Divided Kingdom


Hello, what's all this then?

Oh, hey! No hang on, this isn't that kind of timeline...

Hang on yourself, I'm your inner monologue, and I know how much you like this easy expository device. Now what's this, another timeline?


But you haven't finished that other one... you know, the... Great... Noise... thing?

"The Loud Blast That Tears The Skies", you mean?

I don't know, I haven't read it.

Few people have, its hidden away in the ASB subforum. It's still ongoing, this is an unrelated parallel project. Also I wanted to mark my 100th post on AH.com with an idea I've been kicking around for a while.

Planning on killing any Liberals? Politically or literally?

No. Well, maybe by butterfly, the POD is pre-Liberalism. But-

Aha! At it again! They're an endangered species now you know!

But - as I was saying - this is an attempt to break out of timelines about 20th Century politics.

Yeah, you're doomed.


...Those flags are anachronistic...

Shut up.

Hello all, and welcome to my debut in pre-1900 timelines. What I've got planned is a short series of chapters (probably 12-15 in total) exploring a timeline over a long-ish time period. Its as much "a bit of fun" as anything, but I hope I can produce something that is both entertaining and creative. It'll also be a slow burner, with updates as and when: TLBTTTS remains my main project. First chapter should be up later tonight.

1066: Invasion

From - "1881 and All That" (Merchant and Gate, 1951.):


Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor was with difficulty prevented from confessing to all these and many other crimes committed in his reign, as he was in the habit of confessing everything whether he had done it or not, and was thus a Weak King.

Harold the Defender

In the year 1066 occurred the other memorable date in English History. This is also called the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and was when King Harold fought with unruly football fans, who were less violent in those days.[1] King Harold is not to be confused with Harold the Defenestrated, hapless founder of the first window cleaning business. Nor with King Harald.


From - "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (anon., 10th-15th Centuries):

A.D. 1065.

This year, before Lammas [August 1st], ordered Earl Harold his men to build at Portskeweth in Wales. But when he had begun, and collected many materials, and thought to have King Edward there for the purpose of hunting, even when it was all ready, came Caradoc, son of Griffin, with all the gang that he could get, and slew almost all that were building there; and they seized the materials that were there got ready. Wist [know] we not who first advised the wicked deed. This was done on the mass-day of St. Bartholomew [August 24th].

Soon after this all the thanes in Yorkshire and in Northumberland gathered themselves together at York, and outlawed their Earl Tosty; slaying all the men of his clan that they could reach, both Danish and English; and took all his weapons in York, with gold and silver, and all his money that they could anywhere there find. They then sent after Morkar, son of Earl Elgar, and chose him for their earl. He went south with all the shire, and with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, till he came to Northampton; where his brother Edwin came to meet him with the men that were in his earldom. Many Britons also came with him. Harold also there met them; on whom they imposed an errand to King Edward, sending also messengers with him, and requesting that they might have Morcar for their earl. This the king granted; and sent back Harold to them, to Northampton, on the eve of St. Simon and St. Jude [October 27th]; and announced to them the same, and confirmed it by hand, and renewed there the laws of Knute. But the Northern men did much harm about Northampton, whilst he went on their errand: either that they slew men, and burned houses and corn; or took all the cattle that they could come at; which amounted to many thousands. Many hundred men also they took, and led northward with them; so that not only that shire, but others near it were the worse for many winters.

Then Earl Tosty and his wife, and all they who acted with him, went south over sea with him to Earl Baldwin [of Flanders]; who received them all: and they were there all the winter. About midwinter King Edward came to Westminster, and had the minster there consecrated, which he had himself built to the honour of God, and St. Peter, and all God's saints. This church-hallowing was on Childermas-day [December 28th]. He died on the eve of twelfth-day [January 5th]; and he was buried on twelfth-day in the same minster; as it is hereafter said.

Here Edward king,
of Angles lord,
sent his stedfast
soul to Christ.

In the kingdom of God
a holy spirit!

He in the world here
abode awhile,
in the kingly throng
of council sage.

Four and twenty
winters wielding
the sceptre freely,
wealth he dispensed.

In the tide of health,
the youthful monarch,
offspring of Ethelred!
ruled well his subjects;
the Welsh and the Scots,
and the Britons also,
Angles and Saxons
relations of old.

So apprehend
the first in rank,
that to Edward all
the noble king
were firmly held
high-seated men.

Blithe-minded aye
was the harmless king;
though he long ere,
of land bereft,
abode in exile
wide on the earth;
when Knute o'ercame
the kin of Ethelred,
and the Danes wielded
the dear kingdom
of Engle-land.

Eight and twenty
winters' rounds
they wealth dispensed.
Then came forth
free in his chambers,
in royal array,
good, pure, and mild,
Edward the noble;
by his country defended --
by land and people.

Until suddenly came
the bitter Death
and this king so dear
snatched from the earth.

Angels carried
his soul sincere
into the light of heaven.
But the prudent king
had settled the realm
on high-born men --
on Harold himself,
the noble earl;
who in every season
faithfully heard
and obeyed his lord,
in word and deed;
nor gave to any
what might be wanted
by the nation's king.

This year also was Earl Harold hallowed [crowned, literally "consecrated"] to king; but he enjoyed little tranquility therein the while that he wielded the kingdom.

A.D. 1066

This year came King Harold from York to Westminster, on the Easter succeeding the midwinter when the king (Edward) died. Easter was then on the sixteenth day before the calends of May [April 15th]. Then was over all England such a token seen as no man ever saw before. Some men said that it was the comet-star, which others denominate the long-hair'd star. It appeared first on the eve called "Litania major", that is, on the eighth before the calends of May [April 23rd]; and so shone all the week. Soon after this came in Earl Tosty from beyond sea into the Isle of Wight, with as large a fleet as he could get; and he was there supplied with money and provisions. Thence he proceeded, and committed outrages everywhere by the sea-coast where he could land, until he came to Sandwich.

When it was told King Harold, who was in London, that his brother Tosty was come to Sandwich, he gathered so large a force, naval and military, as no king before collected in this land; for it was credibly reported that Earl William from Normandy, King Edward's cousin, would come hither and seek to gain this land; just as it afterwards happened. When Tosty understood that King Harold was on the way to Sandwich, he departed thence, and took some of the boatmen with him, willing and unwilling, and went north into the Humber with sixty ships; whence he plundered in Lindsey, and there slew many good men.

When the Earls Edwin and Morkar understood that, they came hither, and drove him from the land. And the boatmen forsook him. Then he went to Scotland with twelve smacks; and the king of the Scots entertained him, and aided him with provisions; and he abode there all the summer. There met him Harald, King of Norway, with three hundred ships. And Tosty submitted to him, and became his man. Then came our King Harold to Sandwich, where he awaited his fleet; for it was long ere it could be collected: but when it was assembled, he went into the Isle of Wight, and there lay all the summer and the autumn. There was also a land-force every where by the sea, though it availed nought in the end. It was now the nativity of St. Mary [September 8th], when the provisioning of the men began; and no man could keep them there any longer. They therefore had leave to go home: and the king rode up, and the ships were driven to London; but many perished ere they came thither.[2]

When the ships were come home, then came Earl William up from Normandy into Pevensey on the eve of St. Matthew the apostle [September 21st]; and soon after his landing was effected, they constructed a castle at the port of Hastings. The Frenchmen were great in number, though some had drowned at sea, and many yet still remained in Normandy. This was then told to King Harold; and he gathered a large force, and came to meet him at the estuary of Appledore. The king came against William unawares and very hardly encountered him with the men that would support him: and there was a great slaughter made on either side. There was slain Earl William, and the Frenchmen that were left fled from the English, who slew them hotly behind; until some came to their ships, some were drowned, some burned to death, and thus variously destroyed; so that there was little left: and the English gained possession of the field. But Harold let Bishop Odo go home to Normandy with their ships. Bishop Odo and the Frenchmen of the ships took oaths that they would ever maintain faith and friendship unto this land. Whereupon the King let them go home.

Meanwhile came Harald, King of Norway, north into the Tine, unawares, with a very great sea-force -- no small one; that might be, with three hundred ships or more; and Earl Tosty came with him all those that he had got; just as they had before said: and they both then went up with all the fleet along the Ouse toward York. When it was told King Harold in the south, after he had fought Earl William, that Harald, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty were come up near York, then he went northward by day and night, as soon as he could collect his army. But, ere King Harold could come thither, the Earls Edwin and Morkar had gathered from their earldoms as great a force as they could get, and fought with the enemy. They made a great slaughter too; but there was a good number of the English people slain, and drowned, and put to flight, and the Norsemen had possession of the field of battle. It was then told Harold, king of the English, that this had thus happened.

And this fight was on the eve of St. Matthew the apostle [September 21st], which was Wednesday. Then after the fight went Harald, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty into York with as many followers as they thought fit; and having procured hostages and provisions from the city, they proceeded to their ships, and proclaimed full friendship, on condition that all would go southward with them, and gain this land. In the midst of this came Harold, king of the English, with his army though it was not rested, on the Sunday, to Tadcaster; where he collected his fleet. Thence he proceeded on Monday throughout York. But Harald, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty, with their forces, were gone from their ships beyond York to Stanfordbridge; for that it was given them to understand, that hostages would be brought to them there from all the shire. Thither came Harold, king of the English, unawares against them beyond the bridge; and they closed together there, and continued long in the day fighting very severely.

There was slain King Harold of England, and Leofwin his brother, and Earl Girth his brother, and Earl Tosty, and a multitude of people with them, both Norsemen and English. The Norsemen there gained field of battle, and the Kingdom of England as had been promised to them by Harthacnut and King Magnus of Norway. These two general battles were fought within five nights.

Archbishop Aldred and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them. But the more prompt the business should ever be, so was it from day to date the later and worse; as in the end it all fared.

This battle was fought on the day of Pope Calixtus [October 14th]; and King Harald returned to York, and waited there to know whether the people would submit to him. But when he found that they would not come to him, he went up with all his force that was left, though they were not great in number, and ravaged all the country that he overran. But Earls Edwin and Morkar, and the child King Edgar, would not submit before him; so it was that greater harm was done to the country. it was very ill-advised that they did not so submit, seeing that God would not better things for our sins. So it was that the country was cleft, and Harald ruled the north earldoms and Edgar ruled the south earldoms, as it had been in the time of Alfred and Guthrum.

Then on midwinter's day Archbishop Aldred hallowed Edgar to king at Westminster, and gave him possession with the books of Christ, and also swore him, ere that he would set the crown on his head, that he would seek to unite this nation as those before him best did. King Harold remained in the north, and harassed the miserable people; and ever since has evil increased very much. May the end be good, when God will!

[1] Yes, butterflies, but the chance for a Good Bad Joke as befitting the original "1066 and All That" was too good to pass up.
[2] All OTL (our timeline) in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle up to here. The POD is William of Normandy (William I the Conqueror to us) chancing a channel crossing a week earlier. The result is that King Harold remains double-booked with invasions, but in the opposite order. And with that partial-handwave I found the timeline.

[Text adapted from the OTL Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, as translated by Rev. James Ingram, 1823, published by Everyman Press, London, 1912. Electronic edition prepared by Douglas B. Killings, July 1996. I've added a few explanatory notes in square brackets for dates, more obscure references, and archaic uses of terms; but otherwise I've left the text in what I understand to be original Old English grammar. It can be hard-going at first, until you learn to be more flexible with word order.]
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Oh, a new danelaw. That is a fascinating idea.

And what a wonderfully well written first post.

Well, to begin with...

And thank you.

I can't claim credit much for the writing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - I've just made very minor adaptations to an original text, starting after the second footnote.

The language of that original however is very beautiful (IMO), something about the sentence structure is both alien and very straightforward. I especially like the use of "Wist we not..." to mean "We don't know" - "wist" being to "know" as "wit" is to "knowledge". Either "wist" is a past tense and past participle of "wit" that has since fallen out of the English language, or its a faux-archaic word invented by Victorian authors - depending on which resources I read.

The next update will take a different style.
Excellent. Love the adapted ASC, preserves the feel of the original (even if it does that by being mostly original :)).

And whoopee! Poor old Edgar Atheling King (for how long though, we wonder, long enough to establish a dynasty?). All those bastard French nobles introduced by Will the Bastard done away with! The lands owned by free Englishmen!! ...sorry, what? Oh, I see. Bastard English nobles and bastard Danish nobles. Hmmmh, yeah.

And does the map suggest Free Wales (with every ten gallons)? Free Est Engle (with every five gallons)?

EDIT: so if the exploded jigsaw map represents the ultimate fate of Great Britain, we've got:

East Anglia
Mercia cum Lindsey
Some sort of restored Dumnonia/Greater Cornwall?
...and an odd little chunk somewhere around Bristol. Hwicce?
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Excellent. Love the adapted ASC, preserves the feel of the original (even if it does that by being mostly original :)).

And whoopee! Poor old Edgar Atheling King (for how long though, we wonder, long enough to establish a dynasty?). All those bastard French nobles introduced by Will the Bastard done away with! The lands owned by free Englishmen!! ...sorry, what? Oh, I see. Bastard English nobles and bastard Danish nobles. Hmmmh, yeah.

And does the map suggest Free Wales (with every ten gallons)? Free Est Engle (with every five gallons)?

Thanks. I hope it won't disappoint you too much if I say that I intend to have some quite big time jumps between updates (without giving too much away the next one is pencilled in for circa AD 1090). This is not going to be a continuing House of Wessex timeline that covers the 1060s in intense detail, I prefer broad sweeps.

EDIT: so if the exploded jigsaw map represents the ultimate fate of Great Britain

Its more metaphorical than anything. And there is a better more obvious metaphor that would show where I'm going more explicitly.

...and an odd little chunk somewhere around Bristol. Hwicce?

Thanks. I hope it won't disappoint you too much if I say that I intend to have some quite big time jumps between updates (without giving too much away the next one is pencilled in for circa AD 1090). This is not going to be a continuing House of Wessex timeline that covers the 1060s in intense detail, I prefer broad sweeps.

That's good. Not having to wade through sweeps of medieval ATL to find out what happens in the end ;)

Its more metaphorical than anything. And there is a better more obvious metaphor that would show where I'm going more explicitly.

Awwh. So no independent East Anglia then (sobs, mutters 'Up Wuffingas'. Or were they the ones who moved to Middle Anglia?*)

BTW, Hwicce wasn't an entirely serious suggestion :)

*This just demonstrates I can't get off my arse and walk five paces to look up something on claimed Anglo-saxon dynasties. Could use Wiki, but not liable to be accurate :eek: (Come to that, neither is the ASC, probably. Sort of 9th C Wiki.)
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1090: Rebellion​

From - "The Almenack of Historikal Crime" (1987):

PRESTEBI MURDER - Committed in the burg of Hwiteby, Northr-ast-York (then called Prestebi, within the Norse Empire of Hardrada)[3], AD 1090. While the specific nature of the Prestebi Murder is no outlier when set against the overwhelmingly violent society of pre-Enlightenment times, it is of greatest historical interest primarily as a catalyst for the subsequent "Northern Uprising" of the same year. Thus it also marks the historical point from which Norse direct rule over northern England begins a permanent decline. Given the time period and the subsequent destruction of many scholarly records, it is unfortunate though unsurprising that the historical fact of the incident has since become blurred by myth.

The circumstances of the Prestebi Murder may be summarised as thus: among the many residents of Anglo-Norse descent then dwelling in Prestebi were two brothers, recorded only by their Christian names as Eric and Magnus, of mixed Norse-Saxon ancestry in equal parts. Most accounts hold that Magnus was the brother most gainfully employed in the service of the town's Nordic overseers, as a blacksmith of some repute. Eric, by contrast, made an honest but marginal living as a draper. While Prestebi's coastal location might have made it well-placed within the Hardradian Union, the town nonetheless had suffered from the sundering of intra-English trade a generation previously; a hardship that had been exacerbated by a local outbreak of plague in 1074, and again in 1088. It is supposed that these forces acting in microcosm are what drove the impoverished Eric into first exchanging heated words with his estranged brother Magnus, and then to attack him with a dagger. Revisionist re-tellings of the tale claim that it was Magnus who in fact struck first; said re-tellings attracting notable controversy within both the political sphere of modern Yorkism, and the Teutonoskeptic Movement.

In any case, it was Magnus who fared the worst from the encounter, and Eric who was apprehended upon calls of murder from his brother's allies. Eric made no attempt to deny his crime, though he disputed its designation as such. The romantic interpretation might hold that this was a quarrel settled in the traditional manner, and that the "state" (in whatever nebulous pre-Silesian form that may be understood) had no right to intervene. The Norse governors of York however, felt differently, and proceedings approaching a trial were convened. The trial of Eric of Prestebi is of course famously (and anachronistically) dramatised in the play "The Murder of Middlemarck", wherein the town of Middlemarck serves as a fictionalised Prestebi.


From - "The Murder of Middlemarck" by Earnuld Holdhulm (1594):



MAGISTRATE: And what say you to these charges, Eric? Doest thou deny the taking of your own brother's life?

ERIC: I do not deny that charge.

MAGISTRATE: Then you admit freely your guilt? For as surely wast Cain guilty for the murderous slaying of Abel, so to are you guilty? For you have repeated that act, in deed and motivation, though you are but a petty imitation of Cain.

CROWD [JEERING]: Murderer! Murderer!

ERIC: No I do not bear any guilt. And I do not claim murder. Why? Does a man who engages in combat with a wild wolf commit murder? Does a man upon the field of battle, who does of necessity engage his fellow man, does he commit murder? No! Of course not! How then can I be so accused?

MAGISTRATE: You do not compare your slain brother to a beast of the woods?

ERIC: No, I do not. But what I do compare is the pressing need that a man may feel when the Almighty presents before him but a choice between the unpleasant and the necessary. Just as a man in the woods may slay to save his own life, so I seek to preserve my life, and that of our people. It is a question of survival.

MAGISTRATE: Your brother was of no threat to you, and no witness will testify that he was.

ERIC: Wasn't he? Tell me this: who in this courtroom did not go hungry this past winter? Speak! Who, save those intimate with our Viking rulers, did not feel the pangs of hunger - did not see their children waste, and hear their wails?


ERIC: When our children are slain by hunger - as you know they will be - will this sham court call before it the Viking King across the sea? Will they try him for the murder he wrought?


ERIC: We suffer, and the Norse prosper. When we face scarcity and hardship, how can that be anything other than a struggle for survival, between them and us? How then is my defeat of Magnus - an agent of the King of Norway - anything other than a blow for survival? I say to you my brothers, my true brothers, my fellow Saxons; we are not caged beasts! When we are attacked we fight back. Those who say I killed my brother, I did not. I struck for my brothers, for all of my true brothers, and for all those who are true to England!



From - "A History of the Kingdom of England, 871-1798" (Arthur Trengrouse, 1960):

Seen objectively, Holdhulm's jingoistic script presents a crudely self-justifying testimony on the part of the accused. To an increasingly modern audience, the appeals of nominal hero Eric will fall of deaf ears. Holdhulm's account is perhaps best be seen through the lens of the anti-foreign sentiment prevalent throughout England in the 1590s. Themes of foreign domination, and subsequent native resentment, thus chime throughout our history. To the objective historian Eric is a murderer, caught "bang to rights". Further, he is a shameful opportunist, willing to capitalise on the real grievances of the townsfolk to save himself from deserved (if primitive) justice.

Of course, Eric's opportunism is only made possible by the grim state of affairs across the New Danelaw of 1090. Hardrada has died not long after his conquest - and his sons had been more interested in fighting over the spoils than in building up their father's empire. York bore a heavy tax burden, and local economies stagnated. While Norse overlordship was increasingly resented by the peasantry, many of whom themselves had Norse blood; there was to be no great surge of enthusiasm for the alternative, in the form of the Saxon kings of the rump-England. A succession of weak West Saxon kings, often in their minority and in thrall to one or other powerful noble, stymied and reversed the development of a united English state. War of "reconquest" was never an option - enthusiasm for military campaigns only stretching as far as border raids, which harmed the Saxon population of the north as much as did the rule of the Norse "invaders". Holdhulm's depiction of a pan-English rallying cry is entirely anachronistic, and advanced even for its own time. Indeed, had the red handed "hero" uttered such a call it is likely that a guilty verdict would hastily have been handed down - with the full endorsement of the animated crowd. Such was the antipathy felt towards the South. Against this context then it should come as no surprise that "northern liberation" could only be sparked from within. In lieu of any respectable figurehead, that rebellion would have to be led by a fratricidal draper from a coastal backwater...

...It is evidence of how quickly complacency had set in within the New Danelaw, that within barely a generation the rot had extended so far as to require the barest coordinated challenge for the whole structure to crumble completely. In truth the civil war simmering in Norway, with all its dynastic and theological complications, can somewhat explain the distraction of the already diffident Haraldsson brothers. Full Norse intervention with armies from Scandinavia might have totally crushed the rebellion, though at perhaps an even greater cost to northern English prosperity. It is an amusing distraction to imagine what might have followed such an outcome - a united Northern England of Norse-Saxons, perhaps facing off down the long centuries against the Franco-Saxons of Southern England. Such fanciful notions aside, what the rallying Yorkists, Northumbrians, and East Anglians achieved was a greater freedom, albeit at the ultimate cost of any sort of unity. Of course, the throwing off of Norse rule was not absolute, nor was it uniformly applied...

...In the resulting vacuum new forces would arise. Attempts by the south to reassert suzerainty were by and large rebuffed, at least initially. By the time that many of the re-founded Saxon realms were willing to accept nominal allegiance to Winchester, their independent power was such that said allegiance came only with the barest concessions of their hard-won autonomy.

It is a final irony that among the communities which retained some continued "loyalty" to the Norse realm (however sincere or pragmatic their motivation for that loyalty), was the town of Prestebi. For all his supposed oratory and inspiration of the anti-Norse rebellion, Eric the draper was captured and hanged in the winter of 1092. Holdhulm of course neglects to include this scene in his hagiography.

[3] And of course known as "Whitby" in OTL. The spelling would not be settled for a number of centuries after the POD - here Hwiteby prevails, though alt-historical sources prefer the contemporary Norse name when discussing the 11th Century.
Harald's two sons warring with each other strikes me as surprising given they shared power amically enough in otl. But I suppose it's different when the empire is bigger.
Harald's two sons warring with each other strikes me as surprising given they shared power amically enough in otl. But I suppose it's different when the empire is bigger.

Got it in one. Cooperation breaks down because of the larger realm (also their lives are longer ITTL, which gives more time for collegial working relations to break down). Their heirs are starting to get involved by this point too. There's also a religious aspect involved - linked to the weakening of papal authority in the aftermath of the failed Rome-endorsed Normandean invasion - which I may allude to more in the future. Think of it more as intrigue and internal struggles than open warfare at this point though.