The Sons in Splendor Vol II: The Prince, The Pope and The Peruvian

1497-1507
  • The Prince, the Pope and the Peruvian: Sons in Splendour vol ii: 1496-1536
    Dramatis personae 1496:
    King Edward V (b1470) m Anne of Brittany
    Their Children:
    Elizabeth of Ware (b1489)
    Prince Edward of Eltham, Prince of Wales (b1490) betrothed to Catherine of Aragon
    Prince Richard of Bedford (b1492) betrothed to Johana de Vilhena of Portugal

    His siblings:
    Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, Lord of Ostend called ‘Prince of Harts’ (b1472) m Anna Sforza
    M Margaret of Austria (d 1493)
    Elizabeth of York (b1467) m Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, Lord Protector of England
    Their Children:
    Arthur Tudor (1486)
    Margaret Tudor (1489)
    Henry Tudor (1491)
    Mary Tudor (1496)
    Cecily (b1469) m Edward Hastings, Lord Grantham
    Elizabeth Hastings (b1486)
    Anne (b1475) m Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
    Algernon Percy (b1495)
    Catherine (b1479) m James IV, King of Scotland

    Other family members:
    Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick (b1475) m Alice Scrope
    Henry (b1492)
    Anne (b1494)
    Richard (b1496)
    Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452-1496)
    Edward of Middleham (1473-1492) m Elizabeth Herbert (d1492)
    Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke, Duke of Gloucester (b1492)
    Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, Chief Justiciar of the Council of the West m Cecily Bonville
    Thomas Grey, Lord St Leger (b 1475)
    Sir Richard Grey (b1477)
    John Grey (b 1484)
    Leonard Grey (b1490)
    Anne Woodville (1435-1489)
    Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex (b1474)
    Richard Grey, Earl of Kent (b 1481)
    Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, Constable and Marshall of England (1440)
    William Compton, adopted son (b1482)

    Wider Court
    Thomas Fitzalan, Lord Arundel
    William Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers (b1476)
    John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln m Margaret Fitzalan
    Alan de la pole, Lord Bland (b1477)
    Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Admiral of England (b 1473)
    Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby
    George Stanley, Lord Strange (b1460)
    Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle (b1462)
    James Stanley, Lord Oswestry, Bishop of Worcester (b 1465)
    William Hastings, Lord Hastings (1431-1496)
    Edward Hastings, Lord Grantham (b 1463)
    Richard Hastings, Lord Chase (b 1469)
    William Catesby, Earl of Humber, Lord Malham (b1450)
    George Catesby, Lord Ashby (b 1474)
    William Hussey, Chief Justice 1481-1495
    Sir John Fineux, Chief Justice 1495-?
    Sir Gregory Bonville, Chair of the Star Chamber 1495-?

    Bishops
    Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of Canterbury
    John Fox, Bishop of Durham

    In the New World
    Thomas Bradbury, Duke of Albion (b 1466)
    John Bourchier, Lord Berners, Governor of Nova Albion (b1467)
    Sir Robert Chatham (b1472)
    Sir Thomas Hawkyns (b 1473) Governor of St Dominic
    Henry Parker, Lord Morley (b1466)
    Robert Wydow, Franciscan and translator
    Armac, called John Brown, a native from Cove who became a translator and guide
    James St Leger, Governor of New Avon (b1469)
    William Smyth, Bishop of New Albion
    William Canynge and Henry Sampson, Co-Governors of Goughtown

    In Europe
    Charles VIII, King of France (1470-1496)
    Louis XII, King of France (1496-?)
    Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan
    Pope Alexander VI
    Maximillian of Austria, Holy Roman Emperor
    Philip of Burgundy (b1478) m Isabella of Castile

    Locations
    St Malo leased from Brittany by the English until 1539, comprises ‘La Cinqieme’ an area including all land within five leagues of the town, under the Duke of Brittany
    Calais under English control, along with the counties of Boulogne and Artois which formed ‘La Poche’
    Ostend under English control, with the nearby castle of Oudenburg being the Prince of Harts’ main European seat


    The Columbias (Carribean Islands, also sometimes used to refer to the entire New World as a whole)
    Nova Albion (OTL Hispaniola)
    Yorkstown (Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic)
    Castle at Cape Middleham near Yorkstown
    St Edward (Saintiago, Dominican Republic)
    Cornel (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
    Haurafen/Orvan (Bisono, Dominican Republic)
    Norward Islands (Turks and Caicos)
    Cove (Cuba)
    Green Port (Caimanera
    St John (Puerto Rico)
    Bradbury (San Juan)
    Eltham Castle at mouth of port
    St Dominic (Jamaica)
    Port Richard (Kingston)
    St Mark Islands (Caymans)
    Yucka (Yucatan Peninsular)
    St Matthew Islands(Bahamas)
    St Luke Islands (Virgin Islands)
    St Nicholas (Mexico)
    Fair Isle (Bermuda)

    Norland (OTL North America)
    ‘Greenland’ (Newfoundland)
    New Norfolk (Nova Scotia)
    St Barnabus (Halifax)
    New Avon (Maine - Massachusetts)
    Jordanstown (Boston)
    Wycliffe (Providence)
    Calvary Bay (Chesapeake)
    Princess Elizabeth’s Land (Virginia)
    Goughtown (Newport News)

    1497-1500:The Turn
    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001
    As the Yorkist dynasty approached the turn of the century, it went from strength to strength. There had been not so much as a minor uprising in the localities and the Remnant Rebellion of 1490 was the last time anyone could remember such disruption or hostilities. This period forms what Dyer has termed ‘the Yorkist consensus’. Edward V was undisputedly King of England, for perhaps the first time in a century there was no threat of a dynastic conflict. This stability contributed to wider prosperity. The Grand Columbian Company and the Norland Trading Company were becoming extremely wealthy from their trade with the New World and this tickled down into English society. The GCC and NTC were not the only beneficiaries of flourishing trade. Peace on the seas, enforced by the ever-growing Royal navy, the White fleet, saw a number of smaller trading companies emerge and the Hanseatic league becoming ever -more friendly towards the English crown.

    The age of firm government intervention in economics had not yet arrived, but Edward V was at least sensible enough to know the prime ingredients of a flourishing economy; credit, protection and law and order and he provided these in droves. The Alderman Bank of London quickly became a titan of London with support from across the English gentry, and it was joined by Italian and Flemish banks encouraged by the influence and connection of the Prince of Harts. The White Fleet had secured the seas, and within London and other trading centres efficient town guards emerged modelled on the Swiss Guards of the royal retinue in London. Finally law and order was as tight as it had always been under Edward V: the roving bands of Grand Justiciars and JPs supplemented by the Seneschals and their yeoman at county level. More centrally, the King’s bench still existed but in many matters it was now under the direction of the Star Chamber. Now under the lead of Sir Gregory Bonville after Sir John Fineux was promoted to Chief Justice, the Star Chamber continued to exercise the King’s Law independent of his express direction but nonetheless under the guise of him and his justices. Ergo the system of law and order was becoming increasingly autonomous and impartial.

    Edward V nonetheless responded to his expanding economy with a few tweaks, mostly from the ‘Golden Parliament’ of 1498. This Parliament saw a great celebration of treasure and incomes from the New World, but also allowed Edward to more greatly regulate and codify this trade. The major instrument of this codification was ‘The Great Trade’ (known as Artis Magnus in Europe). The Great Trade was written by members of the Exchequer but Chancellor Sir Henry Knox is perhaps most well known for his contribution. Rumours suggest that Edward himself had an input into the text, but nonetheless it was produced in the Royal Presses by now established near Lincoln’s Inn off Fleet Street. Caxton’s descendants and his competitors still maintained presses, but Edward V was ahead of the game in royal circles for having his own. Artis Magnus acted as almost a manual for trade; it standardised the pound as an article of weight, to be used everywhere the King of England held sway from Cornel to Kinsale and Caernarfon to Calais. The book also laid out recommendations for the most advantageous trade; an interlocking system of tariffs and exemptions designed to keep trade between territories flowing at the expense of competitors.

    There were two main consequences of the ‘Great Trade’: firstly it was codified in the Golden Parliament with the taxation on goods from the New World being maintained at 15% for Gold and 10% for other goods, although the newly emerging tobacco trade had taxes of 12%, and lower taxes on goods from Europe. However the brilliance of the laws passed was that they allowed exemptions and reductions on taxes from Europe for a range of reasons; if the ships were English, Breton or Burgundian, if the goods were produced in ‘La Poche’ around Arras and Lens, if they were intended for sale in Milan, or if they came through Calais, St Malo or Ostend. In brief the Golden Parliament created a semi-protectionist system of trade designed to encourage trade between the three League of London members and not others, France in particular was cut out by these proposals. A final addition was the establishment of spheres of influence for the two major English Companies. It was already understood that the Grand Columbia Company was restricted to the Columbias and the Norland Trading Company to Norland, but the Golden Parliament restricted the GCC to trade with the low countries, and the NTC with Brittany, with Calais allowed as a free port. Today we would call these monopolies, but it seems Edward instituted these rules merely to keep the peace as the two companies vied for dominance. In the long term this led to greater specialisation.

    Yet for all Edward V’s work he was riding a rising tide anyway. The additions of the New World lands and ‘La Poche’ had given an immense boost to the English economy. Lands now fully in control of the English Crown were producing their own textiles, finally allowing the Yorkists to reap some of the same benefits of the Burgundians. From across the Ocean came Tobacco and Gold in growing quantities, both finding ready buyers in London, Bristol, Calais and Ostend. The New World also offered up other crops which were becoming popular in England and Europe. Early attempts to transport exotic fruits and meats had ended with rotten cargos, but Maize and Bananas were grown across the Columbias for local consumption. In Europe Cotton and especially Potatoes from Norland were growing in popularity, and the next century would see Turnips supplanted as the staple vegetable in favour of Potatoes.

    This new wealth, closely protected by law and strength of arms, formed the basis of this ‘Yorkist Consensus’. Since Edward IV’s early days, the Yorkist dynasty had been defined by larger households and retinues, and more impartial officials at a local level. Edward V had continued the policies of his father and now had a large court which was open to anyone with the ability and the willingness to toe the line. The reality of this was that there was very little to be gained by disturbing the King’s peace or raising arms, any such actions would easily be stamped out, and so the gentry of England played nicely and reaped the benefits of a booming economy.

    There was, however, one crack in the Yorkist consensus, and that was the peasantry. Dyer, Barnard, Bolton, Campbell, Muldrew and many more have debated at length the prosperity of the peasantry during the turn of the 15th century. There were certainly some who benefitted from the greater material wealth around England, and in the long term prices and incomes would increase too. Yet there were some who were left behind; northern and welsh peasantry in particular bore the brunt of enclosure in order to keep up with the demand for wool. In Cornwall and parts of Wales, the mines fell into decline as they were surmounted by those in Nova Albion and elsewhere. In this atmosphere the Cornish Rebellion of 1500 stands out as the one instance of violent rebellion in an otherwise quiet decade or two in England.

    ‘The Cornish Rebellion of 1500’ by D Adamson in West Country Review 1991

    Cornwall was a forgotten county by 1500. The once prosperous region had seen its wealth ebb away as the bulk of English metals came from the New World. There may have been vast extra distances involved, but the ease of extraction in Nova Albion compared to the faltering resources in Cornwall spelt the death-knell for all but the most profitable mines. As the mines disgorged workers, the agricultural land of the county could not take the strain; already marginal at best, the gradual move to enclosure limited the amount of land available for arable use. Research into the records of the Council of the West has shown that taxation from wool increased by an average of 8% a year between 1491 and 1507. Whilst this is impressive, the spoils from this would have fallen into the hands of landowners, predominantly the Marquess of Dorset, not the peasantry, and it is hard to imagine how such growth could have been sustained without enclosure. The upshot of all this was that Cornwall was plagued by unemployed and landless peasantry, many of whom turned to brigandry in their desperation.

    In response the Council of the West took action. Of the three Councils of England (North, Wales, West) by 1500 the Council of the West was most partisan, and least integrated into the wider countryside. Led by Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset and staffed with loyal men (including Dorset’s oldest three sons; Lord St Leger, Richard and John) there was very little space for the wider household which the Yorkists had made their strength. Indeed, records survive that Edward had requested that Dorset include more local men unrelated to him on two occasions before 1500, both of which seem to have been ignored. Not only had Dorset stacked the Council in his favour, but he used it as his own personal fiefdom which had allowed him to slowly leach land from the counties of the West Country over a decade. He also dispensed partisan justice, often finding in favour of his own party and refusing to refer matters to the King’s bench or Star Chamber lest he be overruled.

    Dorset had been stung once before in 1490 when Sir Henry Bodrugan had led around 1,000 peasants and a further 1,000 European exiles and malcontents in a march against Exeter in the Remnant Rebellion. Dorset had easily managed to squash the rebellion, but the embers had been lit. What is more, Grey refused to heed the warning, putting it down to French scheming over his own weaknesses.

    All of this came to a head in spring 1500 when Bailiffs representing the Seneschal of Cornwall, Robert Fortescue tried to collect the King’s taxes for defenses in La Poche around St Austell. Two Bailiffs were beaten and sent on their way empty handed. Fortescue, who was a member of Dorset’s household responded by burning the village of Luxulyan to the ground and hanging three of the leaders of the community. Within a week, a mob had ransacked Fortescue’s home and burned his barns in retaliation. Here it should have ended, a Richard of Gloucester, Henry Tudor, even a Thomas Stanley would have arrested the leaders and pardoned the masses.

    Yet Dorset took this ruckus as a personal affront to his household and name; he dispatched his son John Grey with a party of soldiers who burnt all the land between Bodmin and St Austell, including large parts of the moorland demanding that the ringleaders surrender. This was a huge overreaction and local Gentry Sir John Aubrey rode to Bodmin to plead for an end to the violence. Grey arrested him for treason, but word immediately reached the rebels who were able to release Aubrey from the Church crypt where he was being held prisoner.

    Through economic disaster and governmental incompetence the Cornish Rebellion exploded in May 1500. John Aubrey was immediately elected leader of the Cornish rebels, with some 2,000 men supporting him, and the army marched towards London seeking an audience with the King. John Grey foolishly tried to resist the rebels with a token force near Liskeard and paid for it with his life. Dorset flew into an incensed rage when news reached him at Exeter.

    The Cornish passed into Devon, and to the testament of Aubrey’s leadership, there was little looting or pillaging of the county. It perhaps helped that 1500 was a good year for the harvest and the rebels had some coin taken from Fortescue and John Grey to pay for supplies. It was perhaps this relatively peaceful transit which encouraged so many Devonshiremen to join the rebels. There was little love lost between Devon and Cornwall, but it seems the Devonshires hated the Marquess of Dorset more than their neighbours. By the time Aubrey’s rabble reached Oakhampton, some 15 miles from Exeter, their numbers had grown to around 5,000 with a few other disenfranchised gentry adding their numbers to the army.

    In the meantime Dorset had to be restrained from burning the entire West Country by the Bishop of Exeter Roger Farron, who also sent word to the King in London requesting help. We learn this from Farron’s own account, but since no other chroniclers record anything other than Dorset skulking behind the walls of Exeter, there must be some truth to it. The Cornish Rebellion shows the weakness of the Council of the West - with its Dictator oscillating between melancholy and murderous rage, Lord St Leger, Thomas Grey Jnr, was forced to muster a force to fend of the rebels who had killed his brother.

    Even as the Council of the West faltered, Edward’s other local officials took up the slack; Grand Seneschal of Winchester, the Earl of Lincoln was able to muster some 500 armed cavalry and move towards Exeter whilst the Seneschal of Bristol, Sir Gilbert Maltravers brought a similar number of infantry from his sphere. In London, Lord Protector Henry Tudor led an army himself, gathering more men as he went, yet he was at least a week behind Lincoln.

    As the rebel army reached Exter, by now numbering around 6,000 men, Sir John Aubrey learned of the oncoming armies and decided to play his cards safe; he camped to the north of the city and repeatedly demanded a parlay with Dorset, repeatedly being palmed off on his son instead. Aubrey was forced to keep his army in line, knowing that his success lay in not appearing to have breached the peace but merely requesting an audience with Dorset, or the King. This led him to have to hang a few rebels for murder, and punish a few others for looting. All this led to his army dwindling to around 3,000 men by the time Lincoln arrived.

    Lincoln and Aubrey parlayed on the evening of the 6th of June 1500, with Aubrey refusing to surrender whilst charges of treason still hung over him. Lincoln must have been sympathetic, he knew Dorset well, but he was already on the naughty step after his rash involvement in the Battle of Fornovo, he could not afford another slip up. Therefore, in the early hours of the next morning Lincoln led his 500 men in a shock charge into the rebel camp on Stoke Hill. To call it a battle would be a vast exaggeration; by all accounts Lincoln lost less than 10 men with the rebels having almost their entire force killed or captured - only around 500 escaped by swimming the Tamar or slipping into nearby boggy ground.

    Aubrey was amongst the captives and he was taken to London for trial by the Star Chamber, where he was found guilty and executed. That he had merely raised his hand against unjust treatment, and then been attacked by the royal army in turn, was not enough to see him vindicated. Edward V did show some mercy, only four other leaders were executed, the rest of the rebels received pardons. Edward also showed his characteristic grace in that he paid for a ship to leave Bristol in 1501 bound for New Avon which would carry as many Cornishmen and their families as wanted to leave, about 300 people took up this offer but they would soon be followed by many more.

    As for Dorset he quietly retired to his estates a broken man, but Edward had learned his lesson. Lincoln was given the Council of the West, with Lord St Leger and the Bishop of Exeter being two of the new key players. Elsewhere the positions of the south-west were purged and a more inclusive system created centred on Lincoln’s own retinue. The Cornish Rebellion is often rated as a mere foot-note in the Yorkist dynasty, but it had long term impacts; it established a Cornish presence in the New World which was never to be relinquish, it encouraged Edward to take a slight step back from his more nepotistic urges, and it established the precedent of the New World as a ‘dumping ground’ for malcontents and outcasts.

    Exploration in the Age of York, J Slight, 2014

    Not even a decade had passed since Columbus and Thomas Bradbury had discovered the New World, and already the English had a significant presence there. Columbus may have died as the victim of his own hubris, but by 1500 Thomas Bradbury had become Duke of Albion and had established a settlement named after him on St John. Bradbury was a very well-paid agent of the Grand Columbia Company, but he was first and foremost the King’s man in the new world with Lord Berners (governor of Nova Albion) and Sir Thomas Hawkyns (governor of St Dominic) to assist him.

    By the dawn of the 16th century there was an ever growing fleet of some 30 ships plying the waters between the Columbias and London with a mix between royal sailors and private men in the employ of the GCC. These men often shared a dual role; the GCC was primarily interested in trade and little else whilst the crown took responsibility for all other matters in the islands; taxation, land grants, defence, and justice, with many people dipping their toes in both pools. Such was the mass of administration building up that by 1500 there was a substantial number of clerks in Cornel on Nova Albion - the de facto capital of the whole region - with a few in the outer lying islands. The European population steadily increased, especially after Artis Magnus, as the true potential of their wealth was appreciated in England. Most of these merchants and professionals settled in the rapidly expanding towns, but there was a steady stream of landless peasantry to take up farms too.

    There were few challenges to the English in these early days; native tribes had been easily defeated in the initial confrontations when they turned violent and had since taken to vanishing from sight if they ever saw a European. To contemporaries it seemed as if the natives were timid mice to be controlled or exterminated, but they were often simply ignored as they posed little threat. It is now possible to conclude that the various diseases brought from Europe reduced the native population of the four main islands by an average of 60% by 1500, and on Nova Albion this was as high as 90%.

    The Spanish were a much sterner threat than the local populace. Amerigo Vespucci had led expeditions in 1494 and 1495 which had established a Spanish presence around Lake Maracaibo, the Orinoco river, and Santiago and San Salvador (OTL Trinidad and Tobago). There had been that one encounter with Columbus in 1494 but aside from that the two territories had been far enough apart to prevent a chance meeting. However New Spain would come, in time, to pose the greatest threat to the English Columbias. The Treaty of Avignon in 1496 had divided the new world between Portugal, Spain and England; Portugal got eastern south Columbia (OTL Brazil), England the four main Columbia islands and everything north and east of them and the Spanish the rest. This meant that Spain would have access to all the wealthiest interior of the Aztec, Mayan and Incan empires once they realised their existence. England had not challenged the Treaty in 1496, they had their hands full with what they had, and were exhausted of talk of St Nicholas (OTL Mexico) after Columbus’ repeated insistence it was in fact India. Therefore the English lands in the Columbias continued to be tilled, mined, settled, mapped and explored into the 16th century, unaware of the chaos they would come to cause.

    Meanwhile the first conflict of the age of exploration was brewing further north. The Lollard settlement of Wycliffe steadily grew in its first 5 years as Lollards from England heard of the safe haven, good climate and plentiful land; it may have been a harder life but it was better than facing down the inquisition back home. The Lollard town grew to a population of 2000 by 1500 and was able to establish friendly contacts with the locals, one cleric even able to learn enough of Algonquian to communicate with them. Then in 1500 a ship appeared in Providence Bay near Wycliffe. It carried Hussites from Bohemia. Pope Alexander’s declaration against heretics had begun to affect them too and having heard of Wycliffe they sought refuge in the enclave too.

    There were parallels between the Lollards and Hussites; they both saw Catholics as hopeless idolaters and had strong feelings about the Eucharist, but the similarities ended there. The Hussites only numbered 300 to begin with, but there were thousands more in Bohemia, whereas the Lollards were a smaller, more affluent community. Then there was the language barrier which was overcome by some speakers of low german and - ironically - a bit of latin and within a decade Czech and English would both be spoken by most people in the area. Despite their reservations, the Lollards allowed the Hussites to settle within 10 miles of them at a cove they inevitably named Huss (North Kingston, RI, OTL).

    As the Hussites demonstrated, news of the Lollard colony in Norland had clearly gotten out. What Edward V personally thought of these heretical refugees is unclear, but there is little evidence of any English policies against them until the debacle of 1507. James St Leger in Jordanstown must have clearly realised early on who the Lollards were, but before long they outnumbered him and there was little he could do. Of course this was Norland, it wasn’t Nova Albion, Wycliffe may have had a prime spot on the Providence River, but it had few resources save timber or passable farmland, and the Lollards were not proselytising. It seems that Edward V was content to let the Lollards leave England, they were almost invisible in Wycliffe, and by 1500 there were so few of them left in England that the number of arrests for Lollardy had fallen to two or three a year, and Richard Rex has shown how these were actually false accusations from rivals.

    Indeed, the Norland Trading Company had their own ‘goldrush’ of sorts to contend with in the New World;they were not interested in a small group of Heretics when there was money to make. Robert Chatham’s discovery of tobacco around Princess Elizabeth’s Land (OTL Virginia) had turned into an unexpected windfall for the NTC; it was certainly not as glamorous as Gold, but it sold just as well in the markets of Bristol, London, Calais, Antwerp, even Milan. By 1500 the NTC settlement at Goughtown (Newport News) numbered some 4,000 people and produced enough Tobacco each year to fill half a dozen ships, but still they wanted more. The Norland Trading Company especially targeted the landless poor from the West Country, especially after the Cornish Rebellion, to come to Princess Elizabeth’s Land with promises of land to farm. However the farm work was tough, and many of these families just managed to produce enough to survive on without really growing Tobacco; before long Maize brought from the south solved the subsistence issue.

    The next problem for the Tobacco trade was land; Goughtown had enough on its peninsula for a small plantation but 4,000 people soon needed more land than it could provide. With help of East Anglian experts and Cornish muscle the new town of Yarlow (nr West Point, VA OTL) was hewed out of the swamp 10 miles up the York River from Goughtown. The new settlement also benefited from a collapse in the local ‘Indian’ population as the diseases which had ravaged the south found fertile ground here also.

    Meanwhile Chatham had completed his long desired voyage between Jordanstown and Cornel which proved that Norland was a solid mass as far south as the Sunset Cape (Florida Keys) and that was good enough for him. It confirmed that trade was possible between the Columbias and Norland, it was simply difficult politically and economically, but Edward V could solve it eventually.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, Lord of Ostend, Prince of Harts and scourge of the French became Constable and Marshall of England in 1497, replacing his aging Uncle the Earl of Rivers who nonetheless remained on the Constables Council as long as it met in Calais. If this seems a young age for Richard to become a key member of the English court, then it was no more than was expected of him as a Yorkist; his Uncle Richad of Gloucester had led the vanguards at Barnet and Tewkesbury at a much younger age and the Prince of Harts was well trained by Rivers himself.

    Prince Richard was fortunate that his new role experienced a honeymoon period; Louis XII was still securing his position in France after the ‘suspicious’ death of his cousin, Charles VIII and Maximillian I was a close friend of Richard. With Spain still largely benign for another decade, and Italy as fractured as ever (despite appearances) Richard had a clean slate to play with. For his first few years this largely looked like the status quo, the Prince finding time to sire an heir, Richard of Oudenburg, born to Anna Sforza in 1498. Of course, Richard had a few bastards wandering around Italy and the low countries too, but they were not relevant at this point, or even on his radar.

    Richard also continued his studies through rather unexpected means. Savonarola was excommunicated in 1498 and forced to flee Italy, eventually taking up residence at Oudenburg with his old student and his household. Savonarola did not like Ostend; it was too cold and ‘godless’ and he himself wrote, but he nonetheless enjoyed the company of Richard and his other companion Erasmus of Rotterdam. Whilst still being quite young himself, Erasmus nonetheless benefited greatly from his time at Oudenburg and academics have tied themselves in knots trying to ascertain how far he, Richard and Savonarola influenced each other. Yet that is outside the bounds of this study, perhaps it is fair to say that Erasmus and Richard clearly influenced each other in the turmoil of the decades to come, but Savonarola spent less than two years before returning to Italy.

    It has become a joke in European circles that Savonarola so hated the low countries that he preferred being burnt at the stake to facing another cold winter, but joking aside the Italian cleric returned to Florence in 1499 where he was turned over to the inquisition and incinerated. Why did he return? Savonarola believed in the inherent corruption of the Catholic system, but he was convinced that he had a saviour and that a new heavens and a new earth were coming. He approached his death as one who had spent all his days on earth and was ready to return home. It is impossible to tell the conversation he had with Richard and Erasmus before his departure but it may be possible to infer that it left an indelible mark upon them for the rest of their lives.

    Richard did not even have time to grieve for his tutor; the French were on the move again. In October 1499 the Pont Notre Dame, one of the oldest and largest in Paris, collapsed causing over 100 deaths. The bridge was old and in need of repair, but to many French people, the English did it. French culture at the turn of the century had become increasingly pessimistic and much of this was aimed at the English; they had spent much of the previous 500 years at war with France and after the Treaty of Amiens the English owned ‘French’ soil and propped up the Duchy of Brittany, a constant thorn in the side of the French King. Therefore it was not hard to use the collapse of the Pont Notre Dame to whip the French populace into a frenzy, something which Louis XII did deliberately and consciously.

    Louis XII may have been ruthless, but he had limited resources to work with; he could not risk an all out war with the English, not without allies or time to rebuild an army, but he could cause damage nonetheless. In winter 1499/1500 a series of campaigns collectively known as La Travailles began in northern France. For the next decade Louis would launch raids into La Poche in numbers from a dozen to 100 targeting bridges, farms, and isolated roads. The town of Bapaume was especially vulnerable and was raided no less than four times between 1500 and 1505. Louis was clever, he knew that any excessive or prolonged raid would risk destruction or full scale war, so instead he kept the raids to small and sporadic affairs which allowed them to be initially written off as local brigands.

    In response Richard of Shrewsbury enlisted the help of some of the Piacenza company, reformed after Fornovo, based out of Arras to swiftly strike against French incursions; these had some initial success but Louis merely increased the frequency and range of the attacks causing a severe thorn in Richard’s side for a good long while.How far this actually annoyed Richard is hard to tell, in material terms the main towns were impregnable and secure, if the French peasantry were going to burn their own crops he was going to let them. A short, sharp famine gripped Le Poche in 1500 with the English refusing any demands of aid from the French peasantry. Whether intended or not, the consequent exodus of peasantry from Boulougne and Artois flooded France with hungry mouths and left their plump land vacant for English settlers - there were enough from the south of England alone to fill the gaps. Louis’ initial foray into insurrection had actually blown up in his face, not that he knew it as he was deep into Italy by then.

    1501-1504: The Games of Shadows
    Edward V, G Bradshaw, 2001
    The Yorkist dynasty was even further consolidated in the early years of the 16th century. Whether Edward sensed the coming storms or was merely being careful is debatable, but it is likely he was merely being his cautious, controlled self. In the wake of the Cornish Rebellion another Assize of Justices was undertaken in 1501 with some older and more partisan officials being replaced. Almost without exception these replacements were younger and more independent men, largely from smaller families; it would be this round of appointments which would see Charles Brandon (JP in Suffolk) and John Seymour (Seneschal of Arundel) begin their rise to prominence. Elsewhere, Edward was able to poach Sir Thomas Boleyn, now Lord Boleyn, from the Aldermen Bank to the Exchequer where he became Chancellor. Boleyn was assisted by a young priest called Thomas Wolsey who would equally make a name for himself in administration. All of these men came from more limited means, Wolsey the son of a butcher, and were promoted for their skill and talent, not their bloodlines.

    In the broader context of the Yorkist New Monarchy, the new wave of fresh blood into the judiciary and bureaucracy represents a slight course correction away from a reliance on relatives or personal friends in a close household, Edward V rebroadened his horizons, much to the realms benefits. As if to encapsulate this change, Richmond was removed as Lord Protector, although he kept his role on the Council as master of horse, and a number of other titles. Edward Hastings, now Lord Hastings to go with his Grantham Peerage, took his place. Hastings had been a good friend of the King, his father being the first Constable and Marshall of England, but he was not related to the King by blood. He was also immensely capable having fought at Hereford, Welford and Montdidier and ruled large parts of the midlands for nearly a decade. Whilst Edward Hastings is not regarded as the most distinctive Lord Protector of England, he nonetheless kept a firm hand on the tiller and a competent head on his shoulders.

    There were, however, a few exceptions to Edward’s less nepotistic policies; after all if a man was capable,impartial, and already in position, then there was little need to replace him. Thomas Grey, Lord St Leger, had at least kept his head in the Cornish Rebellion and for this he was allowed to inherit his fathers’ lands and titles when he passed in 1501. The new Marquess did have some manors removed after a commission of oyer and terminer judged them to have been acquired illegally (which they were) but he still had more than enough to keep him satisfied. Similarly in the north, Edward of Warwick became chair of the Council of the North after his years of loyal service, and even-handed justice, finally emphasised by the Wool Revolt.

    The Wool Revolt was not really a Revolt. In the autumn of 1503 a band of peasants, many of them landless and all of them poor, assembled near York. Contemporary estimates place them at around 4,000 people including women and children. The Revolt was unplanned and had no clear leader, it was merely a spontaneous march of peasants from around North Yorkshire and the Palatinate of Durham. The peasants did not engage in violence and merely demanded ‘land or passage’. As in Cornwall by 1503 the lands of Yorkshire were increasingly being taken over for wool production with enclosures forcing many peasants from the land. Perhaps using Cornwall as an example, the Yorkshire mob demanded that they either be given land or passage to the New World. Warwick sprung into action, and although he marshalled his forces he also used his contacts in the south to arrange passage. The Norland Trading Company was making money hand over fist and was desperate for more farmers for the Tobacco trade in Elizabeth’s Land and so they sent numerous ships to pick them up, taking over 3,000 people to Norland in the next three years.

    The Wool Revolt was but a minor disturbance but it added more weight to the Yorkist idea of using the New World as an exhaust valve for England’s woes. It also finally convinced Edward that he needed more eyes and ears across his realm. The Cornish Rebellion, the Wool Revolt and La Travaille in northern France all showed Edward V that Sommnium Vigilantis was correct; he had to remain vigilant and could not be everywhere at once. Therefore it seems that around 1503 Lord Monteagle,Edward Stanley (brother to the new Earl of Derby following their fathers’ death), was promoted to the King’s Council. The Court Rolls show him as a mere ambassador, but stunning new research has deduced that Monteagle controlled a network of spies and informants across England, Wales and in Europe.

    So little concrete evidence has been discovered about this network, but Lennox has discovered how the word ‘Tiercel’ keeps cropping up in what surviving correspondence we have referencing Monteagle. That a Tiercel is a male Falcon, and often a third of the size of a female Falcon, has led many to suspect that this was the codename for this new network. Whatever its internal workings, there can be no doubt that the Tiercel was at least partly responsible for the 25 years of peace in England, with nothing but Scottish Raids threatening the stability of the realm for that time. Monteagles’ appointment also coincides with a decline in the amount of violence in France, although other forces were at work here.

    La Travaille had slowly bled La Poche since 1499; Prince Richard and his Piacenza company held the worst of it at bay. Yet it is striking that Vergil records that some peasants bound for Artois opted to go to Yarlow instead on the idea that the latter would be safer. Indeed French raids, masked as local brigands, continued deep into the countryside around Boulogne. However by 1504 a series of defences were completed in La Poche which strongly curtailed further Brigandry; using Italian expertise and paid for by booming wool taxation, Prince Richard constructed fortification along the whole border at Montreuil, Sericourt and Baralle with Bapaume being encircled by a formidable curtain wall. To complement the new defenses the Piacenza Company was responsible for training the local peasantry in the art of warfare with every household required to maintain at least a bow for self defence. Very quickly the raids began taking intolerable losses and they soon fizzled out.

    The only other foreign threat to England in these years was Soctland. James IV had married Catherine of York and had pledged to maintain peace with England, but he had gotten impatient by 1503. The evident growing wealth of England made the Scots envious and nervous; it was clear that they could not compete with England as they had done for centuries. Even probing raids in 1503, taking advantage of the Wool Revolt, were easily beaten back by Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Even the birth of a child, Margaret, could not lighten the Scottish King’s melancholy and in 1504 Edward V himself rode to Berwick to agree terms of a ‘Perpetual Peace’.

    Always the pragmatist, Edward V refused to be baited by Scottish aggression and demands, hanging one of the captured raiders in front of James IV when it was discovered that the man was tangentially linked to the King. Edward then offered peace on his own terms. Namely a marriage match for James’ daughter Margaret, a 10 year truce, and some spoils from the New World to James IV. In the end these spoils took the form of an amendment to the taxes and duties passed in 1498 which gave Scotland a few reductions in duties on New World goods so long as they transited through English ports on English ships. Realistically these were no more than scraps but James accepted them as the best he could get.

    The final means by which Edward V consolidated his position in these years was through the marriage of his son Edward to Catherine of Aragon in 1504. This was carried out by proxies in St Paul’s in London as Prince Edward was merely 13 years old, though Catherine was 19. The two would be properly married two years later, but the proxy marriage was important for Edward to secure the long term future of his succession but also quieten some of the more vocal voices in his polity. Spain was fast becoming one of the biggest dangers to the English as their colonies in New Spain grew rapidly to catch up to Nova Albion, and some (most likely the Prince of Harts) advocated relinquishing the Treaty of Avignon and seizing Spanish colonies in the New World whilst they still could. In this light, the marriage of Prince Edward and Catherine represents Edward V’s commitment to peace and harmony, at least for the time being.

    The English Renaissance, J Canning, 2005
    Michaelangelo’s ‘Court of King Solomon’ was just one way King Edward V brought the Renaissance to England. It is unusual in that it was one of the few Renaissance works outside Italy to be created by the top artists of the age. It can still be seen above the main entrance to Westminster Hall to this day. The painting not only flaunts Edward’s taste in contemporary art and his desire to patronise the arts but also the way in which he desired his court to be seen as an extension of the Godly Kingdom of Israel. Solomon is seen dispensing justice surrounded by his leading advisers, very much the way Edward himself wanted to be seen.

    The Court of King Solomon is further unusual in that it was one of the few artistic forays into the Renaissance by the English Crown. Edward V had always been a man of letters, even from an early age, and his largest contribution to the Renaissance was in the literary sphere. He was already responsible for the White Book and The Adventurer from The Faire City himself but his support of William Caxton and others in establishing print works in London, and another in York, went a long way to establish England as a centre, if secondary one, of the literate Renaissance in Europe. Thomas Malory, Henry Brinklow, John Caius the Elder, Geoffrey Knighton, William Forrest and Erasmus of Rotterdam all had work produced in London in subjects ranging from Theology to Philosophy and Astronomy to Medicine. All of this work would form the basis of a more literate society as a whole and one which was fertile to new ideas and concepts.

    Whilst this growth would not be appreciated for at least a decade,in the early years copies of Herodotus and Aristotle were reproduced in London as well as works by Polydore Vergil. Yet perhaps the grandest work produced between 1500 and 1510 (aside from endless reprints of the White Book and the Great Trade) was Dominic Mancini’s 1502 ‘Life of Edward IV’. This immense tome set the standard for Renaissance historical writing by finding a voice for smaller characters amidst that of its title; Gloucester, Hastings, even Richmond had a role in the book. Yet typically of Mancini the Life of Edward IV is full of gushing Yorkist Propaganda; the King is presented as Brutus re-born, true hero and saviour of the British Isles, with the French and Lancastrians being reduced to demonic status as vile obstacles to God’s chosen King. Even Warwick the Kingmaker is likened to Janus the two faced God of Roman antiquity.


    Exploration in the Age of York, J Slight, 2014

    The arrival of fresh peasants from England and Wales lent even greater strength to efforts in the New World. The settlements of Goughtown and Yarlow were growing rapidly by 1510 as the expanding demand for tobacco forced even more land under the plough and demanded further hands to push them. Many of these new settlers were from the West Country and the North and so it became wise to separate these very different groups for the sake of peace and tranquility. Ergo, a new settlement was created which became known as New Malham (OTL Jamestown VA) and was occupied by mostly northern peasantry.

    Further north, and unbidden by the English, more Hussites arrived to settle in Huss, with estimates suggesting there were almost 5,000 by 1507 and the False Crusade. The Hussites were more willing to get their hands dirty than the Lollards and began clearing swathes of the coastline and hills for agriculture whilst sending hunting parties into the interior.

    This new influx of population meant that the English were slow to grasp a new phenomena; slavery. The Spanish had begun importing slaves by 1504 to Saintiago and John Morley had caught wind of this. However the idea was dismissed out of hand by the English in Nova Albion, and again in London. Spain had experience in taking slaves from their Reconquista whereas the English did not. Furthermore the Spanish had a dearth of labour which they could not fulfill from their homeland. In contrast England had little domestic land to expand into as the Spanish did with Grenada and so they turned to the New World. This meant that the flood of peasants to the Tobacco farms of Princess Elizabeth’s Land and the Gold Mines of Nova Albion were more than enough to maintain English prosperity for the time being.

    The only real change in Nova Albion at this time was the establishment of the Council of the Columbias in Cornel in 1502. The Council was led by the Duke of Albion and included men from all four main islands including Lord Berners and Sir Thomas Hawkyns. The Council was in essence a translation of the Council system used in the North and elsewhere, but it evolved over time. The Council of the Columbias was responsible for all the collection of taxation and the carriage of justice in the islands, whilst also fulfilling the role of communicating royal writs and laws which involved the establishment of the first printing press at Cornel in 1504. Bishop William Smyth also had a seat on the Council for eccleciastical matters. Yet the Council of the Columbias differed from its English counterparts in a few ways; given the divided nature of the Columbias the Council kept a number of ships for communication between islands and Bradbury devolved responsibilities for all but the highest crimes and taxes to four Seneschals, one on each island. Lord Berners took responsibility for Nova Albion, Hawkyns for St Dominic, whilst Sir William Warren was given command of St John and made castellain of Eltham and Sir Henry Aske was Seneschal of Cove from Green Port. Between them, these six men (including Smyth) were able to keep a firm hand on the burgeoning colonies and strongly connect them to the English Crown.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    King Louis’ War rates a mere footnote in the History of the wider Italian Wars. It lasted less than 12 months and caused few notable deaths, but it's ripples would disturb the very fabric of European power politics. Since Fornovo and the Treaty of Lodi the French had stayed clear of Italian affairs. Then in August 1500, Louis chanced his arm.

    Milan had again left the League of Venice over a land and trade dispute with Venice (Tobacco exports were a minor part of this feud) and Genoa had covertly asked for French assistance against Milan. Louis saw his chance; gathered a force of 10,000 men (the majority professional soldiers) and swiftly invaded Milan by way of Genoa. Louis’ sheer speed and boldness took the entire peninsular by surprise. Having advanced warning from his contacts, Prince Richard was able to gather a remnant of the Piacenza Company and head for Milan. In his absence William Compton defended La Poche from a few minor raids but the main focus had shifted to Italy anyway.

    Louis XII actually had a better claim to the Duchy of Milan than his erstwhile cousin Charles VII and so in September 1500 he marched against the city with around 15,000 men. Such was the speed and ferocity of Louis’ advance that Ludovico Sforza was caught off-guard and was in Mantua when the French struck. Milan’s distraction allowed the French to capture the city before winter 1500, by subterfuge if the rumours are correct. This stunned the Italian Lords; Louis was clearly no Charles VIII and they had gravely underestimated him.

    By March 1501, with Milan surrounded by the League of Venice, hurriedly reconciled to Milan, the Piacenza Company and with Maximillian on the way, Louis XII agreed to capitulate. Whilst this may at first appear to resemble a defeat for him Louis XII escaped remarkably unscathed; his surrender was predicated on his being allowed to return to France with all arms, trade concession for France and Genoa, and a five year peace in Italy. In exchange Louis agreed to drop his claim to the Duchy and not burn the city as he had threatened to. The Treaty of Trente also concluded with a solemn vow, witnessed by Pope Alexander VI himself, Louis XII and Maximillian I both pledged to uphold the peace and prosperity of Italy agreeing to not interfere in regional politics unilaterally.

    The Treaty brought almost a decade of peace to Italy, but for England it would have some unpleasant ramifications. Given Prince Richard’s machinations against Charles VIII in 1494 and 1495 it can be assumed that he was unhappy about the rapprochement between the Holy Roman Empire and France. Maximilian was a friend to the Prince of Harts, but this did not stop him from seeing sound political logic; Louis XII was not his cousin, and an entirely different strategy had to be played. Furthermore the Italian peace would rob England of a helpful tool to distract and manipulate the French for many years, only the new defenses of La Poche prevented greater damage to property. For Venice the peace showed them likewise that they would no longer be able to manipulate Italian rulers and foreign Kings to their own will. Consequently they left the Holy League in 1504 and henceforth actually sought greater connections with the Ottomans - seeking an overseas domain to replace its Italian one.

    Yet perhaps the biggest issue with Trente is that it showed Louis and Maximillian that they could work together. Whilst this did not usher in the age of cooperation that the 1520s would see, it nonetheless lay the groundwork for future cooperation. Most worryingly of all for the English, Trente, heralded the beginning of the end for the Treaty of London and the Yorkist Consensus.

    1505-1507: The False Crusade
    The Crimson Cross, Hilary Mantel 2003

    ‘Where is he?!’ The words cannoned through the stone passageways of Eltham, lending them a more menacing tone.
    ‘Where is the King?’ The same voice said again, loud, angry, barbed and dripping with intent.

    Edward V could hear the voice from his solar, where he sat with a work of Herodotus clutched in his hand. He could also make out the protestations of his servants ‘My Lord the King asked not to be disturbed’.

    ‘Disturbed? Disturbed?’ The angry voice shot back, incredulity creeping in, ‘He should be disturbed sir!’ The voice rose in volume as its owner approached the large oak door to the room where the King was reading. With a large boom and a creak the oak door flung open and Prince Richard stormed into the room, two pages scattering in his wake like flax.

    Richard was dressed in a black doublet and tights to match his glowering expression, his dark beard completing the grim look upon his face. He fixed Edward with his dark stare, bristling, his muscular shoulders rippling as the heat seemed to rise from him. Then realising who he stood in front of, he checked himself for a moment and took a breath ‘What is the meaning of this?’ He finally said with a small sigh, raising a crumpled scrap of paper clutched into his hand as he did so.

    King Edward V kept reading. He had glanced at his brother as the door swung open and returned to his studies as if a mere fly had buzzed into the room and been dismissed as inconsequential. As he read, he was aware of the pressure and heat that had burst into his solar - Richard was frozen in the centre of the room like an avalanche paused in its tracks, the Pages at the door stood gaping trying to think of what to do now that their master had been disturbed. After almost a minute of silence Edward closed the book and looked up, staring straight ahead out of the window into the rose garden. From where he sat in the window seat he could make out the pink and white roses and the pristine parkland beyond, it was a lovely day.

    ‘Thank you Willis, I can handle this’ he said to the confused page at the door, the man closed it with a nod and a look of relief on his face that he would not have to deal with the feuding siblings. Edward stood and straightened his silver doublet, the slashes revealing the crisp white undersheet he was wearing beneath it. He placed the book on the seat behind him and straightened himself up to his full height, more than six and a half feet, and looked down at his brother.

    The Prince of Harts was shorter than the King but stronger - he had a stockier build compared with Edwards' more wiry appearance but he stood firm under the piercing gaze now aimed at him. ‘It is good to see you brother’ the King said taking a pace forward. Prince Richard started, he hadn’t expected the completely disarming greeting, that had been one of their father’s tricks, and it completely knocked what remained of the man’s bluster out of him.

    ‘Oh please do take a seat Richard, and help yourself to wine, its good.’ Edward settled himself into a large stiff-backed chair with arms carved to represent Boars, his back to the window. Even seated, the chair and the sunlight streaming from behind him made him an imposing, almost celestial, figure. Prince Richard settled opposite in a plainer chair with a small wine goblet in his hand.

    ‘Now I take it you mean my summons of you and the Piacenza Company to accompany this… crusade?’ He paused before the last word as if unsure what to call it.

    The Prince took a swig of wine ‘I do’ he said, cowed. Richard of Shrewsbury was a ferocious man, unstoppable once bent to a task, but even his brother could still calm him down when needed. ‘I do not understand it Edward’ the Prince began, using the King’s name as only he could, ‘I am to wage war on our own people for the sake of foreign Princes? What could possibly be the gain?’ He was calmer now, but still his words strained with the impatience of a man set about his task.

    ‘The Bohemians are not our people Richard’ The King replied ‘nor are they under our protection. They are however attained Heretics subject to a Papal Bull, what would you have me do? Defy the Pope?’

    ‘That’s as maybe, but there are English in Norland who would fall under the sword just as well - those families at Wycliffe if I have it right’

    ‘You do’ Edward nodded, allowing Richard to continue.

    ‘I would not raise a hand against them, and certainly not in the company of such men. I know Cardinal Cisneros Edward, the man would stab you in the gut if he thought he could benefit from it, all the while smiling into your eyes with the innocence of David himself.’ The Prince took a breath ‘I have served you and our family for over ten years now, I have fought wars for you, even those you did not see need fighting in the first place, I lost a wife for you, at least now have the decency to not reward that by bidding me turn invader on your own land for the sake of that fool in Rome.’

    King Edward V looked at his brother for a moment, hands clasped together, his forefingers steepled in front of pursed lips, his chin resting on protruding thumbs, his eyes never wavering.

    ‘Richard you are a true servant of the crown and a goodly brother. I value your advice on campaign and in battle, but in some matters you are hopelessly short sighted.’ The Prince of Harts’ mouth gaped, paused and then closed again, his face oddly kept in shadow as the light from the window crept slowly up his chest. It gave him the odd image of being headless, and in this matter perhaps he was. Edward rose and in two easy steps to the window reached the copy of Herodotus he had been reading.

    Turning back to face Richard he said ‘no disrespect brother, but you could always read more.’ The King sat back in his chair raising the book in the air to show his brother. ‘Yes, yes I know you like your Humanist letters’ he said to force Richard’s mouth closed yet again. ‘But you do not understand your History Richard’ he said, shaking the Herodotus once at him. ‘This is the way it had to be. Heordotus says as much. There comes a time in History when the force of events is inexorably pushed in one direction. The Pope and Spain are too close Richard, they would not allow us a free reign to the West. This Crusade would happen with or without us.’

    ‘But…’ Richard began.

    ‘Our people, yes I know Richard. Pope Julius has promised me that those in Jordanstown are not to be harmed, he is sending Cardinal Cisneros to lead an inquisition into all those living outside of the town, that includes those in Wycliffe who after all are Lollards brother. They are heretics. I cannot be seen to be defending them, our enemies would leap on it immediately as a pretext to war. Which is why I am sending you.’

    Prince Richard’s mouth opened again, it really was like a barn door flapping in a gale. Ignoring it Edward walked back over to the bureau next to the window. Reaching underneath the table top his hand must have triggered a hidden mechanism because a small compartment opened in the top and Edward pulled two letters from it, handing one to Prince Richard who saw that it was sealed with a simple Falcon seal.

    ‘I trust only you with this Richard’ The King said ‘You are to give this to James St Leger in Jordanstown, he knows of your coming and will provide you with as many horses as he can gather for the company, 50 at least. And this one’ he handed over the second letter, this one blankly sealed. ‘Is for whoever is in charge of Wycliffe. They are to destroy it once they have read it. It says that they are to flee west, and take the Hussites with them. I will not have their blood on my hands. Heretics they might be, but only I have the authority to judge people on my land, not the Pope.’

    Richard simply sat back stunned and placed his now empty goblet on the floor next to him

    ‘And besides’ Edward concluded ‘it is not like this crusade is actually about Heresy anyway, that pompous fool thought he could manipulate and trap me as easy pickings for his Spanish and French masters, but I will not allow it.’

    Edward settled, and Richard leaned forward ‘So what would you have me do? He asked.

    ‘Join the Crusade of course.’ He said through a slight grin ‘I could not stop it Richard, but I can control it. You are the only one I trust with this. Go with them to Norland, make sure our people escape as best as they can. Do not lift a finger to help them, but nor should you take on their destruction yourself, I agree with you on that much. If you have an opportunity to damage Cisneros in a way which will not come back to us then do it, but do not take any risks. Do I make myself clear?’

    The Prince of Harts finally smiled, his face still dark but with a ray of brightness piercing the clouds now. ‘Absolutely brother, I am sorry for doubting you.’

    King Edward stood ‘accepted Richard, I admire your ferocious temper but direct it at our enemies!’ He leaned in and Richard grasped his right elbow with his own hand, they pulled each other close, and with a pat on the back it was over. ‘God speed brother, Willis has the extra details for you’. With a last glance between the two sons of York, Prince Richard left the room, his brother settled back into his chair to finish his book.

    The False Crusade, R Rex, in Renaissance Historical Review 2003

    The origins of the false crusade were not in fact in Rome. Across the newly discovered Columbias the Spanish Crown resented English presence and sought a means to remove them. In France, Louis XII looked for any scheme which might peg the English back and allow him to do some damage. Various other smaller Dukes and Princes resented England’s rise to prominence and their influence across Europe. Much of this is supposition but it would adequately explain why Pope Julius II called a Crusade against Norland in 1506.
    Pope Julius II was known as the warrior Pope - he chose his name from Julius Caesar, not St Julius. He sought to uphold the rights of the Italian peninsula, given his Genoan heritage, and therefore sought to distract the realms of Europe with that classic Papal enemy: heresy. Alexander VI had of course encouraged further attacks against heresies, and Iberia in particular saw a lot of work with the Inquisition and persecution of Jews, but Julius sought a broader approach. In 1505 Julius published a Papl Bull called Somnium Sanctus which called for all rulers of Europe to ‘strike the heretic from within their realms’.

    Somnium Sanctus caused a marked increase in the amount of heretics arrested and the spread of the Inquisition across Europe; Spain, France and the Empire all affected. However Edward V only allowed a token force of the Inquisition into England under claims that the Lollards had mostly left England. This seems most likely true given that Wycliffe in New Avon had been an option for nine years by this point. However Edward neglected to act against the heretics in New Avon. Mancini records that this was because the Lollards and Hussites were not actually on the King’s land but living beyond its borders. This is technically true as neither town of Wycliffe or Huss allowed Crown officials, or even had much to do with Jordanstown a good days solid ride away. It is unlikely this distinction was understood by Papal authorities.

    Amidst the increased religious activity, England was served a blow of a different kind; the 1506 Treaty of Blois between Emperor Maximillian and Louis XII concluded a treaty of peace and non-aggression between the two men. Interestingly, this was a personal agreement of fraternal love and companionship and was not expressly between France and the Holy Roman Empire, although in effect this amounted to a truce. Given the distinction, and Maximillians’ handing off of Burgundy to his son, the League of London was preserved as Burgundy was still free to wage war against France if needed. However Maximillian made this agreement without consulting Edward V and it was now clear that the Emperor no longer saw England as his sole friend, what with Louis XII being so amenable.

    The Treaty of Blois did not overtly cause the False Crusade but it nonetheless paved the way for it. By October 1506, Papal records estimated that the last year had seen almost 3,000 heretics flee the continent for Huss or Wycliffe. We know from the settlers' own records that many of them were Bohemians who settled in Huss, but a few Waldensians and Cathars took to Wycliffe as did a sizable number of Jews. Records do not allow us to ascertain how these Jews were received in Norland, but they were allowed to settle between Wycliffe and Huss in a town which became known as Bethesda. In light of these developments Blois allowed France and the Empire to unite behind the Crusade, making Edward’s reluctance impossible. Nevertheless, such numbers of heretics could not be allowed to escape in Pope Julius II’s eyes and on the 2nd of November 1506 he called a Crusade against this ‘nest of heretics’ in the New World.

    The False Crusade had been named such because it was called under false pretences and was in fact planned as a political move from the start. It also stands aloof from the typical medieval crusades of defending the faith or establishing a holy land; the heretics in Norland were not threatening anyone, and the land was religiously insignificant. Although the name ‘False Crusade’ has been proven now to be a Reformation invention to further discredit the Papacy, circumstantial evidence has also arisen to prove its dubious nature.

    There are very few surviving records surrounding the origins of the Crusade, their absence in themselves cause for suspicion, but the largest ‘smoking gun’ detected is the personnel selected. Don Andrea Doria was invited by Julius (a fellow Genoan) to lead the Crusade with compatriot Amerigo Vespucci responsible for the navigation. On land the Crusade was to be largely Iberian in make up with Pedro Navarro given command of the army, which included a young Captain by the name of Hernan Cortez, with Cardinal Francisco Cisneros in overall command. The majority of the 2,000 strong army was made up of mostly Genoans or Iberians, remarkable for being the two major groups after the French with bones to pick with the English. It was in Spain’s interests to discredit the English in the new world and in Genoa’s to seek revenge on the nation which propped up Milan and besmirched the name of Christopher Columbus.

    How far the secular governments of Genoa and Iberia encouraged or planned the Crusade is hard to judge as no records survive, however Doria and Navarro were both senior enough to require permission from their Duche to leave for Norland. This, combined with Julian’s initial calling of the Crusade, have left many to speculate that the Crusade was merely intended to embarras the English by showing them incompetent of dealing with heresy, which could later be used to strip Norland and the Columbias from them entirely.

    England had been boxed into a corner; Edward V had claimed the heretics were not his problem and so he could not now rightly protest the Crusade because it was not taking place on his land. However the King realised enough that he could not allow the Crusade to happen unsupervised. He therefore played a brilliant hand; Prince Richard and his Piacenza Company (what could be spared from France) were summoned to join the Crusade with the Norland Trading Company providing some 40% of the fleet. Edward also gave the Crusade permission to land in Jordanstown and march the 50 miles to Wycliffe rather than risk a coastal landing in treacherous waters. With these simple acts Edward had been able to demonstrate support for the Crusade whilst controlling its outcome.

    There has been feverish debate over just what Edward V intended with these actions; was he simply playing it straight and wanting to support a genuine Crusade against heresy? Was he trying to control the Crusade to his liking? Or most sinister of all, was he actively seeking to undermine the Crusade? Alas such questions find no answers although many academics and popular historians have speculated into the night about such matters (Hilary Mantel wrote a whole book about it) but the presence of Prince Richard is telling. Norfolk was the hitherto most senior noble permitted to risk the journey across the Atlantic, and in fifteen years of English presence in the New World no member of the Royal Family had been permitted to make the journey. That Richard was summoned to go, despite his dislike for the Papacy, suggests that Edward wanted his presence on the Crusade to be represented by the most capable man possible. Lincoln was made Marshall of England in Richard’s stead.

    As with the rest of the False Crusade there are many unanswered, and unanswerable questions about the events of the Crusade itself; most Spanish/Italian and English sources seldom agree on even the most basic events, and the motives of the various players are all but impossible to adequately explain within causing endless division. Nonetheless a rough outline can be established with the more major events speculated over as to their causes.

    Prince Richard and his 250 men arrived at Jordanstown, not long after Easter 1507, they were the first to arrive; this not only allowed the company to acquire the 60 horses which would form part of their force, but if certain theories are believed, to warn the heretics. The main Lollard record of the events of 1507 was kept by John Scrivener who had arrived in Wycliffe two years previously. ‘Scrivener’s Chronicle’ records that in the Spring of 1507 a ship docked in Wycliffe having made the short journey from Jordanstown, with a warning that a European force was coming to wage a Crusade upon them. Remarkably, Scrivener records that the warning came from a Royal official with instructions to move further west and inland in order to escape. Thankfully this evidence was not presented at the Council of Aachen or it would have incriminated Edward V, but it emerged later and has been severely questioned. Why would Edward want to protect heretics? Despite his later actions, there is nothing to suggest his faith was fluctuating at this time. The most convincing theory came from Geoffrey Elton who suggested that the warning, if such a thing existed, may have been politically motivated, not religiously motivated. Elton’s reasoning was that Edward would have wanted to prevent any embarrassing loss of life to preserve his own reputation.

    Regardless of whether the Lollards and Hussites were warned, we know that they began to leave the area around the Providence River before Summer 1507. Archaeological evidence supports these events, and Scrivener’s chronicle which likens the heretics to the people of Israel fleeing Pharoah across the Red Sea. It is perhaps poetic that the Lollards, Hussites and Jews moved towards the Servene River (OTL Hudson) which translates as the Red River in Czech. Beyond the River they formed a new settlement called Kadesh (Union City) in a land they called New Canaan (OTL New Jersey). Even by the more sober accounts, this was a difficult journey with the native Indians being fought off more than once, before the land of Canaan was chosen as it was hard to access without boats, which the Hussites had constructed in droves.

    However the Norland Exodus took longer than a few months to complete, by all accounts it was 1509 before the group was once again stable, and they certainly did not have the Providence area evacuated before Ascension Day 1507 when the main Crusader force arrived. Cardinal Cisneros was said to be furious that the Crusade was delayed by bad weather and that the army of 2000 or so men (2300 if you include Prince Richard’s force) now had meagre supplies to survive on. Jordanstown did not have enough agriculture yet to support an army, and Edward had given James St Leger leave to sell only what he wished to the Crusaders, making a good profit. Given the friction with the locals, the Piacenza Company, and between the Italian and Spanish contingents, it seems a decision was made to move against the heretics with all speed. After all, they were heretics, and unprepared for a fight, what danger was there? Consequently Pedro Navarro marched from Jordanstown on the 4th of May 1507 heading south towards Wycliffe; his force was almost entirely infantry, although they were well equipped in plate and with handguns, whilst the Piacenza company brought up the rear. It may seem odd that the cavalry was kept in the rear, but it speaks to Navarro and Cisneros’ arrogance and antipathy towards the English; they did not want the English there, and certainly did not want Prince Richard to enhance his reputation even further.

    Today a journey from Jordanstown to Wycliffe takes less than an hour on a broad straight highway. In 1507, the Crusaders had to slog over difficult wooded ridges. The going was so tough that they were forced to abandon their cannon and send it back to Jordanstown. After two days the army had reached Mansfield (OTL Mansfield, Mass), around 20 miles from Wycliffe. It was here they rather unexpectedly met the army of the heretics.

    Estimates are very hard to come by, but it is suggested that the Hussites and Lollards between them could muster a force somewhere around 2,000 men with varying degrees of equipment. Iron ore was in good supply near Wycliffe and so most soldiers carried a sword or spear, although most armour was either leather or non-existent. Instead the heretics made up for this by using what would today be called Guerilla tactics. The Hussites had fought as mounted archers for centuries, and though they possessed few horses, they could still use their hunting bows with similar tactics. Scrivener records that from the 20 mile or so mark the heretics harassed the column of Crusaders as it marched south, with Bartholomeo Higuan (a Spanish Friar) recording that the targets seemed to be anyone but the English.

    Higuan records that the Piacenza company, possessing what little cavalry the army had, were commanded to to drive off the Heretics on numerous occasions but did so without drawing blood. In any case the army, which surely numbered less than 2000 by now, reached what had become known as Oxbrow on the second day after Mansfield. Oxbrow (OTL Attleboro MA) formed a gully between a wooded slope to the east and a small lake to the west with the track south to Wycliffe running between them. By Scrivener’s account here the Lollards had constructed a wooden palisade to block the path which went either undetected or unreported by the Crusaders’ scouts. As Navarro’s vanguard reached this palisade, the majority of the Hussite infantry, most simply wielding swords, spears or clubs with little armour, rushed down from the slope of Oxbrow crashing into the side of the Crusaders. They may have had plate, handguns and pikes but all of the Crusader advantages were negated by the tight confines of the gully, indeed the Hussites led by Jan Civac deliberately split the contingents of Crusaders. From the front Thomas Harding, Lollard veteran of Torhout and Montdidier, led an equally ragtag band of Englishmen who were literally fighting for their lives. This force crashed into Pedro Navarro’s vanguard as it was turning to assist their comrades in the rear. The result was that Navarro and his standard bearer were killed, flinging the banner of St Peter, blessed by the Pope’s hands, into the dirt of Norland..

    The role of Prince Richard at Oxbrow has been much debated. Known for his bold charges, and in possession of the only cavalry on the field, it is surprising that it seems the Prince did nothing. Higuan in his record almost begins to spew bile at the ‘turncoat Prince’ at this point in his account as he describes how Richard sat and watched from the rear whilst the Crusaders were torn apart. Scrivener records that Richard had planned the entire battle with Harding and Civac, agreeing to stay out of the fray. However recent battlefield analysis has shown a perhaps fairer conclusion; the ground at Oxbrow is very narrow and would have been rather boggy; very impractical for cavalry. Furthermore a stream half a mile from the battlefield would have delayed Richard’s rearguard meaning that he perhaps was not even present for most of the battle. Finally, even if the Piacenza company had been there they could not have engaged without blocking the Crusaders’ retreat.

    By sunset on the 8th of May the Hussite/Lollard army had withdrawn to tend to their wounded, estimated at a mere 300 dead or wounded whilst the Crusaders made camp to tend to their own. It is thought that around 1200 Crusaders died at Oxbrow, almost all of them Genoan or Iberian; Navarro was dead and Cardinal Cisneros was gravely wounded, dying before the army retreated to Jordanstown. Hernan Cortex took command, using the Papal edict taken from Navarro’s baggage to do so. Higuan merely records that there was ‘much bad blood’ during the retreat to Jordanstown’ but of course it is unknown just how severe, or genuine, this was.

    Again using his cavalry, Prince Richard made it back to Jordanstown first and sent word back to Europe himself. He was lucky in encountering a ship under a Breton flag - a little more impartial than the Norland Trading Company. The news returned to St Malo, and then to London and Rome in mid-July, the story being that Richard had been repeatedly overruled by Navarro and Cisneros and that they had stumbled into the trap against his recommendations. The response was shock. No-one, save perhaps Edward V, had anticipated a defeat for the Crusade. Pope Julius was not seen for weeks and would be crippled from the remaining four years of his pontificate. It seems largely that this effort on Richard’s part would save him from condemnation; the Spanish and Genoese never forgave him, Cortez having a vendetta for life, but Europe at large saw him as much a victim of any other. Richard’s reputation would actually be enhanced by Oxbrow as he was able to portray himself, thanks to some shrewd Yorkist propaganda, as the victim of drastic Papal overreach and the arrogance of Cardinal Cisneros.

    Within weeks of Oxbrow, Andrea Doria took a scouting voyage along the coast and reported that the settlements there had burned to the ground, a later scouting party led by Cortez on horses ‘borrowed’ from the Piacenza Company confirmed this, as well as the absence of any hoped-for treasure.

    The False Crusade must surely be marked as one the biggest failures of the age of exploration. An ill-born scheme for political rather than religious ends, the arrogance of the leadership, and perhaps the schemes of the Prince of Harts, doomed it from the start. The Hussite/Lollards themselves may have suffered the loss of their settlements, but time would show their move to be incredibly profitable, and they had acquitted themselves so well that no-one would see them as easy pickings anymore. The Church, maybe the whole of Christendom was humiliated and chastened; a Crusade had been utterly beaten by bookish Lollards and primitive Hussites, who had survived largely unscathed.

    England could likewise not entirely be seen as a beneficiary. True, Edward V and his brother had seen off the continental challenge in the New World, and placed the Pope firmly in his box, but Oxbrow would mark the first signs of change in European politics. Depending on your point of view, Edward had resisted Papal control and then stood by whilst a Holy Crusade faltered in his backyard (admittedly his 3,000 mile long backyard), some like Spain and France wanted England to pay for Oxbrow, Emperor Maximillian was simply stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately, there are some who see the False Crusade as the spark that lit the Reformation aflame.
     
    1508-1521
  • 1508-1510: The Accounting

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    Perhaps inevitably, the return of the Crusaders to Europe in Autumn 1507 was met with outrage and confusion. Bartholomeo Higuan, author of a less than flattering account of the False Crusade, was taken straight to Rome by the Genoese fleet and presented his version of events direct to Julius II. The aging Pope had been seldom seen since the first news of the defeat at Oxbrow returned to Europe, but he was roused sufficiently to hear Higuan’s report - and then fly into a rage.Deciding that an accounting must be given for the events in Norland, Julius demanded a Council to be held in 1508. Emperor Maximillian, in a move which demonstrated his own eagerness to find answers, volunteered Aachen as the location.

    The Council of Aachen was convened in March 1508 with a rather illustrious guest list; Julius II, Maximilian, Louis XII, Philip of Castile, Edward V, Prince Richard, Cortez, Higuan and a smattering of German and Italian Princes all attended to get to the bottom of the Crusade. Privately, Maximilian was said to be furious with the English; he had always viewed Edward V as a junior partner in their alliance, whose independence was a merely convenient cover story for the Emperor’s true dominance. To Maximillian, Oxbrow had shown that Edward was no-one’s junior - he had played against the amassed rulers of Europe and won, all for a bunch of heretics. Of course Edward’s actions were far more politically motivated, like the Crusade itself, but Aachen focused on the religious angle as a proxy for the wider issues.

    The Council stopped short of declaring the York brothers traitors and heretics to European Christendom, but the evidence was damning. Higuan’s testimony was the main weapon which the Holy League (Spain, the Empire, Genoa and France leading the charge) used against the English. Higuan made clear that the English had sabotaged the Crusade from the start, claiming that Prince Richard had deliberately allowed Cardinal Cisneros and Pedro Navarro to be killed at Oxbrow through his inaction, and worse, that he had conspired with the heretics to bring this out. Modern research has revealed more than a grain of truth to these charges but thankfully without Scrivener’s Chronicle the Papacy was unable to prove conclusively that Richard had conspired with heretics - charges which would have surely seen him excommunicated.

    The English were saved by three factors. The first was the presence of Sir John Fineux, Chief Justice, and a number of justices from the Star Chamber. Between them, Fineux was able to take apart the legal arguments for Prince Richard’s wrongdoing. He showed that Edward had engaged in good faith, and assisted the Crusade as much as he was able. In this regard Fineux was aided by some of the more brilliant religious minds in England; Bishop of Ely John Morton and his protege Thomas Wolsey fought hard to portray the York brothers as true defenders of the faith. This was especially remarkable given Richard’s thinly-veiled contempt for the papacy and his known associations with Savonarola and other radical elements.

    The English also got off the hook through Edward’s own pledges at Aachen. Although the heretics had disappeared after Oxbrow (if New Canaan had been discovered, it wasn’t mentioned), Edward nonetheless committed to fighting it. Edward Darry was appointed Bishop of Jordanstown, although in reality his diocese extended south to Princess Elizabeth’s Land, and within two years he would be supplemented by the Court of Righteousness led by Wolsey himself. This court was dispatched to Jordanstown in 1510 in lieu of English allowance for the Inquisition to travel to Norland, and sought out heretics, although records suggest many of the trials were bogus and the punishments punitive. Nonetheless 1508 also saw the surge in clergy to Norland as well to ensure the orthodoxy of the population. It perhaps also helped that Edward paid large indulgences to the Church, and even began proceedings to have Cisneros canonized as a saint, although these efforts were quietly dropped at a later date.

    The final reason why Aachen turned out to be so impotent towards the English was the disarray in Europe at the time. Louis XII fell ill within days of the opening of the Council and was forced to leave matters to the Duc de Nemours, a capable man but one without the authority of his master. Similarly Phillip of Castile was absent for large parts of the Council; speculation ranging from an illness to his distraction over the regency of Castile. With the death of Cardinal Cisneros, a power struggle had broken out in Spain as Diego de Deza had become Archbishop of Toledo, and Ferdinand of Aragon had attempted to supplant the unpopular Phillip with de Deza, especially as Joan the Mad suffered another of her ‘episodes’. Thus with Spain and France both neutered it seems Macimillian stayed his hand. Whether the Emperor had decided to throw the King of England under the Papal bus is unclear, but in the end Maximillian was publicly convinced of Edward’s contrite heart and agreed to the new terms for Norland which England had suggested.

    The end of the conference had further been exacerbated by the Pope and Venice. It seems Julius II had continued in his melancholy even at Aachen itself. Naturally the majority of records paint the pontiff as the very picture of holiness and steadfastness but some German accounts allude to fits of anger and absence which modern scholars have suggested represent bouts of depression. Regardless it seems that Julius was not at his best; having called the Council of Aachen he did not adequately steer it, leaving most of the details to Cardinal Medici. As for Venice, word got out in early April 1508 that they had formed an alliance with the Ottomans to divide the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans between them. Such an outrageous move was undoubtedly planned given the distraction of the Holy League with the Aachen Council, but Doge Leonardo Loredan clearly had not anticipated the level of vitriol he would receive for allying with a Muslim power. Consequently, the Italian delegation, including the Genoan one, left Aachen almost immediately which left a rump Castilian and the Imperial delegation to conclude matters.

    In many ways the Council of Aachen was a lucky escape for the House of York. They had been summoned to give an accounting for the disaster at Oxbrow and despite Higuan’s testimony had been let off with substantial indulgences and a promise to allow an inquisition to the New World (a promise which was later rescinded). Despite their own staunch defence, and suitability penitent promises, the Yorkists had clearly benefited from the disarray across Europe with only Emperor Maximillian really staying the course long enough to hold the English King to account.

    It is even possible to argue that 1508 saw a relative consolidation in English foreign policy. The long promised marriage between Prince Richard of Bedford, by now aged 16, and Johana de Vilhena of Portugal was concluded in Rennes Cathedral, where Richard would be crowned Duke of Brittany within six months. The marriage also allowed England greater leverage with Portugal and Lincoln was able to secure the Treaty of Oporto which agreed to trade cooperation and a recognition of each realm's sphere of influence. By 1508 Portugal had become strongly involved in the east, particularly the Indian subcontinent, and had no desire to become mixed up in the Columbias whilst they certainly appreciated some support against the ever-present Castillian threat. This was all the more valuable for the English with Maximillian I increasingly cold towards them and their entreaties.

    Another marriage, this one by proxy, served to secure Scotland for a few more years. The three year old John of Ware (Edward V’s grandson to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Howard) was married to Margaret of Scotland, the daughter of James IV. That they were 3rd cousins was of little consequence - they shared a common great-grandfather in Edward IV - but it nonetheless kept the lid on the Scottish border for around another decade.

    Finally, with Spain and France largely distracted by internal issues, there was a brief relief in the pressure which had begun to build against England. La Travaille in the north of France had abated to merely a trickle by 1510 and relations with Spain remained largely stable, even after the death of Phillip in 1509. Cardinal Diego de Deza would take over a regency council for the 9 year old Charles; de Deza had little love for the English, but was unable to gain a consensus for clear action against them leading to a rather confused strategy of raids in the New World with no clear goal in evidence.

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992

    The encounters between the Empires of England, Spain and Tenochitlan can be easily characterised by suspicion, subterfuge and slaughter. By 1508 the Aztecs had little contact with Europeans on their doorstep; minor encounters with Columbus and other explorers aside, the sheer size of the land the English called St Nicholas prohibited invasion in small numbers, and with both England and Spain distracted by their own colonies in the Columbian Sea, the native Columbians could remain aloof for a few more years.

    However 1508 does mark the beginning of Spanish and English antagonism in the area. Hernan Cortez in particular was furious at the English for their actions on the Crusade, and with the European solution caught up in Aachen, he sailed for Saintiago (Trinidad) in the Columbias in summer 1508 where he began an almost decade-long campaign against the English. At the time Cortez did his best to work out of the spotlight to avoid all-out war. The Spanish had a sizable presence in the New World by 1510, but any conflict with England would be an uphill struggle given their larger and more dispersed population in the Columbias and beyond into Norland.

    Instead for the first few years Cortez resorted to pirate-stye raids on isolated English ships and settlements. We know from Cortez’s own records that in 1509 alone he was responsible for burnt crops on St Dominic and the destruction of two English ships near the St Luke Islands. However Cortez had to be careful; the English White Fleet was by now fully up to strength and what they could not match Cortez for in speed, they could certainly overpower his smaller ships. Before long the English began to send ships out in larger groups, and acquired smaller Caravels to escort the larger Galleons which could chase down enemy ships.

    It is unknown how far the English realised these attacks were orchestrated by the Spanish. They were certainly aware of them as John Morley was given command of the navy in the Columbias in 1510 to carry out anti-piracy operations and he was given a seat on the Council of the Columbias. Cortez was never captured, or even identified, although he himself records a few close shaves with English patrols. As for English retaliation, we have some records of ships being defended from attack but it seems Morley still had no concrete evidence of Spanish involvement by 1510, although the Spanish blamed a large fire on Santiago on the English in that year.

    In time, these mere ‘privateer wars’ would expand into an all out war in the New World between England and Spain dragging in many notables. At this stage however, one is worth mentioning. In his writings Lord Morley records that in 1510 a young man called Henry Tudor arrived in Cornel styling himself Lord Hampton. Tudor was the second son of the Earl of Richmond who had died the previous year, his son Arthur succeeding to the Earldom. Thus with little prospect of inheriting in Europe, Henry Tudor had come to the New World seeking his fortune. Interestingly, evidence from the Council of Columbia’s records shows that Henry very quickly became engaged in the expected activity of men his age; drinking and womanising but that he was also valuable to the Council. Lord Hampton was a vigorous young man and despite his headstrong nature, had a strong eye for detail and a penchant for the flamboyant. Given command of a ship under Lord Morley, Henry became known for running his crew ragged with training and drills which gave them the best gunnery of any ship in the Columbias. Lord Hampton had made a strong first impression on the Columbias, in time he would reshape the very geography of the area in his own image.

    In geographical terms, the Columbias began to see change by 1510 all of their own. The voyages of Robert Chatham, and others from the Grand Columbia Company after him, had shown the land north of Sunset Cape (OTL Florida Keys) to be incredibly fertile and valuable with a good climate for citrus and other crops. So in 1509 the GCC received a patent from Edward V to found the town of New London (Jacksonville FL) in a county they named New Kent. New London sat on the wide Chatham River which made it easy and safe for a large number of ships to dock at once. Within a decade the region would be churning out much needed fruit, Maize, Cotton and some Sugar cane for Columbian and European markets. Given the quality and accessibility of the land, and the relative lack of local indians, New Kent became quickly populated by settlers from the south and east of England. In this regard the Grand Columbian Company was fortunate that the booming English economy had led to a surplus of population in the most affluent south east, and many 2nd, 3rd, even 4th sons braved the journey to the Columbias in search of land and wealth, many of them finding it around New London.

    The English Renaissance, J Canning, 2005
    By 1510 it was possible to detect a Humanist streak creeping into the culture of the English Renaissance. The tomb of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, stands out in Westminster Abbey, where it still resides, as a clear departure from the Medieval tombs in that it is almost devoid of overt religious imagery. Whereas Henry may have once been pictured in prayer he is instead depicted with a sword resting on his legs and a rose in each hand. Micro analysis on the tomb shows that these roses were once covered in red and white filigree respectively. Similarly, the surviving portraits of Richmond have a more Humanist bent, with him often being depicted with reading material, and one which includes a series of Cavalry accessories, depicting his role as Master of Horse.

    The publication of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s ‘In Praise of Folly’ is likewise considered to be another step in the Humanist direction. The Book, widely believed to have been published first in London although this was not trumpeted by the book itself, is a masterful humanist work of satire which praises ‘folly’ and all the works of superstition in Western Europe including the Church. A whole section of the book which ‘praised’ ‘rushing in over your head’ is considered by many to be a thinly-veiled reference to the Battle of Oxbrow. Given that Erasmus was a known long-term friend of the Prince of Harts, this would seem likely. Despite Erasmus’ own personal reservations, and those of some of his associates, the book was very well received across Europe with Cardinal Medici - soon to be Pope Leo X - said to be a particular fan, although whether he truly understood the jokes at his expense is unclear.

    The significance of ‘In Praise of Folly’ has perhaps been lost over the years, eclipsed by the works of John Scrivener, Martin Luther, William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer to name but a few, but in 1510 its significance was integral to contemporary thought. The False Crusade, and the Council of Aachen, had shown the folly of kow-towing to religious leaders who were often disingenuous, inconsistent, and self-contradictory. To those in the know, ‘Folly’ highlighted these issues for them to see, thus disarming them. It may have become eclipsed by the later Reformation, but the early work of Erasmus lay the foundations for their advancements, and exposed a good number of people, particularly in the English courts, to these new Humanist ideas.

    1511-1515: The Gathering Storm

    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001

    The Jubilee Parliament of 1512 represented 25 years of Edward V’s rule. It was celebrated with a large feast and a tournament, with the Piacenza Company figuring heavily. The Parliament itself was very much a retrospective of the last 25 years; Edward issued special reprints of the White Book, Sommnium Vigilantis, The Great Trade and In Praise of Folly and used the Parliament itself to celebrate and reward those loyal supporters. Thomas Bradbury became Earl of Albion, and Robert Chatham Duke of Avon.Other men from the New World who were rewarded included the new Lord St Leger of Jordanstown, Lord Berners becoming Duke of Cornel, Lord Dominic (Thomas Hawkyns), Lord St John (William Warren), Lord Green (Henry Aske) and Lord Morley who was made Duke of St Mark. In England Thomas Boleyn became Duke of Wiltshire, Charles Brandon was made Lord Brandon and John Seymour the Earl of Surrey. These rewards and ennoblements represent the Parliament also looking forward to the future as many of them, especially the lower orders not mentioned above, were made to up and coming men who Edward V wanted to fold into his ever-expanding polity.

    The Jubilee was cause enough for a celebration, but by 1515 England was fast becoming the economic powerhouse of Europe, especially through its wider territories. The Gold from Nova Albion may have begun to tail off, but the various other goods, including Cotton and Sugar by 1515, served to keep the trade flowing. The taxation system also served to favour English (and occasionally Burgundian) vessels and so the Naval yards established at Portsmouth, Bristol and Tilbury could not build the ships fast enough. All of this wealth; channeled and managed by the Aldermen Bank and other institutions, served to drive economic growth and prosperity. Even the poor harvests of 1513-1515 did not cause a famine in England as elsewhere in Europe - the regular voyages to the New World were able to import Maize to sustain the population, and the first Potato crops were more resilient to poor weather.

    All of this economic growth had a profound impact upon English society. London had become the trading centre of northern Europe, the docks having to be extended twice since 1490, and perhaps only second to the northern Italian cities in terms of economic output. London’s prosperity allowed the emergence of new institutions; the Ludgate Bank being established in 1513, and new Guilds such as the Gunsmiths and the Tobacconists being increasingly specialised and reliant on international trade. London was not the only city to benefit; given its exclusive freeport status Calais saw around 60% of London’s volume - in itself a huge sum. This allowed the Captain of Calais, from 1512 William Compton, Earl Rivers, to order a large rebuild of the city centre including a new Cathedral and merchant’s quarter. This placed Calais amongst the great cities of the low countries in splendour and magnificence, which for all its flair was at its heart an English city.

    Even provincial towns benefitted; Bristol’s population almost doubled between 1470 and 1515 as people flocked to the city drawn by the Norland Trading Company. Bristol was not London, but the Severn and Avon allowed a greater inland trade than the capital enjoyed, and this was especially lucrative given the Tobacco Monopoly the NTC possessed. The Bristol Guildhall was re-built around this time, largely with money from the Norland Trading Company. Even places like Norwich, Leicester and Lincoln benefitted from a greater trade and population as their agricultural prices rose. The north was a little slower, being further from the entrepots for New World goods, and the population actually stagnated between 1470 and 1515 as enclosure forced many peasants from the land. However by 1515 the Lords of the North, led by the Earls of Derby, Warwick and Northumberland were able to invest in greater port facilities at Hull and Liverpool. Liverpool was the bigger challenge as a good amount of the river bed had to be cleared, but with landless labour easy to come by the work was completed by 1520 allowing the town to take a step towards its future wealth.

    More broadly, those peasants who retained their land had become less itinerant and more secure on their farms, thus allowing them to improve the output of their crops. Fresh from their work on the Tobacco plantations in Princess Elisabeth’s Land, Roger Sibsey and his team of Engineers returned home to Lincolnshire and were able to expand arable land there by an estimated 10% by 1525. Given ever-rising food prices, this was a real boon. Although it is notoriously difficult to measure, it is believed that standard of living must have improved by 1515 as greater quantities of food, cheaper goods, and better work prospects allowed peoples’ money to go further.

    Educationally, the impact was that many towns began to have Grammar Schools for the sons of even well to do peasantry. Many of these were limited by today's standards, but for a relatively affordable fee, many sons of illiterate farmers were taught basic letters. The great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge saw huge growth in the early 16th century with Cambridge gaining four of its biggest colleges; Trinity, St John’s, Cornel and St Dominic’s. In Oxford Richmond College was founded by the sons of Henry Tudor including a scholarship for Welsh students. All of these efforts served to make England the most literate country (by percentage of literate adults) in Europe by 1550.

    King Jimmy’s Folly in Scottish History 1978 by H MacWilliam.

    King James IV had signed at least two treaties of peace with England by 1513, including two marriage alliances. However these treaties were not satisfactory; Scotland did not markedly benefit from the New World trade as the 1504 peace had promised, leaving it an impoverished and bitter nation. Instead James IV had to spend almost 10 years watching his neighbour to the south grow in wealth and strength whilst he survived on meagre pickings. The 1513 famine hit Scotland quite hard; the torrential rains destroyed almost all of Scotland’s harvest, and whilst England survived on Maize and Potatoes, Scotland was left without such lifelines. Even a request to Edward for aid went unanswered.

    Yet Scotland’s poverty precluded James from making a meaningful retaliation. England was far stronger in military and monetary terms and had well-trained and experienced soldiers. Then late in 1513 a series of events transpired to even the playing field. Firstly Francis I, King of France for 6 months, sent a force of some 5,000 French to Edinburgh, including the latest canon, hoping to distract the English as he led a raid into Artois and Boulogne. Secondly, the simmering tensions with Spain in the Columbias threatened to boil over as Emperor Maximillian angrily left the League of London in January 1514 having been asked by Edward to reign in his teenage grandson Charles. Such was the fear in London that the Emperor’s anger created that Edward himself led a personal embassy to Ostend to try and repair the relationship. It was now or never for the Scottish army.

    Having been prepared since early winter for an invasion, the Scots were able to muster an army of 18,000 men, including the French contingent, by March of 1514. James IV had one target: Newcastle. James did not have the numbers for a full-scale invasion of England, but the consensus is that he intended to take Newcastle and hold it, being resupplied from the sea by the French, until he could force Edward V to more favourable terms.

    Therefore it seems James dispatched agents to Newcastle and then on the night of 16th of March his army crossed the Tweed hairing at full tilt to Newcastle. Remarkably, the army arrived in the early hours of the 19th to find the city gates wedged open by their agents and ripe for the taking. That James IV managed to get his army 60 miles in under three days gives a clear indication of James’ leadership, and his desperation. Having seized the city, they took Bishop of Durham Richard Foxe, who had been auditing the city’s accounts, hostage and turned out almost the entire population of the city to make the next part of the plan more likely to succeed. The only flaw was that the Castle had refused to surrender, although its garrison of 200 was too weak to achieve anything and was cut off by the Tyne.

    By the 20th of March James IV had issued terms to the King of England; Newcastle would be returned, and the Scottish army would retreat with their weapons, if Edward agreed to open Scottish trade with the New World, a Scottish trade delegation in York and Bristol and a seven year truce, supported by a £10,000 English bond. It was a preposterous offer, and one Edward simply ignored. The King was in Ostend when he heard the news, instead issuing orders to Hastings, Warwick and Northumberland to solve the situation whilst he remained in talks with Maximillian. Within a week James IV got his answer; the Earl of Northumberland with some 4,000 men blocked the bridge over the Tyne from the southern end, preparing to blow it if the Scots sallied. By early April the English numbers had swelled to 9,000 as Warwick and Humber joined the party. Still James awaited an answer from Edward, Northumberland keeping him on the hook by claiming that Edward was preparing to acquiesce and would send word any day.

    It is hard to know when James IV realised that he had been duped, but perhaps it was the last day of April when Lord Hastings arrived supported by Derby, Richmond and Lords Arundel and Bland with an army which brought the English total to around 24,000. By now the siege had lasted for 6 weeks, but the speed of the English must surely be put down to the Seneschals who had raised and equipped an army in less than four weeks. This fact, more than any other, points to the success of Edward V’s local policies.

    The Scottish-French force was able to survive in relative comfort for the first two months of the siege of Newcastle; the grain stores were still relatively well stocked and the lack of a population allowed the food to feed the army for a good while. A few French smugglers were also able to slip into the city in mid May with supplies and some concerning news. The French sailors reported that Edward had received the demands weeks ago but had done nothing other than to order the English Lords to besiege the city. This shook James from his reverie, his plan had failed. The English did not even need to fire their cannons on Newcastle, sooner or later the food would run out and James would be forced to surrender.

    To his credit, James elected not to flee on the French ships, but vowed to lead his army to safety. Having failed to agree a safe withdrawal with the English, on the 27th of May 1514 the Scots sallied north out of Newcastle headed for the Scottish border. They had the advantage that Hastings had to split his forces; Humber and Bland were south of the river holding the bridge with some 6,000 men, leaving 18,000 to block the road north. The English were also not expecting a battle, estimates suggested that the food had at least another month before it ran out, when the Scots were sure to run. In fact James had elected to take his chances early whilst his army was still relatively well fed and rested. He also made sure that any treasure which had been found over the course of the two months was collected and spread amongst the soldiers’ packs to make it easier to carry.

    Unfortunately once out of the gates, the plan immediately began to go awry. James IV had placed Baron Royan and his heavily armed and well-trained French in the vanguard to smash through the English line and then hold the gap open whilst his infantry, ferocious but less-armoured, streamed through. Royan did this, killing Lord Arundel in the process, but Hastings was able to react too quickly for the Scots bringing in a detachment of Swiss Guards to plug the gap.Thus bottled up in the middle of the English lines, the Scots’ greed and fear got the better of them. They had each been given an item of treasure to prevent the need for a baggage train - they had much more to gain by escaping quietly than confronting the English army in the field. Consequently, an estimated 50% of the army scattered into the English camp in small bands, trying to find a way through to Scotland.

    The result was a massacre. The Earls Argyle, Bothwell and Montrose were able to hack clear of the English line, at the cost of Bothwell’s life, but the majority of the army, scattered and spread out, were easy pickings for the better trained and armoured English. Richmond (Arthur Tudor), taking after his father, led a flying column behind the English camp to catch stragglers, only allowing Argyle and Montrose to escape because their force was too big. The two Earls made it back to Scotland with around 6,000 men to a double blow of devastating news. It seems that in the confusion of the breakout that James IV had become separated from the main army and even his bodyguard, being mistaken for a common soldier, he had been hacked to death by a rabble of Yorkshirmen before they discovered his identity. The King of Scotland was dead, and worse, his heir James V had died of sweating sickness in the middle of April. Therefore the Scots were left with a female monarch, Margaret, with an English mother and betrothed to an English husband. Scotland’s woes had just begun.

    The 1514 Treaty of Berwick was a status quo ante bellum; Scotland were expected to honour their agreements and in exchange Edward would honour his; the same worthless tax breaks on New World trade as before. This meant that Scotland was destined for an English king within a decade as John of Ware came of age. A regency council was established by the Earl of Argyle, but Queen Catherine’s guard now included Lord Egremont and at least two members of the Tiercel. Although Berwick had made no arrangements for English control in Scotland, it did not need to, for there was little the Scottish Lords could now do aside from prepare to bend the knee to an English King.

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    As the 1510s progressed, Cortez’s harassment of English colonies in the Columbias became more and more audacious. In 1511 another 4 ships were lost and a small settlement on St Mark Island (Grand Cayman) was slaughtered with all the inhabitants killed. The following year Cortez launched a larger raid on St Dominic, burning an estimated 8% of the island's agricultural crop. February 1513 saw the boldest raid to date as Cortez led three Caravels into Port Gloucester under cover of night,burned all but two of the ships at anchor, and seized a third laden with Cotton and Sugar. Sugar was becoming an especially popular commodity in Europe by this date and the capture was extremely lucrative. All of this Cortez did with little support from Spain where the power struggle between Cardinal de Deza and the Spanish Nobility continued.

    The English were not blind to the rising violence, but it was not the only problem on the islands. Lord Berners died in 1511, to be replaced by Lord Morley as Seneschal of Nova Albion. Berners had been the architect of much of the Columbian colonies, leading it from the start, and his death was a great blow to English plans. With Morley deservedly retiring to a landed position Lord Hampton, Henry Tudor was elevated to the role of Admiral of the Columbian fleet with the job of hunting down the ‘pirates’. Hampton also had a secondary role; the Gold mines on Nova Albion were running low, and it is estimated that the mines ran dry around 1528. Therefore an alternative source of Gold had to be discovered and quickly, if peoples’ fortunes were to be saved. Surveys across the remaining English territory had yielded few pickings.Although a small mine on Cove was opened up, it could not even replace 50% of St Edward’s output. Therefore Lord Hampton took to the seas in 1512 to find the pirates and a new source of Gold.

    The first task saw first blood in July 1512 when Hampton discovered and eradicated a pirate camp on the south-west coast of Cove. In the process Hampton discovered that the men were mostly Spanish or Genoese, and that they were willing to disrespect the Treaty of Avignon which declared Cove to be English territory. However proof of direct Spanish governmental involvement was not found until the following year. After the raid on Port Gloucester, Hampton was drawn by the smoke and was able to isolate and capture a Spanish ship straggling at the rear of the fleet. On board he found a Franciscan Friar and documents which after ‘interrogation’ in Cornel, revealed that Cortez was the leader of the endeavor and that the government in Spain tacitly supported the raids. Back in Europe these discoveries would drive a wedge between England, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, but in the Columbias, business continued as usual. Port Glocester, the weakest of the four main Columbian capitals, was beefed up with a small fort with the latest canon built at the harbour mouth.

    Yet Hampton’s greatest victory would come later in 1513, in August of that year, he led a retaliatory raid on the western most Spanish Island Santa Anna (OTL Aruba) burning much of the crops on the western half of the island, acquiring treasure and most importantly more documents. It seems by this stage that Lord Monteagle had sent a number of Tiercel agents to the Columbias and they were especially keen to get hold of any documents, even the Spanish codes could be broken and read. The raid on Santa Anna, dealt a severe blow to the Spanish as the island as a whole represented 35% of Spanish agriculture in the New World, but it would all but destroy their expansion efforts. In turn the raid would hand Tudor the solution to his second quest: Gold.

    The vast land known to the English as St Nicholas (OTL Mexico) had been of little interest to the English since Columbus’ ill-fated journey in 1495. The occasional ship had been forced to take refuge in the forested bays of the coasts, and Robert Wydow had made one visit briefly in 1503 which went unnoticed. Wydow was widely considered to be the leading European expert in Columbian languages by 1513; he had learned and written vocabularies for Arawak-Taino languages, and by 1513 had a working version of Nahuatl. This allowed the English a crucial edge in the race for the Aztec Gold. The documents taken from Santa Anna had shown the English that the Spaniards had finally discovered the rich wealth of Nicholan interior, and were planning an expedition there in 1514. With this knowledge, and the need to acquire new sources of Gold, Hampton hatched a daring plan. Using Wydow as translator, the English would turn traders to the Aztecs, providing them with European weapons and armour in exchange for Gold. Contact was initiated in late 1513.

    Much of Hampton’s adventures in St Nicolas were carried out in secret, and have been subsequently mythologised to death thus making an accurate understanding difficult. We can conclusively say that by 1515, a relatively small trade had begun. The amounts of Gold were small to begin with, and the Aztecs were given older single plate armour and shorter swords to supplement their clubs, but before long smaller cannons were being imported to Tenochtitlan with a small number of English to crew them.

    All of these movements were carried out under secrecy; St Nicholas was after all Spanish territory under the Treaty of Avignon, but the Spanish were too distracted to notice. Hampton had continued his own version of piracy and had stopped the 1514 expedition dead in its tracks before it even reached the Aztecs. Similarly Port Gloucester’s defenses were sufficient to see off an attempted raid in the early months of 1515. However all these tactics remained deniable; to date there had been insufficient evidence to take a delegation to Europe in complaint, and matters between England, France, Spain and the Empire were a sufficient distraction.

    The tension rose palpably in 1515.Diego de Vasquez de Cullevar was a greedy and ambitious man. He had become heavily indebted, trying to establish a trading company from Seville and by 1515 he had become desperate; his had been some of the crops burnt on Santa Anna and he had lost a large stake in the 1514 expedition when many of the ships sank in ‘mysterious (English) circumstances’. Therefore in 1515 he took the rest of his credit, sunk it into three ships and their cargo of metal items, and sailed for the Columbias with letters patent from La Casa de Contratacion. Unfortunately de Cullevar was crowded out in the markets of New Spain, and having failed to find sufficient trade with natives in Yucka (Yucatan) and St Nicholas areas, he had gotten desperate and landed on Cove near Cape Albatross in November 1515. The Western end of the island was barely inhabited by Europeans, and still had a relatively high native population. Some of these had never even encountered Europeans and to them the Spanish were exotic and their trade desirable. De Cullevar had finally caught a break, and it was here an English Squadron had discovered and arrested him.

    The Cullevar fiasco was the beginning of the steps to war between England and Spain. The hapless trader had been stupid enough to be captured with his letters patent, and blustered his way into claiming that the Spanish Crown itself supported its efforts. In Cornel, Lord Morley and the Earl of Avon were incensed; the Spanish were seemingly trading on English territory with impunity. That the English had already broken the Treaty of Avignon was ignored, there was no evidence of this yet, instead the issue of Spanish incursion would cause an immense furore when the news reached Europe.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    By 1515, England’s position in Europe had become far more precarious.In 1513 the League of London was hanging together by the whims and prayers of Edward V. Brittany was as loyal as ever, not trusting the new French King Francis I any more than his two predecessors but the issue was Burgundy. Maximilian was still technically overlord of the territory, but had given it to his now deceased son Phillip. The future Charles V was de facto ruler of Burgundy, but was mostly in Spain and the Burgundian Council could only offer tacit support to the English. Thus the League had lost much of its real teeth, especially in the face of the new French monarch.

    Winter of 1513 saw the English position begin to unravel. News from the Columbias of the raid on Port Gloucester, now proven to be of Spanish design led Edward to demand compensation from the Spanish court. When this was sternly rebuffed, Edward V demanded that Emperor Maximillian wade into his grandson’s realm and entreat on behalf of the English. It was badly misjudged; Edward had assumed Maximillian’s continued support for the English, and skepticism of Francis I. Instead the Emperor bristled over English suggestions that he solve their problems with a sovereign realm for them, and in January 1514 unilaterally pulled Burgundy out of the League of London. He didn’t technically have the authority to do this, but no-one was going to argue.

    In response, the English requested a Treaty with Maximillian hosting it in Ostend for his convenience which began in late March 1514. At first Maximillian refused to attend with his delegation, keeping Edward busy whilst he oscillated over extending friendship to Francis I instead. Maximilian’s decision was helped by the events of May 1514.

    Francis I had launched a large raid into La Poche, the first in almost ten years, in an attempt to stake his claim to the land, and show his credentials to the world. However the King was outmanoeuvred by the Prince of Harts. Francis was only 20, but the wily Englishmen was twice his age. The French managed a breakthrough near Sericourt and made it a good 15 miles into the English countryside before being stopped. Large amounts of land was burnt, and the by now largely English peasantry slaughtered without quarter, the few French survivors were ignored. However Prince Richard chose this moment to strike; the highly mobile and experienced Piacenza Company ran rings around the larger French force, encouraging them to retreat. Francis may have won a small victory, but it was a mere flesh wound to the English Behemoth, and when news of James IV’s death at Newcastle arrived in Ostend, Maximilian’s mind was made up.

    The Treaty of Ostend was concluded in June 1514. It confirmed Burgundy’s departure from the League of London, but in its place allowed a seven year truce between Edward and Maximillian. Again this was a personal agreement, it did not technically apply to their realms, but in practice Edward V had prevented Maximillian from joining the French. Nonetheless Ostend was not ideal, the Emperor was by then 56, and could not be expected to live beyond the end of the truce, meaning that it would be voided before long. Furthermore, the Treaty was a mere reprieve, compared to what the English had once had it was very weak sauce.

    This fact became obvious in 1514. Encouraged by Pope Leo X’s censure of the English Crown over its protection of Machiavelli, Francis I launched another raid into northern France. This time he avoided the English defenses entirely and marched through the Burgundian held Marne unopposed, passing within a mile of Cambrai. Whether Francis sought permission from Charles or not is unclear, but it is likely that Francis would have done so to avoid a war with the soon to be King of all Spain. Francis’ raid went perfectly, and the French popped up to the east of Lens burning and looting as they went. The city itself barred its gates to the advancing army, but the outer settlements were severely ravaged. Most worryingly, the French were able to destroy many of the mills north and east of the city which hampered the cloth trade for a couple of years. This time the Prince of Harts was immobilised by illness, a lifetime of debauchery catching up with him, but he sent a rather unexpected saviour instead.

    Giovanni Il Nero was the bastard son of Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, so the story goes. He had emerged in 1507 when Richard returned from Norland to find the boy in Oudenburg with a note from Ludovico Sforza saying the boy was his son. The resemblance was unmistakable; Giovanni got the name from his dark hair and complexion, not to mention his rather ferocious demeanour. The boy’s mother was, and is, unknown. Rumours range from an Appenine Nun, taken against her will, to a Florentine tavern wench, but the most alluring rumours suggest that Giovanni was the son of Lucrezia Borgia. His age suggested he was born in 1495 or 1496, roughly the time when she was confined to her apartments in Rome, rumoured to be pregnant. Alas we shall never know, although the world of popular History has already decided that the ‘Black Bastard’ as he became known, was the son of Lucrezia and Richard.

    The paternal resemblance did not stop at a dark frown and a mop of black hair. From 1507 Giovanni was taken into Richard’s household and trained in the art of warfare - Giovanni was not legitimate and so his only hope for riches and glory lay on the battlefield. He was but a couple of years older than his father’s heir Richard of Oudenburg and by all accounts there was little animosity between the half brothers as may have been expected. Instead Giovanni became a renowned swordsman, even if his rumoured nocturnal exploits were not the stuff of Chivalric legend.

    Giovanni Il Nero led the Piacenza Company in his father’s absence in 1514 aged just 18, and like his father, the young man was cunning and ruthless. Sending a party of brigands to raid the French countryside around Amiens, Giovanni rode out to meet Francis I head on. The ‘battle’ of Courrieres was a mere cavalry skirmish on the 17th of June which lasted little over an hour, but fanciful reports suggest that it saw Francis and Giovanni cross blades in one to one combat which ended with the French King bleeding from the arm and Giovanni with a split lip. This story is likely Renaissance fiction, but after Courrieres the French raid returned back over the border, again having only modest gains to show for it. They may have been defeated once again, but Francis was made of sterner stuff than Charles and Louis, he would not be deterred so easily.
    The English Renaissance, J Canning, 2005
    Leo X is a complicated figure to assess in terms of the Renaissance. Some scholars have detected a Humanist streak in his work, although his public image was very much one of an archetypal, conservative Pope. Despite this, there has been many lurid rumours over the years of the Pope’s more unusual interests in art and dance, with some suggesting this as a front his homosexuality. These rumours find firmer ground in the works of fiction than they do historical fact. Yet we can certainly identify his opposition to some elements of the Renaissance although how far this opposition was born from political rather than cultural or religious concerns is open to debate.

    Leo X famously attempted to pass an edict in 1514 to have Prince Richard of Shrewsbury excommunicated and when this failed he barred him from entering Papal land, trying to foist this on other Italian states. The official reason was for apostasy, heresy and consorting with heretics, although Leo presented little evidence to support these claims. It is also possible that Leo disliked Richard’s sanctuary of Nicolo Macchiavelli. The antipathy between Macchiavelli and Leo is well-known and less well understood. Many assume it comes from the Medici’s recapture of Florence in 1512 when they subsequently hounded Macchiavelli from the city. Others believe that the two men, Florentine contemporaries in their youth, must have had some sort of feud in their formative years and never got over it. Perhaps Occam's Razor prevails: Macchiavelli spoke of the worldly corruption inherent in the Church at a time when Leo was trying to strengthen it after the debacle of the False Crusade.After Machiavelli fled to England, Leo would increase pressure on Edward V to banish him, while censuring Macchiavelli himself, and finally excommunicating him in 1515.

    The source of Pope Leo’s ire must have surely been Macchiavelli’s ideas, encapsulated by the Prince itself. The Prince was first published from exile in London in 1513, it would be reprinted countless times, including one edition dedicated to Edward V, and another to his brother Richard. The philosophical and cultural implications of ‘The Prince’ have already been discussed at length, but politically it was equally groundbreaking. Macchiavelli had taken inspiration from England with Edward and Richard being referenced often, including Lord Hastings, Richmond, Edward IV and Richard of Gloucester. Although Macchiavelli was less appreciated by Erasmus of Rotterdam and more Humanist scholars, his maxim of ‘the ends justify the means’ almost seems to encapsulate the Prince of Harts’ life, and would come to describe his successors. More broadly, The Prince could be seen as a vindication of Edward V’s policies to date as the new institutions, and their loyalty to the King, were praised by Macchiavelli.

    The most controversial element of the Prince was its marginalisation of the Church. Macchiavelli did not step into the realms of the Reformation deliberately, or in a straight line, but he down-played the superstitious role of the Church, especially in politics. This line of the Prince was particularly contentious, with Thomas More publishing Vita Sanctus the following year, again in London. It may seem odd that Edward V allowed both works to be published in opposition to each other, but it shows how the intellectual culture of England was developing. For his part, More did not directly attack Macchiavelli, but merely made the case for a Holy life as a moral imperative. He did however attack heresy as being incompatible with such a life, for it existed outside of the light of God’s established Church. In 1514 these ideas were bandied around the halls of London society and beyond; More and Macchiavelli were said to be good friends, if intellectual rivals, their friendship facilitated and encouraged by the two York brothers. However in distant Saxony, an Augustinian friar would read both of these works, and within 20 years their intellectual children would be at each other's' throats.

    1516-1518: The Deep Breath

    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001
    In 1516 Charles of the House of Habsburg became Charles I, King of all Spain. Many in England, the King included, saw this as a portent to war. France still eyed La Poche with jealous and vengeful eyes, the Spanish were continuing to harass English possessions in the New World, and the Empire was only tenuously held at bay. Just as in the 1490s, it is possible to identify Edward’s preparations for war which fell into the two main camps of diplomatic and military.

    Diplomatically, the issues of 1514 had shown that long term, bilateral alliances were tenuous at best, and Edward chose not to trust them. In 1516, he concluded a new treaty with Scotland, repudiating the earlier one and the marriage alliance with John of Ware allowing the Scots to save face and marry ‘Queen Margaret’ to the son of the Earl of Angus, James Douglas who was around 9 years old at the time. The marriage would be completed in 1522. However to win this concession, the Scottish Lords had to promise not to wage war on England for fear of bringing English arbitration back into the question of the Scottish succession. To strengthen the deal, Edward extended the tax-breaks on Scottish trade and brought Brittany into the treaty. Breton ships were given preference over Scottish trade, and were a reliable partner in bringing Scotland into the fold. Brittany was under de facto English control by 1516, and Richard of Bedford, Duke of Brittany was present at the signing of the Treaty of Dunbar in September 1516. This was a brilliant move, Scotland now had more access to the New World, but via the more trustworthy Brittany. This would also begin the slow erosion of the Auld Alliance with France.

    More broadly, the diplomatic efforts were aided by France and Spain’s distractions in Italy, and the slow malaise of Emperor Maximillian before his death in 1519. This gave the English an unexpected reprieve; in 1516 it had looked like attacks in La Poche and the Columbias were about to step up as Charles I came to the throne. However Charles and Francis had instead pursued their Italian ambitions in a tenuous alliance which had allowed Thomass Wolsey, by now Papal Legate and Bishop of Lincoln, to bring all parties together in the Treaty of London. The 1518 Treaty of London was an ambitious treaty with a broad reach: England, Scotland, Spain, Brittany, France, the Empire, the Pope, Portugal, Venice, Milan, Naples and Florence all agreed to the terms of a five year peace to allow for the ‘recovery and girding of all Christendom.’ The price was agreement of Francis and Charles’ actions in Italy and a pledge by all signatories to investigate Martin Luther and his activities within their borders. In the final analysis the Treaty of London did not last the five years, but between it and Dunbar, it bought Edward time to prepare.

    The 1518 Parliament, has sometimes earned the moniker of the ‘Iron Parliament’ for the preoccupation it had with matters of warfare. William Compton, Earl Rivers, became the new Marshall and Constable of England whilst Arthur Tudor, Earl of Richmond became Lord Protector. These two men had both risen to prominence in the last decade, and they were joined by an even greener crop of ‘new men’ at lower levels. Charles, Lord Brandon became Master of Arms, responsible for all weaponry and cannon which by this stage included an impressive array of Swiss Pikes and other polearms. Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke and grandson of Gloucester, took over the command of the Master of Horse - the royal stables able to field around 4,000 armoured cavalry by 1518, supplementing the wider nobility. Both men were charged with enhancing and expanding each of their responsibilities. Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of the Exchequer was integral in acquiring funds for these projects through his many Italian contacts, whilst Norfolk, still Admiral of England, used some of it to bolster the already impressive Navy.

    The major change seen from the Iron Parliament were the military companies. The Piacenza Company had already demonstrated the value of a force of around 500 well trained and well armoured men, who met even in peacetime, and could fight on foot or horseback. In recognition of this Edward created seven military companies with a range of size from 200 to 1,000 men. Each Company was based in a particular area, locally supported and financed (in part) with commanders directly appointed by the King. The Seneschals of each area would be encouraged to support these companies, and provide men, but they were forbidden from joining them themselves lest it distracted them from their other duties. One Seneschal - Henry Cavendish of Derbyshire - relinquished his command to allow himself to join the York Company.

    These Companies and commanders were as follows: The York Company, led by Algernon Percy, Lord Egremont (son of the Earl of Northumberland), The Ludlow Company led by Leonard Stanley, Lord Strange, The Bristol Company led by Sir Martin St Leger, The Coventry Company led by Richard Hastings, Lord Grantham (son of Lord Hastings), The Norwich Company led by Lord Malravers, The London Company led by Sir Richard Warwick (2nd son of Edward of Warwick) and finally the Calais Company led by the newly made Lord of Oudenberg, Richard, son of the Prince of Harts. The Piacenza Company was retained with the Black Bastard in command. These companies and their commanders allowed Edward a reserve of mobile, flexible, loyal and dependable men which he could supplement with more common soldiers as and when required. Although the cost of fitting out such a company was rather steep, the seven chosen boroughs and their environs leapt at the chance to prove their loyalty to the Crown in the midst of rivals. The economic boom also helped foot the bill, whilst the traditional fighting areas of York and Ludlow in particular had little trouble finding willing volunteers.

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    Events in Europe bought a reprieve for the men of the Grand Columbia Company from 1516. It was only short-lived, but it gave them time to reinforce defences, particularly by training militia and yeomanry on the four main Columbian islands. As the most populous, Nova Albion had a small company of horse to patrol the south-eastern shores, whilst the Welsh up at Haurafen had created their own small ranger force using tactics which had been honed in Gwynedd and Powys for generations. Similarly Lord Hampton used the breather to build up his fleet, acquiring more ships from Europe, and stealing two from the Spanish at Santa Cruz on Santa Anna (Aruba) in 1517. However the raids and piracy were largely paired back as Cortez did the same.

    Meanwhile a steady flow of trade was maintained with the Aztecs in St Nicholas. Using a temporary landing station called ‘Cheapside’ (OTL Vera Cruz) to prevent its location from being discovered, the English continued to trade weapons, gunpowder, plate and some glassware with Moctezuma in exchange for shipments of Gold. These were then smuggled back to Nova Albion where they were melted down and passed off as locally mined Gold. All told it is estimated that by the time Cortez arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519 the Aztecs had required some 500 items of plate, 500 pikes or swords, around 100 handguns, and 6 Canon. These weapons had initially come with crews but by 1519 the Aztecs had learned to use them, and the only permanent English presence in Tenochtitlan was Roger Harcourt, the ambassador, and his small bodyguard.

    The largest material growth in the years before the Anglo-Spanish war came on Cove and in New Kent. Both areas had large potential for agriculture, and much spare land with many of the peasants from Europe selecting these areas. Particular boons came from the wool slump of the mid 1510s which increased the price of Cotton grown in both locations, likewise Cacao had been discovered by one of the earlier trade missions in St Nicholas and was being gradually cultivated on Cove. The only setback was labour, thousands of peasants streamed from Europe every year in search of greater land and opportunities, but they were not enough to meet the demand, especially in Cove as many preferred the better climate and culture of New Kent. One Covish landowner acquired some slaves via Santa Anna from the Spanish, and they became the first use of slaves in the English colonies, but they were quickly confiscated and freed. The justiciar of Cove’s concern was not moral or humanitarian but simply that the slaves had come from prohibited trade with Spain and therefore were forfeit, just as if they had been iron ore or exotic fruit. Nevertheless these freed slaves settled around Green Port and formed the nucleus of the future Anglo-African population.

    Further north the colony of Jordanstown grew slowly as an important way station and trading hub. It was an important link in the Norland chain back to England, but it did not have much in the way of local agriculture. Further south in Princess Elizabeth’s Land the Tobacco trade around Goughtown allowed the town to become the largest north of Cove. Becoming home to many west country families including the Raleigh family who became the chief Norland Trading Company agents in the area and one of the richest in Norland.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    Charles I became King of Castile and Aragon in January 1516. The Regency Council of Cardinal De Deza had collapsed the previous December, and the young Prince had taken that moment to claim the Crown. Charles was not popular in the newly combined realm of Spain, he had spent much of his childhood in Burgundy, and his mother Joanna, for all the marbles she had lost, was still technically Queen. But through court intrigue, and the manipulation of Pope Leo X, Charles was crowned King in March 1516.

    The coronation froze the politics of Europe almost overnight. Charles possessed a substantial amount of wealth and power, and stood to inherit the Empire from his grand-father. This made every King, Prince and petty-Count in Christendom prick up their ears in mixed fear and anticipation over what Charles would do next. Charles himself paused, he had inherited a very fluid situation with England increasingly at odds in the Columbias and France as desperate for glory as ever. Charles had a choice; he could wage war on England or France, or seek peace with either. In the end he recalled Cortez from the New World, gathered information on the English, and ordered the wily Captain to prepare a large expedition to the interior of St Nicholas. This was not a formal cessation of hostilities with England, but for the time being it had the desired effect.

    Instead Charles sought an alliance with Francis I, with a particular end in mind. By November 1516 the Treaty of Noyon was concluded which would see the Italian peninsula more-or-less divided between the two Kings. Francis would carry out the traditional attempt to take Milan whilst Charles would simultaneously agree to invade Naples. Both men would each recognise the others’ claim and dare the rest of Europe to disagree. This agreement was to endure for five years. The English response to this could not have been welcome, the specific Italian details were not made public, but very quickly it proved to be a blessing in disguise. With preparations for another Italian war, Francis did not have time for another raid into the north, ,despite his now proven tactic, and an eerie peace fell on La Poche for the first time since he had become King.

    The Treaty of Noyon would be reacted on within a year. Count Ludovico Sforza died in March 1517, it is unknown if he was assassinated, although he was 65. This was the moment Charles and Francis had been waiting for, they both declared their claim and invaded Italy by the end of May. Whilst Charles landed in the south, Francis invaded through the Alps and quickly took Milan. The Sforza had divided upon Ludovico’s death and were involved in their own power-struggle when the French swept them all aside. The Holy League was still irrevocably broken with Venice still being out of it, and the largest independent member - Florence - had no desire to fend off the French and Spanish simultaneously. Italy was further bereft by the illness/malaise (no-one is sure which) of Emperor Maximillian which kept him benign for the remainder of his life. There was perhaps one person the Italians could call, but he wasn’t picking up.

    Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovico, desperately wrote to Prince Richard in Oudenburg asking for assistance, but he curtly replied that the Pope would not approve. Richard surely knew Maximillian, and would have wanted to support the son of his friend, but Richard himself was not well at this point, and was too busy in the north with defenses to ride to Italy’s rescue. Besides, with the Pope more or less declaring war on him, why should he raise a finger for the Italians? After all, did he really want to place himself between the strutting young Bucks of Francis and Charles?

    The invasion of Italy was relatively straightforward, but both Naples and Milan remained unstable for at least a year with rival claimants, unruly peasants, and bandits to deal with. Even by 1519, with both regions pacified, the two Kings began to warily eye each other for fear of a betrayal, with the poor Pope caught in the middle. This would further extend the distraction to France and Spain, and the English showed no means of breaking them from it. Martin Luther, on the other hand, had other ideas.
    The Reformation, G Barnard 2010
    On the 31st of October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral and began the Reformation. News of this spread quickly across Europe and by March 1518 the Theses had made it to London where the Yorkist Propaganda machine began to churn them out. Some historians have used this as early evidence of Edward V’s support for Luther, but such theories overlook the fact that Edward had printed More’s Vita Sanctus against The Prince, and had continued to publish minor works of both for years. Edward was committed to ideas. His love of reading had never abated, and so he was clever enough to digest the 95 Theses without seeing that as contradictory to his own beliefs or ideas.

    Prince Richard was much more receptive, and with his illness abated (thought to be Gallstones) he travelled to Wittemburg in July 1518 to hear the cleric speak. Richard had been skeptical of the Papacy since his teenage years under Savonarola in Rome, and Luther’s ideas found fertile soil in his mind. Again it is hard to tell precisely what Richard thought at the time, but one event is perhaps enlightening.

    Luther was summoned to the Imperial Diet at Augsburg in October 1518 to be questioned by Cardinal Cajetan over his opposition to indulgences. Over the course of three days Luther began by outlining his convictions, and surprised the Cardinal by having ready ripostes to the counter-arguments. Eventually the Diet resolved into a slanging match with Cajetan eventually calling Luther a heretic, and issuing demands for his arrest. It is unknown exactly what happened next, but Luther disappeared from Augsburg and resurfaced in Ostend just before Christmas alive, well and a free man. Common curiosity - and hysteria - has it that Prince Richard smuggled Luther out of the Imperial Diet in his personal baggage and allowed him to lay low at Oudenburg, although of course Richard was not overt about it. This narrative certainly holds weight; Luther joined a number of religious radicals in seeking sanctuary in Richard's own enclave around Ostend and Richard would certainly have been receptive to his ideas. It was to be the start of a life-long friendship.

    1519-1521: The Golden Sorrows

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    Charles I became Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 upon the death of his grandfather. This was an unprecedented moment when one man became the joint ruler of two of Europe’s largest domains. Suffice it to say that Edward V and Francis I were concerned. Thankfully Charles spent 1519 touring the Empire, shoring up his support. The new Emperor had been elected largely due to his father's efforts and his loyal electors, but he was a stranger to many in Germany and so he took his time touring Bavaria, Bohemia, Saxony and Thuringia in particular to meet the local rulers and establish working relationships.

    Meanwhile Francis sought allies. His actions in Milan may have bought him much needed wealth and acclaim back home but they had not won him any friends in Italy. Milan itself was finally pacified, but with Charles now almost enveloping the Ducy, Francis needed some leverage against his erstwhile ally. Unfortunately, the only real option was England, and centuries of warfare were not conducive to an alliance.

    In June 1520 a large pageant was held between Arras and Amiens, more or less on the border with La Poche. The Field of the Cloth of Gold was intended to be a celebration of all the grand achievements of both England and France at which Edward and Francis were supposed to express their fraternal kinship with each other. It became a simple contest of strength.

    Both delegations tried to outdo each other in dress, decor, feasting, culture and feats of arms. However, the blood was running too hot, and the party of Swabian men-at-arms hired to keep the peace kept themselves busy breaking up drunken brawls and knife fights amid the luxurious tents. The thinly veiled contempt was most visible during the joust. Both realms had brought their finest warriors, and the entire display was wrapped in a lavish display of pageantry, chivalry and gallantry, until the actual contest began. Giovanni Il Nero took the day, but not until he had violently unseated two of his French opponents, crippling the Duc de Montmerency for life. Francis was said to be furious, but was prevented from an outrageous response by his desperation for English support. In the end Prince Edward of Wales, by now in his prime, volunteered to fight Francis in a one on one melee.

    The resulting fight has gone down in legend. The two men spent a good hour slogging around the lists, withstanding huge hits from their Zweihander, encased in full plate. Eventually Edward was knocked to the ground by such a blow, but was able to trip Francis and fall on top of him, a dagger poised forcing the French King to yield. Such was the ferocity and nobility of the duel that it restored good will to the proceedings almost instantaneously. Francis declared that he had never endured such a bout, and praised the Prince for his character whilst in turn Edward declared that the French King was the very picture of humility and good will in his defeat.

    It is assumed that after this event Edward V and Francis I reached some sort of agreement over their actions towards Charles, yet no formal treaty was ever announced. Given the precarious situation in Europe by the summer of 1520, this was perhaps wise, but it nevertheless ushered in a period of relative peace for almost a decade, with raids into La Poche entering another phase of hibernation.

    This proved helpful to France within a year, Holy League forces (now supported by Charles) launched a huge offensive against Milan, forcing the French to temporarily withdraw. They would be back within a year, but England’s actions against Spain were successful in spreading Charles’ attention enough to allow it to happen.

    Charles V completed his tour of the Empire at the end of 1519, and was immediately confronted by a large-scale revolt in Toledo, necessitating his dashing back to Spain. The Toledo revolt had multiple causes; high taxes, the brutality of the Inquisition, and Charles’ foreign influence to name just three, but there were also rumours of English agitation. These rumours became only louder after news of the catastrophe in St Nicholas reached Spain towards the end of 1520. Charles was now split; he was still active in Italy, and trying to put down a revolt at home, he could only spare minimal forces or brain-space on the New World issues. This delay gave the English time in 1521 to weaken Charles’ position even further; it was only a matter of time before he fully retaliated.

    The Reformation, G Barnard 2010
    Martin Luther continued his tour of the Empire and low countries in 1519 following his miraculous escape from Augsburg the following autumn. He spent the next two years spreading his ideas, and trying to get support from German Princes in particular. In 1520 he wrote an open letter to all the nobility of Germany outlining his theses, with copies of this circulated in England by the London presses. This had some early victories when the Duke of Saxony declared his support for Luther’s stance against the established Church. With Pope Leo increasingly obsessed with heretics, and Charles V pulled in three different directions, Luther had almost free-reign of the Empire. Luther also visited London towards the end of 1520, as a guest of the Prince of Harts, although he did not overtly meet with Edward V for political reasons, he did converse with the Prince of Wales, and his brother Duke Richard of Brittany.

    However Luther’s life of freedom could not last and in April 1521 he was summoned to the Imperial Diet in Worms to respond to his writings and their alleged attacks on the Church. Charles V had by now pacified Toledo and seized Milan from the French, his only other obstacle were increased English actions in the New World, but Pope Leo commanded him to deal with Luther first. Luther gave a stern response to the charges levelled at him, declaring that he would not recant his heresies lest the corruption of the Church continue, daring his enemies to prove him wrong in scripture, which of course they could not. Perhaps inevitably Luther was excommunicated and an edict passed that banned any Prince or noble from sheltering him.

    The Prince of Harts was not present at Worms, surmising that the tension with Charles was too thick to show his face, but his son Richard attended along with a few members of the Calais Company for his protection. After the verdict of excommunication, Luther escaped and was holed up by Prince Frederick in Wartburg Castle where he began working on the German New Testament. Prince Richard returned to Oudenburg to his father and reported events. The House of York had been supporting a man now excommunicated from the Church, and they would have to tread extremely carefully if they wanted to continue this, upon pain of Excommunication by the Pope and war with the Emperor. Not that the Prince of Harts was overly concerned.

    The Golden City by Bernard Cornwell, 2016

    The men moved like phantoms in the night. Crouched low, their cloaks clutched about them, they stole from shadow to shadow in the feeble moonlight.

    The city was quiet, the occasional muttering the only noise coming from the hovels here on the edge. Beyond the silver causeway the jungle sang with the chaotic cacophony of insects and other strange creatures. It was a welcome noise.

    The small party of Spaniards and their Tlaxcalan escorts crept on, a few men peeling to the left to take out the look outs. Hernan Cortez huddled in the centre of the group, his helmet covered in sackcloth to hide it from the moon’s glare. Up above he could see his men crouched behind a cart staring longingly into the gloom. Cortez moved up slowly and quietly until he could whisper into Pedro’s ear.

    ‘What’s the problem?’

    ‘Fucking turds, that’s the problem’ Pedro grumbled indicating the animal dung they were standing in.

    Cortez gave an annoyed grunt ‘No, why have we stopped?’ he pleaded, his voice mixed with rage and anguish.

    ‘Oh look out on the causeway, too much open ground.’

    The Conquistador stared through the gloom and could make out two Aztec warriors clutching polearms. They probably couldn’t use them, but they were an obstacle all the same. Hernan turned to find Marina, the woman he loved, she was behind a small building some 10 paces back, her face drawn and frightened.

    Cortez gave her a grin in the pale moonlight. ‘Lookouts ahead, too far out for us to take them quietly, our Tlaxcalan friends help?’ He asked her. She turned to Maxixcahatan, one their native guides, and explained the situation in a low guttural tongue. Max - as Cortez called him - gave a silent nod and moved forward, pulling a tube from inside his cloak that the Spanish had given him.

    Maxixcahatan moved close to Pedro, and after a brief pause, both lookouts collapsed. The man was on them instantly, his small Castilian blade flashing in the night and stabbing into both men. They were free.

    With an inaudible surge of enthusiasm the Spanish party surged onto the causeway. They were very exposed now - around them the lake stretched to the jungle beyond and behind them the towers of Tenochtitlan loomed in the night. Moving quickly, Cortez took the lead and as they reached the gap in the causeway he beckoned behind him for the makeshift bridge to be brought up. The Aztecs raised the bridge over the causeway gap in the middle of the night to prevent enemies from creeping in, but it also stopped them from getting out. They had made a small bridge to cover the gap, but it would be slow work.

    A deep boom pierced the night. To Cortez’s back a sprout of water gushed from the once placid surface of the lake. Over his shoulder he could see the white plume of smoke where one of the city's canons had fired. Hernan Cortez’s breath caught in his throat.

    ‘Hurry!’ he screamed ‘they have spotted us, quickly over the bridge!’

    Panic and fear gripped the small band of fugitives. Some men dived for the makeshift bridge and began hauling themselves across, Cortez made sure Marina had gotten over and turned to check behind him.

    His few men with Arquebus had turned and were now firing in the direction of the ethereal smoke plume disintegrating into the night. The range was too far, but they could keep the canon crew’s head down. Cortez groaned, they had taken out the first Cannon crew nearest the causeway, and spiked the gun as best they could, but they hadn’t known about the second, it must have been concealed. Then shouts from the city, and Cortez saw more men running towards them with weapons in hand.

    ‘Move!’ He yelled, turning to see that around a third of the men had made it across, it wouldn’t be enough. Turning back towards Tenochtitlan he drew his sword and awaited the oncoming charge. It never made it. The Canon barked again and this time a swarm of vicious lead hornets pierced through the Spaniards, dropping at least 10 of them to the stones of the causeway. Hernan had not been hit, thanking God he took a step to his front.

    Then the arrow hit him in the upper arm, just below his right shoulder blade. He spun around. His momentum carried him over the edge. With a shocking crash of water he tell into Lake Texcoco.

    But he was still alive. His chest plate was dragging him down, the helmet lost in the fall. Cortez was able to pull his dagger free with his left hand, and he hacked at the shoulder straps cutting himself in the process. Finally they gave way and the plate fell into the dark gloom, his chest rising like an inflated balloon until he broke the surface with a gasp.

    Behind him and a few metres away, lights from the causeway cast him in shadow - another splash off to the left as the bridge tumbled into the lake with him. Whatever Spaniards left on the City side would be trapped. Through the ringing in his ears he could make out their screams as the Aztecs killed them.

    In the other direction, the Jungle beckoned, its symphony unbroken by the carnage from the causeway. Cortez knew it would not be safe, but what choice did he have? His right arm ached where the arrow had pierced him and blood was still flowing freely. With great difficulty and breathing heavily he slowly swam towards the bank, taking care not to stir the water and give away his presence. It would not have mattered, the Aztecs were too busy butchering his men in sacrifice to their vicious Gods.

    Many minutes later and his strength failing, Hernan Cortez pulled himself onto the muddy bank beyond the lake and lay on his back panting for breath as his body fought the cold, the water, the shock and the arrow deep in his shoulder. Cortez heard a crunch from the Jungle behind him.

    ‘Well looks like we caught a Spaniard’ said a voice in badly-accented Spanish, its mirth clear through the awful syllables.

    It’s owner stepped from the brush, his pale round face almost ghostly in the moonlight. Upon his head a round Kettle Helmet glinted more moonlight at him. He had a broad smile upon his broad face, encircled by a close cropped beard. He was wearing a plate front, like Cortez had been, and on it a Sun had been stenciled above his heart and below it the initials GCC were picked out.

    Cortez just sighed, he couldn’t take this now. ‘Hampton’ he spat. ‘You bastard’.

    ‘Now, Now Senor Cortez, is that anyway to speak to an ally?’ Henry Tudor replied, taking a step or two forward to stand within arms reach of the man.

    ‘Pah, ally’ Spat the Spaniard through blood and brackish lake water. ‘You are no friend of mine, my men die out there even now and you speak of friendship? You and your kind are not welcome here. This is our land, not yours.’ The rage had given him strength and he used it to haul himself into a sitting position, fixing his gaze on Lord Hampton, his bright eyes piercing the gloom back at him.

    ‘Ah now there you have it wrong, my friend’ Hampton said crouching before the wet and bleeding man, though he still reared above him. From the brush came more cracks as a small group of men, two English and two Aztec, joined their master on the bank. Hampton pulled a scroll from his belt pouch.

    ‘This’ Hampton continued ‘is a Treaty between the Crown of England and the glorious Aztec Empire giving us sole rights to trade and export their Gold. And what is more’ casting his eyes over the scroll, he read in a formal tone ‘uphold the sovereignty and serenity of the same Aztec Empire from all threats Columbian and European.’ He stopped reading and replaced the scroll. ‘That’s you Senor’ he said, turning back to stare straight at Cortez.

    The Spaniard was enraged, for all his fear, and the coldness even now extending to surround his heart, he burned with anger as Hampton spoke. This wasn’t right, the English had no place here, no jurisdiction.

    Cortez spat back in ferocious Spanish ‘Fuck you, you son a whore! I will see you in hell!’

    Henry Tudor gave an almost disappointed sigh. ‘I’m sure you will Cortez, but you first.’

    Like a crack of lightning in the murky dark, the blade flashed quickly and without warning.

    Cortez gave a gasp as it plunged into his chest throwing him onto his back. Lord Hampton followed it through until he stood over the prone man laying in the mud of the lake’s edge. Without a word, he pulled the knife free, and wiping it on Cortez’s damp cloak, stowed it into his belt and turned back to the jungle. Behind him the screams of dying men and the mist of spent Gunpowder drifted over the lake to shroud the dead Spanish Explorer.



    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    The long awaited Spanish expedition finally arrived in Tenochtitlan in October 1519. Marching inland from Tlaxcala they had established a good relationship with those people, as well as dispersing a few scattered Aztec patrols. No accurate records survive of the expedition from a Spanish perspective with the most ‘reliable’ account coming from Roger Harcourt, English Ambassador in Tenochtitlan, with other anecdotal accounts being made years or even decades later.

    However Cortez must have pondered how the Aztecs had access to Plate and Pikes on his journey to the centre of the Empire, he would not have to wait long for an answer. When the Spanish delegation arrived on the Holy island City of Tenochtitlan, they were greeted by Emperor Moctezuma, and his English guests. Perhaps this was when the Spaniards noticed English Canon and handguns in the city as well. Harcourt recounts that Cortez greeted Moctezuma warmly, although he was cold and hostile towards the English. This is likely accurate given that English presence west of Cove was prohibited by the Treaty of Avignon, and the European weapons certainly demonstrated that the English had been here for some time.

    Cortez immediately sent a group back to Saintiago, and thence to Spain, with news of the English, but unbeknownst to him Harcourt had already sent word to Hampton who intercepted and killed the messengers, as well as preparing a force to go to Tenochtitlan himself. Thus Cortez spent the winter of 1519-1520 at Moctezuma’s pleasure, desperately trying to win his favour, and being repeatedly blocked by Harcourt. After all, the English had a good deal with the Aztecs; Gold for weapons, and that was it, Cortez immediately began demanding an Altar be placed on the high pyramid in Tenochtitlan and that human sacrifices be stopped. Harcourt also notes that Cortez demanded an annual tribute of 3,000 slaves and 5,000 pounds of Gold to the Spanish King as tribute, but this is possibly an exaggeration.

    Thus, his plans thwarted, Cortez took half of his force back to Tlaxcala in March 1520 to arrange an alliance with Xicotencatl to overthrow the Aztecs and drive the English from St Nicholas. Having heard nothing, Cortes also sent another message back to Spain, again demanding troops this one making it through. Panfilo de Narvaez was able to gather some 4,000 men and make it to Veracruz, as the Spanish called Cheapside, by October 1520, by which time disaster had already struck.

    Cortez returned to Tenochtitlan in June 1520 to discover that most of his party had been arrested, only his Tlaxcalans and his lover Dona Marina still walking free. Historians have debated for centuries what really happened, but Harcourt mentions that Pedro de Alvarado was caught stealing Gold, and only Harcourts intercession had prevented him from being sacrificed. Alvarado and the rest of Cortez’s soldiers were instead arrested until Cortez returned. Of course the Spanish would later claim that this was a set up by the English to discredit and remove them from Tenochtitlan. Regardless of the reason, Cortez’s next actions are clear; he tried to escape.

    The night of the 30th June 1520 is known in Spain as La Noche Triste, for it was the night that Cortez attempted to escape Tenochtitlan. Again the only account we possess is that of Roger Harcourt but he notes that Cortez, with the assistance of his Tlaxcalan allies, broke the Spaniards from their jail and made for the southern causeway out of the city, with an improvised bridge to replace the one raised at dusk. Yet they were discovered, and attacked on the causeway; Cortez and every Spaniard was killed. Only four Tlaxcalans and Dona Martina, Mayan lover and interpreter for Cortez, made it out alive.

    The huge question over the Night of Sorrows was how far the English were involved. Harcourt’s records would suggest that he actually tried to protect the Spaniards and was unaware of their plans to escape. However recent studies have shown that Lord Hampton,along with 3,000 English soldiers, were within a few days of Tenochtitlan having answered Harcourt’s call. It would not be too far to suggest that they had some hand in Cortez’s demise, especially as this was the testimony of Dona Marina and Tlaxcalan tradition on the subject.

    Thus when Narvaez and his 4,000 men arrived in October, they were met by Marina and a Tlaxcalan delegation who passed on the sorry news and vowed to revenge themselves on the Aztecs and English if Narvaez wished. The new commander of the Conquistadors in the field was furious when he heard of the potential English involvement in the Night of Sorrows and sent to Saintiago for more men. Meanwhile he ordered the Tlaxcalans to marshall their forces whilst he marched to Tenochtitlan seeking answers.

    The new Spanish force reached the Aztec capital by Christmas 1520 where they met Moctezuma and Lord Hampton who had taken up camp just south of the city with his army. When Narvaez demand that Hampton and the English leave what was Spanish territory he was presented with a treaty, reportedly signed some 6 months before, which pledged England to defend the Aztecs from their enemies, and secure the Gold trade for England.

    Narvaez immediately dispatched a messenger to Europe with this outrageous news; to have an embassy in St Nicholas was one thing, but to be making alliances and trading within the Spanish territory designated by the Treaty of Avignon was another entirely. Owing to bad weather, the messenger, Bartholomeo Diaz, did not arrive in Spain until May 1421, by which time eyes were squarely fixed on Martin Luther, and not 5,000 miles away.

    Knowing that help would arrive eventually, but seeking to cover himself in glory, it seems that Narvaez decided to fight. In the New Year he pulled back to Tlaxcala where he mustered a force of some 10,000 Tlaxcalans and 4,500 Spaniards. Given his haste the Tlaxcalans were largely equipped with native weapons and would largely be left to their own devices on campaign. The Spanish contingent consisted of some 600 cavalry and just under 4,000 infantry equipped with modern plate armour and lances for the cavalry whilst the infantry relied on their pikes and handguns to hold the enemy at bay.

    In February, their preparations ready, the Tlaxcalan-Spanish force drew up in a valley known as Atochac, on the western edge of Tlaxcalan territory. This was very well chosen ground with a lake to the north and mountains to the south anchoring their defensive line, and a small stream running south to north across the line of Axtec advance which would break up their charge. All they had to do now was to wait.

    In Tenochtitlan, Hampton had spent most of January encouraging Moctezuma to fight, but the Emperor believed that his new allies should do most of the fighting for him. In the end Moctezuma’s brother Matlatzincatl agreed to lead the Axtec army into battle. Harcourt records that news of the Tlaxcalan’s preparations for war shook Matlatzincatl into action as he saw it as an issue integral to the survival of the Axtec Empire. Thus in early February 1520 an army almost 22,000 strong marched east to war.

    Like the Spanish, Lord Hampton led a mixed force of natives and Europeans; the cream of his force were some 800 mounted cavalry who he had armed with lances, and new ‘demi-arquebus’ a weapon of his design intended for use on horseback; it was mostly only good for one shot, but having trained the horses to withstand the noise, it would be terrifying to the enemy. The remaining 2,500 English soldiers were all armed in plate armour and carried polearms. However the Aztecs had the edge over their Tlaxcalan enemies in their weapons trade with England for a number of years. The 18,000 strong Aztec army were mostly lightly armoured and equipped with traditional weapons, but Matlatzincatl’s personal guard were 1500 men armoured in plate with around 200 handguns and the rest trained to use pikes. Finally the Aztecs dragged 6 cannons with them.

    The two armies met on the 2nd March 1521 in a battle which would decide the future of the Columbias. There are multiple accounts of the battle, all of them partisan. The Aztec and Tlaxcala have their own oral traditions whilst Juan Davilas and John Forrester were writing accounts for their respective Kings. It seems the Aztec army drew up into two large ‘battles’ each of 9,000 men one in front of the other. With the English infantry behind them and to their right guarding the cannons which had been dug in on a low rise, whilst Hampton and the English Cavalry occupied the left flank. Opposite them Narvaez placed his cavalry and infantry at the northern edge of the line with the Tlaxcalans taking the centre. Narvaez wisely drew up out of range of the English cannon.

    After a brief parley failed to solve their differences, battle commenced. The Aztecs were numerically superior and attacked first, sending their first battle across the half mile of relatively open ground. However this charge was stymied by the stream and the subsequent obstacles, concealed by brush, which Narvaez had prepared and it reached the enemy at a broken shuffle. Narvaez counter charged the Aztec flank, killing their leader, Matlatzincatl’s cousin, and forcing the wing to withdraw. Forrester claims that this first charge was unplanned and that the Aztecs were too headstrong to control, we shall never know, but it is clear that Henry Tudor prevented any more men from being sucked in.

    Across the field Narvaez was triumphant, and his blood was up. The Aztec first line had been appalled by his cavalry charge into their flank and rear, they had no experience fighting horses, and had folded the minute their leader was killed. With Matlatzincatl across the field easily visible in his gaudy battledress and headgear, Narvaez hatched a plan. Placing his cavalry in the centre he ordered a charge through clear areas in the obstacles with the Tlaxcalan and Spanish infantry following behind.

    Narvaez and his company of 600 charged at full tilt across the plain, leaping the stream with ease. They passed into cannon range too quickly to be adequately targeted and were unmolested a mere 100 metres from the Aztec line when Lord Hampton and Matlatzincatl sprung their trap. Davilas’ account the night before the battle was rather dismissive of the European weapons and armour wielded by the Aztec army, claiming that they could not understand the weapons, let alone the tactics required to use them. This assumption has some truth; in Tenochtitlan such items were only given to men of status as decorative symbols. But Matlatzincatl had equipped his finest warriors with them, and the English had spent all winter training them in their use. As the Spanish Cavalry approached the plate clad Aztecs, glinting in the sun, the men bent and raised their pikes, creating as impenetrable a pike wall as could be found in Europe. It would not have impressed the Swiss, but it did not need to. At such close range the Spanish Cavalry was impaled on the Pike wall with Narvaez being killed instantly. Unfortunately the Aztec technique was not as perfect as it might have been, and Matlatzincatl was struck down and killed. Narvaez was dead, but the Aztec line was wavering as the enemy infantry streamed towards them.

    The English cannon boomed again, and large swathes of Tlaxcalans were struck down by an invisible hand which terrified the Columbians who had never seen Gunpowder weapons do this. Alfonso de Salamanca, leading the infantry, tried to steady the line but, his own force in disarray as natives broke his formation, was severely mauled by the English cavalry in the flank. Lord Hampton’s charge saved the day. In a matter of moments the battle swung again as the Tlaxcalan-Spanish alliance collapsed and streamed from the field. The Aztecs gleefully captured many prisoners for sacrifices whilst the English hunted down every Spaniard to a man. Here the demi-arquebus found some use as groups of Spanish infantry sought to deter the English by forming local blocks of pikes and halberds, only to be shot at point-blank range.

    As the sun set on the Battle of Atochac on the 2nd March 1521, some 30,000 men lay dead, their blood turning the green country of St Nicholas red. The English had only lost around 50 men, the Aztecs more like 8,000, but their enemies had been obliterated; the Tlaxcalans had around 1,000 men left who were all sacrificed or murdered in their homes in the subsequent brutal reprisals. As for the Spanish, a paltry 17 men made it back to the coast with news of the terrible disaster. Only 11 would make it back to Spain by autumn 1521 to tell the world what had happened.

    The Aztec were victorious, their Empire restored, and their army replete with new weapons. Hampton had allowed them to keep all but the best steel and plate from the field almost doubling their armoury overnight. The victors returned to Tenochtitlan where a lavish feast was prepared. Moctezuma would not be in attendance. Hearing of Matlatzincatl’s death at Atochac, Cuauhtemoc had murdered the Emperor and taken his place, on the pretext of his cowardice. Again conspiracy theorists suggest that Lord Hampton had arranged this, and although there is no direct evidence to suggest this, later events make it likely.

    Cuauhtémoc honoured the alliance with England and continued to trade with them for weapons and other European goods, but the English had seen their chance. Now that Spain had been fought off, it would take a monumental effort for them to get back in; an English settlement and port was established at Cheapside to prevent this, and so they had little need for the Aztecs. Indeed by 1521 there were strong signs of the disease outbreaks which had so far reduced the native populations of the Columbian islands to mere shells. The next four years would see a slow and gradual erosion of Aztec Imperial power as English oversight became firmer and their weapon prices steeper and steeper.

    Back in Europe, news of Atochac was greeted rather predictably. In England the Gran Columbia Company received more accolades from the King. It is unlikely that Edward V had planned, or even fore-known, Hampton’s schemes, but the Gold kept flowing and Edward V had always been one to reward feats of arms. Across the Channel Charles V received news of English involvement on his return to Spain after the Diet of Worms, where he welcomed the survivors in November 1521. Charles was incensed, and demanded that Pope Leo X excommunicate Henry Tudor, and anyone involved in the GCC. Leo responded to this request by dying. Francis was also little help; he was gearing up to retake Milan in 1522, and had no interest in helping Charles, even by fighting England, whilst the Emperor kept land from him. Consequently it seems odd that the Battle of Atochac and Cortez’s death did not cause all-out war, but it would only be a matter of time.
     
    1522-1527
  • Dramatis personae 1521 On the eve of the Nine Years’ War
    King Edward V (b1470) m Anne of Brittany
    Their Children:
    Elizabeth of Ware (b1489) m Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk
    Edward (1505-1506)
    John of Ware (b 1507)
    Elizabeth of Thetford (b1510)
    Prince Edward of Eltham, Prince of Wales (b1490) M Catherine of Aragon
    Elizabeth of Eltham (b1511)
    Isabel of Eltham (b1514)
    Edward of Westminster (1517-1519)
    Prince Richard of Bedford, Duke of Brittany (b1492) M Johana de Vilhena of Portugal
    Elizabeth (1512-1518)
    Richard of Vannes (b1513)
    Edward (b1516)
    Margaret (b1517)
    Edmund (b1517)
    Manuel (b1519)
    Cecily (b1521)
    Anna (b1524)
    Edward V’s siblings:
    Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, Lord of Ostend called ‘Prince of Harts’ (b1472) m Anna Sforza
    Richard of Oudenburg, Commander of the Calais Company (b1498)
    Nina (b1503)
    Erasmus of Oudenburg (b1506)
    Ludovico (b1509)
    Bastard Son: Giovanni Il Nero, known as the Black Bastard (b1496?)

    Elizabeth of York (b1467) m Henry Tudor(1457-1509)
    Their Children:
    Arthur Tudor, Earl of Richmond, Lord Protector (1518-present) (1486) M Anne Neville
    Henry, Lord of Carmarthen (b1509)
    Anne (b1514)
    Edward (b1517)
    Margaret Tudor (1489) M Edward de la Pole
    John (b1514)
    Henry Tudor (1491) M Anne Boleyn
    Elizabeth (1520)
    Bastard son:
    John (1509)
    Mary Tudor (1496-1500)
    Cecily (b1469) m Edward Hastings, Lord Grantham
    Elizabeth Hastings (b1486)
    Richard Hastings (b1489)
    Anne (b1475) m Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
    Algernon Percy, Lord Egremont, Commander of the York Company (b1495) M Anne Plantagenet
    Henry (1512)
    Thomas Percy, Bishop of Durham (b1500)
    Catherine Percy (b1503)
    Catherine (b1479) m James IV, King of Scotland d1513)
    Margaret (1504)
    James (1507-1513)
    Other family members:
    Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick (b1475) m Alice Scrope
    Henry (b1492)
    Anne (b1494) M Algernon Percy (see above)
    Richard (b1496) Commander of the London Company
    Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452-1496)
    Edward of Middleham (1473-1492) m Elizabeth Herbert (d1492)
    Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke, Duke of Gloucester and master of Horse (b1492)
    Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, Chief Justiciar of the Council of the Wes (d1503)t m Cecily Bonville
    Thomas Grey, Lord St Leger, Marquess of Dorset (b 1475)
    Sir Richard Grey (b1477)
    John Grey (b 1484-1500)
    Leonard Grey (b1490)
    Anne Woodville (1435-1489)
    Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex (b1474)
    Richard Grey, Earl of Kent (b 1481)
    Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, Constable and Marshall of England (1440-1509)
    William Compton, adopted son (b1482) Earl Rivers, Constable and Marshall of England

    Wider Court
    Thomas Fitzalan, Lord Arundel
    William Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers (b1476)
    John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln m Margaret Fitzalan
    Alan de la pole, Lord Bland (b1477)
    Edward de la Pole (b 1481)
    Margaret de la Pole (b1485)
    Mary de la Pole (b1489)
    Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Admiral of England (b 1473) M Elizabeth (see above)
    Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby (d1501
    George Stanley, Earl of Derby (b1460)
    Leonard Stanley, Lord Strange and Commander of the Ludlow Company (b1489)
    Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle, Chief of the Tiercel (b1462)
    James Stanley, Lord Oswestry, Bishop of Worcester (b 1465)
    William Hastings, Lord Hastings (1431-1496)
    Edward Hastings, Lord Hastings (b 1463) M Cecily
    Elizabeth Hastings (b1484)
    Richard Hastings (b1487) Lord Grantham and Commander of the Coventry Company
    William Hastings (1491)
    John Hastings (1497) Bishop of London
    Richard Hastings, Lord Chase (b 1469) M Elizabeth Blount
    Roland Hastings (1502)
    William Catesby, Earl of Humber, Lord Malham (b1450)
    George Catesby, Lord Ashby (b 1474)
    Sir Gregory Bonville, Chair of the Star Chamber 1495-1511, Chief Justice 1511-1519
    Sir Walter Leyland, Chair of the Star Chamber 1511-?
    Sir John FitzJames, Chief Justice 1519-?
    Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
    Mary (1500)
    Thomas (1501)
    Anne (1502)
    Henry (1502)
    George (1503)
    Charles Brandon, Lord Brandon, Master of Arms M Anne Browne
    Anne Brandon (1507)
    Mary Brandon (1509)
    John Seymour, Earl of Surrey
    Edward (1500)
    Thomas (1508)
    Anthony (1508)
    Jane (1509)
    Elizabeth (1516)

    Bishops
    John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury
    Thomas Wolsey, Bishop of Lincoln and Papal Legate
    Thomas Percy, Bishop of Durham
    John Hastings, Bishop of London
    William Smyth, Bishop of Cornel
    Edmund Darry, Bishop of Jordanstown

    In the New World
    Thomas Bradbury, Duke of Albion (b 1466-1519)
    Tobias Bradbury (b1501)
    John Bourchier, Lord Berners, Duke of Cornel Governor of Nova Albion (b1467-1518)
    Thomas Bourchier (b1489)
    Mary Bourchier (b1493)
    Dominic Bourchier (b1503)
    Sir Robert Chatham (b1472)
    Sir Thomas Hawkyns (b 1473) Governor of St Dominic and Lord Dominic
    Henry Parker, Lord Morley, Duke of St Mark (b1466-1522)
    John Parker (b1492)
    William Parker (b1494)
    Robert Wydow, Franciscan and translator
    Armac, called John Brown, a native from Cove who became a translator and guide
    Sir William Warren, Lord St John, Seneschal of St John (b1470)
    Sir Henry Aske, Seneschal of Cove, Lord Green (b1489)
    James St Leger, Governor of New Avon and Lord St Leger (b1469-1515)
    Jordan St Leger (b1499)
    William Smyth, Bishop of Cornel
    William Canynge Governor of Princess Elizabeth’s Land
    Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton (Chair of the Council of Columbias 1518-present)
    Sir Roger Harcourt, Ambassador to the court of the Aztec Emperor

    In Europe
    Charles VIII, King of France (1470-1496)
    Louis XII, King of France (1496-1513)
    Francis I, King of France
    Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (d1516)
    Pope Leo X (d1522)
    Pope Clement VIII (Pope 1522-?)
    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain

    Locations
    St Malo leased from Brittany by the English until 1539, comprises ‘La Cinqieme’ an area including all land within five leagues of the town, under the Duke of Brittany
    Calais under English control, along with the counties of Boulogne and Artois which formed ‘La Poche’
    Ostend under English control, with the nearby castle of Oudenburg being the Prince of Harts’ main European seat


    The Columbias (Carribean Islands, also sometimes used to refer to the entire New World as a whole)
    Nova Albion (OTL Hispaniola)
    Yorkstown (Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic)
    Castle at Cape Middleham near Yorkstown
    St Edward (Saintiago, Dominican Republic)
    Cornel (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
    Haurafen/Orvan (Bisono, Dominican Republic)
    Norward Islands (Turks and Caicos)
    Cove (Cuba)
    Green Port (Caimanera
    St John (Puerto Rico)
    Bradbury (San Juan)
    Eltham Castle at mouth of port
    St Dominic (Jamaica)
    Port Richard (Kingston)
    St Mark Islands (Caymans)
    Yucka (Yucatan Peninsular)
    St Matthew Islands(Bahamas)
    St Luke Islands (Virgin Islands)
    St Nicholas (Mexico)
    Tenochtitlan
    Cheapside (Vera Cruz)
    Fair Isle (Bermuda)

    Spanish Possessions in the Columbias:
    Santiago (Trinidad)
    Santo Domingo (Tobago)
    Santa Anna (Aruba)

    Norland (OTL North America)
    ‘Greenland’ (Newfoundland)
    New Norfolk (Nova Scotia)
    St Barnabus (Halifax)
    New Avon (Maine - Massachusetts)
    Jordanstown (Boston)
    Wycliffe (Providence) (Now Destroyed)
    New Canaan (New York/New Jersey)
    Kadesh (Union City)
    New Jerusalem (New York City)
    Calvary Bay (Chesapeake)
    Princess Elizabeth’s Land (Virginia)
    Goughtown (Newport News)
    Yarlow (nr OTL West Point)
    New Malham (Jamestown)
    Sunset Cape (Florida Keys)
    New Kent (northern Florida)
    New London (Jacksonville)

    1522-1524 The March to War
    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001
    The war which would become known as the Nine Years’ War began in June 1522 as Spanish ships began attacking English ones in the Channel and North Atlantic. Most of these occurred further out to sea, and on the route to the Columbias, and therefore word had not reached Edward until Autumn. In response Edward increased ship production taking the White Fleet to almost 100 vessels. Around 60% of these were larger Galleons; slow but well-armed and made for transporting goods and soldiers across the Ocean with the rest being smaller Caravels made for maneuverability. Lord William Hawkins, Admiral of England after Thomas Howard’s passing established Naval headquarters in London with large contingents at Portsmouth and Plymouth. A smaller squadron was kept across the channel in St Malo.

    In November a declaration of war arrived from Charles V, who had finally solved his Italian problems. In response Edward marshalled his land forces, including the named Companies he had created, and some 3,000 men were concentrated in Calais by the end of the year. It seems in the early stages Edward had little desire to appear aggressive in Europe and kept his army defensive. The Treaty of Mantua in 1522 had finally agreed an anti-English alliance between France and Spain and so Edward was wise to tread carefully.

    This was especially true after the death of Prince Edward in 1523. Prince Edward was 33 and died in a hunting accident near his lodge in the New Forest. Despite the tensions of the times there is no suggestion of foul play, and he was surrounded by men who would all prove their loyalty. Edward was survived by two teenage daughters; Elizabeth and Isabel, and so his father moved quickly to declare Richard of Bedford as Prince of Wales. Edward V was 49 when his son died, older than his father and Uncle, and so he acted fast in order to secure the succession.

    At just under 30 years old Richard of Bedford was in his prime to become Prince of Wales. He had a prodigious eight living children in 1523, four of them sons, and although none of them were older than 12 they certainly represented a secure future for the house of York. Richard had spent the previous 14 years as Duke of Brittany and his ascension to heir of England heralded the unity of these two realms. Richard’s Dukedom had come through the alliance made by his grandfather Edward IV some 40 years earlier; the 2nd son of Anne of Brittany (wife of Edward V) would take Brittany. This had aimed to preserve the line of the Dukes of Brittany and the Duchy’s independence, Prince Edward’s death changed all of that.

    Duke Richard of Brittany was a fine man to be king. He possessed all of the traits of a warrior and a scholar that a King required, even if he was quieter than his father and grandfather. Richard had inherited the Yorkist penchant for firm and bold action, but was uncharacteristically more calculated and calm than his ancestors. There was no real issue with Richard, save that of Brittany.

    Up to 1523 Richard had ruled Brittany as the Dukes of old had done; a Council of advisors, but largely as a monarch in his own realm. Technically he was supposed to pay homage to the King of France but the 1491 Treaty of Amiens had removed this requirement. Now the commons of Brittany looked to be about to pay homage to a different King in England before long. Within a year of Prince Edward’s death a compromise was reached: the Declaration of Lorient in 1524 lay the basis for the future Britannic Empire and its devolved structure, although of course at the time this could not have been foreseen. Duke Richard pledged the Duchy to his second son Edward in 1531 when he came of age. His line would then take on the Duchy as hereditary Duke. However to assuage the Breton magnates Richard created a Council of Brittany, very much on the model of the Councils used in remote parts of England and the Columbias. This Council would be hand chosen by the King, although existing members could recommend additions. Richard set a precedent of this Council being entirely Breton in makeup with powers to try crimes and collect Taxes as required, although the Law and initial Tax requests would come from the Duke himself. Finally the Duke of Brittany could appoint a Seneschal to defend Brittany and raise troops, this time setting the precedent of an Englishman; Sir Charles Devizes.

    This Councillor System was the first time that it had been established over an entirely ‘foreign’ region, and it would act as the template for future additions to the English crown. The Council was carefully balanced and chosen in order to maintain harmony between Breton and English. This Council was only intended for 9 years of use, but it became so popular that the Bretons asked Duke Edward to keep it when he ascended to the Dukedom. There were some malcontents in Brittany unhappy with the arrangement, but the wiser ones saw that they now enjoyed the protection of England, and all the military and financial benefits that brought, whilst maintaining a degree of independence. It was certainly a better deal than they would have got from the French. The Lorient Declaration would also safeguard Brittany, and support England, in the wars to come.

    The English Renaissance, J Canning, 2005
    Many view Macchiavelli’s masterpiece to have been The Prince published in 1513. However the Italian scholar spent the subsequent decade touring northern and central Europe under the protection of an English guard. He never returned to Italy given the tensions between France, Spain and the Papacy. Instead he used this time to refine and develop his ideas into ‘The King’ published in 1523 in London. The King was less eloquent than The Prince, and less reliant on name-dropping various notable Princes and nobility. ‘The King’ was, however, more based upon the reign of Edward V. Macchiavelli developed his earlier thoughts with two supposed Edwardian influences: discretion and constant vigilance.

    The first theme of discretion is thought to have been the first use of the term in Europe, though its origins are obscure. Macchiavelli detailed the importance of taking any action necessary, but always trying to do so as covertly as possible unless there was a direct benefit of publicly carrying out actions. The work of the Tiercel would perhaps fit into this category. Secondly constant vigilance is a far more obviously Yorkist trope: Edward IV had instituted the idea with ‘Sommnium Vigilantis’ which his son had continued and almost made his maxim as he appointed trustworthy and loyal lieutenants in key positions, and was increasingly willing to give them limited power within clearly defined boundaries. By 1523 too, Edward had become less nepotistic in these appointments and the realm had benefited from it.

    Therefore ‘The King’ was another great achievement of Macchiavelli’s and makes for interesting reading for students of 16th century political thought and the reign of Edward V, for both topics so often seem to overlap.

    Edward accompanied Macchiavelli’s new book with a portrait to celebrate his 35th year in power. Hans Holbein took a two year commission to paint Edward V as the man of state and warrior he was; clad in plate with a cloak of ermine and a great sword at his hip, to his side rests a map of the New World, a set of scales and a Pineapple to show the achievements of his reign. Today the painting hangs in the Imperial Gallery in London.

    A more covert addition to the English Renaissance pantheon began to emerge in 1524 when English copies of the book of Mark and Matthew began to circulate around London and the south-east. It would later be revealed as the work of William Tyndale, an associate of Luther, who had begun to translate the New Testament into English. This was surely news to the Lollards in New Canaan some 3,000 miles away who had possessed English Bibles for years. The origins and causes of the New Testament are unclear, but the prevailing theory is that Tyndale had fled the violence of the low countries via Prince Richard’s stronghold at Oudenburg and had escaped to somewhere in England to continue his work.
    Bishop of London, John Hastings and a distant cousin of Edward V did not take any steps to destroy or remove the English Gospels and by 1526 the entire New Testament would be complete.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    Emperor Charles V had too many problems as 1522 began: the French were readying to retake Milan, Martin Luther had disappeared and the new Pope Clement VII was demanding that he take action. Yet Charles was most agitated by the English; word had reached him of the complete obliteration of Spain’s efforts in St Nicholas in 1521 and he had vowed revenge, although he currently lacked the means to do so. Charles had thrown his weight behind Clement to get him elected in the face of a surprising challenge from Adriaan Boeyens who had been unmasked as a French ally. Unfortunately Charles had hoped that Clement would be tough against England and censure them for the continued abuses of Papal Law and Treaty, but the new pontiff tried to stop the Italian War. Cardinal Schoenberg was sent across Western Europe to order the crowned heads to remove their armies from Milan, he did not have much success.

    Francis I had already made great preparations for a campaign to retake Milan in 1522 and in March he entered the Duchy with some 18,000 men. Charles was absent, but he had agreed a swift deal with the resurrected Holy League to defend Milan from the foreigner invader. Ironically the fact that Charles was himself a foreign invader in Naples seems to have gone unremarked. The League army, with strong Spanish and German contingents, held their ground at Bicocca north of the city. The League Commander, Prospero Colonna, had established a strong defensive position, but he had not counted on the audacity and bravery of Francis I who led his cavalry in a swift charge down the relatively exposed flank near some marshland and hit the main League line in the flank. This provided enough cover for the Swiss mercenaries in the service of France to cross most of the defenses. Francis was eventually forced to give ground as numbers concentrated against him but this allowed the Swiss to consolidate in the centre. Night eventually fell with both sides still on the field and the result was inconclusive.

    The Battle of Bicocca had an unexpected set of consequences; the League still held the city but Charles arrived and proposed a parlay at Mantua. In the end Francis and he agree that Milan would remain in French hands, and Charles would call off the Holy League in exchange for a French alliance against England. There were no firm agreements or plans, simply that neither realm would aid England. Thus with Italy relatively quiet and Spain and France united for the time being attention turned to England.

    Francis knew that the Marne provided a backdoor into English territory in La Poche, and Marne was now held by Charles. Thus in Spring 1523 a French army formed near Amiens whilst a Spanish force landed at Antwerp, both roughly 7,000 men each. However the planned attack was weakened for a number of reasons. The people of the low countries did not take kindly the Spanish forces, seeing them as an occupying foreign army, and resisted them through spoiled supplies, destroyed or damaged bridges, and price-hikes. As for the French their main axis of advance was spoiled by one of the wettest Springs on record at the time causing the rivers north east of Lens to burst their banks.

    In the final analysis, the 1523 campaign was a damp squib with only Charles’ force having enough movement to open a narrow corridor to Ostend and Oudenburg where they were forced to raid amid a lack of numbers. However the English had decades to counteract these tactics using the Piacenza, Calais and London companies to isolate and encircle smaller raiding parties and so gradually weaken them.

    In 1524 Francis was once again drawn to Italy by a revolt in the city of Pavia in the Duchy of Milan and this left Charles to oppose England. The raids and attacks on shipping continued at a low level but Charles moved his sights to the Columbias, the main source of the conflict.

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    In the wake of the victory at Atochac, England had a couple of years’ breathing space in the Columbias. Their asset stripping of the Aztecs continued with a now permanent settlement at Cheapside. This town was paltry by comparison to Cornel and other towns in the New World; some 500 inhabitants huddled behind a palisade and relied on the port for survival. However Cheapside was merely a conduit for the Aztec gold as prices were gradually increased and the pressure on Emperor Cuauhtemoc was squeezed ever tighter. By 1524 exorbitant prices and disease epidemics had severely weakened the Aztec Empire with only their newly equipped military holding the Empire together. Even this army could not withstand the English; Slight has calculated that even with pikes, half plate and the out-dated handguns they were sold, that they would not have been able to fend off even a small English force with superior weapons and training after 1521.

    Therefore Lord Hampton was happy to keep the Aztecs in a state of slow decay whilst he extorted their Gold from them. He instead focused on exploring the west coast of St Nicholas which had been discovered in 1520. Two deconstructed ships were dragged across to the newly founded settlement of Hampton (uninhabited for the first 3 years) in 1523 (OTL Salina Cruz, Oaxaca) and Sir Henry Warren given the task of mapping the west coast, although his first 2 years yielded little interest. The rest of the Columbias continued in relative peace and prosperity; the stream of immigrants from Europe had lessened slightly by the 1520s as the best land had already been taken and military preparations in Europe provided plenty of capital and work allowing more people to survive away from the rural areas. This meant that the Columbias were rather unprepared for the events of 1524.

    The Great Raid of 1524 was an outrageous plan by Charles V. The Emperor lacked the adequate manpower to sufficiently hurt the English in Europe; their continental holdings were well-defended and the channel was well guarded by the White Fleet. Charles could not even use Scotland; the new treaty had finally brought the Scots some wealth, and they were still badly scarred from King Jimmy’s Folly. Therefore the only option left to him was the New World.

    The Columbias had seen their share of violence; piracy and lightning coastal raids had been a feature of life in the New World for almost a decade. However by 1522 this had led to the English strengthening defenses on their islands; Eltham Castle on St John was perched above the harbour and boasted multiple cannon. The mouth to Green Port was guarded by two smaller gun batteries and forts and St Dominic was highly fortified after the multiple raids there. Nova Albion was the most tempting target; the main city of Cornel (OTL Santo Domingo) had a palisade wall and always had a few ships at anchor carrying cannon, but the wide inland expanse had few defenses. However the Island was the Jewel in the Columbian Crown and had a population of around 30,000 by 1524; fertile soil and plentiful land gave it a birth rate double that of Europe. It would not be an easy nut to crack.

    Charles gave the task to Antonio de Mendoza; he had served in a number of military and governmental roles in New Spain, and had been one of Cortez’s captains before his death in Tenochtitlan. Mendoza was able to gather some 4,000 Spanish Soldiers in some 20 ships which arrived in Santa Cruz (OTL Oranjsted, Aruba) in June of 1524. To avoid discovery and maintain the element of surprise, Mendoza gathered a further 1000 men from New Spain and set sail for Cornel by the end of the month.

    In July 1524 the Grand Columbian Company and the English Crown had some idea of the incoming raid. The Tiercel had discovered Spanish preparations in Cadiz, and had strengthened defences in the channel, the West Country and Ireland and issued a warning to the Council of the Columbias. Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton, was at his estate in the hills above Cornel with his wife Anne Boleyn having returned from St Nicholas a few weeks previously. Hampton had ordered the English fleet to take active patrols, readied the Yeomanry of every island and ordered the Cornel Company to begin drills. The Cornel Company were not a formal military force with Royal Writs such as the York or Piacenza Companies but it was a group of middle ranking men from in and around Cornel who owned horses, some plate, a lance and a sword. A few of them also had demi-arquebus. There were around 70 men in the Cornel Company. The city itself had a similar number of city guard, but these were poorly trained and equipped. Ultimately Hampton considered Nova Albion too audacious a target for the Spanish, which was a huge mistake.

    The Spanish fleet appeared off Cornel at dawn on the 4th of July, firing at shipping from a distance. A ship in port, under a Breton flag, turned out to be a Trojan horse as some 150 Spanish soldiers streamed from it killing and burning anything they could. Meanwhile the Spanish fleet itself disgorged its men to the east and west of the port, with some landing at the dock itself. Within hours Cornel, the capital of the English Columbias, was in ruins. Estimates and records are of course sketchy but the Spanish certainly emptied the treasury of the Council chamber, butchering the guards and Bishop William Smyth who was present, and the coffers of the Custom House and the Alderman Bank in the city. It seems beyond this that the Spanish merely intended to loot and burn what they could; whole warehouses of Cacao, Cotton and Tobacco went up in flames. The defensive squadron and the city guard were unable to stop the attack and were almost wiped out.

    That in itself would have been a success for the Spaniards but the rage of Charles V and Mendoza pushed them further. The soldiers spilled out into the surrounding countryside with around 2,000 soldiers marching towards the Gold mines of St Edward, around 5 days in land. The rest of the army burned and pillaged what farms and villages they could find some 15 miles inland. However this is where Spanish greed caused them to overreach. As the Spanish spread out inland their forces became more and more scattered, and so vulnerable to English counterattack. The Spanish had been mistaken - they imagined the peasants of Nova Albion to be like the typical, soft European peasantry. They had not realised that the majority of the Albion population was either Northern or Welsh - fighting was in their blood. As the Spanish pushed beyond the coastal plain their numbers dwindled as the Albion Yeomanry took its toll; small bands of villages armed with bows and farming tools were far more mobile than the Spanish Conquistadors, and easily cut them off and killed them.

    Meanwhile the Cornel Company had, on Hampton’s orders, fled to the hills and St Edward and raised the alarm. Thus when the Spanish column neared the mountain town on the 10th of July they suffered ambush after ambush. The Welsh population of Haurafen were proud of their heritage, and of course Tudor was of Welsh stock; he had allowed them to maintain their culture as long as they kept the peace. Ergo the Spaniards faced well-trained and disciplined Welsh archers whose ancestors had been ambushing the English for centuries. It really wasn’t a fair fight. As soldiers fled in disarray the Welsh and the Cornel Company were able to cut them down in the fields where they hid, only some 100 men of 2,000 made it back to the Spanish fleet in rendezvous on the north east coast. By the 12th of July there were few Spanish left on Nova Albion, around 2,500 had fled back to sea, but the rest perished inland. That being said, the agriculture of the island within two days of Cornel was ruined. The city itself smouldered with only the Cathedral and a few other stone buildings still standing. It is estimated some 6,000 settlers, or 20% of the population, were killed in the Great Raid.

    Despite his losses Mendoza was ecstatic; he had holds full of treasure to take back to Spain, and had torn the heart out of the English presence in the Columbias. Charles V would reward him by making him Viceroy of New Spain. As for the English, Hampton was furious, as was Edward V when he heard the news in October 1524. Cornel would not be largely rebuilt until 1532, although agriculture would be more or less normalised by 1526. However the population of the island took longer to recover, and English confidence had been badly shaken. A large redoubt, Castle Morley, was built in the heart of the harbour, but the horse had already bolted. The Nine Years War had truly begun in earnest, and would now enter its most deadly phase.

    1525-1527: The World Divided

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    All out war had come to the Columbias. In the wake of the 1524 Great Raid the Spaniards kept up a campaign of lightning raids and harassment on the smaller islands. Isolated raids on the St Mark Islands and St Dominic in 1525 and 1526 kept Hampton and the GCC on their toes. Having learned his lesson from Nova Albion, Mendoza kept all raids as short and sharp as possible and steered clear of larger targets in future thus making his attacks hard to predict and even harder to stop.

    Nevertheless Hampton and the GCC mobilised their defenses against the Spanish. Another 12 ships of the White Fleet were sent to the Columbias to join the existing 15 already there, and the GCC sent more of their own ships armed with cannon too. However Hampton did not want to risk splitting his forces as the Spanish had done and instead relied on two larger squadrons. The theory was that these larger flotillas could outnumber and crush the Spanish raiders wherever they were discovered. Although this allowed some raids to slip through it nonetheless paid off.

    In August 1525 an English fleet under Sir Robert Parker numbering some 7 Galleons and 4 Caravels surrounded a smaller Spanish fleet of 8 ships near Wydow Bank (Baja Nuevo Bank OTL) south of St Dominic. The battle was swift with all the Spanish ships either captured or destroyed, representing around a quarter of their New World shipping. The Battle of Wydow Bank was not the most significant of the Nine Years’ War, but it acted as the turning point in the New World theatre. With his fleet trimmed back, Mendoza became less audacious and more defensive. In the six months up to February 1526 the Spanish only carried out a small raid on the south-west coast of Nova Albion and destroyed 3 English ships.

    Lord Hampton was a cautious man who had been dealt a severe blow by the Great Raid. Henry Tudor did not shy away from a challenge, but he was always aware of the angles and potential outcomes. Therefore before 1526 he restricted all English activity in the Coumbias to ship-based operations until the raids had dissipated. By March 1526 he was ready to go on the offensive. Unfortunately Hampton lacked soldiers. With the war in Europe stepping up a gear he could only gather some 2000 infantry and 500 cavalry whilst Mendoza was thought to have double that. Instead Hampton found an outlandish solution. In exchange for lower weapons’ prices, he reached an agreement with Emperor Cuauhtemoc for the contracting of 5,000 Aztec soldiers armed with plate and handguns. The Aztecs had not taken to European cavalry, but their martial skill was more than enough to add the European steel to their traditional methods. Although Cuauhtemoc was increasingly unhappy with his English alliance by 1526 he agreed in the belief that the experience would benefit his army, and the weapons would one day help him to change the deal with England, he could not have known Hampton’s plan.

    In April 1526 a huge attack landed on the shores of Santa Anna (Aruba) and Saintiago (Trinidad). Grenada and Santo Domingo (Tobago) were ignored as were the small settlements along the Venezuelan coast. Sanata Anna was closest to English territory and Saintiago was the crown jewel of New Spain and its capital. On Santa Anna the majority of the island was burned to the ground; every farm and village destroyed and its populace exiled to Venezuela. On Santiago, Hampton himself oversaw the invasion of the Aztec contingent reinforced by 1,000 English soldiers. By all accounts the Aztec warriors had not taken kindly to travel on the high seas, but after a few days swarmed across the island burning and pillaging what they could. Hampton had explained to them, in his passable Nahuatl, that this land belonged to the enemies who had allied with the Tlaxcalans. It was all they needed to know.

    The Battle of Santiago does not really deserve the term. Mendoza had less than 2,000 soldiers on the island, with varying degrees of competency, and was ill prepared for the invasion. The brutality and barbarism totally eclipsed the Great Raid as even unarmed peasants were butchered or sacrificed by the Aztecs. Even Hampton, not known for his squeamishness, recounted that the blood-lust of the Aztecs was unparalleled. Such was the violence that within two weeks of the landing, around 60% of the island is estimated to have been scoured. Mendoza and the majority of the Spaniards were dead, along with almost 3,500 Aztecs. The warriors themselves named the island they had taken as Eztlitlathuacti or Island of Blood. The Great Raid had certainly been avenged but what now? Whether Hampton had intended to settle Santiago or return it to the Spanish, it was clearly now devastated and uninhabitable for a number of years. Hampton set sail for Nova Albion with the 1500 surviving Aztec warriors in tow.

    Hampton did not return the Aztecs to Tenochtitlan. There has been much speculation over this move, with some suggesting that this was his plan all along. Hampton did not want to return battle hardened soldiers to Cuauhtemoc, especially not after the brutality he had witnessed in Santiago, but nor did he really want them in Nova Albion. The solution was found that they would be sent to Goughtown (OTL Newport News). The Norland Trading Company had been relentlessly expanding their Tobacco crops for the past two decades and had begun to cause animosity amongst the local population. The Aztecs were therefore settled beyond the border of Princess Elizabeth’s Land (near OTL Richmond) and were given servants, food and all the tobacco they could want in exchange for defending the land. Given their dependence on the English to survive, this policy actually worked rather well. Hampton merely told Cuauhtemoc that all of the warriors had been killed by the Spanish, another helpful ploy to force him to rely on the English even more. With the war in the south, new investment avoided the Columbian islands for the time being, instead choosing New Kent (northern Florida). The city of New London (OTL Jacksonville) had one of the fastest growing populations during the Nine Years’ War as its ripe agricultural land became the breadbasket of the Columbias and also shipped dried surplus to Europe. This greater role would allow New London to have a greater say in the century to come, and it served as the de facto capital of the English Columbian colonies whilst Cornel was being rebuilt.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    At Pavia in 1525, the future of Europe was decided. Francis I had been laying siege to the city when Charles V arrived. Charles was frustrated that Francis had abandoned the fight against England in 1524, and had allowed himself to be distracted by Italy yet again. Therefore Charles convinced Francis to attend a conference in Rome hosted by Pope Clement VII. The Treaty of Rome saw the resurrection of the Holy League with France, Spain, Milan, Venice, Florence, Bavaria and various smaller German realms joining forces. The Holy League had always been about opposing French or Imperial influence on Spain, but with the new compromise of the 1522 Treaty of Mantua, Charles and Clement were able to redirect the League against England.

    In a flurry of Papal, Imperial and French Propaganda England was declared to be consorting with heretics, ignorant of Canon Law, and threatening the commonwealth of Christendom. One particularly nasty cartoon produced in 1526 showed Richard of Shrewsbury, Prince of Harts, the mere puppet of Lucifer as he committed bestiality. Of course these charges and the subsequent propaganda were outrageous exaggerations, although they had kernels of truth to them. Prince Richard, and Edward V to a lesser extent, had entertained Savonarola, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Macchiavelli, Martin Luther and now it seemed William Tyndale too. None of these were friends of the papacy but to call all of them heretics was a bit of a stretch. Legally, Edward had ignored the Treaty of Avignon, Hampton’s actions in St Nicholas (Mexico) being proof enough of that. As for threatening the commonwealth of Christendom, then this is much harder to judge; Edward claimed he was merely seeking security for his own realm, but he had built up his army at the time.

    Either way the Treaty of Rome finally secured Clement VII the peace in Italy he had long desired, by uniting all interested parties against the English. However the role of the Pontiff in this was very controversial; for all the charges against Edward V, Clement never actually prepared any edicts or excommunications in 1525, but sought a military and political solution through the Holy League. Although there was precedent for such a move Popes Leo X and Julius II had always sought to precede military actions with religious justification. To now overlook this was a grave mistake, and was compounded by events in the low countries.

    The Treaty of Rome had occupied Francis I and Charles X from March to August of 1525, leaving the defence of the low countries in the hands of their subordinates. The Spanish/Imperial army was led by Cardinal Erard de La Marck, Prince-Bishop of Liege. La Marck may seem an odd choice but he had been on the False Crusade and had little love lost for the English, whilst also being well liked in the southern low countries. The French army was led by Anne de Montmerency who had been crippled by the Black Bastard at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and also sought revenge on the English. However both men lacked the main armies of their masters, both of these being in Italy in case the confrontation at Pavia went hot. Instead Montmerency commanded some 15,000 men whilst the Cardinal had 12,000 at his command, although these were better trained and equipped than the French.

    In response Edward V prepared for the 1525 campaign by gathering 20,000 men at Calais. These included the York, London, Calais, Piacenza and Ludlow Companies with Richmond left in London to defend the south with the Bristol, Coventry and Norwich companies. The army in Calais had three main commanders: Edward V, Algernon Percy (Earl of Northumberland) and William Compton, Earl Rivers. Percy had left the north under the control of his brother Thomas, the Bishop of Durham. Rivers certainly had the expertise, having been well drilled and trained by his adopted father Anthony Woodville, but the assembled nobility who had not worked with him disliked his humble origins. The Prince of Harts was also present with his sons Giovanni and Richard commanding the Piacenza and Calais companies respectively, and his third son Erasmus acting as a junior Chaplain under John Hastings Bishop of London.

    Thanks to the work of Lord Monteagle’s Tiercel the English knew about Pavia and Rome after it, Edward therefore decided to make an early start to the campaign in order to catch his enemies off guard. But what would be the target? Edward was by now in his mid 50s, he had seen many different campaigns throughout his reign and he knew that mere raiding would be a waste of the talent he had amassed. Yet to strike for a prime target like Paris would bring Francis and Charles running, something he did not wish to do, and so he chose an odd objective: Antwerp.

    Antwerp had been caught up by Ostend in terms of trade and wealth by 1525, but it was still one of the wealthiest cities in the Low Countries. It was also strikingly cosmopolitan and a breeding ground for the fledgling Reformation. It was also the centre of Anti-Imperial resistance in Flanders and the Netherlands. The people of the Low Countries had been part of Lotharingia and Burgundy for centuries, they were a distinct culture and society. Emperor Maximillian had appreciated this, but his grandson had not. Charles had treated Burgundy like a staging ground for his Spanish and German forces, and a cash reserve to pay for them and so by 1525 there was a significant minority who favoured independence, or failing that the overlordship of a more lenient monarch.

    Therefore Edward V’s march to Antwerp in spring 1525 was not an invasion but a statement of intent. Despite the lack of official declaration from them, the leaders of Antwerp welcome the English army with open arms. After all they had known the York family for decades; wasn’t the King’s brother resident at Oudenburg? Were not his children born and raised there? Thanks to Prince Richard of Shrewsbury’s long association with the region he knew many of the leading magnates and merchants and was easily able to ensure them of English intentions, all the more helped by ample streams of money flowing from London banks, the Church and the Nobles and peasantry of England. There would be no fear of looting.

    Indeed many have seen the 1525-1531 period as the true acid test of Edward V’s realm; his work to secure local law and order and taxation using loyal but capable men had truly born fruit in the sheer amount of resources England was able to mobilise in the Nine Years’ War. The 1524 taxes had garnered around £200,000 supplemented with a further £100,000 each from Benevolences, Church loans and Bank loans. Almost all of these loans too came from London banks, so Edward would not be beholden to Italian debtors. Despite these steep taxes, in his absence the realm continued on obliviously with the Lord Protector, his Seneschals, the Star Chamber and the various Regional Councils being more than up to the task of governance.

    In fact in a twist of fate, Edward V entered Antwerp on Palm Sunday 1525; the symbolism was ripe for the plucking and Edward made the most of it. The London presses began to churn out propaganda speaking of Edward as a ‘just and goodly King’ and that he sought to defend Antwerp and its Dutch companions from the tyranny of the Emperor and the Pope. As equally exaggerated as this propaganda was, it certainly helped that the Catholic Church were not entirely innocent.

    Even from 1522 Cardinal La Marck had been persecuting anyone even suspected of less than religious Orthodoxy; Lutheran agents or priests were executed with extreme prejudice. In the wake of Edward’s move to Antwerp, the Cardinal swung into a ferocious retaliation. Using his crack Spanish troops he marched north from Liege through Maastricht to Eindhoven eliminating any ‘English’ agents on the way. These ‘agents’ were any suspicious characters or people without a clear orthodox view; in Maastricht a student from Holstein was lynched after being heard ‘speaking English’ and a Priest near Nederweert was arrested for not displaying a crucifix in his Church (it had already been looted by Spanish scouts). La Marck’s actions actually drove more people into the arms of Edward V, especially from the north of the country and a group of magnates from north of the Rhine arrived in Antwerp in May 1525, although by this time Edward’s mind had turned back to the campaign.

    Cardinal La Marck, having reached Eindhoven, had turned west towards Antwerp whilst the Duke de Montmorency approached from the south hoping to catch Edward in a pincer movement. It cannot be guessed what end Edward had envisaged for his campaign, but in the last days of May he retreated west towards Bruges leaving future pledges of support for the Lords of the Lowlands when the military situation was rectified. The confrontation came to a head on the 19th of June 1525. That was the day that Montmorency had crossed the Scheldt hot on Edward’s tail. He had requested that Cardinal La Marck followed him over the river in pursuit, but the Cardinal had eyes for a different prize. On the same day, the Spanish/German army arrived in Antwerp; Mayor Arnold van de Werve opened the city gates and pledged his loyalty to his lord Charles V. Yet for whatever reason the Spanish army did not heed the pledge and sacked Antwerp instead. Whether La Marck had ordered this, or simply failed to control his army, has been lost to History, but by the end of the 20th much of Antwerp had been looted, and a few buildings burnt. In Protestant tradition the ‘Rape of Antwerp’ was a vile and unprovoked attack which showed the illegitimacy of the established Church, whilst to many Catholics it was, an admittedly excessive, just response for a city which had welcomed an enemy.

    The smoke from Antwerp was surely visible from Sint Niklaas where Montmorency was crossing the river, although he perhaps did not realise that this meant his northern flank was unsupported. However Edward V did, leaving some 8,000 men with his baggage and cannon marching for Bruges, Edward took 14,000 men including 6,000 Cavalry east in a lightning attack on the French army. The numbers suggest Edward did not intend for a decisive blow but rather a harrying attack which he had seen, and perpetrated, multiple times in his career.
    Montmorency’s lieutenant - La Seigneur de Bonnivet - commanded the French vanguard just south of Sint Niklaus when the English arrived with some 7,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. He was hopelessly outnumbered but bravely stood his ground, forming up a pike formation. Unfortunately the Flemish countryside, especially in midsummer - lent itself to the English cavalry and they simply flanked the French infantry. However Bonnivet himself led a counter attack in which he himself died, taking the Earl of Rivers with him.

    This devastating blow forced Northumberland to pull the English cavalry back, but they had struck a strong blow to French morale. Behind them some 3,000 French and 400 English lay dead after around two hours of fighting; Montmorency was forced to retreat back to Antwerp. As for the English army, they marched on towards Bruges where the Mayor of the city opened the gates to allow the English to pass peacefully through. Lest they become a second Antwerp, the city did not allow sanctuary but merely a safe passage. Back in English territory west of Ostend by the start of July, Edward appointed Alan de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln (1st son of John de la Pole) Marshall of England to replace Rivers.

    Montmorency and La Marck had received word from Charles, Francis and Clement to cease operations until they could be reinforced. In reality the three leaders probably realized that Antwerp had been a disaster for their cause and they needed to rescue the situation. Cardinal La Marck was actually promoted to Archbishop of Capua and safely retired into the Kingdom of Naples where he could do no more damage. Montmorency was left a broken husk of a man seemingly desperate for revenge against the English. By September 1525 French and Spanish reinforcements, now officially the Army of the Holy League, began arriving in Amiens and Brussels where Francis and Charles began planning their response.

    1525-1527: Part II
    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    The winter of 1525-6 brought only a brief respite to the warring armies. Edward V knew that Francis and Charles would seek to make huge gains in the coming year. Hampton’s planned attack on Santa Anna and Santiago would take care of the New World, but he would have to hold the two greatest Kings of Europe at bay until an agreement could be reached. It would appear from official records that Edward merely aimed to restore peace, with the lands of St Nicholas given to him. He would also not have been averse to greater Papal impartiality but this would have been hard to demand. Therefore Edward spent the winter reinforcing the defences of La Poche, La Cinquieme, Brittany and Ostend whilst also sending Lord Bland (Lincoln’s son Robert) to Den Haag, Haarlem, Groningen and Amsterdam to assess the position of the north Burgundian lords.

    Meanwhile Francis and Charles created their scheme to defeat Edward. Between them they had a grand army of almost 40,000 men; a huge force mainly composed of Spanish and French soldiers with Italian finances backing them. There were some German forces present but Charles had opted not to risk large scale Imperial involvement after the Rape of Antwerp. The two kings decided to send 15,000 men west under the command of Jacques de la Palice and Charles de Bourbon to invade Brittany. This would serve as an ample distraction for Edward V as well as hopefully conquering Brittany and returning it to its ‘rightful’ place under the French Crown. Meanwhile Charles and Francis would take the remaining 25,000 men and hurl them at the English defences of La Poche; all targets would be legitimate, and they hoped to catch and kill Edward’s army in the field. Unfortunately, Tiercel agents had infiltrated the French court and one man in particular, known only to History as ‘La Souris’ had learned of the division and direction of forces.

    The only issue for Edward V was countering them. His army could be stretched to 30,000 men with levies and Swiss mercenaries but he could not hope to match the armies of the Holy League in size. Therefore he sent his son Richard, Prince of Wales and Duke of Britany, back to Brittany with the Bristol Company under Martin St Leger and another 6,000 soldiers with the experienced Lord Chase as his second in command. Along with the Breton forces themselves Richard was expected to hold the line. The remaining 23,000 English soldiers would then have to defend La Poche. For this task Edward V prepared the peasantry of the region to fight as yeoman archers or pikemen with the women and children being moved to the cities or even England. The cities and forts themselves were well stocked and the English army moved to Bethune. Charles and Francis launched their invasion in March of 1526 as their 25,000 strong army lay siege to the English fortress town of Bapaume. Edward waited, against all expectation, there was no need to rush into action after all. Bapaume had over 6 miles of thick curtain wall designed and built by the best Italian engineers money could buy. It’s 3,000 strong garrison could survive on good rations for at least 2 months, there was little danger.

    In the meantime the Calais and Piacenza companies raided deep into French territory harassing and disrupting supply lines. Finally, on the 4th of April 1526, the English attacked. Repeating his feat from Welford some 35 years earlier, Edward took his army on a forced march through the night of the 3rd of April of over 20 miles and appeared north of Bapaume in the light of dawn. However the day would not be clear, and blizzard like conditions coated the battlefield reducing visibility to almost nil Therefore the English had the element of surprise but were restricted in their movements by the weather. Northumberland and Kent led the infantry into Charles’ force camped east of the town whilst the Prince of Harts and his sons took the cavalry on a wide arc east of the Spanish camp and into the French south of them. The plan was to pin the besieging army against the town walls and destroy them with superior skill and tactics, but the blizzard hampered these. In fact both English forces were making good headway when disaster struck; a detachment of Ludlow Company light cavalry intended to strike the Spanish infantry in the flank but mistakenly charged the Earl of Kent’s flank instead.

    In the confusion, half of the English infantry began to quit the field even as the Holy League’s resistance began to crumble. Hopelessly blind and unable to issue orders, Edward V ordered the retreat back to Arras. The Battle of Bapaume was not the awesome winner takes all battle that either side had wanted. Charles and Francis were obliged to retreat with some 6,000 dead, but Edward had lost 4,000 men himself, mostly from the infantry in their confused retreat towards the end of the battle. However the fact remained that La Poche had been defended, Brittany was another matter.

    Bourbon and Palice had crossed into Brittany within a week of Bapaume being placed under siege and they had reached Pontivy by the end of March placing it under siege. They also carried out indiscriminate raids into the Breton countryside harassing the peasantry and burning villages hoping to draw out the Breton army and destroy it. These tactics were partly successful in that 3,000 Bretons perished in an ill-advised attempt to block the French at Rohan, but Duke Richard bided his time. Eventually, encouraged by the Breton Council Richard attacked the larger French force at Pontivy on the 31st March.

    The battle of Pontivy was a disaster. Duke Richard survived, but was gravely wounded in one to one combat with Bourbon, his cavalry force caught out and surrounded. Meanwhile St Leger and the Bristol company got lost in the Breton countryside and returned to the battle too late to prevent Lord Chase and the English infantry being torn to pieces, although he managed to retreat with Duke Richard and some 2,000 survivors of the 10,000 man army. Bourbon and Palice took Pontivy and by summer 1526 they controlled/terrorised most of eastern Brittany, the Breton/English army recovering in Quimper.

    Edward sent the York company to aid his son in Brittany whilst he levied the peasantry of La Poche to fill the gaps in his own army. Under the Richard of Warwick this company was able to link up with Duke Richard to give a combined force of some 12,000 men. However the French had been weakened by partisan Breton attacks on their supply lines and at Loudeac on the 28th August 1526 the French were forced to give battle having been trying to return to France. The York Company had gotten to their east and blocked the road forcing Palice and Bourbon to give battle. The French army by now numbered around 12,000 men too although they were weaker after months of campaign. Warwick was a seasoned battle commander and Duke Richard allowed him to take control of the force. Local Breton guides showed them a concealed ford over the Larhon River which allowed the Bristol company to make up for their mistake at Pontivy months before. Martin St Leger launched an attack into the rear of the French line breaking the demoralised troops and causing the death of Charles de Bourbon in the process.

    With Brittany secure for now, the last act of the 1526 campaign was the second battle of Agincourt. Unlike the first which has exploded into myth and legend, the second battle barely deserves the name. Charles had been forced to depart for Vienna to stave off an Ottomon advance, leaving just as the news from Pontivy came in. That had left Francis with strict instructions to preserve the army (he had approximately 10,000 men) and strike any targets of opportunity.

    Francis had seen such an opportunity after the York Company had left for Brittany. Knowing that the English army was becoming increasingly dependent on levies, Francis aimed to draw out some of these forces and score an easy victory. Consequently in late August 1526 he readied some 4,000 cavalry and mounted crossbowmen/handgunners for a week-long raid into Boulogne. The force was designed to move quickly so that the English army could not catch it, very much imitating the tactics of the English companies. For the first three days Francis exploited his maneuverability and speed to cross the border near Le Touquet and raid the relatively rural western part of La Poche. There were slim pickings of booty, but the moral victory of more destroyed English land was a helpful one. However the modern tactics Francis was using had been perfected by the English and now they turned them against him. Francis had been correct in assuming his tactics would avoid the English army recovering and refitting in Calais, but he had overlooked the Piacenza and Calais Companies. These two companies had won a fearsome reputation at Antwerp and Bapaume for their swift, devastating charges, and now they were on home soil. Furthermore the Companies were led by the half-brothers of the Black Bastard and Richard of Oudenburg; they had trained since their teenage years and worked well together.

    So it was that Francis found himself attacked in a pincer move at Agincourt on the 3rd of September. He had allowed his force to venture out in smaller numbers and so only 3,000 men were with him of the original 4,000. However this still outnumbered the Calais and Piacenza company which at this stage were around 2,500 cavalry in total. Yet Francis’ army travelled slowly south west in a narrow hollow having burned a few farms that day and being buoyant in their victory. The Piacenza company rode in hard from the east seemingly charging suicidally into the French. However Giovanni Il Nero had timed his charge perfectly. As the French wheeled to face him, the Calais Company appeared over the hill and took them in the flank. Such was the shock of the double charge that around 100 horses bolted leading others to follow in error. The short skirmish, which Edward V named second Agincourt for propaganda, lasted no more than an hour and ended with around 400 French dead and some 150 English.

    As the 1526 campaign season came to a close, both sides retreated to tend to their wounds. Brittany had bounced back from their invasion, and committed more men to the war with France whilst Edward had been able to train and replenish his army. In contrast Francis had taken relatively few losses, and the scorched earth of La Poche and Brittany was enough for him to be satisfied for now. The English would have to bring in dried staples from New Kent to prevent their ‘French’ vassals from starving. In distant Hungary, Charles had heard news of the defeats at Loudeac and Agincourt and had decided to change course. Victorious against the Ottomans, Charles returned west via Rome where he cashed in his good favour with Clement VII to seek a peaceful solution.

    In February 1527, Clement VII proclaimed a ceasefire, and commanded that all parties send representations to a convocation at Lucca for April of that year. Francis and Charles both publicly agreed and so Edward was also forced by honour to do the same; the Earl of Lincoln and Thomas Wolsey left for Lucca with a guard of honour provided by the Calais Company meaning Richard of Oudenburg came too.

    It is unknown who truly came up with the idea of the Convocation of Lucca, but it quickly became apparent to the English delegation that they had been set up. The convocation opened with testimony from Cardinal La Marck as to the brutality of the English and most strikingly of all that of Juan de Cartagena. Cartagena had been a merchant trading out of Santiago until it was attacked by Lord Hampton and his Aztec raiders in summer 1526. Cartagena claimed to have been at sea when the attack happened and returned home in August to find his home and estate a charred ruin, and his family destroyed. Cartagena’s wife had been murdered and his two oldest children had been carted off for human sacrifice, his two youngest children had survived by the swift actions of a Franciscan priest. Cartagena’s identity and story has never been truly confirmed, but the emotion served the purpose it was intended for.

    Wolsey records that he repeatedly tried to interject during the opening few days but was shouted down by the Pope himself who presided over proceedings. Even Lincoln had little impact as Edward’s official ambassador, the Holy League had closed ranks and only Portugal did not openly denounce the English Crown. These testimonies continued for almost two weeks, La Marck again being asked to testify, this time on the False Crusade. A whole litany of crimes, fabricated or exaggerated, were thrown up which made the 1525 edict look like a reasoned account. The English Crown, personified by the two brothers of Edward V and Prince Richard, were made out to be little better than Brigands, Heretics by association and Apostates for refusing to adhere to Papal instruction. The Convocation even heard that the Treaty of Amiens was illegal as it was manipulated on Edward V’s illegitimate coronation as King of France in 1491.

    The verdict was expected, but the severity could not have been foreseen. After two months Pope Clement VII delivered his judgement with Francis I, Charles V and Thomas Wolsey looking on. Lincoln had already returned for England expecting the result. The Crown of England was declared an enemy of Christendom. King Edward V had until St Stephen’s Day (so around 6 months) to meet the Pope’s demands or be declared excommunicate and a heretic. Firstly England had to hand over all rights to the Columbias south of New Kent: St Nicholas, St Dominic, St John, Cove, and Nova Albion would all go to the Spanish as compensation for English consorting with ‘heathen beasts who practice human sacrifice’. They were to turn over La Poche, La Cinqieme and Brittany to France in perpetuity. Prince Richard was to relinquish the title of Duke of Brittany as ‘an illegitimate heir’. The worst treatment was saved for his uncle. The Prince of Harts was guilty of consorting with Heretics (his friendship with Luther was not helpful here) and must turn himself over to the Inquisition for questioning.

    In brief, the Convocation of Lucca was designed to break the English; rob them of their rightful possessions by marriage and conquest and leave them impotent for generations, allowing France and Spain to become the leading powers in Europe. Beyond that, it demanded the humiliation of Prince Richard of Shrewsbury submitting to a surely crooked trial which would likely see him dead.

    The debate over the true aims of Lucca has raged since the declaration was first issued: was it a simply religious document or was it hopelessly compromised by politics and foreign alliances? The Papacy claimed that it was concerned solely with the religious rot into which the English had fallen; allying with heathens and sheltering heretics, with the territorial confiscations being a just punishment. However this claim was insecure even in 1527, and even Italian observers remarked that the Pope was surely having his ear bent by Charles and Francis. There is a more pragmatic view in that Clement wanted to bring peace to Europe and was willing to sell England down the river if it meant France and Spain ceased hostilities. Regardless of the reasoning, the Convocation of Lucca would have a cataclysmic impact on the entire world.

    Edward V, G Bradshaw, 2001
    News of the Declaration of Lucca returned to England by mid July 1527. Edward V had until the 26th of December to bow to Papal demands. Sadly his immediate reaction has escaped the historical record, but we know that he flew into a fit of activity sending messages to the New World with all haste and recalling his magnates to London for most of August where they met in Council for multiple weeks. Europe fell silent as its heads of state waited for Edward to capitulate. Then on the 29th of September 1527 - Michaelmas - Edward V appeared before the assembled Parliament, flanked by Archbishop Hastings and Thomas Wolsey, Papal Legate and all the magnates of England in the Great Hall at Westminster, only commanders in Brittany, La Poche and the Columbias were absent.

    The Edict of Westminster - commonly called the Michaelmas Lament - laid out Edward’s response to the Convocation of Lucca. Edward began by lamenting the state into which Europe had fallen; rape, pillage and plunder. The loss of order and justice, the great corruption of Christendom and her institutions. He lamented the sinfulness and duplicity of her leaders and her Priests. Most of all he lamented the corruption of the Pope in becoming the ‘mere pawn of worldly Princes’ and using his spiritual authority in temporal matters.

    His lament completed, Edward turned to John FitzJames, the Chief Justice of England, who handed the King a second scroll. In light of these truths, the King of England announced that he no longer recognised the authority of the Pope in Rome and called on Parliament to approve the Act of Supremacy which made him head of the Church in England and in all crown possessions. Second, that he would add his personal approval to the publication of William Tyndale’s completed English New Testament. Finally and most importantly, Edward declared that as the Pope had no legitimate authority over the English Crown, and therefore he did not recognise the Treaties of Avignon, Mantua or Rome which the Pope had orchestrated against the English Crown.

    Consequently, Edward V declared that he would not recognise any of the demands of the Convocation of Lucca or cede any of the territory which had ‘been conquered and maintained by English feats of arms’. The meeting then dissolved into chaos as the assembled nobles loudly voiced their assent to the Act of Supremacy. A vocal minority was drowned out by sheer anger at the Pope’s actions, and the clear righteousness of Edward’s response. Edward was then crowned by John Hastings, newly made Archbishop of Canterbury as rightful King of England, separate from Papal authority. Finally the King called on all able Englishmen and ‘our friends across the seas’ to come to arms to defend this new Church and Realm ‘free from tyranny, corruption and barbarity imbued with all sense of justice, prosperity and love.’

    The response, both domestic and foreign, will be discussed in due course, but it seems wise here to discuss the motivation behind Edward’s course of action. There are two main schools of historiography: the spiritual and the political school. Eamonn Duffy tends to lead the political school which suggests, often in negative tones, that the Edict of Westminster was entirely for political gain. Edward was disinterested in religion, and was even a heretic to listen to some, and he merely sought leverage beyond the Convocation of Lucca which was entirely of his blunder and making.

    In contrast the spiritual school, most recently reinforced by George Barnard, sees Edward as the warrior and the scholar, a man who was well-read and at least believed in the Catholic Church and was himself pious. The school goes on to say that Edward had been on a gradual journey throughout his life, influenced mostly by his brother Richard, to see the established Church as essentially corrupt and in need of reform. In this view the Lucca Declaration was merely the final straw.

    Such debates are long-winded and complicated, and we stand little chance of resolving them here. However a few observations could be made. True, Edward V did read the works of Luther, Macchiavelli, Savonarola and Erasmus, many of them channelled via the Prince of Harts, but he also read the works of More and other defenders of the faith. This speaks more to his addiction to books first detected in childhood, and the strong currents of reformed thinking the house of York was exposed to with Richard resident in Oudenburg. It simply shows that Edward was open to many new ideas, and that Prince Richard enabled many of these to be critical of the Church.

    Secondly we must recognise Edward V for his brilliant mind, his understanding of the world and politics. He was well-read but not bookish, smart and street-smart at the same time. Therefore perhaps it is over-simplistic to suggest that he had either spiritual or political motives for his actions, he could simply have had both ideas. He was clearly concerned about Papal corruption, again a common gripe of the Prince of Harts, and much distressed at the grave situation with France and Spain in 1527. The Edict of Westminster rather slashed the Gordian knot of both problems; killing the birds of politics and religion with the one stone of the Act of Supremacy.

    Finally we should consider Edward’s timing, for it was both tactically and religiously fortuitous. Michaelmas is a festival celebrated as the nights draw in and the cold of winter builds. It is aimed to encourage the Church through the long, cold darkness. Edward thus harnessed these sentiments for his own mission of standing up to the Pope and the Kings of Spain and France (not to mention the Holy Roman Emperor). Such was this victory of Yorkist propaganda, and the initial lament, that many moderate Catholics flocked to the Yorkist cause. After all Edward had not removed any Catholic sacraments or other red lines beyond the Pope, there would be some opposition but not as much as there may have been.

    Most of all the Edict was a stroke of tactical brilliance. The timing allowed Lincoln and Northumberland to make gains ahead of the winter, and to strengthen his forces for the coming fight. The rhetoric and attendant propaganda also presented Edward as King of England ‘and our friends across the seas’ and also as the righteous, wronged party. All of these messages would be vital in fighting the wars to come.

    Many who had seen the campaigns of 1526 had believed that the Nine Years War had reached the zenith of cruelty and barbarity, but the events of 1527 pushed the violence even further for now the war entered the epoch defining struggle between Catholic and Protestant.
     
    1528-1530
  • 1528-1529: The Worlds Aflame

    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    1527 Had seen New Spain reduced to a husk of its former self. With Mendoza dead amidst the smouldering ruins of Santiago, only a smattering of smaller islands remained along with the Spanish settlements in Venezuela. Modern day Maracaibo and Caracas had modest European populations with a large number of slaves working the fields around them. The remains of the Spanish fleet in the Columbias had sailed into Lake Maracaibo after the 1526 attacks in order to escape Lord Hampton’s fleet. By now including at least a dozen larger ships, including Hampton’s flagship the Mary Rose, the English New World fleet was easily superior to their Spanish counterparts, but Tudor wanted to wipe the slate clean.

    In the summer of 1527 the English fleet launched a daring raid into Lake Maracaibo, passing in front of the city of Maracaibo to do so, but out of range of their guns. The subsequent battle pulled the remaining teeth of Spanish resistance west of Gran Canaria. The Spanish fleet was hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned, and bottled up in the Lake they made easy targets for the English navy. So without an armed fleet worthy of the name, the Spanish in Venezuela were entirely at the mercy of the English, but Lord Hampton stayed his hand.

    Hampton had perhaps learned from the barabrity of Santiago or he merely realised that it was not worth his time expunging the last remnants of Spain from the Columbias as they posed little threat to him. News reached Nova Albion of the Declaration of Lucca in September, mere days before Edward’s appearance in Parliament. The news came with a command for the Columbias to ready all aid to send to Europe as might be required. Nova Albion itself was in little condition to send help to England having just begun repairs from the Great Raid, but nonetheless Hampton gathered what he could meaning that he was ready when the fast ship arrived from London in December 1527.

    Hampton was ordered to levy the might of the Columbias and bring it to Europe to aid with the war. He set sail in May 1528 at the head of a ragtag fleet. It is thought that the European population of the Columbias (including New Kent) numbered around 60,000 at this time, and Henry brought some 6,000 of them across the Ocean. Further ships were needed and men were still arriving in 1529. Amongst these were many of the veterans of the 1521 campaign and the Great Raid; the Cornel Company now numbering 200 men, around 500 Welsh and Northern light infantry and 3,000 infantry made up mostly of peasants. The gold and crops also began to flow east at a strong rate, as did another oddity of the New World; Aztec warriors. In his desperation, Hampton had thrown cannons at Emperor Cuauhtemoc in Tenochtitlan (although the powder with them was unusable) and in exchange had been able to extract a large quantity of Gold and some 2,000 volunteer warriors.

    Needless to say the voluntary nature of these 2,000 men’s service is open to debate, but with the Aztec Empire in a steep decline by 1528, and lacking any regional neighbours to fight, the only source of military glory was with Hampton. For his part, Henry Tudor seems to have understood the strengths and limitations of his Aztec ‘irregulars’; he barely tried to command them on the field, merely using them to cause havoc and disrupt the enemy through their fearsome headdresses and war paint. These warriors were not taught to fight in the European style, but merely given crude steel weapons and pointed at the enemy, this would be a terrifying sight in the war to come.

    A final gift of the New World came from Norland. At Edward V’s express suggestion a delegation was dispatched to New Canaan to entreat with the Lollards and Hussites there. The delegation was led by a young ordained theologian called Thomas Cranmer who had already begun to develop his reformist tendencies. The English had known about New Canaan almost since its founding in 1507 but had kept quiet about it to prevent another embarrassing Crusade. Now they called on the reformists there to come back to Europe and fight the good fight. It was a tough ask but signed letters from the Prince of Harts, William Tyndale and a group of Bohemian notables were able to encourage some 2,000 men to volunteer to return to Europe. Most of these were Hussites, but around 300 had English blood. They would not reach Europe until 1529, by which point the war had evolved again.

    Amidst all of these military maneuverings it would be easy to overlook the continued exploration of the Columbias. In fact Henry Warren’s journey down the west coast had allowed him to discover Ithica (OTL Panama) by 1529 which he correctly judged to be the narrowest point in the Columbian Isthmus. Subsequently he established settlements at Northam (Colon) and Southam (Panama City) either side of Lake Plantagenet (Gatun Lake) to strengthen the exploration effort west of the Columbias. These efforts would be supercharged by first contact with the Incas at the end of 1529, although the true value of them would not be appreciated until after the war.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    The reaction to the Edict of Westminster across Europe was intensely heated. To the Holy League die-hards it proved that the English were Godless heathens worthy only of eternal damnation, and the presses of Rome, Paris, and Madrid began to say as much. This only served to strengthen their arm in the short term. Then there were the regions, all conspicuously absent from Lucca, which were sympathetic towards the English. These included Denmark where King Christian III had become King in 1527 and sought to move towards a more ‘Lutheran’ Church, Norway and Sweden followed his lead also. Further south the Holy Roman Empire was slowly breaking into either of the two camps; many of the lowland Duchies were drifting towards the English with the Rape of Antwerp being a major factor, whilst Saxony and a few smaller Duchies also considered their options.

    Caught in the middle were the more moderate Catholic countries: Portugal, Scotland, Switzerland and Venice. The former two had good relations with England and no reason to throw in their lot with the Holy League, especially when their efforts had been frustrated at every turn. Switzerland was able to profit from hiring mercenaries to both sides, but culturally was moving towards the Protestant camp. Finally Venice had no love for the Holy League and was far more concerned with the eastern Mediterranean.

    The tension only rose after word reached Rome of the Michaelmas Lament in early November. Charles commanded his army to march north but the more Lutheran elements refused, instead attacking Rome. What the Catholics came to refer to as the ‘sack of Rome’ was equally as much an exaggeration as the ‘Rape of Antwerp’. Only around 5,000 Lansneckts engaged in looting and most of this was along the routes towards Castel Sant'angelo where Clement VII had taken refuge. Aside from the clear religious grievances some of the men had, the fact remains that the soldiers had not been paid for weeks with Charles having lost revenue from the New World and many of them simply wanted to get their dues and return home.

    Charles was forced to react strongly, the lawlessness lasted barely a day as loyal, Catholic, Spanish troops marched into the city and killed any mutinous Germans they could find. The ‘Scorching of Rome’ as the event is known in Protestant circles, resulted in the deaths of around 6,000 Imperial soldiers and about as many Roman civilians and city militia. It was a sorry episode in the already long list of brutal events of the Nine Years War, and it proved to Charles V that he had to act quickly to defeat England before his tenuous hold over his reformist holdings, and his finances, collapsed.


    However before he could even take action in northern Europe, Edward V had made his move. Most historians agree that a few select people in the English Royal Family knew about the Edict of Westminster before time, and that these include Duke Richard of Brittany Prince of Wales and his Uncle Richard of Shrewsbury, along with his two sons Giovanni Il Nero and Richard of Oudenburg. All four of these men took action in the four weeks between Michaelmas and All Hallow’s Eve before the winter weather made campaigning more difficult. Duke Richard of Brittany, by now fully recovered and reinforced by the Bristol and York companies, took a force of around 10,000 men and captured St Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire and on the border with Brittany whilst a Breton force secured Rennes. The city was not officially in Brittany, but was so close as to have an almost Breton majority population, and the occupation went without incident. Meanwhile the Prince of Harts and his two sons engaged in a swift campaign of bridge-destroying on the border of La Poche.

    These infrastructure attacks were supported by English engineering know-how gleaned from the defences of La Poche itself, which allowed even a relatively small amount of gunpowder to render a bridge unusable. The Calais and Piacenza companies destroyed every bridge on the Somme below St Quintin in a two week period before the French could even respond, only Abbeville and Amiens remained as bottlenecked crossing points. In the north, Prince Richard himself destroyed all crossings over the Deule River west of Lille and positioned some of his best cavalry and marksmen in the woods south of the city to hamper travel northwards. The acts of sabotage would restrict the Holy League to a mere 15 mile front around Cambrai severely hampering their 1528 campaign.

    As for the campaign itself, Charles and Francis could not agree on a strategy, and instead came up with a multi-part plan which involved a lot of synchronization. Francis I wanted to obliterate Brittany, but would not allow the Spanish to do this, obliging Charles to deal with England proper. Charles was adamant that only an invasion of England would end the war decisively in his favour. However with French preoccupation in Brittany, Charles would have to achieve this more or less on his own. The Spanish had a sizable fleet in Cadiz, supplemented by Genoan and Sicillian ships, but they had to get past the White fleet in the channel. This meant that the Spanish/Imperial army would have to be collected somewhere around northern Europe for a safer crossing, although Charles’ options were slim. The final plan was this: Francis I would take the full force of the French army into Brittany to force its surrender. This would draw English attention, and hopefully ships, to the west, allowing the Holy League fleet to make it past them to the low countries where they would swiftly collect the Imperial army from Antwerp; the only city big enough and safe enough to support this endeavor. Confident in their own abilities and the righteousness of their cause, Francis and Charles put their plan into action.

    Edward V, G Bradshaw, 2001
    In England the majority of the nobility were overtly supportive of Edward’s Edict of Westminster. A few, including the Earls of Kent and Wiltshere, were clear Reformists with Prince Richard and his court being outwardly sympathetic. However the majority of the support Edward enjoyed came from his political clout; not only was he the stern King who had ruled English prosperity for almost 40 years, but the Act of Supremacy had merely replaced the Pope, not the Catholic Church and so most nobles and gentry could support Edward as their rightful King even if they did not totally agree with Luther and Tyndale. The only notable dissenters were Lord Penrith and Thomas More who both refused to pledge allegiance to Edward under the Act of Supremacy. More was placed in the tower whilst the Bishop of Durham had Penrith kept cloistered in the Cathedral Priory where he could not do any damage.

    Consequently the English reaction to the Michaelmas Lament was a mostly positive one. Even those he did not agree on the religious aspect, could agree that the Pope had become corrupt and it would little benefit England to bend to his will unthinkingly. The result was a real shot in the arm for the English cause. Parliament, itself more pro-Reform than the Lords, granted another taxation and the southern counties began to call up their yeomen for fear of Roman Catholic invasion. This last measure hints to a theory many have long suspected; that Edward V knew of the Holy League’s plans. Surely La Souris, the suspected spy in the French court, played a role in this.

    Therefore Edward V had his forces prepared by the end of February 1528; Lincoln and Prince Richard commanded around 20,000 men in La Poche whilst Edward was poised at Portsmouth to throw his own 15,000 wherever it was needed. Lord William Hawkins had the White Fleet, now over 100 ships in total in three squadrons at Ostend, Portsmouth and Plymouth ready to respond to any threat.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001

    Francis I made the first move as his 30,000 men surrounded and cut off Rennes in the first weeks of March, plunging into the Breton countryside and moving towards Vannes to cut off Duke Richard in St Nazaire. However Richard himself had predicted this when word came that Brittany was to be attacked. He had blocked many of the roads running west and south from Rennes to slow French progress and by the 15th of March Francis had only reached Plumelec some 5 miles from Vannes, his army having been harried by Breton light horse and missiles all the way. Meanwhile Edward V had crossed to St Malo and swept aside a token French force blocking the port. The 20,000 men of the English army made south to relieve Rennes with Duke Richard abandoning St Nazaire to join them. However Richard had blocked the harbour entrance with two wrecked merchantmen before his departure, denying its use to the French for months.

    Francis, however, was not deterred and moved quickly east towards Redon to block Duke Richard, these roads were much clearer. On the 27th of March 1528 the two armies almost blundered into each other around the village of Redon. The village sits just north of the confluence of two rivers; the Vilaine running east to west and the L’Oust River moving north to south. Duke Richard’s 15,000 men were crossing the Vilaine heading north when they ran into the advanced scouts of Francis’ army crossing L’Oust to their west. The Anglo-Breton army rushed to cross the river whilst Richard himself fended off the French scouts and established a rearguard on the hill north of the village. However by late afternoon the first units of the main French army arrived and crossed into the village as the English baggage train made it over the Villain.

    Richard himself, aided by the York Company led a desperate cavalry charge down the hill into the French flank, which bought enough time for the English to escape but the Company’s commander Lord Bermaine was killed in the battle. Richard’s army had escaped but at the cost of 1,000 soldiers killed or captured, whilst the French had lost less than that number, his army arrived at Rennes on the 28th totally exhausted and with the French close behind. Thankfully Edward V had brought his own force and now the son and father combined with the Breton force from Rennes, the French blocking company having fled east.

    The Battle of Rennes took place on the 29th of March 1528 to the east of the city near the village of Acigne. Francis seems to have forgotten that he was intended as a distraction for Charles’ main invasion of England, designed to distract and hold the English rather than destroy them. But after all, he had 30,000 men in the field and Edward could barely manage 28,000, around half of which were exhausted and shaken. The French crossed the Villaine River at Acigne and formed up on the plateau behind it facing the English to the north; Francis held the centre with Francois de Lorraine on his right, Charles d’Alencon to his left and Montmorency in reserve. Across from them the English army waited with Edward also holding the centre, Northumberland to his right and Duke Richard to his left with the London Company under Richard of Warwick in reserve. The English may have been outnumbered but the kilometre wide battlefield was flanked by difficult hedged streams which made it rather compact.

    The English had also been able to make some swift defences digging a trench in front of the winded army of Duke Richard, but they had little time for much else. It was also raining, and the boggy ground did not allow for adequate cavalry charges. The weather also limited the use of gunpowder and so Francis merely ordered a general charge on Edward and Northumberland, leaving Duke Richard to watch. The heavy French infantry clattered into the English centre and gradually began to push them back as they struggled to hold both Francis and Francois de Lorraine. The slog through the mud lasted half of the day until just after noon when three events occurred in quick succession. First Edward V’s battle gave enough ground that the French flank was exposed to the Duke of Brittany. In the process Sir Owen Grey, royal standard bearer, slipped in the mud, and the royal banner fell with him. Seeing this Duke Richard charged, but so too did Anne de Montmerency. Montmorency hated the English, they had wounded him at the field of Gold, and humiliated him at Antwerp, only his service in Italy allowed his reputation to stand, and he now sought retribution. Thus when the English standard fell, he saw his moment to break his enemy once and for all. Thus the Duke charged without orders and was immediately hit in the flank by the Pikes of Duke Richard’s Welsh Guards.

    Montmerency was killed instantly, but his reserves were routed and in the confusion Francis’ army also began to panic as the newly invigorated Bretons hit them in the flank. In the space of an hour the French army folded as Francis pulled back, ordering Alencon to cover his retreat. The weather, terrain, and exhaustion of the English prevented a counter-charge from the field, but Charles left around 12,000 men on the field including Francois de Lorraine who died of his injuries a week later. The English had fared little better; around 10,000 of their men were dead or dying including Charles Brandon, Edward de la Pole and Humphrey Bonville, some of the greatest warriors in the English army.

    The Battle of Rennes had been a regression into a Medieval slog-fest. There was little of the intricate movement, tactics, or gunpowder technology seen elsewhere, it was just a fight in a muddy field for around 6 hours. In the end Francis only pulled back to Le Mans, but his army was severely weakened and there was little he could do. Edward would stay in Rennes and St Malo for another 5 months where he heard news of developments further north.

    Francis had acted too soon. The English navy was back on station by the end of March and by mid-April was no longer concerned over Brittany. Instead, they waited for the Holy League fleet which they knew to be coming. Andrea Doria and Pedro Arias de Avila, joint commanders of the 120 Holy League ships, had left Cadiz in late March before news of Rennes reached them. Therefore they had no idea that the English fleet was waiting for them. The Battle of Pointes des Peignes, or the Battle of the Combs in English, took place between the 18th and 20th April 1528 around a mile north of the Breton coast near Roscoff.

    Sir William Hawkins was at sea with around a third of his fleet, about 50 ships, when the enemy were spotted rounding Ushant and turning East. He did not have enough ships to stop the Holy League but with the Plymouth Squadron, and Breton pilots who knew the dangerous coast and its currents, he maneuvered himself to the west of the Holy League giving himself the weather advantage. Doria continued towards Antwerp whilst Avila tried to keep the English at bay. Unbeknownst to him the coast to his south was incredibly dangerous and in the process around 20 Holy League ships were lost on the rocks of Brittany to only 4 English ships. However the fleet was undeterred and anchored off Antwerp by the first of May, their 100 ships ready to transport the invasion force into England.

    To this point Charles’ part of the plan had gone well; he had some 30,000 Imperial soldiers camped around Antwerp under the command of Georg Schent van Toutenburg and the Duke of Alba. Charles had forbidden raiding and looting, desperately trying to keep Burgundy loyal to him, but the 6 weeks the army spent waiting devoured his already diminished Gold reserves. When Doria’s fleet finally arrived, Charles was keen to begin the invasion immediately and his soldiers began loading from the 2nd of May. Meanwhile the English navy gathered out to sea slowly building their forces, and by the 5th outnumbered the Spanish. This led to a heated Council of war in Antwerp where Alba and Toutenburg pleaded with the king to unload the ships and have them clear the English rather than risk both army and navy in one engagement. Reluctantly Charles agreed and on the 10th of May 1528 Doria and Avila took their fleet to sea at high tide in order to give them the most room to work with as they moved into the channel.

    Whether or not the sandbanks of the Scheldt estuary had moved in the winter rains, or the burghers of Antwerp had provided inaccurate maps is unknown, but the consequences would have huge issues for the Holy League in the coming battle. In the Battle of Vlissingen the fleet of the Holy League tried to punch through the English blockade of Antwerp. William Hawkins allowed the fleet to emerge from the estuary by drawing them deeper with his larger ships whilst a smaller force of Caravels slammed the door shut behind them. Doria and Avila took the bait - after all they did need to clear the larger English ships as a priority. However this allowed the smaller English ships to attack the rear of the Holy League fleet and then scuttle away again. Eventually, a mile north of Vlissingen, the English turned and set about the lead ships, taking them to pieces with more accurate and efficient gunnery.

    Around 60 of the Holy League ships attempted to flee the battle back towards Antwerp but the receding tide hampered their efforts; a number of them ran aground or got stuck on sandbanks where they were easy prey for the lighter and smaller English ships. All told the battle cost the Holy League around 65 ships and the life of Pedro Arias de Avila. Doria was able to escape to Antwerp.

    With his plans in ruins, Charles turned his army on the English Low Countries. Even with the defenses and the 15,000 men of the English army, the region itself could not survive such an onslaught. Between June and September 1528 the ‘Emperor’s Fury’ was let loose on La Poche: Calais, Boulogne, Arras, Lens and Bapaume were all placed under siege and Richard of Shrewbury’s Palace at Oudenburg was razed to the ground. Richard himself took refuge in Calais whilst his sons carried out covert raids against the flanks and rears of Imperial formations. These harrying tactics, though minor, forced Charles to concentrate his forces and Calais and Boulogne were released in September, although the southern three cities remained under siege until December.

    Lens, Arras and Bapaume had survived almost 6 months of siege through the preparations of Edward V and the quick thinking of his brother Richard. The three settlements had at least 6 months of provisions stored for a siege and Richard had removed the majority of civilian populations to Calais allowing them to be filled with enlarged garrisons. These alone resisted attempts to storm their battlements, although a breach at Arras in September got quite hairy for a while. Even when Edward V arrived in September with 5,000 men from Brittany, he was still outnumbered by Charles and did not want to risk a defeat, the cities were well-stocked.

    The Duke of Alba was the only exception as he managed to capture the English fortress at Baralle and repaired it with a Spanish garrison only 6 miles from Arras. Eventually the privations of winter, and the spectre of the Ottomans in the east, forced Charles to withdraw his army, although Alba was left in command at Baralle. 1528 had been disappointing for the Holy League. They had certainly damaged the English, and had killed men which would not be easy to replace, but they had failed to capture their two main objectives. However they had finally cracked La Poche, and the region was ripe for the plucking in 1529.

    Edward V, G Bradshaw, 2001
    Although Edward spent most of 1528 in Europe it was not entirely quiet back in England. First official notice arrived in January of Edward’s excommunication, to no-one’s surprise. The Papal edict was almost passed off as a joke by the Propaganda machines of the London presses, but some men saw it as a pretext for action. Sir Richard Tresham and John Keyes led a group that became known as the Titheburn Turncoats as they plotted to kill Edward V and turn the throne over to a devout Catholic. There were a couple of options in 1528; Elizabeth of Ware and Catherine, Queen of the Scots, being just two (Edward’s daughter and younger sister) but the conspirators lacked the muscle, connections and wealth to pull the plot off. They were discovered by the Tiercel in October of 1528, arrested, imprisoned, and Tresham and Keyes were executed in 1529.

    Remarkably the rest of England remained loyal to the King, save the obstinacy of Lord Penrith and Thomas More. Even the more die-hard Catholics agreed with England’s righteous position in the war, and believed rebellion to be unconscionable treason at this time. Furthermore with the Seneschals, Justiciars, Regional Councils, the Star Chamber, the Lord Protector and the Tiercel keeping the King’s peace there was a formidable array of authorities against any would-be rebels.

    The final non military issue of 1528 was Brittany. The Duchy had not taken kindly to the Edict of Westminster, for even nominally they were now under a monarch who had broken ties with Rome. But Duke Richard had called the Council to Vannes in January, before the Rennes campaign began, to issue them the Assizes of Vannes. Essentially this allowed the Breton nobles to have individual communion with the Pope if they wished, but it also reiterated the point that Clement VII had wanted to see Brittany under a French heel. This final article seems to have won them over. Of course it probably helped that the French had invaded Brittany in 1526 and would do so again in 1528, the Lords of Brittany really only had one horse to back, and that was England.


    1528-1529 Part II
    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    Charles was frustratingly called east in the early months of 1529; Suleiman the Magnificent was again threatening Vienna, and Clement again demanded he defend Christendom from the infidel. Charles could not have been happy with this but he left Francis and the Duke of Alba with an Imperial army of around 20,000 men, to which Francis added his own 20,000. Their target had become obvious, the 1528 campaign had laid La Poche bare for the taking with Arras and Lens now open to attack. Edward V had returned to England leaving Prince Richard in command of 20,000 men at Calais.

    Therefore Francis, Alba and Charles d’Alencon marched directly to Arras and laid siege to the city in early April 1529 with around 35,000 men. The English fortresses at Bapaume and Sericourt were also surrounded with Alba in command, hoping to reduce them as he had Baralle. There was little that the English could do in this situation; Richard was outnumbered 2 to 1, and Arras had been replenished after the previous siege, although it could now only last 3 months. However Francis made use of the half-damaged walls from the previous autumn and stormed the city at the start of May, eventually taking it after a stiff fight which left the entire 3,000 men garrison dead, what little remaining treasure there was looted, and Francis’ army reduced to around 30,000 effectives. The myth of La Poche’s invulnerability had been shattered.

    The English continued the fight as best they could; the Piacenza and Calais companies harried the Holy League supply lines, but for the most part the army remained camped around Calais for fear of marching beyond their means to fight. This changed on Ascension Day (late May) when French scouts reported that the Calais army was marching south towards Sericourt. Alba’s force only numbered around 5,000 and so he pulled back towards Arras where Francis took the field near the village of Basseux. Prince Richard seemed to be taking his time, replenishing Sericourt and Montreuil on his way south, and then word came from the low countries. King Edward V was marching towards Arras at all speed at the head of a vast and unexpected army. Edward led 15,000 English soldiers but these were supplemented by 5,000 levied infantry and cavalry from the Columbias, 2,000 Hussite cavalry, 2,000 Aztec shock infantry and around 12,000 men from the low countries.

    Since the ‘Rape of Antwerp’ Edward had spent considerable time and effort trying to meld the Lords of the Netherlands into an effective allied coalition. It had taken the work of Lincoln and his chief lieutenant Thomas Cromwell, to convince them that supporting England was in their best interests. Many of the Lords were of a reforming bent, but they needed more assurances from Edward; his victory at Rennes, and the subsequent brutality of Charles in the ‘Emperor’s Fury’ demonstrated to them the earnest nature of the English cause.

    Yet two large roadblocks had also been overcome. Philibert of Chalon, Prince of Orange, had died of dysentery on the 1528 campaign in La Poche fighting for Charles and his cousin Renatus de Chalon now took the title of Prince of Orange. Aged only 10 his father Henry III of Nassau-Breda had used his son’s new title to cajole a few of the less willing nobles. The other roadblock had been Guelders; Duke Charles and his uncompromising marshall Maartem van Rossum had disliked Nassau for years, but thanks to the work of Enno, Count of East Frisia, John of Ulrich-Cleves-Berg and the popular rising in Frisia led by Wijerd Jelckama, Guelders had agreed to fight. This was confirmed in the Treaty of Antwerp, which created the League of Antwerp just mere days before Arras fell.

    It would be a gross oversimplification to see the League of Antwerp as a religious alliance against the Catholic Church; Antwerp, Guelders and indeed much of England, still held to the Catholic faith anyway, but the events of the war so far had made the Lords realise that the time was right. They had grown weary of Spanish, French or German overlords, and the corruption of the Church, and many just wanted the freedom to live in peace and determine their own affairs. There were exceptions; barring Antwerp and Ostend, the rest of southern Burgundy from Ghent to Liege stayed loyal to Charles V. Bruges declared itself to be a free city, being staunchly Roman Catholic but having a strong personal relationship with the English crown.

    This vast coalition numbered 36,000 men as it passed Ghent in late May 1529, the city had refused passage but did not stop Edward V and Marshall van Rossum from going around them. Francis immediately realised that his position was weak, and dashed West to destroy Prince Richard before they could meet with his brother’s larger army. However Richard’s army had been equipped for speed; it was at least 40% cavalry and did not carry any cannon or heavy baggage past Sericourt. Therefore Richard was able to draw Francis even deeper into La Poche moving towards Boulogne. Desperate to claim a victory, and against the pleading of Alba and Alencon, Francis drove his army quickly north covering 20 miles in a single day. By the 5th of June Richard was in Boulogne and Francis had camped east of Montreuil when he heard that Edward had reached Lille.

    Francis’ opportunity had gone and he moved south east towards Amiens to return to friendly territory. It was however at this moment that Edward played his trump card. The 2,000 Aztec soldiers with his army were turned loose on the French countryside north of Amiens, burning, looting and murdering anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way. They were well paid, and some suggest high on narcotics, and seem to have been methodically barbaric in their work. This slowed the French advance to a crawl as they had to restore order as they advanced and were forced to send out larger and larger scouting parties to deal with the violence. The majority of these Aztecs were killed outright but they succeeded in slowing down Francis enough that he was forced to give battle.

    Francis chose a large flat open space for the best use of his cannon just north of the village of Talmas around 7 miles from Amiens. Francis also ensured that his flanks were protected by wooded hollows around 2 miles apart with the Duke of Alba in the village of Rubempre holding his eastern flank and Alencon the west a little in front of Talmas itself facing north, Francis took the centre. The Holy League army comprised around 36,000 men at Talmas with a third of that being cavalry. Given conflicts with Alba, Francis had given him all of the Spanish troops and a more or less independent command with order to hold the right flank, the Spanish had about 9,000 infantry in their Tercios formations and 3,000 cavalry. Francis had his own French and the remaining German forces. Alencon commanded the artillery around Talmas itself and had 6,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry whilst Charles had 10,000 infantry to hold the centre of the field plus 3,000 cavalry with Antonio de Layva holding another 3,000 in reserve. Francis planned to hold the field and cause maximum casualties to the English through Cannon fire, massed cavalry charges and stout pike formations which would oblige Edward to retreat.

    The Antwerp League army was likewise incohesive including Hussite, English, Welsh and Burgundian forces with a few Columbian-born Europeans for good measure. The League army was around 45,000 men although parts of it were less effective than others. The Columbian and English levies for example were around 8,000 but their skill and morale were limited. Edward chose to keep them in reserve led by the Earl of Lincoln. This left the League of Antwerp with around 37,000 men which they deployed north-west to south-east on the morning of the 12th of June 1529. Maartem van Rossum was given the left flank and his entire contingent of 12,000 men, of which 2,000 were cavalry. He also had the support of Richard of Warwick and the London Company's 3,000 infantry to break the Holy League lines near Rubempre. Edward V as usual took the centre with the York, Norwich and Ludlow Companies comprising most of the heavy infantry; he was accompanied by Hastings, Northumberland, Derby, Humber, and another 15 Lords totalling 12,000 men. Edward planned to hold Francis’ centre and to force the King into face to face combat.

    The English right flank bore the more unorthodox elements of the army. Prince Richard had 5,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry with which to prevent the French left from doing anything dangerous whilst the Hussite, Calais, Piacenza and Cornel companies led by Richard of Oudenburg, Giovanni Il Nero and Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton, would have around 4,000 cavalry to carry out Edward’s daring plan. The sons of the Prince of Harts knew the territory well, they had after all been pillaging and burning it for close to a decade, and Giovanni in particular knew of a shallow defile to the west of the battlefield which would lead around behind Talmas and bring the English Cavalry into play behind the French.

    The plan was set and the 12th of June dawned clear and bright. The French guns were warmed up from first light, cracking the sunrise with their ear-splitting roar and unnerving the English levies with the noise, although the English were still out of range. Francis and Edward did not even bother with a parlay, both knew that battle was inevitable. The English came in a quick march designed to get under the cannon range as quickly as possible. Both junior commanders exercised their independent right to their own command and engaged first. Van Rossum ordered an infantry charge directly at the village of Rubempre, breaking apart one Spanish formation by strength alone. Maartem van Rossum had a fearsome reputation for brutal tactics and violence, and Talmas certainly enhanced that reputation. However this was but a distraction; the Dutch Cavalry and the London Company swung into the valley east of the village and hit Alba in the flank as ferociously as Rossum had done.

    Across the rest of the battlefield the York brothers engaged a little more cautiously. Edward’s main force charged the last few metres into the French pikes and spears, using experienced soldiers in many places to force breakthroughs. On the left flank Richard had a much tougher time, Alencon may not have been as good a warrior as Alba or Francis, but he held his position against Richard’s probing charges. But the Prince was forced to maintain proximity to the French line for fear of their cannon. Lincoln kept the less experienced reserve out of the fray to the east of the battle to avoid the cannon also. Within an hour of the battle beginning the French pickets behind the lines reported horse in the hills to the west and Antonio de Layva committed his reserve to the task of driving them off.

    It was a trap. The Antwerp cavalry was led by three of the finest English warriors in History, and was supported by the Hussite cavalry. De Layva’s reserve pursued the Calais and Piacenza Companies further west until they were hit in the flank by Husstie and Columbian cavalry. The entire force was then devoured whole in under an hour. This was the first time that the Schragbus was used. A weapon of Hampton’s personal design, it was designed on the Arquebus but had a shorter barrel and a larger muzzle and was intended for use on horseback. The Shragbus (taken from the German for ‘hack gun’) could carve entire swathes through enemy formations by firing a small quantity of metal balls. The scatter-gun nature made it especially useful against cavalry as the skirmish west of the battle proved.

    On the battlefield, Prince Richard was wounded and his force was struggling to hold on, Edward and Francis were locked in a vicious stalemate, and van Rossum was slowly wearing down the Spanish in the village. When the cavalry emerged from behind the French army, it was initially mistaken for Da Layva’s returning reserves and so it was barely noticed when it clashed into the rear of the Duke of Alencons army, finally silencing the French cannon. Oblivious to Alencon’s predicament Francis and Alba fought on, grimly holding their ground.Alencon was himself killed and his remaining men fled in terror with Prince Richard taking the village of Talmas and establishing a redoubt there, unable to move further.

    At this point parts of the French centre began to turn to face the cavalry on their own flank, clearly not friendly. Lincoln chose this moment to throw in the reserve against the opposite end of the French centre. The commons of the Old and the New World cheered as they were thrown in against an exhausted and distracted enemy. Very quickly the English jaws began to snap shut on the French centre, even as it pushed deeper into the English lines. Alba was desperately summoned to help but his own men had fought to a standstill and still held on to Rubempre by their fingernails. At this point, in the late afternoon, Maartem van Rossum launched one final charge at Alba’s position as the Piacenza company attacked from behind. Simultaneously, the French centre was completely enveloped and Francis himself captured.

    Alas Shakespeare and others have inflated the Battle of Talmas into a great heroic struggle, with Francis eventually wielding after hand to hand combat with Edward V. The truth is far more grim; Talmas saw over 80,000 men clash over a patch of ground no wider than 2km and no deeper than 500m; almost half of those men would die in that patch of ground. The League of Antwerp lost around 12,000 men, most of these under Prince Richard’s command with Lord Hastings being the most high-profile casualty. The Holy League suffered a crushing defeat; only Alba and around 5,000 men made it out; 25,000 men perished on the field with the remaining 5,000 captured the French king amongst them.

    The victorious League of Antwerp army returned to Calais within two weeks, their army totally spent, a huge celebratory feast was held with Francis as the ‘guest’ of honour.. Van Rossum led his men home at the end of July, the campaign clearly ended for the year. Ever the Chivalrous Lord, Edward praised his foe in front of the assembled hall and masses were sung for the dead in the Catholic style. The Battle of Talmas was the decisive engagement the war had sought for almost five years, and it left England in the driving seat.

    Charles V is said to have taken to his tent for three days without food when he heard the news, but he had turned back the Ottoman hoard, and was now returning to Europe to plan his response. However his troubles kept multiplying; upon Van Rossum’s return the Dutch Lords in the League of Antwerp declared their independence from Charles V and the Pope, and thus removing themselves from their obligations to Charles as Emperor. This was followed by Saxony doing the same and in September 1529 the rulers of Saxony, the Free Netherlands, England, Denmark and Sweden met in Copenhagen. The Declaration of Copenhagen swept all of these realms into the League of Copenhagen, an alliance with the express purpose of opposing the Pope and his armies across Europe. This was a clear challenge to Charles V and one he would have to face alone. Francis had been taken to the Tower of London where he would stay until Charles sued for peace, given that the Emperor refused to do this, then France was unable to lift a finger to help.

    1530-1531: The Flames Asunder
    Edward V, G Bradshaw, 2001
    As Edward waged war in Europe, the Earl of Richmond held court in his stead as Lord Protector. The Nine Years War truly demonstrated the value in Edward’s political policies as England experienced one of the most peaceful wartimes in its history. Such was the control exerted by the various justices and officials that very few used the war as an excuse for banditry. There was of course religious unrest in the North West and Ireland but perhaps the biggest threat was Thomas More.

    More had refused to swear his oath of allegiance under the Act of Supremacy and was imprisoned in 1528. A year later he was joined in the Tower by King Francis, but More’s days were numbered. Lord Monteagle had discovered that More was attempting to communicate with Catholic agents in England and thereby get a message out to Europe pledging his support for the Pope. Edward V was merciful, but even his mercy could not go beyond reason. Upon his return from Talmas, Edward had Thomas More brought before him in Westminster and again offered him mercy if he swore allegiance, and again More declined, launching into a stern defence of his loyalty to the pontiff.

    Whether More expected Edward’s continued mercy, he was mistaken. Edward V had just returned from the blood-soaked fields of Talmas, he was committed to his cause, and could not have a former Chancellor undermining him. Edward passed More over to the Star Chamber for trial and More was executed on the 10th of January 1530. More’s death acted as the trigger for two rebellions against the English Crown. By March 1530 Edward had already returned to Calais for the coming seasons’ campaign, thus leaving Richmond to deal with the unrest.

    The first rebellion was the Righteous Rebellion which lasted between April and October of 1530. The Righteous Rebellion had two main loci: the east midlands and Yorkshire. In Yorkshire the Wright family and Harold Percy, a younger cadet-branch of the Percy family communicated with the Digby, Vaux and Garnet families in Leicestershire and Derbyshire. All of these characters were Catholics and had not sent any support on the 1529 or 1530 campaigns. Indeed it is believed that they had sent letters to Charles V promising to assist an invasion, and promising a common army of 10,000 in support. However the plot was discovered by Tiercel agents and Sir Edward Digby was arrested by the Seneschal of Leicester in April 1530 which caused the rest of the plotters to panic and declare their support for Charles V, and Elizabeth of Ware as Queen.

    Elizabeth of Ware was Edward V’s oldest daughter, she was the widow of the Duke of Norfolk and had two children. Despite endless research, no link between her and the Righteous Rebellion has been unearthed. Elizabeth was so popular with Catholic Rebels because of her faith and her inheritance. Elizabeth was known to be a staunch Catholic, and had visited Rome in her early years, and it was believed that she would support a reconnection with Rome. However her biggest virtue was her place as Edward V’s oldest child, her younger brother Richard may have been set to become King but under more flexible rules of inheritance she was the rightful Queen. This complication added enough legal confusion and a veneer of legitimacy that Elizabeth and her children would become the rallying point for Catholics for years to come.

    The Righteous Rebellion proved the strength of Edward’s legal apparatus. The Council of the North quickly moved against Percy and Thomas Wright who together had managed to get around 500 peasants to form up with them. These peasants easily scattered and Percy and Wright were arrested by the Earl of Warwick himself. As for the midlands group, there was no regional Council to arrest the plotters there and so Richmond himself gathered a small army and reached Leicester within 2 weeks of the revolt. In this time the rebels had occupied Calke and Launde Abbeys and arranged a few roving bands of archers to harass royal officials. Unfortunately the monks at Launde did not take kindly to their Abbey being used as a military HQ, and gave up the rebels as soon as Richmond arrived. The final group proved more difficult and Richmond spent two months himself chasing groups of rebels across the forests of Leicestershire and then left Sir Humphrey Mowbray in charge who finally cleared out the rebellion in October.

    The Righteous Rebellion was a total failure; they had been discovered by Edward’s spies, easily arrested by his lieutenants, ignored by Charles, and their claims had been deluged in Yorkist counter-propaganda. There were however two key consequences from the Rebellion; Sir Richard Vaux was able to escape to the continent where he found his way into Charles V services where his knowledge of English Catholic sympathisers would prove useful. The other consequence is that Elizabeth of Ware was again mentioned as an acceptable Roman Catholic replacement for Edward V and his son Richard, Duke of Brittany.

    The second Rebellion was the Irish Rebellion of 1530-1531 led by Manus O’Donnell and Conn O’Neill, King of Tyrone. Both men owed allegiance to Edward V as Lord of Ireland, but poor harvests, and general grievances with the English were added to religious concerns. For centuries Ireland had been de facto controlled by the King’s Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in 1530 Thomas FitzGerald Earl of Desmond, with little change to this formula even while other areas gained Councils. Prevailing wisdom suggests that Edward V was either disinterested in Ireland or simply did not wish to rock the boat. In September 1530, having heard false rumours from Europe that Edward V was dead, O’Neill and O’Donnell raised the Counties of Ulster and Connacht in Revolt - O’Neill was crowned ‘King of Ireland’ at Tara. Desmond tried to crush this rebellion quickly but he was ambushed and killed in Roscommon.

    This not only left Ireland without a Lord Lieutenant but also the Desmond Earldom in chaos as Thomas FitzGerald’s grandson and brother now vied for control. In the turmoil, the rebellion spread across most of Ireland north and west of the Boyne, with only the south east and Dublin relatively untouched. With the Nine Years’ War entering its final stages, Edward V could spare so few of his key men that he in fact sent a woman; Queen Anne was from Brittany and by now aged 53, Edward hoped that she could bring her fellow Celts to heal, and for good measure she took her Granddaughter Margaret at the age of 14, 4th child of Prince Richard, Duke of Brittany.

    The two women were accompanied by 1,000 men taken from the Bristol Company and Brittany itself, again the hope being that the non-English contingent would have an impact. Remarkably within a year the situation in Ireland was stabilised. The recovery was helped by O’Donnell’s son Calvagh being killed in a drunken brawl with the O’Neill which split the rebels and by John FitzGerald asserting his claim to the Earldom of Desmond over his great nephew James. However perhaps the biggest success was that of the young Princess Margaret. She was said to be dark like her Portuguese mother, but her pale beauty made her a near mythological creature to the Irish Lords who loved to sing songs and tell tails of beautiful women. After the death of Culvagh O’Donnell, Margaret, under the guidance of her grandmother Anne, summoned the Irish Lords to Tara and in a lengthy ceremony was finally able to get them to set aside her differences and accept her as ‘Lady of Ireland’. In reality Margaret had little power as her grandfather had merely seen her as a helpful tool, but she very quickly became the focal point of Irish politics. It would help further that she would go on to marry Matthew O’Neill, Baron Dungannon.

    All told the rebellions of 1530-1531 show both the strengths and weaknesses of the Yorkist polity; England was clearly sewn up tight but Ireland had suffered from its neglect. It is ironic that Edward’s quick fix actually became the foundations of a (relatively) secure Irish dynasty for centuries to come. Nevertheless, compared to events in Europe, these rebellions remain a side show.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    The capture of Francis I and the League of Copenhagen ensured that the 1530 campaign would be centred on the Holy Roman Empire. Charles had commanded a meeting of the Imperial Diet at Heidelberg for February 1530 - eager to re-stamp his authority on the Empire and gain support for his next moves. The omens were not good as the Duke of Alba arrived from Spain with around 20,000 fresh troops and Charles brough around 15,000 Italian and Swiss north with him. The list of Charles’ problems were becoming longer by the day; France all but refused to help him until he freed Francis from the Tower of London and the French court were now fighting Protestant factions in the Vendee, Aquitaine and Le Massif Central. Meanwhile Charles had sent the Ottoman’s packing but was severely weakened by his years of exertions; the Imperial coffers were now surely thinning out, and the sources of Gold from the New World had all but gone. To cap the entire fiasco, Charles had lost the Lords from the self-proclaimed Free Netherlands from his Empire and faced losing more. John of Saxony had already signed the League of Copenhagen and Hesse, Luneberg, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Anhalt and a few other German rulers looked to be going in the same direction.

    The Diet of Heidelberg sought to re-right the ship; all the major Imperial Lords, save the Saxons, were in attendance and Charles called upon them to aid him in reclaiming the Netherlands. However the presence of Spanish and Italian armies on German soil did not endear many Lords towards Charles and when Charles demanded that they re-swear allegiance to him as Emperor a few of them quietly left Heidelberg. Most significant of these were Phillip of Hesse, Georg of Brandenberg-Ansbach and Ernst of Brunswick-Luneberg. These men, along with Wolfgang of Anhalt-Kothen and John of Saxony met in Augsburg on the 28th of March 1530 to sign the Augsburg Confession. Also in attendance was King Christian of Denmark, Richard of Oudenburg, the Earl of Lincoln, Charles of Guelders, Henry of Nassau-Breda and John of Julich-Cleves-Berg. This was a seminal moment in which the History of Europe, and the Nine Years War, swung in one moment.

    The Augsburg Confession was penned by Luther himself and it listed the 28 Articles and main grievances of the Protestant Lords, a term which had emerged in the last year. The future division between Lutheran, Anglican, and Anabaptist were yet to be laid bare but all men in attendance agreed that the Pope was no longer their master, and that if that meant removing Charles too, then so be it. Understandably Charles V was incensed at this news. Rather than the simple oath of fealty, the Heidelberg Diet closed with pledges from a few German Princes to go to war against the newly enlarged League of Copenhagen, these included Charles’ brother Ferdinand, Alba, William of Bavaria, Alvaro de Sande, Gian Giacomo de Medici and Georg Frunsdberg.

    By April 1530 the battle lines were drawn and Charles had drawn up a plan. Alba would be given 35,000 men to march into Hesse and thence to the Netherlands, carrying the Emperor’s justices with him to reestablish Imperial control over these areas whilst Charles would march on Saxony and replace John with his nephew Maurice of Wettin. Meanwhile in Calais the English were ready. With France effectively out of the war, Arras had fallen back into English hands and Brittany had provided 2,000 cavalry now that the French were unlikely to attack them. The Anglo-Breton army was around 30,000 men, many of them veterans of the war so far. This included 5,000 specialist cavalry including the Bretons, Hussites and Columbians led by Duke Richard of Britany and Henry, Lord Hampton. Another 6,000 more traditional cavalry were led by Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke and Gloucester and Giovanni Il Nero whilst the almost 20,000 infantry was led by Edward V, Richard of Oudenburg, Warwick, Northumberland, Lincoln and Surrey. The one conspicuous absence was Richard, Prince of Harts who was gravely ill at Sheen. The Prince had seen his hall at Oudenburg burnt down and his command shot to pieces at Talmas and all of this trauma, plus his age and life of leisure, must have been taking its toll. Cromwell records that Prince Richard was not even able to sit on his horse by spring of 1530 and so he remained at home.

    Owing to the Heidelberg and Augsburg proclamations, the campaigns of 1530 did not begin until early May of that year; Alba immediately marched into Hesse and lay siege to Mainz and Frankfurt, burning any villages which tried to resist him. The English army set out from Calais to aid Phillip of Hesse, but delays in Liege where the Archbishop followed Charles’ commands, meant that both cities had fallen by the time the English crossed into the Holy Roman Empire. This was a defining moment as an English army actually invaded the Empire, a feat which would have been impossible 50 years previously. The city of Aachen, where once Prince Richard and the Earl of Lincoln had jousted with Emperor Maximillian, was quickly surrounded and the army moved on to the Rhine.

    Here Edward’s problems began. The Empire was so rife with division that many of the towns and villages they passed simply closed their doors on the invaders and little physical resistance was given. Yet the Rhine was an impenetrable barrier. Thus when Edward finally arrived at Mainz in June he found the city loyal to Charles and blocking his intended crossing of the river. Frustratingly, Alba had already left for the Netherlands with his 35,000 men and Edward could not reach him for the river. At Koblenz on the 29th of June the English army tried to cross the Rhine but Spanish Cavalry and cannon on the east bank made it untenable with the loss of 2,000 English to less than a 1,000 Imperial soldiers. Likewise at Bonn on the 6th of July the city refused to allow the English to cross, being caught between two armies and having no wish to see their city destroyed. Then at Cologne three days later Archbishop Hermann van Wied invited both Edward and the Duke of Alba to a conference at his palace in the city whilst their armies sat opposite each other on different banks throwing obscenities, but thankfully not missiles, at each other. Van Wied himself wrote that the meeting was productive and he prayed for both commanders, with his private account stating his preference for Edward over the rigid and uncompromising Duke of Alba. For its bluster however, the meeting reached no conclusions and by the 10th of July Alba’s army had reached Leverkusen.

    Then finally some good news for the English, on the evening of the 10th of July a dusty rider in Orange colours arrived in the English camp with a message from Maartem van Rossum. He had taken Dusseldorf by sheer terror at his reputation and now the city's gates, and most importantly its bridge, lay open to the English. However van Rossum had only 18,000 men, half that of Alba, and needed urgent assistance if he was not to be surrounded and obliterated (some of the commons of the city had sabotaged the gates in disgust at van Rossum’s actions).

    In a typical Edwardian move he had his 30,000 men march the remaining 20 miles, arriving west of the Rhine near Dusseldorf late on the 11th of July. He had also sent the Hussite and Columbian cavalry ahead to cross the river and harass Alba’s army in order to slow them down. They had some impact but the elite Italian Cavalry was barely perturbed by these hit and run attacks and Alba’s army marched the short distance to the field on the morning of the 12th to begin the Battle of Dusseldorf. The Allied forces of the Netherlands, Brittany, Hesse and England numbered around 50,000 men, but 18,000 of these were inside the city itself under Rossum whilst the 2,000 Hessians shadowing Alba’s army were around 6 miles east of the city and the 30,000 English still had to cross the Rhine and make their way through the city before they could draw up for battle. Alba knew this and used the divided and cramped battlefield to his advantage. His army was also better rested and higher in morale despite only being around 35,000 men.

    Alba commanded Alvaro de Sande to take his veteran Tercios and block the southern exits to the city and thus prevent van Rossum from interfering with the rest of Alba’s deployment. He would then form up the remaining 30,000 men, including his 8,000 cavalry under Medici east of the city and the range of its few cannons. Dusseldorf was not a wealthy city, and its defences paltry, yet it would be enough to undermine Alba’s movements if he got too close. Alba planned to use his cavalry to harass English deployments and hit smaller forces with his heavy infantry to break them before they could form up.

    The battle began around mid morning as Van Rossum’s forces tried to break through de Sande’s flanking force to little avail. The lowland troops were less disciplined in pike formation, and hampered by the city’s walls and gates. This kept the Dutch forces occupied for much of the battle. Meanwhile Edward brought his army straight out east of the city and began forming them up in the open fields where today’s Flingern District sits. The Vanguard was given to Northumberland with his northmen and Hampton riding a cavalry screen in front of them. This Cavalry force was around 3000 Hussites and Columbians mostly lightly armed and armoured, typical for most armies, with only around 200 members of the Piacenza heavy cavalry in support. This force was not expecting a full charge by 6,000 Italian Lances straight at them. Under normal circumstances Hampton’s cavalry line would have been shattered and Northumberland’s infantry with them too. But these were not normal circumstances. Edward had been so impressed by the Schragbus that he ordered around 2,000 of them produced by the armourers at London and Calais in the months before the Battle of Dusseldorf. Hampton’s entire Cavalry force were each armed with a Schragbus, capable of launching projectiles almost 80 yards in a cone around 15 yards wide, and they had practiced regularly using and reloading them from horseback - their mounts were used to the noise.

    By now it was almost noon and as Giacomo de Medici took the lion share of his cavalry across the flat fields, the bright midday sunlight was cracked in two as 2,000 Gunpowder weapons fired at close range with belches of white smoke and flame. It is unknown how many Italians died in this first charge; each Shragbus contained around 30 bullets and so as many as 600,000 projectiles flew into the Italian Cavalry as they charged forwards. Ulrich Banstein, watching from the battlements of the city half a mile away noted that the Imperial cavalry disappeared into a haze of smoke and when it cleared very few horses were still standing; the first five or so ranks had been wounded or brought down by their dying comrades and the remaining force had bolted in disarray as the horses panicked at the cacophonous noise. The English cavalry and infantry would have found it easy to dispatch any of the survivors as wounded or dead horses pinned riders to the ground. Medici himself died in this first attack but his lieutenant, Afonso de Bisceglie managed to take the remaining half of the cavalry back to Alba’s lines.

    The charge of the Medici was one of the earliest instances in military history of a cavalry charge being broken by gunpowder alone, but Alba was not done yet. Raúl de Trujillo was ordered to take in around 3,000 Tercios to push Hampton’s force back. One issue with the Schragbus is that it took a whole minute or longer to reload and so he was forced to pull back whilst Northumberland’s infantry tried to resist the Spanish charge. By now Alba’s army marched to within 500 yards of the walls, the minimum safe distance, and the Earl of Surrey was marching quickly to close the gap. Realising that his opportunity was quickly slipping away, Alba threw all of his infantry, minus a small reserve, into the fray. Again Hampton’s cavalry tried to stem the flow with their gunfire, but their weapons were less effective against armoured massed ranks of infantry. This time the charge was not stopped and Northumberland’s force of brave northerners were badly mauled and their commander killed. Surrey’s advance was also checked by the charge and the city gates became clogged with confused English soldiers in a crowd trying to reach the battle. Alba only pushed harder and the Imperial Cavalry charged again, this time avoiding Hampton’s light cavalry which had pulled away to the north. John Seymour, Earl of Surrey was gravely wounded and only saved from the crush by his bodyguard who pulled him to safety.

    Then Richard of Oudenburg arrived in his ornate armour, which had once been his fathers’, white plate gleaming in the sun. Through sheer force of will the Prince of York established control on the confused mass of men and managed to get them heading forwards and out around the sides of the stream of men. Just as Oudenburg restored order, his half brother arrived with Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke and the 5,000 English cavalry including the Calais, Piacenza and London companies. This force had left Dusseldorf out of the north gate, out of sight of Alba and his men. Alba had initially commanded Medici to screen the northern flank for such an attack but with him dead and his force distracted, shaken, and bent on revenge, there was little to stop the cream of English Chivalry crashing into the flank of the Spanish army.

    Alba’s men may have been experienced and motivated, but their tight formations could not hope to stand against a flanking charge by massed cavalry and Raul de Trujillo’s flank folded very quickly. The charge also relieved pressure on the English column and Lincoln and Edward themselves were able to make it into battle with their own forces. Alba had learned the hard way from Talmas of fighting beyond his means and he ordered his army to withdraw in order to secure his flank. De Bisceglie had managed to reform what remained of the Imperial Cavalry and counter charged into the English Cavalry obliging them to pull back in turn. By now it was early evening and Alba knew that he had damaged the English army but not destroyed it and that his own forces were battered and bruised. However he would only need to hold out for a few more hours to retreat under the cover of darkness and so he formed his army into a basic line almost three quarters of a mile from Dusseldorf to hold his position against the English. Alba also ordered Alvaro de Sande to reinforce his position. Although this move allowed van Rossum to deploy his own force, it meant that Alba could still concentrate his forces and attack specific parts of Edward’s army.

    Edward had placed himself in the centre with Surrey’s force added to Oudenburg’s on his left flank and Lincoln taking the right flank. The English were forced to advance, Alba’s army had formed the traditional Tercios formation with pikes and handguns making it extremely difficult to break through them. The English advanced, and saw the benefit of all Edward V’s investment in the best weaponry and training. The English army had been equipped and trained in the Swiss style, and if anyone could break Alba it was the Swiss. As the English advanced, they placed heavily armoured Halberdiers in the front line and harassed the Tercios with handgun and Shragbus fire of their own. In the two hour slog that followed, the elite English infantry was able to slowly wear down the Spanish until one by one the Tercios were pierced and fell back to reform, all the while harassed by English Cavalry. Giovanni Il Nero had successfully eliminated De Bisceglie in 1:1 combat, and the Hessian forces had joined the battle from the east whilst Maartem van Rossum brought his own token cavalry to the field from the west.

    The Free Dutch forces had been exhausted by their day-long slog at the southern gates, van Rossum himself being injured three times, but they could still contribute 1000 fresh cavalry. Gradually, as the sun began to set, the Spanish forces were worn down and abraded until Alba himself launched a final cavalry charge into the heart of the English forces in order to buy his men some time. Edward V, fighting further in the rear owing to his being almost 60, narrowly escaped this charge and Alba was forced to retreat quickly by the Earl of Pembroke’s equally daring charge into his rear. But Alba had won the time he needed. In the twilight the remains of his army limped back to their camp.

    The Battle of Dusseldorf was the largest of the Nine Years’ War so far. It resulted in the deaths of, on the Allied side, 5,000 Dutch, and 8,000 English whilst the Duke of Alba lost almost all of his 8,000 Cavalry and 15,000 infantry whilst he was forced to abandon around 3,000 wounded in his retreat south. Thus Alba returned to Cologne with just under 10,000 men after another gruelling battle with the English. Hessian and Hussite forces harassed them all the way, but only half-heartedly.

    In the East, Charles V had successfully captured and executed John of Saxony, making Maurice of Wettin Duke instead. This had nominally pacified the largest Germanic member of the League of Copenhagen and won Charles some much needed morale and support from the loyal German Princes. However John’s son, John Frederick, had fled Saxony with around 4,000 men heading west to join King Edward around Dusseldorf. Word reached Charles at the end of July of Alba’s defeat and the two met near Munich a fortnight later. Charles would realistically have only one more campaign in his capabilities and he would have to destroy the English in 1531.

    Edward was forced to quit Dusseldorf - its position was too exposed - and his 22,000 men marched for Antwerp and thence to Calais whilst Maartem van Rossum returned to the Netherlands, now in its second year of freedom. Dusseldorf may have broken another of Charles’ armies but the English were themselves showing the strain; Edward V would be 60 before the next campaign, Northumberland was dead, Surrey was so wounded that he would never fight again, many of the best fighting men of England were dead or wounded, and her coffers were finally reaching their limit. Therefore Edward likewise perhaps felt that 1531 would be his last campaign.
     
    1531
  • 1530-1531 Part II

    The Prince of Harts: Richard of Shrewsbury, T Borman 2012

    Richard of Shrewsbury, Prince of Harts breathed his last in January 1531. He had been confined to his bed for some months as his affliction slowly ate at his strength. It is hard to tell what killed the once vigorous adonis, but between a lifetime of fighting, feasting and womanising, these things had clearly exacted a toll. Richard died at Sheen, his seat at Oudenburg still a smouldering ruin. This alone was a devastating blow, the Palace and the town of Ostend had come to him through his first marriage to Margaret of Austria, and he had transformed it into one of the most luxurious palaces in the whole of Europe, now lost to the ashes of war.

    Richard may have been the second son of Edward IV, but he left just as big a mark on History as his older brother did. Richard had enjoyed a life akin to a modern playboy, welcome at all the great courts of early Renaissance Europe from Milan to Antwerp, and he had brushed shoulders with some of the military and intellectual titans of his age, and it was these connections which steered England down its particular path. Spiritually Richard had an unorthodox view for most of his life; his early years studying with Savonarola in Florence established in him a healthy skepticism and cynicism in the Catholic Church and the Papacy in particular. Richard was also one of the earliest English Lords to meet Martin Luther and adopt his theses for themselves and as such he is seen as one of the midwives of the English Reformation. However Richard was not a religious radical, he merely disliked Papal excess and believed in a more nuanced role for the Church, his funeral in Westminster Abbey was a very Catholic affair with Masses sung.

    Richard also introduced other Renaissance ideas and individuals to England; Erasmus of Rotterdam and Macchiavelli were just two men who had their work published in London following introductions to the King from his brother Richard. Indeed Richard’s demeanour and political philosophy was captured in Macchiavelli’s the Prince and alluded to in his later work the King. Richard’s political style was certainly from the more maverick end of the Yorkist Spectrum; he believed in grand declarations and public demonstrations of fealty, honour and strength of arms and his flamboyance was imitated in courts across Europe after his death.

    Militarily Richard of Shrewsbury encapsulated the very picture of early Renaissance warfare, striding into battle with his trademark white-silver suit of armour. Of course this made him an easy target, but Richard was also an expert in using his presence to rally his own troops. Underneath this showmanship and daring-do Richard was a shrewd campaign commander as his survival of the False Crusade demonstrated. Richard may have been one for the heroic charges, but he also knew when to skulk around the rear of a battle waiting for his moment, or to simply hold his ground as he did at Talmas.

    Richard was also known as the Prince of Harts, and was famed in his early years for his nocturnal exploits. Giovanni Il Nero was his most famous bastard, conceived with Lucrezia Borgia if rumours are to be believed, but he had at least three others which we know about; Caterina and Isabella both born to Italian women, and a son Martin born in Ostend who died aged three. Yet Richard’s greatest lover was Anna Sforza who he married in 1496 with the blessing of her uncle Ludovico Sforza.

    Anna and Richard are said to have had a loving relationship. Anna was miserable in Italy before she married Richard; it was said that she preferred the company and fashion of men to women and often enjoyed hunting and later sailing. Richard, being the unorthodox Prince as he was, did not mind these more unusual urges and their marriage was a long and happy one, with Anna even becoming a mother figure to Giovanni. Richard and Anna had four healthy children themselves; Richard, Nina, Erasmus and Ludovico. By their father’s death Richard was already well on the way to becoming an accomplished military commander like his father, Nina was married to a Dutch Lord, Erasmus had followed his namesake into the Church and Academia and Ludovico was fast becoming an adept politician.

    Richard of Shrewsbury died at a time when England’s place in Europe was becoming increasingly assured, from a relative backwater in the 1480s by the 1530s the Kingdom of England, and its many possessions and vassals, had become a major European player to rival France, Spain and the Empire. Much of the credit for this has gone to Edward V, but it must be remembered that as Edward reformed and strengthened the English Crown, it was so often his brother Richard who gave him the tools to do so.

    And All the Worlds Aflame: Europe 1500-1535, J Ruff, 2001
    1531 dawned with the death of the Prince of Harts. After a grand ceremony at Westminster Abbey, Cromwell records that Edward V entered a deep melancholy and was not seen for almost a week. By now Edward was almost 60 years of age, a remarkable number of years for someone in the 16th century. Indeed he appears to have broken the curse experienced by his fathers’ generation of not living past 40, which seems to have been down to his regular exercise, including military campaigns, and a more moderate diet.

    Edward was shaken from his depression by news from the continent. The Tiercel had struggled to infiltrate Charles V’s court as they had already done with Francis I’s, but they were able to gather information that Spanish agents had been seen in Ireland where the Irish Rebellion would still be ongoing until June 1531. In the end Charles was unable to send any military aid to Ireland, and it was this alongside the internal rebel issues which ended the rebellion, but the fact that he was willing to interfere forced Edward’s hand.

    The 1531 campaign was the last one of the Nine Years War, and evidence suggests that both rulers knew this. Edward V had lost almost 20,000 men in the space of three years and the winter of 1530-1531 was spent raising more forces; the Winchester Company was created to add to the existing eight, and the grandons of York (Giovanni, Oudenburg and Brittany) took control of training these new forces.

    The English also received more unexpected support; Margaret I of Scotland sent 4,000 infantry having become increasingly enamored with the ideas of the Reformation, the Hussites and Lollards of the New World sent another 3,000 men to join their successful brethren and a number of German exiles fled to London. Most prominent of these Was John Frederick, rightful Duke of Saxony who had fled his homeland after Charles V executed his father for Protestantism in 1530. Being a military man, John Frederick immediately hit it off with the Yorkists and they allowed him to form the Saxon company which became the focal point of other German exiles from Hesse, Brandenburg, Luneburg and elsewhere. By the start of the 1531 campaign the Saxon Company alone contained around 7,000 men.

    Aside from manpower, the other issue was a lack of funds. The London banks loaned what they could, but they were reaching their limits. Similarly banks in the northern low countries also supported the war effort, but the titans of European banking, the Italians, were firmly in Charles’ camp. Therefore Edward had to get creative, and as well as increasing Gold shipments from the New World, he enacted the Church Land Act of 1530 which demanded that each diocese, abbey and religious order surrender 10% of its land to the crown for sale. There was opposition to this, although given Yorkist control over the Church most of it came from the Monastic Orders who were unable to resist. The sale of this land to keen Gentry and other middling sorts was a stiff boon to the Yorkist war-chest.

    Meanwhile in Europe Charles V was also desperately making preparations. Much to the protestations of the Spanish Lords, he levied another 20,000 soldiers from the Kingdom to add to the 40,000 he had taken, many of whom had not returned. Italy yielded another 15,000 but like Edward, Charles’ men were increasingly the dregs of the barrel. The biggest support for Charles came from the loyal Roman Catholic areas of the Empire; Liege, Bavaria, Bohemia, Austria and Hungary providing the most men. In this regard Ferdinand of Bohemia and Hungary, Charles’ brother, was most useful as his still rather Catholic areas could provide another 15,000 men, especially now the Ottoman threat had been dealt with. However cracks had already sprung up in the Holy League; France was out of the war, and Genoa had followed their lead with Milan also becoming reluctant to help. However Italy was most useful from a financial perspective. The Italian banks, encouraged and backed by Clement VII extended vast sums of credit to pay for Charles’ army mustering near Heidelberg.

    Switzerland and Bohemia present interesting conundrums. Nominally neutral, the region was nonetheless approached by both sides asking for mercenary troops. The Cantons covertly chose sides which invariably benefitted the Protestants more. Around 3,000 Swiss made their way to Calais whilst 2,000 joined Charles V, with Switzerland itself seeing little fighting. In Bohemia, the Catholic majority all supported their King Ferdinand, but the significant Hussite/Waldensian/Lutheran minority were a serious thorn in the side of Charles; a small number escaped to Calais to fight with the English whilst the majority stayed at home to raise hell throughout the Spring and Summer of 1531.

    By March 1531 Charles’ armies were on the move in the following distribution: 10,000 loyal Catholic Imperial soldiers under Georg Schenk van Toutenberg in East Frisia and the northern Free Netherlands conducting raiding, lotting and Inquisitions. 20,000 Spaniards laying siege to Antwerp led by the Duke of Alba and finally 35,000 Imperial troops commanded by Charles himself marching on Calais. Charles knew that he had to end the war in 1531, and to do so he would have to capture and break the English army, including Edward V if he could. Concurrently Alba would reduce Antwerp to rubble and van Toutenburg would harass his countrymen in order to prevent Charles being encircled by forces loyal to the League of Copenhagen. Therefore Charles marched on Lens in March 1531 hoping to lure Edward into battle.

    As for Edward himself, his Dutch allies were preoccupied with van Toutenburg’s actions in the Netherlands, and were blocked by Alba at any rate. This left the Anglo-Breton-Hussite-German army to resist Charles on his own. Edward V placed Alan de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, in command of the army since the death of Northumberland. Lincoln had the support of every Company, save the Bristols who were campaigning in Ireland. The allied army comprised around 40,000 men of which around 14,000 were cavalry. 5,000 of the Cavalry were led by Lord Hampton and these were the specialist light cavalry mostly made up of Breton, Hussite and Columbian soldiers, many of whom were the veterans of the Talmas and Dusseldorf campaigns. The remaining 9,000 cavalry were split into two wings led by Pembroke and Giovanni Il Nero who were making reputations for themselves as cavalry commanders. The remaining 26,000 infantry were an eclectic mix; 6,000 were the Saxon company under Duke John Frederick, and 4,000 were Scots led by the Earl of Angus, the most pro-Reformation Scottish Lord. The remaining 16,000 English, Breton and Welsh infantry were commanded by Duke Richard of Brittany, joined by his eldest son (the future Richard IV) aged 18 called Lord Vannes. Brittany was supported by Richard of Oudenburg, Lord Carmarthen (oldest son of Arthur Tudor), Lord Scrope (heir to Edward of Warwick) and Lord Strange (heir to the Stanley dynasty).
    The English army represented the best and brightest of the new generation, all were under 40, and demonstrated that the times were changing. Edward V was of course present, and he presided over the majority of war Councils, but it was clear to all the Lords present that Lincoln and Brittany were calling the shots.

    The Allied army was still mustering at Calais, given the difficulties of coordinating such disparate forces, when they heard of Charles’ actions. The Emperor had laid siege to Lens, Alba to Antwerp and the northern Netherlands was on fire. These latter two problems could not be dealt with whilst Charles was lying in the rear and so preparations were made to go and meet him. La Poche had suffered terribly under the previous four years of war; many of the fields lay barren and the villages were deserted, but Edward V had maintained garrisons at all the major fortified towns and cities, save for Arras which after two sieges was indefensible. These garrisons were merely intended to prevent Charles from launching a swift raid towards Calais, rather than protect the region as they had previously done, and so the garrison at Lens was a mere 2,000 men, most of them levied from La Poche itself.

    As the English marched on Lens, Charles put his plan into action; Alvaro de Sande was given around half of the Imperial Cavalry - 6,000 men - to harass the English as they crossed the hills south east of Calais. The woods in particular were especially good cover for de Sande who had the guidance of a few French Captains who had defied orders to fight with Charles. Lord Hampton countered these cavalry raids with his own light cavalry, but they cost the English time so that they did not reach Bethune until mid April where they discovered that they had been deceived. Charles V had moved his army completely and was now approaching from the south-west. The English may have had the larger army, but Charles had trapped them with Bethune and the river/marshland to their north and east and Charles approaching from the South West. The only avenue open to Edward was to retreat back towards Calais, but de Sande’s cavalry were still at large and so Edward had little choice but to stand and fight.

    Charles V had chosen the battlefield at Bethune well as it restricted Edward’s movement. The Aire river ran behind the town and the English lines and east of the town a marshland made movement in that area impossible. The English were forced to form up west of the town, but here a large lake and drainage ditches made this difficult also. The only firm and dry ground was south west of the town where Charles was but this was cut by two shallow valleys - the Marles and the Bruay - which ran south west to north east and were also quite wooded in places. Therefore Charles forced Edward to split his forces down these wooded gullies which would hamper coordination and cooperation. Charles had 35,000 men to Edward’s 40,000 and so hoped to isolate and destroy the English in pieces.

    Edward V decided to give battle on the 2nd of May 1531. He knew the terrain around Bethune and knew what Charles was trying to do. Nonetheless the initiative was with him to make a move and so the army was divided as such: John Frederick and his 7,000 Germans were given the Marles valley to take and hold supported by Giovanni’s cavalry in a flanking move to the west. Lincoln and the Scots (11,000 infantry total) took the Bruay valley further east in the centre of the English line, and they had the job of slogging up the valley. Finally Edward, Duke Richard of Brittany, Oudenburg and the main English infantry would skirt east towards Houdain, with Pembroke in support, and try to break Charles’ army. Meanwhile Hampton and his light cavalry broken into squadrons would screen each of the 3 forces and patrol the battlefield awaiting targets of opportunity.

    Charles had similarly broken his army into 3 components. The Marles valley was commanded by Georg von Frundsberg where he would have 8,000 men to fight off his countryman John Frederick and hold the Imperial left flank. In the centre Ferdinand held the Bruay valley with half of his men lying in wait on the Dame Hill between the two valleys, and finally Charles and William of Bavaria had the remaining army darwin up under the Houdain ridge and its cannon, whilst Alvaro de Sande’s cavalry tried to get around the English flanks and envelop them.

    The battle began with the English forces moving south west along the valleys. The Saxons hit contact first as they were closest to the English camp. Frundsberg defended the valley well with prepared positions at the villages of Lapugnoy and Marles itself. This severely slowed down the Saxons and prevented Il Nero bringing his cavalry in as the slope near Lapugnoy was too steep and wooded to allow him, thus meaning that John Frederick had to fight for each inch of ground. It took him until just after midday to reach Marles when finally Giovanni’s cavalry had a clear enough ground to sweep around the village and envelop it. This prevented Charles from reinforcing his left flank, and a cavalry group was thrown back by the English trying to do so. However the Saxons were exhausted from their morning’s work and eventually surrounded the Imperial soldiers in the village of Marles but were unable to destroy them.

    Meanwhile in the Bruay valley Lincoln and the Scots were having an even more difficult time. Ferdinand had secured the crossroads at La Volville just south of Dame Hill which was vital for communicating between the three forces. Therefore the Imperials had an advantage for as long as they held it. Furthermore Ferdinand had concealed around 5,000 Bohemian and Hungarian soldiers on the wooded eastern slope of Dame Hill and waited until Lincoln’s vanguard was engaged at La Volville before ordering their charge. This charge was unleashed around late morning, clattering into Angus’ Scots and preventing them from reinforcing Lincoln’s forces further south. At this point de Sande took a cavalry charge into the rear of the Scots, broke them and all but surrounded Lincoln’s men, killing the Earl of Angus in the process. However before he could be overwhelmed, Lincoln was rescued by Lord Hampton’s irregulars riding in from the north west in the Marles valley where they had followed the Saxon Company. The Hussites were particularly experienced at covering rough ground on horseback and their arrival, and Shragbus fire, created a gap for Lincoln’s charge to make it uphill and fortify an outcrop on the ridge between the two valleys.

    Further east Edward was similarly stopped in his tracks. His main infantry and cavalry force got to Hallicourt before they came under Imperial Cannon fire from Houdain almost a mile away. After taking some losses, and hearing of Lincoln’s predicament, the English left wing pulled back into the centre and hit Ferdinand’s forces at La Volville and Bruay in the flank. Pembroke was also able to chase down the dispersed Imperial cavalry of de Sande as they routed the Scots. Edward’s men may have been a little bloodied by cannon-fire but they were physically fresh and made rather quick work of the Imperial centre which had spent all morning engaging Lincoln’s men who by now were raining fire on them from high ground.

    Just after midday it appeared that Charles’ tactics were working; the English centre was completely impotent and their Germanic Right was exhausted. Only the left wing under Edward and Duke Richard still had much strength left in them. Therefore Charles sent William of Bavaria to crush Edward against the Bruay valley. As the Imperials entered the valley, they could see Edward’s forces below them, and caused a good deal of casualties from the high-ground. At this Ferdinand was able to regroup his forces and attack Edward from the south west as William came in from the south east. Lord Strange (Leonard Stanley) led a desperate charge into Ferdinand’s army at the head of his column and was able to slow down the reforming Hungarians and Bohemians.

    Around 2pm the battle had degenerated into a confusing melee as Edward V, Oudenburg, Lincoln and their forces covered the northern and eastern side of the Bruay valley whilst the Imperials encircled them from the west around to the south east. However the English were holding, and the Earl of Pembroke’s expertly timed and planned Cavalry shock charges on Bavaria’s right flank kept the pressure to bearable levels. Then the Saxons arrived. Hampton’s cavalry had acted as battlefield runners, which Charles had not foreseen. Their swiftness on broken ground all but negated the rough terrain of the battlefield and allowed Hampton to get word to the western Allied force. John Frederick’s army was bloodied but not broken, and had finally penned in Georg Frundsberg into the village of Marles. Hampton had realised that their Shragbus were very effective in the tight confines of the village and so deployed 2,000 of his cavalry dismounted into the village allowing the Saxons and most of the Black Bastard’s Cavalry to move east.

    By 3pm, Ferdiand’s forces at the village of Bruay were attacked from the rear by cavalry and the freshest troops John Frederick had, which more or less shattered them instantly. After almost an entire day of fighting the Bohemians and Hungarians could stand no longer against superiorly armed and armoured Saxon and English forces. With his left flank crumbling, and his right still assailed by Pembroke, Charles committed his own reserves against the Saxons in a devastating thrust which sent them reeling. This in turn exposed the flank of Edward V in the English centre and Charles tightened his grip around it at about 4 or 5pm. As the day’s light began to fade, what remained of the English cavalry, co-ordinated by Hampton, Nero and Pembroke, slammed into the rear of Bavaria's now weakened army, sending a few units of the more poorly led into a rout. This cascaded until the entire right wing came apart leaving Charles dangerously exposed in the centre. Fearing his own capture, for surely it spelled the end of the war, Charles beat a hasty retreat and managed to gather around 7,000 of his men and retreat in the direction of Arras and thence to Cambrai and Brussels, arriving there by the 7th of May.

    Edward V was only able to give a token chase as far as Cambrai led by Pembroke and Hampton as his own army had fought almost to a standstill. The Battle of Bethune would prove to be the last time a foreign invasion set foot in La Poche, but it was repulsed at terrible cost: the Earl of Angus had perished, along with almost the entire Scottish contingent. Lincoln would die later of his wounds as would Lord Strange and they joined the 3,000 Germans, 1,000 Columbians, Hussites and Bretons, 3,000 Scots, 2,000 English cavalry and 7,000 English infantry who died or were wounded at Bethune. The English army was reduced from 40,000 to just under 25,000 effective soldiers by the battle and many of them were exhausted. However the 15,000 dead had taken almost 28,000 Imperial soldiers with them. Charles V’s plan had almost worked had it not been for Hampton’s quick thinking, the Saxon’s ferocious energy reserves and the sheer grim determination of the English. After the battle the English moved to the relatively unscathed Lens to rest and recover. It was here on the 14th of May that they heard of news from the north.

    The Duke of Alba lay siege to Antwerp whilst Georg Schenk van Toutenberg tried to bring the Netherlands into line. Charles had intended that Alba would secure the port city for the Empire whilst Toutenburg controlled the low countries so Charles could subjugate them later in the campaign. However fate had already played its hand. Teutonberg had defeated a Free Dutch army in April at the Battle of Emmen and killed Count Enno of East Frisia and Wijerd Jelckama thus ending the Protestant resistance in the most northern counties of the Netherlands. Maartem van Rossum had sent a request to Edward for help immediately after the battle and it reached Lens through an unlikely source. Archbishop of Cologne Hermann van Wied had clearly been affected by his conversation with Edward V the year before, and had offered his covert support to the League of Copenhagen, in late June he would publicly announce his renunciation of the Pope and his conversion to Protestantism. Van Wied had also been swayed by the violence brought upon the Free Netherlands by van Toutenberg and Alba’s besieging army.

    Therefore the English army left Lens for Antwerp on the 22nd of May and for the first time in almost 40 years a son of Edward IV was not at the head. Edward V was dying. It would take a few more years yet, but his body could no longer sustain the campaign it once had. According to Cromwell, now keeper of the King’s scroll after the death of Mancini, Edward was spending more and more time abed trying to recover from the wounds and aches a life of Kingship had done to him. It had almost caused a heated argument between Pembroke and Richard of Oudenburg when Edward V had insisted on coming on the campaign, only solved by Richard of Brittany taking his father aside and eventually assuming command of the army himself.

    The English army which left Lens was the hardened kernel of the one which had fought at Bethune. Every soldier had survived one, if not two or more, great battles in the last few years and so they knew what they were marching into. The army had around 4,000 regular cavalry led by the Black Bastard and Pembroke once more whilst Hampton had 3,000 of his irregular light cavalry armed with Schragbus. Of the remaining 18,000 infantry, 4,000 were German led by John Frederick and the rest were a mix of Welsh, English, Scots and Breton led by Brittany, Oudenburg, Humber and Lords Scrope and Carmarthen. All of these were hardened commanders and they would need to be.

    On the 1st of June Charles and the Duke of Alba received word that the English were around 10 miles from Ghent which gave them a difficult choice. After almost 4 months of siege Antwerp was still well-fed from the sea but the walls of the city were almost ready for storming, with the wizened garrison inevitably capitulating soon after, but their 27,000 men risked being trapped in the southern low countries. Van Toutenberg controlled almost all of the Netherlands north of the Rhine for the Emperor with 8,000 men in his army at Nijmegen. However he was pursuing the 6,000 Dutch who had escaped Emmen under Maartem van Rossum who was trying to reach the English whilst avoiding Antwerp. Therefore Charles and Alba could pursue the siege and hope that the city fell before van Rossum or Richard of Brittany arrived, they could march on the English and destroy them, or they could retreat deeper into the Empire. Charles chose the latter option and on the 2nd of June the siege of Antwerp was lifted and the Imperial army marched east heading for Liege.

    This was the safe move from the Emperor, but it gave van Rossum a get out of jail free card, and so he moved south west along the Rhine, finally meeting with Brittany between Leuven and Geel. This gave the Prince of Wales an army of 31,000 men with some of the greatest commanders Protestant Europe could provide. But their enemies also received reinforcements as van Toutenburg joined Charles near Aachen making their army some 35,000 strong. They now outnumbered the English and again Charles chose to fight on a field of his choosing.

    Charles had the advantage of numbers, especially in cavalry as his 8,000 cavalry easily doubled the English regular cavalry. Therefore he sought a wide open plain west of the Rhine in which to use his advantage. Therefore Charles marched for 30 miles south east of Aachen, avoiding the Ardennes and the hills nearer the Rhine, until he reached the village of Euskirchen where the last battle of the Nine Years War would be fought. Charles’ army had good energy levels but flagging morale as many resented the retreat from Antwerp and the 7,000 survivors of Bethune had a streak of fatalism about them.

    Nevertheless the Imperial army formed up the wide plain behind a stream with Euskirchen at the south western end of their left flank and the tiny hamlet of Weilerswist on the right north eastern end. It was a well chosen position as the Imperial Canon could be safely deployed behind the line on a shallow rise overlooking the battlefield. Ferdinand and Charles took the centre, Alba the right wing nearest the ridge line with the cannon on it, and De Sande the left flank with the more mobile cavalry and light infantry to sweep around the English rear. Van Toutenberg would then fill this gap with his reserves. It was a good plan, and Charles had two whole days to prepare the ground before the English army arrived on the 16th of June.

    The English formed up 2 miles away on the morning of the 17th of June, this gave van Rossum, John Frederick and Richard of Brittany time to survey the battlefield and Charles’ lines. The English were low on supplies and could not wait for battle, and they had also received word from Archbishop van Wied. King Christian III of Denmark was leading an army of 15,000 men from Denmark-Norway and the northern Empire, particularly Brandenburg south with all speed. The Archbishop had given the Protestant army leave to cross the Rhine at Cologne and simultaneously proclaimed his defection from the Roman Catholic Church. These 15,000 men would begin to arrive on the evening of the 17th, and it seems Charles had not heard of this army.

    Therefore the English army formed up on the 17th of June knowing that they only had to hold the field and Charles’ attention long enough for Christian to close the gap. Pembroke and Giovanni Il Nero commanded the entire cavalry division on the right flank who had the job of breaking De Sande’s lines and flanking around Euskirchen to the south. The centre would be held by John Frederick and Maartem van Rossum together with their 10,000 infantry. Their job would be to cross the small stream and engage the Emperor head on. Finally Duke Richard and the English lords would have the left flank, directly under the Imperial guns.

    The 17th of June was bright and breezy with a relatively strong wind coming from the west. This gave Richard of Brittany an idea for hampering the enemy cannons. Before dawn a group of Hussites and Saxon exiles had approached Euskirchen from the south, having ridden around during the night. The village had been evacuated and used as feed stores for Charles’ army, but the poor quality of the buildings meant that the Emperor had decided not to hold it. However the village was still rather flammable. The Hussites and Saxons were able to set fire to around half of the buildings before riding for the English lines. The resultant fire created a large plume of smoke which drifted across the battlefield and obscured the eye-sight of the Imperial cannon. They would still make hits throughout the day but losses would be lighter than expected.

    To kill time the English spent most of the morning forming up, and it was only after a few lighter Imperial guns were towed forwards and began taking pot-shots at the English lines that the order was finally given to advance. The English infantry streamed forwards, wanting to quickly close with Alba’s force to minimise cannon losses. The Germanic/Dutch forces in the middle remained disciplined and organised and more restrained, especially as the smoke from Euskirchen was mostly in their eyes. Finally the Cavalry slowly advanced into the smoke, not wishing to close before the infantry were engaged. The English army benefitted from a multitude of experienced commanders. Many of them had been used to independent orders before and so Richard of Brittany, not the commander that his father or uncle were, was able to delegate more roles to them and so could concentrate on his own battle.

    Around late morning the English forded the stream with a roar and clattered into Alba’s men. Some of them had survived Dusseldorf and they knew what the English could do.The English led with Halberds to break the Spanish Tercios, and again had some success, but Alba was now wise to the tactic, ordering his handgunners to target these halberdiers directly. In response the English advance bogged down against more or less equal numbers.

    Across the field John Frederick and van Rossum were both similarly engaged in hand to hand combat with the Imperial loyalists - the Imperial Civil War envisaged in one battle. The Protestant Germans had already suffered a few bruises in the 1531 campaign and this began to show as they were gradually pushed back towards the stream.

    Seeing the danger Pembroke and Il Nero took their cavalry around behind the burning village, their movements obscured by the smoke, and landed on de Sande’s flank and rear, putting much of the infantry to flight in short order. Some of the Cavalry escaped behind the main Imperial line as Toutenburg came in to close the gap. Faced with the massed ranks of Dutch Tercios the English Cavalry had to retreat again west of the village. As at Bethune and Talmas before it, the Battle of Euskirchen dissolved into a muddy tussle over inches and yards. For three hours, both sides were more or less equally matched with Charles’ plan holding firm. The Cannons were still able to take occasional pot shots through the smoke and at one stage killed Lord Scrope with grape-shot at point blank range after his York Company had broken a Tercios. Across the field Teutonburg plugged the gap south of Euskirchen to ward off anymore English cavalry and put the rest of his force against Maarten van Rossum’s flank.

    Before long this pressure took its toll and Rossum was killed. Only John of Julich-Cleves-Berg was able to rally the Free Dutch infantry and take over command. Meanwhile John Frederick returned the favour and reportedly slayed Ferdinand King of Bohemia and Hungary in one to one combat. This had a greater impact on the Imperial line as the Bohemian and Hungarian infantry, already defeated in one battle and out of their depth against elite Saxon heavy infantry, crumbled. Into this gap poured the English reserves led by Richard of Oudenburg and the entire axis of the central tussle moved from a south-west to north-east orientation to a more simple west-east alignment. This meant that the English had inadvertently split the Imperial force, leaving Alba exposed on the right flank.

    Pembroke and the Black Bastard saw this gap and threw the majority of their cavalry at it, easily crushing the remains of the Imperial cavalry which tried to stop them. The entire squadron then swung right and encircled Charles’ personal force. With Alba engaged and cut off, only Georg Schenk von Toutenburg was free enough to respond to the new situation. By late afternoon the battle still held in the balance. Almost all of the infantry save the Catholic Dutch were exhausted, and they slowly pushed their Protestant countrymen back so that they blocked the western end of the Allied line.

    Then just before 5pm two things happened. Firstly Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton, took his cavalry in close behind van Toutenburg’s men and unleashed a Schragbus volley at point blank range. This panicked the survivors and allowed John Frederick and John of Ulrich-Cleves-Berg to retake the initiative. Secondly the first forces of King Christian III began to arrive on the battlefield. Coming from the north and east, they easily overran the Imperial cannons and finally silenced them. The small Danish cavalry force emerged directly behind Alba’s faltering men and hit them in the rear as the English cordon refused to budge. Somewhere in this melee the Duke of Alba was himself killed and the rest of force surrendered.

    All that remained of the Imperial army was the 8,000 or so men fighting with Charles and Van Toutenberg in the centre of the field. Yet for all its success and strength this line which had once faced northwest was now pointing almost passed north itself. Consequently when the Danish, and relieved English infantry, added their weight to the Germanic forces, the Imperial army was gradually pushed into the embers of Euskirchen and the stream which had once been to their front. Under this immense pressure the exhausted Imperials began to quit the field, although devoid of horses. there was little that could be done to escape the English and Danish cavalry. In this confusion Charles V was captured. Contemporary English folklore stated that he was found cowering under a Rosebush, but it is likely that the Germanic accounts are correct in saying that he slipped into a small ditch and lacked the strength to pull himself out again.

    By sheer grim will and determination, not to mention a few well-timed allies, the English and their ‘friends across the seas’ had finally triumphed over the Holy League and ended the Nine Years’ War. There were very few Imperial survivors from Euskirchen, with estimates ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 and all the senior commanders were killed, save Charles V. Again rumours say that van Toutenburg was drowned by some Free Dutch soldiers in the mud of the field where he had fallen, exhausted. As for the League of Copenhagen, van Rossum and Scrope were dead and Richard of Brittany had taken a head blow from a Spanish pike weapon. He would survive, but given later events, he clearly suffered long term symptoms. Of the allied forces only 4,000 Dutch, 3,000 German and 13,000 English would return home from the original 31,000 men. Europe had fought to a standstill, and now peace had to be arranged.

    Charles was immediately shipped to England to join Francis I in the Tower of London, his escort had allowed him to be pelted with vegetables and faeces as he was taken through Antwerp to the English fleet in the harbour. The Archbishop of Liege was the unlucky one chosen to make the journey to Rome to arrange a peace conference with Clement VII. The Churches attempts to end the Reformation and bring peace to Europe on the battlefield had ended in disaster and now they would have to agree peace with the victorious Protestants. There was much haranguing over the location of the conference; Clement refused to leave Rome and the Protestants refused to meet anywhere in France or south of the Alps.In the end the Prince-Bishop of Liege himself offered a solution and the Liege Convocation opened in September 1531. Edward V was present, the Prince of Wales still recovering from his wounds, as was every other head of state in Europe whether they had been involved in the war or not. Cardinal Farnese spoke for the Holy League after Clement had refused to attend. The two most conspicuous absences were the Kings of France and Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor. They had been moved to Calais but Edward had deliberately kept them there and Farnese had to request that they be brought. This small request spoke volumes as to who was truly the master of Europe in Autumn of 1531.

    The Convocation of Liege was one of the longest and most complicated in the History of Europe. Months of preamble and finalisation of details were needed on either side of the main treaty, and here is not the place to recount such matters. Suffice it to say that the first months of stalling, once Francis and Charles had been brought in, were over the Protesatant Lords reluctance to accept the Pope’s authority. They were technically at war with him but believed that his authority was illegitimate and so could not recognise it in order to end the war. English lawyer Thomas Cromwell suggested the compromise; Cardinal Farnese was recorded as the representative as the Prince of Rome, not the Pope and the convocation resulted in two treaties which ended the secular and religious elements of the War separately.

    The Treaty of Liege (1532) was finally signed in January 1532. It concluded the war between France, Spain, the Empire and the Crown of England and her allies. In exchange for his freedom Charles V had to accept the loss of all Spanish Islands in the Columbias and claims to the area save for those lands in Venezuela. New Spain would remain an embarrassing pimple on the Columbian continent, constantly harassed by the English navy and native tribes with the modern sites of Maracaibo and Caracas being the only real settlements. Most painfully of all for Charles he was forced to agree that his domain as Emperor no longer included the Free Netherlands, Hesse, Saxony, and a few smaller territories in the north of the Empire. In short the Empire was a solely Catholic one and the newly Protestant territories could now ignore the Emperor’s edicts. To maintain some semblance of decorum, these areas would still be ruled by Electors as a mere figurehead but otherwise there was no Imperial jurisdiction over them. This was a devastating blow and is widely considered to be the end of the Holy Roman Empire as a going concern.

    As for France, Francis was released after an outrageous sum of £100,000 was agreed for his ransom. Francis also had to agree to the enlargement of La Poche. The war had shown the vulnerability of the region without natural barriers and so the border was extended to the River Somme as far east as Saint Quentin and then north east to the Avesnois Forest and then back towards Ostend. This would ensure that La Poche was well defended on all but a small section of its eastern edge and its northern border with the Catholic regions of the lowlands. The ransom and lost land would bankrupt France and the taxes to pay for it only served to make the rebels in Aquitaine and Le Massif Central even more angry. France would be busy for years trying to contain its internal population.

    The final borders of Europe were redrawn to reflect these changes. Aside from La Poche, The Free Netherlands became the United Provinces and stretched as far south as the line between Antwerp and Maastricht, including those two cities. The rest of Burgundy was broken into the city states of Bruges, Ghent and Brussels with Liege retaining its Bishopric. These were Catholic realms but aside from the Imperial domain. Similarly Cologne, Dusseldorf and the other Germanic cities around it became independent city states which were nominally Protestant. The Treaty of Liege was designed to end the Nine Years’ War and was essentially secular, although many of its terms had religious consequences, but it did not solve the Reformation.

    The Edict of Liege was read out by Cardinal Farnese after the Treaty had been signed. It acknowledged some corruption and excesses in the Catholic Church (although these were vague and unclear) and that the ‘Prince of Rome’ no longer exercised any authority over the territories of the King of England, Duke of Brittany, the United Provinces, Saxony, Cologne, Denmark, Sweden, and a number of smaller German states. It was an astonishing Edict and showed just how bankrupt and broken Europe had become.

    The final pieces of the Treaty were settled throughout 1532 and the Convocation of Liege finally ended in August of that year. Europe would never be the same again. England had become the undisputed masters of the continent, and many of the continent’s Protestants looked to London for guidance and leadership. As for England itself, the Nine Years’ War changed the country irrevocably.
     
    1532-1536
  • 1532-1533: The Setting Sun
    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001
    The victories at Bethune and Euskirchen led to an outpouring of ecstasy and celebration across England. Even in the majority Catholic areas, Edward’s victory over the forces of the Pope had proven English mettel and the righteousness of their cause. It seemed to many that God had approved of the English separation from Rome, and this went a long way to quell any dissenting Roman Catholic voices. The final months of 1531 had seen large masses for the dead from the War and the mood in England was rather sombre. Of course all of this was whilst discussions were taking place in Liege over the future of Europe. Only in February 1532 when Edward V returned home with a signed Treaty were celebrations truly allowed to commence.

    Despite the privations of late winter, a great feast was held in London for all the victors of the war; English, Breton, Welsh, Scots, Hussite, Columbian, Germanic and Dutch. The celebration lasted three days and the entire city was in a festive mood as parties were held across all the notable Halls and homes of the south east of England. As well as every major English Lord and Noble, also present were Margaret I of Scotland, Charles of Guelders, John of Julich-Cleves-Berg, and Archbishop van Wied. There was also a table for William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, Robert Barnes, Richard Bayfield and Thomas Hitton, the fathers of the European and English Reformation in particular.

    In fact given the myriad of people present for the subsequent Parliament held between February and May it became known as the Reform Parliament. It would be the last one presided over by Edward V. In long established tradition, the King presented a multitude of petitions, requests, statues and aggrandizements before the Parliament, but he needn’t have bothered. Cromwell records that the Parliament was so overcome with enthusiasm that Speaker Sir John Paston had to order the yeomen of Westminster into the Hall to bring order on more than two occasions. Every piece of business swept by without any real opposition.

    Firstly the Treaty of Liege was affirmed to much enthusiasm by the Lords. This then allowed Edward to reward the loyal men of the War. La Poche was now expanded to include all of France north of the Somme thus allowing new titles to be created, their French holders were deemed forfeit. Giovanni Il Nero, a mere bastard, had proven his skill and loyalty to the English crown on innumerable occasions and in honour of his deceased father the Prince of Harts he was made Giovanni of Harts, Earl Rivers and Amiens and Captain of Calais. The Rivers title had died with William Compton, adopted son of Anthony Woodville, and the land parcelled out to English courtiers. Instead Giovanni would become Lord of Calais and Earl of Amiens, the King’s main agent in La Poche and chair of the newly created Council of Artois. He could sustain his own dynasty, and would remain one of the top military men in service to the Crown of England until his death.

    Elsewhere Lord Carmarthen (Arthur Tudor’s eldest son) became Duke of Boulogne, adding the western lands of La Poche to the Richmond title by inheritance. Richard of Oudenburg, finally ennobled as Duke of York after his fathers’ death, was also made Duke of Oudenburg with the north eastern part of La Poche under his domain. The new Duke of York and Oudenburg was also made Constable and Marshall of England, representing the king in Europe. Richard would move the Constable’s Court finally to Calais, where he and Giovanni of Amiens would work together to advance England’s cause in Europe.

    Finally George Boleyn would become Lord of Cambrai with responsibility for guarding the eastern border against France. Between them these four men would form the nucleus of the new Artois Council. Modelled on the Councils in Wales, the North and elsewhere, the Artois Council kept the King’s peace and collected his taxes in La Poche.

    Henry Tudor was also awarded with the title Earl of Columbia which made him the largest single landowner in the New World beyond the named companies and he was also made Viceroy and Chancellor of the Council of Columbias which by now expanded from Santa Anna (Aruba) now called St Anne all the way to New Norfolk (Nova Scotia) with a team of Seneschals and Justiciars to exert his will over the vast area. Henry would return to the New World in June where he established his permanent seat outside New London (OTL Jacksonville).

    The Earl of Pembroke became the joint Master of Arms and Horse with the mandate to repair and retrain the English Army and Companies. The nine companies (York, Ludlow, Coventry, Bristol, Norwich, London, Piacenza, Calais and Winchester) were joined by the Chester Company and between them constituted the basis of a standing army. With the deaths of Lincoln and Surrey their sons Richard de la Pole and Edward Seymour were elevated to their fathers’ positions.

    Beyond this there were countless other awards for individual Captains and Sergeants who had fought in the war, and the filling of vacant JP, Justiciar, Seneschal and Council positions which had opened during the war. Many of the senior officials were given land in La Poche, but Edward gave land to any soldier who wanted it in the New World, and around 10,000 families would make the journey in the next four years filling out Cove and the new land around Cheapside (Veracruz OTL) now renamed Hartsport, the capital of New Surrey (OTL central Mexico). The name St Nicholas was quietly dropped as it was associated with an older, more mysterious, and ultimately erroneous era.

    Yet the biggest change in the New World came in New Canaan where the city of Kadesh (OTL Union City NJ) had a population of almost 20,000 people in the wake of the war. Many Hussites and other non-Catholic refugees from central Europe who could not find land in the new Protestant states left for the New World, transported by English ships through Hanseatic ports. Edward had offered the Hussite soldiers who had been instrumental during the war land in the rest of Norland in reward but they had refused, preferring New Canaan. Instead Edward had agreed to be their overlord. The people of New Canaan could rule their own affairs but their borders and sovereignty would be protected by the King of England. This agreement came with New Canaan being enlarged to include Long Island and all land between New Avon (OTL Mass) and the northern shores of Calvary (Chesapeake Bay). (Almost all OTL Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware). In gratitude and recognition of this the New Canaan Conclave (rather than a Council so as not to be mistaken for Crown Land) founded a new settlement across the river from Kadesh (OTL Hell’s Kitchen) which they named New York in the King’s honour (I am so, so sorry I just could not resist the serendipity and irony here, sincere apologies).

    Although these negotiations would only be settled after the end of the Parliament, what with transit times to the New World, the offer of Overlordship to the New Canaanites belies a wider trend. The issues of the war in Ireland and Brittany had not been forgotten. Both regions did not take kindly to the unilateral separation of their realms from the Papacy by dint of an English monarch. Therefore Edward created a new Council in Ireland, and reinforced the one in Brittany. Ireland would still be under the Overlordship of the King of England but he would delegate much of his role to a Lord (or even Lady) who would oversee the Council. In Brittany, the Duke (soon to be Richard’s second son Edward) would again run his own affairs with the help of a Council but his borders and sovereignty would be overseen by the King of England. Following the Canaanite example, the Council of Brittany would be renamed the Conclave of Brittany to make this distinction clear.

    Whether or not it was planned, in April of the 1532 Parliament John of Julich-Cleves-Berg presented a similar request to King Edward from the Lords of the United Provinces. Guelders, Nassau and Cleves were united in their dislike of the Pope, but also each other, and so the early governance of the United Provinces was characterised by chaos and anarchy. Therefore when these Lords formed a Conclave and requested that Edward act as overlord, he willingly agreed, and selected John as the first Chancellor of the Conclave of the United Netherlands. To cement the deal Richard of Vannes (future Richard IV) was married to Anne of Cleves, and invested as Duke of Cornwall.

    Therefore the Reform Parliament instituted the basis of the future ‘devolved’ form of government which characterized Britannic Politics in later years. The Conclaves of New Canaan, Brittany and the United Netherlands were largely independent and merely looked to the King of England as an independent arbiter and a military supporter in times of trouble. In Brittany’s case, and soon the Netherlands too, this was cemented by personal Unions before long. In these two cases the Conclaves were led by Breton and Dutch members but included an English representative to report back to the king; the Seneschals of Brittany and Cleves.

    The Councils were far more dependent on the King than the Conclaves; they were Crown land subject to his laws, taxes and appointments. As such these Councils could be steered a lot more effectively than the Conclaves. The four Councils of Wales, the North, the West and Artois were all staffed by Yorkist loyalists usually chosen by the King and very much in his service and beholden to his whims. Ireland and the Columbias only differed owing to their unique geographical situation. In Ireland, Lady Margaret had successfully introduced her new role as ‘Lady of Ireland’ and this allowed her symbolic power over the Council and the country as a whole. In reality Sir Edward Wesley orchestrated much of the Council under the King’s orders, but was aided by Lady Margaret and her good relations with the Irish. The Council of the Columbias was almost identical to the North, Artois and others save that the distance precluded much Royal oversight. Instead a Viceroy was appointed to act as the King’s represented, Henry Tudor taking this role and becoming largely ‘King of the Columbias’ in all but name.

    In 1532 these Councils and Conclaves were by no means perfect, and a lot of the legal relationships and jurisdictions were still being worked out, but it would fall to Edward V’s successors to solve these conundrums. Regardless of the teething troubles, these new institutions would form the framework for the new Yorkist World Order in the decades and centuries to come.

    Having rewarded the heroes of the Nine Years’ War and redrawn the borders and governance of the Old and New Worlds, the Reform Parliament finally turned to religious matters. Thomas Cranmer had already been confirmed Archbishop of Canterbury after the death of John Hastings, and Edward seemingly knew that he needed to follow up the Act of Supremacy in 1527 with more concrete and clear reforms. Therefore the Reform Parliament charged Archbishop Cranmer with creating a new English Prayer Book to replace the Latin verses and in ‘The Declaration of Letters’ official royal writs were made for the publishing of an English Bible. The Parliament also passed the Statute of the Restraint of Appeals which made Edward the supreme legal authority anywhere he held sway.

    As if to underline this Thomas Cromwell became the new Chief Justice, making John Taylor the new Chief Justice of the Star Chamber under him. Cromwell had shown his brilliant legal mind at Liege, in fact he was still there ironing out the details when he was made Chief Justice, and had been instrumental in bringing the Dutch Lords into the war.

    The final act was another alliance with Scotland. Margaret I, only surviving child of James IV and Catherine of York, had married John Douglas, Earl of Angus in 1522 aged 26. Given Douglas’s Reformist leanings, and the influence of English propaganda on Scotland, Margaret had similarly taken a turn towards the Reformists. After Liege, and realising she was surrounded by Protestant powers, she signed the Augsburg Confession and joined the League of Copenhagen in June 1532 thus bringing Scotland into the Protestant fold. To cement this alliance, Margaret sought a marriage for her only daughter Anne whilst in London in 1532. Anne was six years old and looked to be the sole heir to the Scottish Crown. The Lords of Scotland would have preferred a European match for her, but whilst in London the wily old Edward V turned her head by allowing Scotland permission to settle in New Norfolk (OTL Newfoundland). This was enough to win Margaret over and she pledged to marry Anne, Queen of Scots to Manuel, Lord of Brest, fourth son of Richard Duke of Brittany. Anne and Manuel had a common Great-grandfather in Edward IV but this was enough to be acceptable, and besides, it wasn’t like the Pope was still able to judge the marriage legal or not.

    Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, was made Chancellor of the Exchequer and given the role of recovering the royal finances after the war, as the final act of the Reform Parliament. This was a tall order; the Crown had been so desperate in 1530 as to sell off 10% of the Church’s land in order to refill their coffers and the London Banks were all on their knees. Similarly La Poche was entirely devastated and Nova Albion was still recovering from the Great Raid of 1524. However the war also brought major financial gain to England. The French £100,000 ransom for Francis I immediately went to the London Banks and they also benefited from the post-Liege Europe. The low countries had some banks, but with the Italian lenders all now refusing credit to the new Protestant lands (as well as many of them going bankrupt when Charles V defaulted) London became the credit capital of Protestant Europe. The Alderman and Ludgate banks were joined in 1533 by the Saxon Bank based near Moorgate which specially dealt with the League of Copenhagen realms. Furthermore, the New World continued to be the steroids required to keep the English economy afloat with Gold and other valuable products still arriving, especially from New Kent. New discoveries would only increase this wealth.

    1532-1533 Part II
    Empires of the Suns, W O’Reilly, 1992
    Between 1530 and 1532 the attention of the world was all on Europe. Therefore the average student of History would be forgiven for thinking that the New World was uninteresting in these years; Albion was rebuilt, the Aztecs continued to slowly rot, New Kent continued to grow, and the Spanish threat was neutralised. But Sir Henry Warren advanced English efforts in the Columbias all the same. In 1529 Warren had founded Ithica (Panama) and founded Northam and Southam at either end of Lake Pantagenet (OTL Colon and Panama City across Gatun Lake) and then gone on to make first contact with the Incan Empire.

    Warren noted that the Incans seemed to have large quantities of Gold and Silver, and given the exhaustion of Aztec sources this could not have come at a better time. However the Nine Years’ War meant that little help could come from Europe, and instead Robert Parker, Duke of Cornel who had been left in charge by Lord Hampton was able to gather around 12 ships and 1,000 men from the Columbias as far north as New Kent. However by 1530 Warren had made contact with Atahualpa in Quito who was engaged in a civil war with his brother Huascar in Cusco. Remembering Hampton’s strategy for defeating the Aztec’s Warren agreed to supply Atahualpa with powerful weapons, demonstrated by his few soldiers, in exchange for help in acquiring them.

    Therefore in the winter of 1530-1531 a group of Incans, and other local tribes set about hauling the 12 English ships through the Ithacan jungle in order to carry the English force south to the Incan Empire. The origins of the English name for this territory have been lost but by 1531 the Incan Empire was being referred to as Barrow by Parker, Warren and the Grand Columbian Company officials and the name soon stuck. By April of 1531 Warren’s fleet had reached a city which he named Barrowton as he saw it as the main entry point to this new land (OTL Guayaquil). From here Robert Parker and his 1,000 men army marched in land. The English army was mostly armed with plate, pike and handgun, but not as well equipped as the soldiers fighting in Europe. However Parker did have 100 cavalry with him commanded by John Hampton. John was the bastard son of Henry Tudor, born in Cornel, John had only seen his father occasionally, but he had inherited his strapping physique, not to mention his penchant for gunpowder weapons and headless charges. Therefore Hampton’s cavalry squadron were all armed with the traditional lances, but also Schragbus.

    Within weeks the deal with Atahualpa began to go sour. As Lord Hampton had done in St Nicholas, Parker kept increasing the prices for the use of his men against Huascar and in exchange Atahualpa expected them to do much more of the fighting. After Parker made quick work of a Cusco force near Dunberry (OTL Tumbes) in 1531, Atahualpa quickly saw the English’s capabilities and began to almost exclusively rely on them. Aside from increasing tension with Parker, this also shattered the morale of Atahualpa’s own army and the belief of his people in his leadership. This tense standoff continued for months with Atahualpa handing more and more his wealth over in exchange for the English fighting his battles for him. The tension could not have been lost on Parker. He was sending countless lbs of Gold and Silver aboard Warren’s ships, and his men were becoming agitated at their one-sided victories. Parker’s own records show that after three months of fighting by August 1531 his army had only lost 7 cavalry and 64 infantry - he still had over 900 effective soldiers.

    All of this evidence may help us to understand what happened on the 17th of September 1531 when Atahuapla and Huascar met at Cajamarca. Both men had brought their armies and so Parker and Hampton were there also. The ‘Battle’ of Cajamarca has no clear origin or cause. Some suggest that Atahualpa intended to ambush Huascar and that it went wrong, others that Parker intended it as a convenient place to clean shop. Regardless, we do know that the two Incans met in the town square, Atahualpa insisting that Parker and his men act as his guard. This was doubtless intended to threaten Huascar but means that there are few Atahualpan witnesses to what happened next.

    All we know for certain is that shooting started after the parlay had lasted a few hours. Parker later recounted that Huascar’s men had tried to assassinate Atahualpa and the English had opened fire. In the tight town, with Schragbus fire, Huascar did not stand a chance and was quickly killed. However this does not explain why Atahualpa also turned up dead. In the confusion Huascar’s remaining army charged the town and were easily taken down by disciplined English gunfire and pike formations. Atahualpa’s force, half a mile away, responded to the noise and arrived to mop up and be presented with their leaders’ body. Parker also presented the Atahualpa’s lieutenants with the original contract Atahualpa had agreed to which stipulated that his land would pass to Parker upon his death.

    All of these claims were patently bogus, and Cajamarca is now seen as a total manipulation by Robert Parker in order to gain the Incan Empire for himself and the English Crown. But at the time the claim, and more likely the English guns, convinced Atahualpa’s men to stand down. Parker would later write to Edward that as Huascar had died before Atahualpa, the latter’s land included that of the former and so the entire Incan Empire now fell under the English Crown.

    In a mere matter of months, almost by accident, a vast indignenous Empire had been captured by the English and a secure supply of Gold and Silver had been discovered. Yet regardless of the ‘scrap of paper’ as it has become known in indignenous societies, Parker did not have the men to hold down his new gains. Cajamarca had left him with still 700 soldiers, but the Incan Empire was vast, and so he ordered John Hampton to hold Barrowton whilst he and Henry Warren went for more men and help.

    The two men returned to Cornel in December 1531, replete with their large amounts of treasure and tales of a rich land ripe for the taking, and a marginally better climate than the Columbias. The treasure encouraged another 1,000 to set sail for Barrow within 6 months and an English settlement at Barrowton was set up by the end of 1532. However Parker himself waited for better weather in the Atlantic and only reached London in July 1532, a mere month after the Reform Parliament ended. The result was a veritable Gold rush.

    The Grand Columbia Company were further delighted to have been responsible for another vast discovery for the English Crown and their 15% stake of the treasure was a hefty one indeed, allowing them to repay all of their debts and establish their own Columbian Bank in London as a side business. However Edward V, under Wiltshire’s advice, was very shrewd with the Incan treasure and territory. At his command the majority of the treasure was locked in the Tower of London to be slowly introduced to the market to prevent inflation, and the Grand Columbian Company created another trading concern. The Royal Barrow Company was created under Edward’s writs and with GCC capital and personnel but was deemed a separate entity. This allowed them to gain more investment, independence and control over Barrow and Columbia individually. Concurrently Warren, Parker and John Hampton were transferred to the RBC with Parker its main agent in the southern Columbias. Ithaca would also pass into their hands as a vital transit route to the south.

    Given the distance, Parker would not arrive back in Barrowton until March of 1533, almost two years after he left. But Hampton and a few clergy had been able to hold the situation together. Parker had returned with almost 3,000 soldiers with another 5,000 or so settlers following in his wake. This was more than enough for him to pacify the remaining Incan resistance and establish a government at Barrowton, for now there would not be a Council.

    In New Surrey, the GCC were now able to concentrate on the Aztecs. Riven by disease, famine, and robbed of their wealth, the Aztec Empire dissolved upon the death of Cuauhtemoc in 1533. The English at Hartsport subdued the local riots and the GCC was quick to send a force to Tenochtitlan to restore order. Richard Morley was made governor of the newly enlarged New Surrey, and using local muscle was able to bring the entire region to heal over the next three years. Therefore as the Sun set on the reign of Edward V, England’s influence across the former Aztec and Incan Empires was assured.

    Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001
    Edward V had become King before his eighteenth birthday. He died aged 62 in London on the 19th of November 1533. His reign saw an unprecedented change in England and the whole world. In his 46 years on the throne Edward had steered his realm from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance with unmatched deftness and aplomb. He had charted a course between the New World, Heresy, the Papacy, the Reformation, the Holy Roman Empire, the machinations of three different French kings, dynastic rebellions, tax revolts, overmighty subjects, and Scottish invasions. Building on the foundations of his father, Edward V had created a modern and efficient political system which, though dependent on his oversight, could survive in his absence.

    The Yorkist New Monarchy was built on the triad of vigilance, subtlety and stead-fast conviction. Edward V relied on capable and loyal subordinates, but after his first decade was less blinded by nepotism and tradition, he rewarded the men who deserved it most. That the New Monarchy was built by second sons and low borns such as Henry Tudor, Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell shows how forward a thinker he was. Edward also delegated responsibility as never before. Taking his father’s overlapping and all inclusive household, Edward V created the ‘Yorkist Consensus’ built on prosperity, social mobility and loyalty. The positions of Lord Protector and Marshall of England came into their own in the Nine Years War.

    Arguably one of Edward’s greatest achievements, the Nine Years War saw the English Crown face down and vanquish France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire simultaneously. This would have been unthinkable in 1487, and was still astonishing in 1531. His willingness to try new ideas such as the Schragbus, and his ability to unite such disparate peoples as the Hussites, Welsh, Bretons and Dutch were both huge testaments to his skill and success.

    The War also brought the Reformation to England. Much has been written of Edward’s piety, but it is perhaps enough to say here that he was a religious man who cared about honour and just rewards and as such the Papal corruption under Julius, Leo and Clement was something he could not tolerate. He ushered in the Reformation to England, but would die before its completion. However Edward V was the one who took the bold first step of cutting the chord with Rome, it could have perhaps only been done by as brave and capable a King as him.

    But Edward’s cultural impact does not stop with the Reformation. The first seeds of the Renaissance planted by his father were nurtured by Edward V and blossomed into a hive of literature, art and ideas in the heart of London. The Royal presses in particular spread knowledge from Macchiavelli’s political theories to the first printed English copy of the New Testament. His impact on the world, Europe and the British Isles cannot be understated.

    Edward was born during the Readeption of 1471. He was born into a divided and violent realm, suffering the aftershocks of a 20 year Civil War. England was a small player, a lunatic fringe of European society, she was unremarkable and frail. Edward died leaving England as the undisputed master of Europe. Certainly for Protestants there was no other. Even the Catholic powers had to grudgingly accept England’s supremacy and respect them, even if they despised them. This was Edward’s doing. Of course he benefited from the maverick ideas of his brother Richard, the safe hands of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond and his son Arthur, not to mention the myriad talents of Tyndale, Bradbury, Hampton, Chatham, Warwick, Northumberland, Pembroke and many others, but it was he who put it all together.

    Edward V was a master tactician, politician, intellectual and warrior. He confronted the Papacy, the Empire, the French and the Aztecs and came out on top. He was truly a King for the ages.

    ‘The Placeholder King? Richard III of England by Richard Rex in English Historical Review 2004

    Richard III was the unexpected King. He was the second son of Edward V and was anticipated as the lifelong Duke of Brittany. When his older brother Edward died at Lyndhurst in 1523, Richard was thrust into the limelight and ripped from Brittany where he had spent most of his adult life. He was known as a quiet man, and for all his duties as Duke, still spent a lot of time with his wife in their Palace at Jocelyn. Perhaps this explains his eight children.

    Richard was everything a King needed to be; militarily minded, political, cautious, pious and just. But it was all unremarkable, so the prevailing wisdom goes. Richard was a Catholic, although it is believed he abided by his father’s Break with Rome, and of course fought for it many times. However to many students of the Reformation he is seen as a mere ‘placeholder’ for his son Richard IV.

    Richard III was respected, and enjoyed the support of the commons and nobility alike across all the various realms where England held sway, but this was to be expected following Edward V to the throne. Richard’s reign saw little in the way of groundbreaking legislation, even the 1534 Act of Uniformity was in the works before his coronation. This has led more general historians to join their theological colleagues and declare Richard as a mere straw man for the agendas of others.

    This theory, however, would not do Richard justice. Firstly it is unfair to judge him against his predecessor and successor who both oversaw huge changes and growth in England. Secondly we must take into account Richard’s handicaps. He succeeded his father at a time when Europe was still coming to terms with the Protestant victory in the Nine Years War, the Reformation itself was still being ironed out, and new domains were still unsettled. This alone would have brought him troubles but he had to contend with them whilst having a physical disability.

    Many have sought to identify Richard III’s malaise with suggestions from Dyslexia all the way up to retardation via Schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Indeed in the Post-Modern world every historian seems to have a new mental illness with which to diagnose a King who has been dead more than 400 years. Perhaps the solution is far more simple. Richard’s ancestors did not seem to have any discernible mental illness and (one great-great-grandchild aside) his children and descendants seem to have been unaffected too. Similarly those trying to use Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Nine Years’ War are perhaps closer to the mark but miss the material facts in front of them.

    Richard was quiet in his pre- Prince of Wales years, he was not retarded, in fact he dealt with Brittany’s transition to Conclave government rather well. The reality is that he sustained an injury at Euskirchen. We know from Cromwell that Richard was unconscious for a few hours after a glancing blow from a Spanish pole-axe, and it would seem this had a long term impact. After Euskirchen there are large parts of the record from which Richard is missing entirely. There is little written record of any symptoms but the popular folk song ‘Drunk King Dickon’ refers to him having balance issues, double vision and crushing headaches. The historical accuracy of bawdy drinking songs aside, if there is even a grain of truth to these rumours, as there so often is, then it would suggest Richard III suffered from some kind of migraine or concussion brought on by his war wound.

    Consequently, that Richard III was suffering with such an injury, and still managed a peaceful transition to his son, shows that he was much more than a mere placeholder, he was a Son of York and his kingship reflected that.


    1534-1536: The Grandsons in Splendor

    ‘The Placeholder King? Richard III of England by Richard Rex in English Historical Review 2004

    Richard III’s Parliament was held in the spring of 1534 and unlike the previous Reform Parliament, it was rather brief and perfunctory. The usual oaths and pledges were made and Richard confirmed Richmond as Lord Protector and Oudenburg as Constable and Marshall of England. Indeed the Parliament most represents an intention on Richard III’s part to demonstrate continuity with his father’s reign. The Councils and Conclaves were affirmed and pledges of overlordship taken from Brittany, New Canaan and the Netherlands. These regions only owed Richard military service against their neighbours and in exchange could use him as the final legal authority. For Brittany especially, Richard III’s brother Edward was made Duke of Brittany at the age of 17 and confirmed in his marriage to Beatrice Landais, daughter of one of the leading Breton landowners.

    The Councils in Wales, North, Ireland, West Country, Artois and Columbias all swore allegiance to Richard as their king with power to command their actions, change their laws and appoint their members. The only issue with the succession was made in Artois where some of the newly absorbed French peasantry around Amiens and Cambrai refused to heed the King’s law and attacked a few JPs. Giovanni of Amiens quickly squashed this unrest, but it was a worrying sign.

    The one major piece of legislation passed in the 1534 ‘Small Parliament’ was the Act of Uniformity. Archbishop Cranmer had finally completed his Book of Common Prayer which would become required in all English Churches, although it was adopted by Reformist-minded clergy wherever Richard held sway. The BCP was a stroke of genius by Cranmer; the worst excesses of Roman Catholicism such as indulgences, penance, Saint-worship and confession were removed but the main concepts of the mass and transubstantiation were vaguely ‘Anglicised’. They were retained in moderate form in a sufficient way to be acceptable to Catholics and Protestants.

    Of course the Act of Uniformity easily passed Parliament and established the character of the Anglican Church. New more modest vestments were mandatory, but again they were tempered by a vague compromise between Protestant and Catholic. Similarly, Crucifixes were permitted, although some churches opted for simple crosses, again the Act of Uniformity was less ‘Uniform’ than it could have been, but allowed a degree of unity in worship.

    Nonetheless there was some foreign opposition to it. Clement VII had died and been replaced by Paul III who as Cardinal Farnese had represented the Papacy at the Convocation of Liege. Paul would come to launch the counter-reformation whilst simultaneously opposing any outright Protestant moves. Consequently he banned the Book of Common Prayer in all Catholic countries and excommunicated Thomas Cranmer into the bargain.

    This added an impetus to Catholic plots from outside England. Sir Richard Vaux had escaped the Righteous Rebellion and made his way to Toledo. With the Archbishop as his sponsor he had won support from Charles V who had settled in Madrid to lick his wounds after his release from English Custody. Vaux was a vital link between Charles and the Ware faction in England. So named for Elizabeth of Ware, eldest child of Edward V. The Ware faction contended that she was the rightful Queen of England, using creative inheritance reasoning to do so, and most importantly because she was a Roman Catholic. Elizabeth had two children; John of Ware (b1507) and Elizabeth of Thetford (b 1510) and they too were Catholics. John of Ware was married to Catherine Percy and Elizabeth to Richard Vaux’s son James in order to tie together the Catholic faction.

    However both John and Elizabeth were not arrested before 1536; Elizabeth was in Spain and her brother had not shown any disloyalty to his uncle Richard III. Yet through them the War faction was able to gather supporters and especially money from sympathetic Catholics across Europe. They would only really cause headaches for Richard IV.

    Speaking of headaches, Richard III was absent for parts of his first Parliament and was only seen sporadically for 1534, and even less in 1535. In his stead Richmond and Richard of York and Oudenburg filled his duties rather well. In truth there was little for Richmond to do; the Yorkist apparatus of government had been given a polish in the Reform Parliament and it was still ticking along nicely. York faced a bigger challenge with Artois.

    The riots around Richard III’s coronation only lessened, they did not entirely dissipate. Meanwhile Francis I was struggling to get to grips with his Portestant factions in the west and south of France. Therefore an agreement was reached whereby the population in Artois who wished to leave and those Protestants from across France could come in. Around 60% of the Catholic French Artois population left between 1534 and 1536 with around 80% of French Protestants (most from the Vendee) coming in. In the end a small number of these Protestants would take passage to New Canaan instead meaning there was enough land to go around. Therefore in a few years the population of Artois was transformed into a largely loyal Protestant one.

    The French Protestants were not the only ones to head to the New World. The new land in Barrow was easily settled with soldiers and other landless peasants after the Nine Years War and in 1535 the first Scottish Settlers landed on New Norfolk (Nova Scotia). They renamed the territory New Lothian and constructed a settlement around St Barnabas, the small fishing and trade station established by the NTC almost 30 years before. The island had only been slightly settled by around 500 English and so the 2,000 Scots which came in over the first three years found a ready home.

    The deal with Edward V had allowed Scots to travel to New Lothian and gave the land to Queen Margaret to distribute, but the territory was still administered by the Council of the Columbias, even though it was almost 2000 miles from its centre in New London. Therefore the new colony quickly became self-dependent and run by Scots. This created an element of political tension for a few decades.

    Similarly, the first tension in the New Yorkist political structure flared up in the winter of 1535-6. Disputes over fishing grounds between Cornish and Breton fishermen were referred to each regional Council and Conclave meaning Richard III had to arbitrate. This was hampered by Richard’s increasing incapacitation from public life, but in the end he found in favour of the Cornish. This made Brittany unhappy, and Duke Edward appealed to his father for restitution. In the end Brittany were paid off with further cuts in duties on New World goods, but this was very poor compensation and would lead to simmering tensions for years, not to mention laying bare the contradictions of the Yorkist system.

    Richard III died in February 1536 aged 44. The Yorkist curse had struck once more. Richard clearly finally succumbed to his head injury, surely also a brain injury, sustained at Euskirchen. To many, his reign was a non-event but did oversee the development of the New World and the creation of Anglicanism. Yet perhaps his biggest achievement was that Richard’s absence proved that the Yorkist political system of Lord Protector and Marshall could function efficiently in times of the King’s incapacity. Between them Richmond and York oversaw a smooth transition from Edward V to Richard III and then again less than three years later to Richard IV.

    Richard III was succeeded by his son Richard of Vannes, Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, then aged 23. Richard IV was married to Anne of Cleves and by 1536 they already had two children; Edward and Joanna. Whereas Richard III had fallen into the Kingship, Richard IV had been destined to be king since he was 10 years old. This had allowed his father and grandfather to prepare him for kingship, with tutors such as Tyndale, Barnes, Cromwell, Wolsey, Giovanni Il Nero and Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton. Richard had been present at the end of the Nine Years’ War and had fought at Dusseldorf, Bethune and Euskirchen.

    He took to the throne as King Richard IV of England, Prince of Wales, Lord of Ireland, Artois, and Columbia, Overlord of New Canaan, Brittany and the United Netherlands. Defender of the faith and the head of Church. Edward IV and Edward V may have ushered in the Yorkist Golden Age, but Richard IV would see it reign.


    Dramatis Personae 1536
    The House of York
    King Edward V (1470-1533) m Anne of Brittany (d1536)
    Their Children:
    Elizabeth of Ware (b1489) m Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (d1528)
    Edward (1505-1506)
    John of Ware, Duke of Norfolk (b 1507) M Catherine Percy
    Edmund (1532)
    Elizabeth of Thetford (b1510) M Sir James Vaux
    Prince Edward of Eltham, Prince of Wales (b1490) M Catherine of Aragon
    Elizabeth of Eltham (b1511) M Phillip of Guelders (b1509), son of Charles II
    Isabel of Eltham (b1514)
    Edward of Westminster (1517-1519)
    Richard III (1492-1536) M Johana de Vilhena of Portugal
    Elizabeth (1512-1518)
    King Richard IV (b1513) M Anne of Cleves
    Edward (b1534)
    Joanna (b1536)
    Edward, Duke of Brittany (b1516) M Beatrice Landais
    Margaret (b1517) M Matthew O’Neill
    Edmund (b1517) M Elizabeth Seymour
    Manuel (b1519) M Anne Queen of Scots (Betrothed)
    Cecily (b1521)
    Anna (b1524)
    Edward V’s siblings:
    Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, ‘Prince of Harts’ (b1472-1530) m Anna Sforza (d1521)
    Richard of Oudenburg, Duke of York and Oudenbrug, Constable and Marshall of England (b1498) M Mary de la Pole
    Edward (1516)
    Anne (1518)
    Thomas (1519)
    Nina (b1503) M Gerald van de Werve
    John (1529)
    Katerina (1531)
    Erasmus of Oudenburg, Bishop of London (b1506)
    Ludovico (b1509) M Mary of Guise
    James (1534)
    Richard (1536)
    Bastard Son: Giovanni Il Nero,Earl of Amiens, Governor of Artois (b1496?) M Elisabeth of Hesse
    William (1529)
    Phillip (1531)
    Elizabeth (1535)

    Elizabeth of York (b1467) m Henry Tudor(1457-1509) See House of Tudor

    Cecily Plantagenet(b1469) m Edward Hastings, Lord Grantham
    Elizabeth Hastings (b1486) M William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel (see below)
    Richard Hastings (b1489)
    Anne Plantagenet (b1475) m Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland (d1515)
    Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland (b1495-1529) M Anne Plantagenet
    Henry, Earl of Northumberland and Arundel (1512) M Cecily Fitzalan
    William (1529)
    Anne (1533)
    Thomas Percy, Bishop of Durham (b1500)
    Catherine Percy (b1503) M John of Ware, Duke of Norfolk (see above)
    Catherine Plantagenet (b1479) m James IV, King of Scotland (d1513)
    Margaret (1504) M James Stewart
    Anne
    James (1507-1513)

    The House of Tudor
    Children of Elizbeth of York and Henry Tudor
    Arthur Tudor, Earl of Richmond, Lord Protector (1518-present) (1486) M Anne Neville
    Henry, Lord of Carmarthen, Duke of Boulogne (b1509) M Frances Brandon
    Jane (1528)
    Henry (1531)
    Anne (1533)
    Edward (1536)
    Anne (b1514) M
    Edward(b1517) M Jane Seymour
    Margaret Tudor (1489) M Edward de la Pole
    John (b1514)
    Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton, Earl of Columbia, Viceroy (1491) M Anne Boleyn
    Elizabeth (1520)
    Margaret (1523)
    Catherine (1526)
    Edward (1527)
    Bastard son:
    John (1509)
    Mary Tudor (1496-1500)


    The House of Warwick
    Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick (1475-1524) m Alice Scrope (d1533)
    Henry, Earl of Warwick, Council of the North (b1492) M Elizabeth Hastings
    Margaret (1519) M Lord Richard Bolton
    Anne (b1494) M Algernon Percy (see above)
    Richard (b1496) Commander of London Company, Earl of Warwick M Mary Boleyn

    The House of Pembroke-Gloucester
    Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452-1496)
    Edward of Middleham (1473-1492) m Elizabeth Herbert (d1492)
    Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke, Duke of Gloucester, Master of Arms and Horse (b1492) M Margaret Scrope
    Richard (1515)
    Margaret (1518)

    The House of Woodville-Grey
    Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, Chief Justiciar of the Council of the West (d1503)t m Cecily Bonville
    Thomas Grey, Lord St Leger, Marquess of Dorset (b 1475)
    Sir Richard Grey (b1477)
    John Grey (b 1484-1500)
    Leonard Grey, Bishop of Exeter (b1490)
    Anne Woodville (1435-1489)
    Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex (b1474-1509, no issue)
    Richard Grey, Earl of Kent (b 1481-1530) M Margaret de la Pole
    Thomas (1512) M Isabel Leigh
    Catherine (1532)
    Richard (1534)
    Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, Constable and Marshall of England (1440-1509)
    William Compton, adopted son (1482-1529) Earl Rivers

    Wider Court
    William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel (1476-1513) M Elizabeth Hastings
    Cecily (1504) M Earl of Northumberland (see above)
    Mary (1508) M Anthony Seymour
    Thomas (1509-1516)
    John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln (1460-1512) m Margaret Fitzalan
    Alan de la pole (b1477-1531)
    Richard de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln (b1493) M Eleanor Stafford
    John (1516)
    Gerald (1519)
    Catherine (1521)
    Edward de la Pole (b 1481-1529) (no issue)
    Margaret de la Pole (b1485) M Richard Grey, Earl of Kent (see above)
    Mary de la Pole (b1489) M Richard of Oudenburg (see above)
    Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Admiral of England (b 1473) M Elizabeth (see above)
    Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby (d1501)
    George Stanley, Earl of Derby (b1460-1533) M Elizabeth Talbot
    Leonard Stanley, Lord Strange and Commander of the Ludlow Company
    (b1489-1530)
    Henry Stanley, Earl of Derby (b1493) M Elizabeth Dudley
    Margaret Stanley, (1499) M Edward Seymour
    Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle, Chief of the Tiercel (b1462-1522)
    Thomas Stanley, (1499) Lord Monteagle, Chief of the Tiercel
    James Stanley, Lord Oswestry, Bishop of Worcester (b 1465-1521))
    William Hastings, Lord Hastings (1431-1496)
    Edward Hastings, Lord Hastings (b 1463-1513) M Cecily
    Mary Hastings (b1484) M George Catesby (see below)
    Elizabeth Hastings (b1489) M William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
    Lord Richard Hastings (b1489) M Mary Seymour
    Edward (b1515)
    William Hastings (1491)
    John Hastings (1497) Bishop of London
    William Catesby, Earl of Humber, Lord Malham (b1450-1516)
    George Catesby, Earl of Humber (b 1479-1531) M Mary Hastings
    Thomas Catesby, Earl of Humber (1501) M Sophie of Guelders
    Phillip (1532)
    Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, Chancellor
    Mary (1500) M Richard of Warwick (see above)
    Thomas (1501) M Anne Brandon
    Robert (1521)
    Margaret (1527)
    Anne (1502) M Henry Tudor, Lord Hampton (see above)
    Henry (1502), Bishop of Ely
    George (1503), Lord Cambrai M Anne de Brabant
    Charles Brandon, Lord Brandon, Master of Arms (d1529) M Anne Browne
    Anne Brandon (1507) M Thomas Boleyn
    Frances Brandon (1509)
    John Seymour, Earl of Surrey (d1529)
    Edward, Earl of Surrey (1500) M Margaret Stanley
    John (1525)
    Catherine (1526)
    Michael (1528)
    Thomas (1508) Bishop of Oxford
    Anthony (1508) M Mary Fitzalan
    Jane (1509) M Edward Tudor
    Elizabeth (1516) M Edmund Plantagenet

    Key positions
    Lord Protector: Arthur Tudor
    Constable and Marshall of England: Richard of York and Oudenburg
    Master of Arm and Horse: Richard of Hutton, Earl of Pembroke and Gloucester
    Chief Justice: Thomas Cromwell
    Chancellor: Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
    Archbishop of Canterbury: Thomas Cranmer
    Lord Privy Seal: John Dudley
    Chief Justice of the Star Chamber: John Taylor
    Admiral of England: Sir William Hawkins, Lord Portland
    Keeper of the King’s Scroll: Sir William Tyndale
    Council of the North: Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick
    Council of Wales: Henry Stanley, Earl of Derby
    Council of the West: Thomas Grey Jnr, Marquess of Dorset
    Council of the Columbias: Viceroy Henry Tudor, Earl of the Columbias
    Council of Artois: Giovanni of Amiens
    Council of Ireland: Lady Margaret Plantagenet (De Facto Sir Edward Wesley)

    Company Commanders
    Piacenza: Giovanni Il Nero
    Calais: Richard of York and Oudenburg (de facto Edward Plantagenet, Lord of Dunkirk)
    London Richard of Warwick
    Norwich Sir Michael Paston
    Coventry Sir Edward Hastings
    York Lord Richard Bolton
    Ludlow Sir Robert Talbot
    Bristol Sir Edmund Chatham
    Winchester Sir Thomas Fitzalan
    Chester Sir Henry Grey (of Ruthin)
     
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