used a necklace. So impressed by this act were some of the barons that they recognised Henry (now a Three) even though they’d never met him, so were advised to look out for the little kid wearing a necklace.

As the papacy had been involved in the crowning (see: widget), it was only correct and proper that Louis was excommunicated, which meant priests, bishops etc could ignore or be rude to him without fear of retribution.  These, then became desperate times for Louis. Some Barons were in a sulk because Louis had naturally started to bring in other Frenchmen and not listening to the said Barons (sulking), so they naturally changed sides and his father (that’s Philip) was making fun of him for not subduing a constable who defended Dover. Thus, Louis sent one of his barons somewhere to find the supporters of Henry (The 3 x I) and bring them to battle. Marshal being a noble knight was only to courteous to oblige. This took place at Lincoln in May 1217, but was so poorly organised that neither side could agree on the date, and in the ensuing chaos one important commanding noble on Louis’ side was killed by a not quite as important noble on William Marshal’s side (being nine and not able to wear the crown; the king wasn’t allowed to take part). As was the convention of the day once an important commanding noble was killed, his side gave up and after an obligatory massacre or pardoning of the common soldiers the whole thing was over. By now Louis was in even more desperate circumstances and on learning that a vital supply of sandwiches had been captured by the forces of William (The Marshal) gave up and went back to France, just in time for his father to die, so that Louis could become The VIII, be horrid to the people of the South of France; and subsequently die in 1226 through not washing his hands.

At this juncture many of the nobility and subsequently their knights, lords, common folk etc realised they had nearly been taken over by France and as a resulted decided they should now all be English. This was greeted with much joy and acclimation. The Scots, Welsh and Irish also approved as it gave the Celtic nations someone to blame other than themselves for their mistakes, short-comings and especially in-fighting as one side could now be blamed as traitors, hirlings, rogues, etc.

The Years Of Henry’s Minority (without The French)

With the French, out of the way it became essential that royal authority should be resorted. Marshal (and a council) faced several problems.

Barons (naturally)

Some Barons who saying they had been loyal now felt they could do as they pleased, whereas those Barons who had not been loyal and were still alive, thought they could also do as they pleased because the loyal Barons were doing that, so who was going to stop Barons in general doing as they pleased? Anyway, they all would go scuttling off for their copies of Magna Carta if anyone complained too much.

Law and Order     

The judges were complaining about The Bench and after consulting with The Exchequer enough money was found to make a new one, this was of course The King’s Bench but judges could sit on it for him.

Forests and Rights

Under William (The Conquer of course) and subsequent kings any common people found in forests without the king’s permission would have bits of their bodies removed. Because of the rise of the Common People and the uncertainty of the Crown (which still wasn’t fitting Henry’s head), in 1217 a special Forest Law was enacted which allowed free men to pick up wood, grass, bits of soil, dig holes and make ponds in forests although anyone hunting anything could be fined or imprisoned, unless they could prove they were a king (or a noble with a charter to do such things). Even more controversially Common People could even say what was a forest or not and whether the law applied there or not; as a result, there was much rejoicing by lawyers who once more saw no end of gainful employment.  Some nobles who fell into suspiciously obscure holes or ponds wanted that part rescinded, but the judges who were now seated comfortably on the Bench thought otherwise.

The Welsh

Difficulties

There had always been problems with the Welsh. They did not invade quite so much as the Scots so it was always a surprise and when they did it was only to seize Chester or Shrewsbury or make some careless Marcher lord look ridiculous. Then there was the geography, although only a very small country the Welsh had contrived to huddle up in the north or the south; the latter entering into alliances with English kings whenever it suited them and former being more inclined to seize Chester etc whenever it suited them. This was very confusing for an English king as he never knew who was who and anyway, unlike Scotland which was conveniently in the north, Wales is side on so you never knew where they’d come incursioning or seizing from.

Llewelyn -Impressive

Providentially for those looking after the kingdom for young Henry (and his necklace) at this stage had arisen one Llewelyn ap Iorwerth of the powerful family which ruled the northern kingdom of Gwenydd. For a while he was on good terms with John (The Bad King) and married Joan who was naturally John’s daughter. With this sorted out Llewelyn then proceeded to conquer all the bits of Wales which didn’t see things his way, even in the South. This entitled him to added on ‘The Great’ to his name or to be correct in welsh Fawr. He fell out with John but because of Barons and Frenchmen, John couldn’t do much about it. During post-John, Marshal and some less treacherous fellow nobles entered into an alliance and treaty with Llewelyn. This allowed Llewelyn to keep whatever bits of England he had, do as he fancied in Wales and fight any English nobles on his border (the latter clause was mischievously put in by the council as pay-back for the Barons not obeying the council).

This left Llewelyn looking more impressive than Henry III who was still too young and stuck with a necklace. Sadly for Llewelyn who was watching eastwards (England)  this would all end when some English (cleverly if you were English; treacherously if you were Welsh) invaded across the Irish Sea (from the West) with a lot of Irish Mercenaries.

Scotland  

Annoyed that the English kept calling him Alexander and a ‘II’ at that and not correctly ,Alaxandair mac Uilliam; he son of William (The Lion- as opposed to the Lionheart) claimed he wanted some thiefes back who were in England and marched all the way to Dover to tell Louis (The French) he would make a better king that John. When things didn’t work out he marched back and finding out some of his scots clans were naturally, revolting embarked on the far easier task of fighting and massacring them, so England didn’t have much of a problem with him.

Ireland

Henry II and waves of Anglo, Cambro and High-bernian Normans had rushed into Ireland and  the Irish had been obliged to accept the King of England as their Lord. Because the Kings of England as well as Anglo, Cambro and Hi-bernian Normans couldn’t agree on anything they all slaughtered or deposed each other, until there were only Irish Lords and a few Cambro-Normans (who knew the rules) left. As the Normans on the mainland were busy converting to being English, the Irish Lord were able to take over, but instead claiming to be High Kings they hired themselves and their retinues to any English who were fighting each other, the Scots, Welsh or the French. This would prove to be a bit of a mistake.

The Usual Business

After William Marshal died in 1219 of age and being loyally noble (or nobly loyal- the medical records are not complete), the rest of the council settled down to accusing each other of treason, etc. Fortunately, in 1220 when it was found the crown would fit on Henry’s head The Pope arranged for him to him to have a proper coronation. The Pope then said it was just and right for Henry to be The III and it was a sin not to pay taxes to him AND give him castles.

The End of the Minority  

By 1223 and being a typical surly teenage, Henry took back the bits of England which Llewellyn had and then went around besieging English Barons who had been excommunicated by the Pope on the grounds of not paying their taxes and insisting on keeping their castles. In this he was aided by a loyal noble, Hubert who was famed for modestly accepting the job of being ‘just a clerk’.

With papal backing Henry was also allowed to massacre those who wouldn’t obey him as they were obviously heretics. Some evaded this by hiding in forests and pretending to be common, a few didn’t have to try very hard.

By the time Henry (III) was 16, truly fitted into a crown, he had begun to develop a reputation as being pious on the grounds of killing excommunicants, enabling everyone to be relieved he would not take after his father. Thus, he began to reign in his own shed.

In the next chapter, we shall look at the Reign of Henry III as an adult and what everyone thought about it.

A True History of The Isles (the ones off the west coast of France, that is) Volume 2 (or Vol. II)

 

A True History of The Isles (the ones off the west coast of France, that is) Volume 2 (or Vol. II)

Commentary

Whereas the 2016 vote by the citizenry of the UK to leave the European Union was a pretty spectacular bit of business, it almost pales (sic) into the mediocre when compared with the potential Hoo-Ahh released by the results of the 2017 General Election. Thus, we now have a political party sort of in power, embarking upon a series of complicated negotiations invoking the old political spirit Arthur Mandate is better than none, while not so much in the wings, but idling Stage Left biding his time is the ever constant character on the political scene Mr Hugh Bris.

It was a year ago in the aftermath of the aforementioned referendum that I embarked on my epic intent to write up a true history of these Isles 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_(shameless plug) in order that we may all gain a better understanding as to how we managed to get in such a singular circumstance. I was quite surprised by the positive reaction, and encouraged by the indication that in the next five years the kindle sales might go into double figures have strode forth upon Vol 2 (or Vol II if you prefer)

So let us, away-

trilby

Introduction & Preface

Whereas it is quite in order that most histories should consider who was who and why; this author considered it quite unnecessary to dwell too much on the business, but to simply supply the reader with the bare facts and let them reach their own conclusions. This premise is possibly the most valid of any as people being people tend to keep changing their minds (or other people’s minds) as to who did what, why, when and just how important whoever it was’ part in it was anyway. Then there are those who wouldn’t know reality if it was wrapped in brick and dropped on their heads but they shouldn’t be reading this or the previous volume in any case. For this is a true and unbiased account of the history of these isles, which strips away all of the romance, preferential treatment, and has no truck with notions of which innocent nations or semi-nations have been hard-done by other nations for apart from aboriginal peoples in remote parts of the world basically; there an’t no such creature.

In the previous volume lay the foundations of how these isles came to be populated, by what types of folk, what they did, or didn’t do; what they should have done, and who had their names recorded and why. Thus, the reader will, by now, have a fairly reasonable idea of the states of the various peoples and nations at the time of the death of King John (currently The Only).

This volume will chart the progress from the aftermath of the death of King John (The Bad by popular consensus) up until the death of Henry the VII who having disposed of Richard The III (maybe not as bad as some folk would have) invented Tudors.

During this era (19th October 1216 to 21st April 1509), many important innovations and inventions took place, many of which have lasted until modern days. Some will be considered in depth, others for the sake of brevity barely mentioned, while some will be mostly ignored by the author who considers them detrimental to the academic flow of the book, and, thus, following the fine tradition of adding an element of controversy to an historical work.

Overall this is the era when English kings decided that the whole demeanour of the isles would be a lot neater if they finally convinced the royalty of Scotland, Ireland and Wales that the King (or if necessary Queen) of England should be the most important king (or worst-case scenario, queen) of the lot. This would enable the King (or if there was no alternative… Queen) of England to concentrate on the very important task of having wars with France otherwise France might become so important as to boss everyone else on the mainland of Europe, which was of course quite unacceptable; this was balanced by the view that the French had the same opinion about English.

In general, these twin policies would be the yardstick by which English kings (and when weedy princes died, queens) were judged by the nobility of England. Irish, Scots and Welsh royalty would counter this by dying heroically, being betrayed (heroically), rebelling and hiding (heroically) or proving they were legally English and should rule anyway.

This era also saw (if the king or queen was careless) the rise of parliaments, councils and the continued insistence of The Church that it was just as important as a king (or whether the church authorities liked it or not – queen). This gave rise an increase in literacy so that nobles could check if there was something sneaky The Church or the king (or-sigh- queen) was up too, or even better if there was something they, the noble(s) could take advantage of.

It was during this era that there was more attention having to be given to The Common People, some of whom had also started to read and so ask awkward questions of The Church; this did so amuse the nobility and royalty until The Common People tried the same thing with them. Matters were to become so turbulent that The Common People started to be bothersome about having rights and despite the best or worse efforts of the ruling classes actually obtained some. The first being during the upsetting times of the Plantagenets (or Angevin if you feel that way) whose colourfulness filtered down to the extent that by the end of the 12th Century the barons found they had lost all their serfs and were stuck with a lot of common people instead.

This era, is therefore possibly one of the most interesting as it is source of much of Shakespeare’s work, gave Cromwell a bit of a surprise when he found a copy of the Magna Carta and gave rise to the Celtic tradition of turning their mistakes into romantic legends and laments.

In conclusion, whereas these volumes are reasonably authoritative works on the history of these Isles the reader is strongly advised to read 1066 and All That by Sellar and Yeatman this being the definitive work on the subject up to the end of the 19th Century.

Thus over the course of the next few weeks the essays will commence and naturally continue.

The first one being a consideration of the state of the Isles during the period after King John (The boo-hiss king) died and it looked as if England might be confirmed as being another bit of France.

A Guide To The Results of an Election

Marketing Day- A True History of The Isles is a Book!!

A True History of the Isles Part 25 -The Era of The King John (Bad or a Bad Press?)

 

 

A True History of the Isles Part 25 -The Era of The King John (Bad or a Bad Press?)

A Guide To The Results of an Election

General Election 2017 (UK that is)

 

 

Dear neighbours in the WP community. The 2017 UK General Election results and implications made simple:

Reason Why We Had A General Election and Why They Were Bad Reasons

Prime Minister Theresa May:

Wanted to show she was The Lady. (Well….that kinda worked out for her…..because at the moment no one else in their right mind wants the lousy job, at present, but the Conservatives are deadly good at fiendish plots against their own leaders)

Wanted to throw out of her cabinet a bunch of folk she’d been stuck with after David Cameron quit. (That might have worked- but the wrong way…some of them didn’t get re-elected and Labour got their seats. She should have realised there are always ‘Shock Results’ and someone big loses their ‘seat’)

Wanted to make things worse for Labour than they already were. (Bad idea! The only ones who are able to make things worse for Labour than they already are, are Labour themselves)

Wanted to grab back all those UKIP voters who now that there was no Brexit voting stuff weren’t too sure what to do with their time (Should have realised that people had begun to ‘think things’ through after Brexit and seen UKIP as a one-trick pony, and would amble away in all political directions this time around)

And finally.

Hoped she might lose Boris Johnson somewhere in the fracas (Good plan. Pity it didn’t work)

On to the next topic:

Reasons Why People Voted The Way They Did.

The Young Vote: For the last few years having been fed a steady stream of ‘You will have to work until you’re 75. We will also pass a law making it illegal for you to die any earlier’ and ‘If you want an education beyond counting up to 20 and learning your ABC you’ll have to borrow £20,000 per year and sell you first born to help pay it back’, there would have been a possible tendency to vote for a party with a more promising outlook to life.

The Elderly Vote: ‘If you start to get ill we’ll either let you starve and let nature take it course, then if you persist in being stubborn we’ll lock you away and recycle you for environmental purposes’ might have been the message they received from the Conservative Manifesto

The Middle Vote: ‘Keep working those two jobs for 50 hours a week and we’ll reduce your income tax by£1.75p a month’ was probably  not the most attractive theme.

Brexit: Everyone is confused anyway. So it didn’t matter to folk this time around. (Unless you were a die-hard UKIP member)

Other Issues:

The train service is still costly and lousy

Unless they get the funding right any government will take a hit on the NHS.

You knew there was something going wrong with the Conservative campaign when Labour and in particular Jeremy Corbyn felt secure enough to challenge the Conservatives on their safe ground of Law & Order and police numbers.

 

Implications

England: The map was turned upside down and conservatives did well(ish) in the north and Labour did well in the south. This will make everyone dizzy.

Wales: Plaid Cymru- The Welsh National Party snatched another seat. The conservatives made the great cultural error of spending more time and effort in North Wales, which naturally nfuriated voters in South Wales who promptly ditched them; North Wales wasn’t that impressed anyhow.

Scotland: No one in the SNP really read their history way back when which shows that not all scots when push comes to shove want to be independent, but since many a true Scot would not want to be led by somebody so obviously southern English as Jeremy Corbyn lots voted Tory, others feeling nostalgic for simpler times voted Labour or Liberal Democrats. Result SNP lost lotsa seats.

Northern Ireland (or Ulster): No one who lives outside of Ulster should ever try to understand why politics is the way it is in Northern Ireland; it will make your head spin. Suffice it to say folk voted along ‘community lines’. This meant the Democratic Unionist Party won the Protestant Unionist vote while Sinn Fein won the Catholic Republican vote so both sides could claim a great victory, even though Sinn Fein don’t actually take up their seats in The House of Commons and the Democratic Unionists Party don’t trust any other party in the, said The House of Commons.

 

What Is Happening:

The SNP (Scotland) – Have to pretend everything is fine, but don’t mention Independence ever again.

The Liberal Democrats- Were supposed to get completely wiped out but actually won 4 seats, thus returning to common the stance of the last 80 years ‘Oh! That’s a nice surprise! It should  have been worse’

Labour- Although Labour lost, ie had less seats than the Conservatives, they actually won, because they ended up with more seats than expected. Which in turn means that although they don’t get to form an government, means they can be seen to maybe be able to form an government next time around. Unless of course they shoot themselves in the feet by starting a traditional venomous internal argument over something which has no bearing on the day-to-day lives of the ordinary folk of this country.

Plaid Cymru and The Green Party- Have not gone away and although only have a total of five seats in such a circumstance are very important. The Green Party plays a very important role by having one seat, in that this presence will cause apoplexy in the USA Whitehouse if any one there should notice.

 

Who Is In Charge Now?

Well at present, and if nothing else happens by the time I finish this post. Prime Minister Theresa May (vocals and tambourine) and the Conservatives Government will still be able to limp along with the aid of the Democratic Unionist Party. How long this will last is anyone’s guess but should keep political pundits, academics, journalists and commentators in steady work for at least the rest of 2017.

When considering this arrangement, it should be born in mind;

That Catholic voters in England and Wales who voted for the Conservatives have now given the Hard-line Protestant Democratic Unionists Party a voice in their affairs.

Conversely;

The Hard-line Protestants of the DUP must now be grateful to the said Catholic voters in England and Wales for given them a voice in UK affairs.

This proves conclusively that God has a sense of humour.

 

This complex result will be difficult to explain to the amateurs currently cluttering up the Whitehouse in Washington USA and is best broken down as follows;

Theresa May is still Prime Minster, ie Big Boss Lady

No socialists are involved in the running of Central Government. Yet

Everything is fine. Except the things which aren’t and they don’t concern you, so keep your noses out of it.

No one cares what you think anyway.

That state visit is so not going to happen for a while.

Stay out of London.

 

Other than that The UK will provide a steady source of entertainment for those wo find politics funny.

A Trip Into a Writer’s Head

Firstly apologies to all whose blogs I used to read regularly- you see it’s happened to me, falling in love with My Re-Write…..Explanation to follow-

I really should have attended more to my blog posts, I promised myself I would; surely there are minutes and hours enough for a retired fellow to fit in a post or two in 3.25 days a week, but Ah Me….there was a re-write and as is the case where inevitably the writer becomes very attached to the work AND the urge to finish became overwhelming.

Well the FIRST re-write is done, and naturally there has to be the subsequent one where the tweaks have to be inserted, more of those sneaky typos are winkled out, long sentences ironed out into something which is comprehensible and of course not forgetting continuity.

Now, I don’t know how it is with you, but these days I find my writing mindset separates into three, dare I say identities. This is not quite as alarming as it sounds. This has evolved as a process to make the work more rational and readable; the stream of consciousness approach has to be set aside when writing Fantasy with multiple characters, lest they all get mixed up with each other and are not sure who they are.

Thus there is I, the Writer, the one who comes up with the plots and suchwhich and sort of orbits The World. I think Reality is overrated and an inclined to a singular approach which assumes folk will be more than happy to spend time they would usually devote to crosswords or puzzle games working out just what I am writing about.  The creations are passed onto ME a fellow in touch with both this reality and those of the writing worlds, experience has taught ME that creations need to be unjumbled, set out on the allegorical table and sorted out into a rational set of consequences which will make sense to a reader and provide them with hopefully a satisfying read, and not expect them to work out was I was on about. Then finally standing there with noble fatality and some stern strength of character is THE ARBITER. I am certainly not sure how The ARBITER managed to work into the process, I suspect it was when there was an excess of reading of Advice on how to be published or at least write with a sense of maturity. This makes perfectly good sense to ME; it’s all well and good mumbling about Dada-esque and assuming one will be looked about by future generations as the Frank Zappa or Moondog of the Fantasy genre, but I will be disappointed because it is obvious to ME no one will ever read such stuff, unless I become famous first, which it seems to ME is not going to happen unless I take things seriously. But when I am told that I go all sulky, and it’s left up to ME to sort it out.

It occurs to ME how best to explain the problem is for you Dear Reader to read an imagined phone conversation between ME and THE ARBITER. Consider if you will the style of the Legend that is Bob Newhart- The Narration being carried out by THE ARBITER (who naturally has the final say):

 

ARBITER (to himself): Oh boy. This Patchwork project. The blurbs. They always leave the blurbs up to yours truly.

Phone Rings

ARBITER:  Oh hi there! Thanks for returning the call…Uh-huh….Uh-huh..Uh-huh. Oh that’s OK. Y’know what they say -Half a draft is better than none!….Uh-huh….So what’s he done now? (laughs)… Not speaking to anyone again…Yea, yea. Well they do that y’know. You try and make it a viable and readable book and they just don’t appreciate it…oh I know…My grandfather had the same problem with Gore Vidal! Not that that guy ever wanted to write rom-com. Uh-uh…No that was the good stance for you to take, y’know, I mean who’s going to take Vol 1 of a Fantasy trilogy seriously if the three principal characters ended that volume each with a boyfriend!..Yeh… agreed!.. Who wants to read a re-write Seven Brides For Seven Brothers? (laughs)…And then….Uh-uh.Huh-Uh….Quivering over your alteration to the romance aspect is he?….He asked ‘What’s the character with the wooden leg going to do now?’….and you said…uh-UH!! ‘Well, y’see that might have been a bit harsh of you, because that character doesn’t read as the sort of guy who’d get his kicks that way….BUT, we got three volumes at least, someone else will turn up or he can die heroically with a few wise or ironic words on his lips…..So what else?….Mmm….yeh…..Well he will have to wait. Y’know you’ve got the major re-write to do….No kiddin’ (laugh)…no, no not at you, with you. Yeh, get to this stage and you fall in love with the book. It happens. You want those crowd of crazy kids out there to be read about. He’ll have to wait. Tell you what..I’ll get him a writing pad and tell him to use it and stop looking at Amazon….No problem. That’s what I’m here for….

Puts the Phone down:

ARBITER (to himself)….And there was that gig with Brandon Sanderson, but no, I had to go for the unknown (sighs). Now, blurb or check the launch budget again…..