NEW TL:The Sons in Splendor, the Golden Age of the House of York

1495 part 2
Apologies for the day off chaps! Was recuperating! Here is a stonker of an update; I have crammed a lot of stuff in!

Exploration in the Age of York, J Slight 2014

1495 was a defining year in Yorkist involvement in the new world. Sir Robert Chatham set sail for Norland in spring with a fleet of 12 ships and the people to establish a colony in Norland under the command of James St Leger, a respected west country gentry who nonetheless as a second son elected to take his chances in the new world. Chatham retraced his steps from the previous year and arrived in New Norfolk and founded a small trading post at St Barnabus (Halifax OTL). Beyond the name and location it is hard to discern much about the settlement in the early years; there does not seem to have been a permanent population and the most convincing explanation is that it was used as a convenient watering station, and certainly that Chatham engaged in fishing around this coast.

Moving further south, Chatham arrived at Jordanstown (Boston) and founded the first European settlement in Norland for nearly 500 years. Jordanstown was chosen for its sheltered harbor and friendly locals, who it seems continued to be cordial into 1496. St Leger and his group of around 600 colonists established a town on the southern tip of the harbour with a palisade, homes and of course a Church. The surviving royal writs for Jordanstown record that its aim was mostly trade. Society of Merchant Venturers records also show that limited amounts of furs and unusual vegetables (including potatoes) were brought back from the 1495 expedition.

With the colony established Chatham took around half of the ships south to map the Norland coastline and test the theory that it and the Columbias were two distinct land masses. He recorded numerous inlets and small islands along the coast and made notes as to their viability for settlement. His greatest triumph came in early August when the small fleet was driven inland by a storm; Chatham gave it the rather pious name of Calvary bay (OTL Chesapeake) and took refuge along a peninsular with a native village Chatham recorded was called Kagoughtown - although this was clearly anglicisation of the name. Nonetheless Chatham was quite taken in by the ‘pleasant climate’ of the region and named the settlement Goughtown. Chatham was particularly intrigued by a leaf that the local tribes smoked which Chatham recorded gave him a strong feeling of contentment, this leaf was called Tobacco and when the ships set sail later in August they brought two sacks with them.

Chatham returned to England by way of Jordanstown, collected what items they had for trade, and commissioned them to find more of the strange leaf he had discovered. The second voyage to Norland was not met with the same excitement as the one to the Columbias had been. Chatham did not come back with tales of Gold or exotic plants, beside the potatoes that is, and it seemed that the prospects for Norland were lower than those further south. The saving grace for the entire enterprise was the tobacco which Chatham had brought back; the Society of Merchant Venturers were so taken with it that they commanded Chatham to return the following year in search of more, and the plant it came from. The mood in Bristol was perhaps also lifted by the news from the Columbias.

The voyage to the Columbias of 1495 was once again led by Lord Bradbury and Christopher Columbus who was becoming increasingly recalcitrant and grumpy that his opinions and schemes were being side-tracked by the English crown. There is some evidence that Columbus had even threatened to find a different patron if his demands to explore further west and annex the land of Yucka (Yucatan) and beyond for himself were not met. To assuage him, this voyage was accompanied by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk and Admiral of England. Norfolk after all had interests with the Merchant Adventurers guild, but it is believed that Edward dispatched him personally as his eyes and ears, with France cowed yet again the threat from elsewhere was lessened. Another new figure on the voyage was Bishop William Smyth who had been ‘fortunate’ enough to be selected as the first Bishop of New Albion.

On the outward voyage, Bradbury sent Sir Thomas Hawkyns with a few ships to Fair Isle (Bermuda) to establish a fort and watering station and most importantly to deny it to the Spanish or Portuguese. However this still left a fleet of 18 ships to sail into Yorkstown harbor just before Easter Sunday 1495. The timing was perfect; Bishop Smyth held mass in the small wooden Church in Yorkstown and called on God to bless the colony and their future voyages. God was certainly blessing Nova Albion by this point; the mines had yielded some £15,000 worth of Gold for the English Exchequer (after the Merchant Adventurers had taken their cut) in under a year and the first attempts at agriculture had gone well, although even better with some local crop which was called Maize. In fact with the further colonists brought to Yorkstown the small settlement was running out of room - penned in as it was between sea and mountains - and so the search began for a new settlement location began.

By 1495 the local population of Nova Albion had been ravaged by disease and so the island was quite empty, especially as the Taino tribes fled whenever they saw Europeans, and were encouraged to do so at the point of a handgun if they did not. This made the search for a new settlement much easier and the various ships spent all Summer 1495 searching the coast of Nova Albion for a new site. Eventually a place on the south east coast was selected in the arms of the Howard River which protected it and the flat land to its east from native raids. Under Norfolk’s guidance, and in honour of the saints day upon its founding, the city was named ‘The Royal Borough of St Cornelius and St Gregory’ perhaps realising that this was a mouthful Berners and his associates began calling it Cornel within the year (OTL Santo Domingo) and work began immediately on a stone Cathedral and fort - for this was to be the Island’s official capital.

Eventually some 1,000 settlers were sent to Cornel to help with the building work, many of them hailed from the north of England and so sheep farming was quickly established on the slopes behind the town and the town would continue to have a rather ‘northern’ feel for at least a century. Meanwhile, perhaps to keep them apart, the 1,000 or so Welshmen were settled in the central valley to the west of St Edward where they established their own settlement of Haurafen (Orvan in English) which would become a distinct culture in its own right (to this day Orvan Rugby Club is one of the most successful in the western hemisphere).

The 1495 expedition was incredibly important in the history of the Yorkists in the new world; it established a major capital and the embryo of a settler culture. It also brought the Church officially to the islands. The voyage was also significant because Norfolk’s presence supercharged the impetus towards exploitation and colonisation in the region. As one of Edward V’s long-time friends, and the first Falcon to visit the Columbias, Howard was able to impress upon the King the potential that the area had, including the surrounding islands of Cove and St John too. It seems that this is what led Edward to award Lord Thomas Bradbury the title ‘Duke of Albion’ in late 1495 and place him in charge of all further efforts in the new world. However there was one failure in 1495 which changed the trajectory of the Yorkists in the Columbias for decades.

Christopher Columbus had become a desperate man by 1495. The initial shine of his first voyage had worn off long ago, and he had been overtaken by Bradbury, even Chatham, in the eyes of Edward V. Indeed Columbus’ continued insistence that the Columbias were somewhere near modern India surely won him little favour. Columbus left Yorkstown in May 1495 with five ships under strange circumstances. Bradbury records that Columbus took his leave without requesting permission, although the presence of Robert Wydow and Lord Morely make this unlikely. These two men had already sailed west of Nova Albion with Columbus twice now, and were increasingly taking the appearance of his chaperons rather than his companions.

Robert Wydow, the Dominican Friar and by now resident expert on new world languages, records that Columbus was ‘sorely intent on discovering the Indus, El Dorado, Atlantis, even Utopia itself if it could give his life some meaning and win him favour with the King.’ Wydow is clearly exaggerating but given Columbus’ discovery of Gold in the jungle west of Yucka in the land he had named St Nicholas, he probably wanted to return to discover the source and possibly prove it was India after all.

Regardless of the motive, Columbus’ attitude would be his undoing. The five ships anchored in a shallow bay some 100 leagues west of Yucka in July 1495, Columbus taking a party of men and Robert Wydow ashore to trade, and possibly find some Gold. Wydow records the resulting event at length, and with a great deal of criticism, but suffice it to say that in the ensuing encounter Columbus was killed. The most likely story is that he blundered into a confrontation with the local inhabitants and after an incoherent argument, the explorer did something rash and ended up with an arrow through his throat. Wydow and the remaining members of the party were able to recover his body and return to the ship but they left immediately for Yorkstown with the news.

With Columbus dead, a large impetus for further west-ward expansion died with him; the English believed that Columbus was merely arrogant and insane in pushing further into the jungle, and his death had proven that in their eyes. It would be almost a decade before another English expedition sailed west past Cape Albatross on the western-most tip of Cove (Cuba). It was also very convenient that Columbus removed himself from the equation in 1495 as it allowed the Yorkists to rely more solely on English expertise in the large part, and it is possible Edward Vwas envisioning a way to sideline the Genoan anyway.

It is hard to write an obituary of Christopher Columbus for so much has already been written, and much of it partisan. He remains famous as the man who discovered the Columbias - they are still named after him - and so his boldness and bravery in that initial endeavor must be applauded. However it is hard to see the man in the last eighteen months of his life as anything other than a greedy, arrogant, self-obsessed explorer who refused to be proven wrong by his paymasters and consequently refused to heed them in turn. The fact that Columbus finally perished as the victim of his own glory-seeking behaviour is perhaps poetic enough.

Indeed when Bradbury and Norfolk returned to England that winter masses were sung in St Paul’s Cathedral for the dead man, but they were not excessive. It would seem that Bradbury (now made Duke of Albion), Norfolk and Edward V were united in their apathy at his passing, it was almost inconsequential to them. Columbus' death closed off further westward English voyages until 1503, but they were not interested anyway. The House of York had no desire to disappear into the jungles of St Nicholas (OTL Mexico) when they had so much to do in the Columbia islands and beyond, and aside from Columbus’ death there was so much to celebrate as 1495 came to a close.
As an aside it's worth mentioning that stags are by definition male, usually male deer. And while harts are usually red deer they are generally male too (females being hinds). So the difference between a white stag and a white hart are slight, and in heraldry usually zero.
As an aside it's worth mentioning that stags are by definition male, usually male deer. And while harts are usually red deer they are generally male too (females being hinds). So the difference between a white stag and a white hart are slight, and in heraldry usually zero.
Ah thank you Professor! My heraldry isnt what it should be!
1496 part 1
The last few parts of the timeline! I feel this will be 4 parts total.

Chapter 13: 1496 The end of an era

Charles VIII T Blanning, 1989

The dust finally settled upon Europe in 1496, for Charles VIII was once again spent. He had wasted the 13 years of his reign trying and failing to extend his royal authority to the edges of his realm and beyond. Brittany, Burgundy, Calais, Naples, Milan. All had been targets and all had eluded his grasp. Worse, they had fallen into the hands of his enemies. Brittany had been joined to England in marriage and would soon be united dynastically. Burgundy lost irrevocably to Emperor Maximillian and his son Phillip. Calais had been defended and enlarged at the expense of Boulogne and Artois. Naples had been held fleetingly and then fallen to Ferdinand of Castile. Milan had never wavered.

Perhaps History has been unkind to Charles. He was, after all, encircled by men who would prove to be four shrewd rulers: Edward V, Maximillian I, Ludovico Sforza, and Ferdinand II, not to mention the implacable Pope Alexander VI. Yet even the most charitable scholar cannot fail to concede that Charles repeatedly over-reached himself and then lost his head when his plans went sour. For more than a decade of yearning and striving, Charles had nothing to show for it, literally; his treasury was empty, his expensive cannon taken by his enemies, his realm had even shrunk. The final humiliation was signed in February 1496. The Treaty of Lodi concluded the Italian war: Charles was forced to relinquish both of his claims to Naples and Milan and vow to keep the peace for 4 years, on pain of excommunication. By all accounts the King returned to France a broken man.

What followed next, however, could not be foreseen. Charles VIII Valois died on the 13th March 1496. The official story was that he banged his head in the stables at Chateau d’Amboise and died later after having collapsed. However that does not explain why Charles’ favourite, Etienne de Vesc, also disappeared the same night. Rumours swirled around the French court for days, with the strongest suggesting that Vesc must have been involved in some kind of plot to kill the King and escape. Then Etienne de Vesc was found floating in the Loire with his throat slit from ear to ear. The mystery deepened, and has never been conclusively explained. To this day it is remembered in French History as La Nuit d’Corbeau (The Night of Ravens).

The more scandalous accounts suggest that the new King, Louis XII, had his cousin murdered. Unfortunately for once there is little evidence with which to dissuade the conspiracy theorists. Louis of Orleans was ambitious, and had already opposed Charles during the Mad War, plus he was very aware of his claim to the throne whilst Charles did not have an heir. But the real clincher is that Louis was known to be furious with Charles for all of his reverses abroad, and was apoplectic that so much had been lost. That does not even include the humiliation Louis suffered after his capture at the Battle of Montdidier which he blamed on Charles. Louis certainly had the means, motive and opportunity to have his cousin killed, and the murder of de Vesc adds yet more weight to the theory.

Regardless of the how, who and why, Charles VIII was dead. A rather torrid chapter of the French monarchy came to an end and Louis would begin anew, to the chagrin of many.

Hell Unleashed: Europe 1483-1495 J Watts 1994

The reaction across Europe to the death of Charles VIII ranged from satisfaction to apathy. He had become almost a joke amongst European royalty and nobility for his many failed exploits. Maximillian, Edward V and the various members of the League of Venice in particular were happy to see him go. Many other courts and their chroniclers do not even record his passing, save in reference to his successor.

Louis XII was a much more dangerous prospect than Charles; not yet 35 when he became King, Louis had enjoyed a distinguished career of causing mischief and mayhem across France and beyond. His rivals would do well to be wary of a man whom many suspected had just killed his cousin, and Louis had certainly waged war against him during the 1480s. Only time would tell just how wary of the new French King they would have to be.

Elsewhere in Europe a number of marriage alliances were concluded which all had an anti-France hue to them. Anna Sforza and Prince Richard of Shrewsbury were finally married after the suitable mourning period for Anna’s excuse of a husband had passed, they would retire to Oudenburg where it was said Anna was much more comfortable than in Italy, despite the weather. Emperor Maximillian finally completed his dream of marrying his son Phillip into the Spanish royal families, agreeing a marriage with Joan of Castile which would have a wide ranging impact upon Europe for centuries as the Spanish and German crowns were to be combined. This was certainly a coup for Maximillian, although was a blow for Edward V who had 3 children to find matches for, although they were all infants.

Rivers was likewise dispatched to Iberia to find matches for Elizabeth, Edward and Richard, he returned to England with two out of three, and a complication. Prince Richard of Bedford, only 4 years old, was to be married to Johana de Vilhena, niece of King Manuel I of Portugal whilst Prince Edward was to be married to Catherine of Aragon when they both came of age. Thus in one strike Rivers had succeeded in tying the English crown into both Iberian ones. The complication arose from Rivers’ stop in Avignon on his return journey.

Following Rivers’ petition to Pope Alexander VI in 1493 for grants to settle the Columbias, the Pope had also been harassed by the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs for similar recognition. Thus the convocation of Avignon was summoned to arbitrate between the three realms and divide the map between them. The consequent Treaty of Avignon would not go down well in England, and would sow the seeds of a true cataclysm in the next half century. The Treaty drew two lines on the map. One north to south line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands marked the extent of Portuguese claims, everything east of the line became their territory which included all of Africa and the hypothesised route to India and as yet undiscovered chunk of South Columbia (OTL Brazil). The true complication came with the second line which was to divide England and Spain.

In the intervening years some have suggested that Pope Alexander was using incomplete or faulty data, others that he was simply incompetent. Yet the most convincing explanation was that Alexander wanted to enrich his native land and sought to reduce England’s power in the new world. The Avignon Treaty stipulated that all lands to the north of Nova Albion and east of the 900 league line from Cade Verde (just west of Cape Albatross on Cove, the western most point) were to fall to England, essentially their existing claimed lands from Nova Albion to New Norfolk (OTL Nova Scotia) (minus St Nicholas) and any land which happened to be in between. To Spain went St Nicholas (OTL Mexico) in defiance of Columbus’ 1494 claim and all land west and south of it. In one fell swoop the Pope had thus denied some extremely lucrative lands to the English, lands which they would come to see as rightfully theirs. However, Avignon merely stored up troubles for the future, by September 1496 peace had come to Christendom for the first time in many years. Of course it was not to last.
1496 part 2
Apologies for the small update today!

Edward V, G Bradshaw 2001

As Edward V entered his tenth year as King, he was coming into his prime. He had secured his realm from both internal and external threat, upheld law and order, and sired heirs - he had met all the requirements of a Medieval Monarch. Yet Edward stood on the precipice of a new era; the Renaissance. In this regard the King of England was also building his resume; he had been a fierce patron of the arts, especially literature, not only bringing the first printing presses to England but also penning a number of tomes including a story in the Faire City and the political manual that was the White Book.

Edward spent 1496 consolidating the gains of his first decade. The Parliament of that year formally licensed two trading companies for the New World; the Merchant Adventurers Guild became the Grand Columbian Company and the Society of Merchant Venturers became the Norland Trading Company. Edward had adopted this idea from Italy and use it to increase investment in the companies and therefore his own taxation revenue (all valuable metals remained at 15% tax, all other goods 10%). These incorporations mirrored the expanding and increasingly formalised economy of the City of London. Built of the spoils of the Columbias and the new lands in France, business was booming in London and the metropolis was destined for a century of unprecedented growth usurping Paris and Antwerp as the trading hub of north west Europe. All of this growth was underpinned by the formation of an English Bank; the Aldermen bank after the various Aldermen of London who formed the Bank in March 1496 with Sir Thomas Boleyn as its first commissioner.

Edward V was fortunate that the New World provided such a pressure release for the malcontents and lunatic fringe of England. The Lollards, by now having the heat turned up on them by English Bishops, elected to quietly leave England for the New World in spring 1496. Given the wealth of a few they were able to charter a ship - the Joan of Newcastle - to take them westwards. Without even realising it, Edward V had removed his Lollard problem, and created a cultural juggernaut for many centuries.

As for the King’s new found wealth, Edward pumped it into thoroughly modernising the English army with Swiss weaponry, Italian plate, and English cannon, forged on the template of French guns pilfered at Torhout. Before long the English military would be able to rival that of any of their European rivals. Finally Edward commissioned the White Fleet. Portuguese, Flemish, and now English shipwrights had been hard at work in the Thames constructing new Caravels for voyage to the New World, but the White Fleet was the next step up; named for the White Rose of York adorning the prow of each ship, the fleet were wider bottomed and larger than anything previously built in England. The White Fleet was to fulfill a dual role of carrying treasure and colonists to and from the New World and to deter others from interfering with English trade.

The King’s final measure in 1496 was to create the Constable’s Court; a formal office of bureaucrats designed to assist the Constable of England in his foreign duties, arrange embassies, receive foreign dignitaries and issue land permits for the new colonies. There was a huge argument over the siting of this court with Edward keen to keep it in London whilst Rivers demanded it be placed in Calais in order to be closer to the courts of Europe and his own lands. In the end the Constable’s Court was finally placed in London (where the Constable spent little time) but this only served to increase traffic between London and Calais, allowing the latter a share of England’s new found wealth.
1496 part 3
Exploration in the Age of York, J Slight 2014

As the Yorkist settlement of the new world entered its fifth year, the real shoots of growth were beginning to show despite setbacks. Most instrumental were actually the events in Europe. Edward V had secured his dynasty, and for the first time in over a century humbled France and agreed a truce with Scotland. This left him confident and secure enough to move his eyes elsewhere, with Columbus’ discovery of the New World in 1492 being perfect timing. Nova Albion and its sister colonies truly gave an opportunity for Edward V to stamp his mark on the world free from the legacy of his father, or the influence of his court, Edward grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

Naturally, and likely much to his own annoyance, the King could not sail off into the west and leave England undefended whilst he explored the Columbias, and so he relied on trusted subordinates. This forced reliance has deprived Edward of his deserved place as the architect of European settlement in the New World, that being given to Columbus, Thomas Bradbury, John Bourchier, or even Amerigo Vespucci and Ferdinand II. However it would be a grave error to see Edward as stand-offish or disinterested in the New World; he was very intrigued by the new discoveries and the potential they held. Indeed the New World, perhaps more than any theatre, would come to define his reign.

Upon Edward’s great energies rested the fame and wealth of many others. The Merchant Adevnturer’s Guild, with the Bristolian Society of Merchant Venturers following in their wake, became incredibly wealthy incredibly quickly even with their 15% haul of the Gold from Nova Albion. After their incorporation in 1496 this wealth would only expand as investment allowed greater projects. This wealth led to no shortage of people seeking their own slice; Bradbury and Chatham were the first amongst many knighted for their efforts, and many poorer folk sought a new life out West. Land shortages, continued local unrest, and increased enclosure of land for sheep farming provided an ever growing number of peasantry willing to take their chances in the New World. Remarkably these people were able to transplant their languages and culture to the New World, and by 1496 there had formed a strong Welsh contingent at Haurafen west of St Edward on Nova Albion with a large number of northerners settling around the new capital of Cornel and in the hills beyond.

Before 1496 the management of these lands had been in a rather informal framework with Lord Berners Governor of the Columbias and responsible for all law and order on the islands, with the Merchant Adventurer’s Company responsible for much of the trade and transport, and the Church of course securing the Diocese of Nova Albion under Bishop Smyth (which also covered Cove, St John, St Dominic and the distant Fair Isle). In the coming years this management would become increasingly formalised, but the Constable’s Court of 1496 would have some responsibility for administering taxation and issuing writs in its early years.

It was also becoming impossible to keep other European powers out of the Columbias. Columbus’ confrontation with Vespucci in 1494 showed that Spain at least would not back down. Within two years the Spanish had established a presence to the South around present day Venezuela and the small islands around it (OTL Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago). The English clearly did not like this, but it was likely insignificant enough to be ignored or marginalised. The Treaty of Avignon changed everything. The demarcation lines would keep Portugal well away from England’s sphere, but they all but encircled them with Spain. The English were restricted to the original Columbian discoveries (e.g. Nova Albion) and anything directly north of them but not west or south. In short England could content themselves with what they had; some promising islands and increasingly paltry-looking Norland (OTL USA & Canada) whilst Spain had control of the wealthy-looking interior of South Columbia and all land in the west, known in England as St Nicolas, and in Spain as New Spain. It would be the sixteenth century before this began to cause real problems, but it grated with Edward V all the same.

In retaliation Edward tried to include his League of London partners to strengthen his hand. The issue here is that Brittany was too small to consider any colonial adventure, especially with her French border to defend, and Burgundy had other interests too. By the late fifteenth century Emperor Maximillian was becoming increasingly distracted with Italy, and his son Phillip took over control of Burgundy, although he was about to become embroiled in Iberia. Instead Edward V was able to attract some investment from Burgundian and Breton merchant houses into his two new trading companies and the new century would see more colonial ships in the ports of St Malo, Brest, Ostend and Antwerp.

With all this political harangue and manoeuvre going on in Europe, the New World was actually comparatively quiet in 1496. The annual Merchant Adventurer’s Guild voyage (the name change to the Grand Columbian Company would occur after their departure) was once again led by Sir Thomas Bradbury, now the newly made Duke of Albion - the first title created in the New World. Albion’s title came with a large swathe of land north and east of Cornel and for this he took another 4,000 settlers. This group was less homogenous than the last with extensive analysis in GCC records showing that they hailed from Norfolk to Gwynedd and Gloucester to Berwick.

Once in the Columbias, Albion took to his new land with gusto, much of the native population by now being killed by disease or scattered. Meanwhile his subordinate Sir Thomas Hawkyns took a new bunch of colonists to St Dominic (OTL Jamaica) establishing a settlement at Port Richard, so named after the victorious prince of Fornovo. Likewise the existing towns at Green Port on Cove (Cuba) and Bradbury on St John (Puerto Rico) were enlarged and strengthened with the Fort at Cape Middleham on St John being finally completed. By this point, the two islands had already begun to see deaths of local tribes similar to Nova Albion. The Europeans, ignorant of the diseases they carried, explained this as a sign from God that the land was theirs for the taking. Nonetheless trade began to flourish, especially in Maize and Cotton plus the more exotic fruits and vegetables from the islands.

In the north, Robert Chatham returned to St Barnabas and Jordanstown in late spring of 1496 bringing fresh goods to trade, a few colonists, and supplies. Given the greater wealth and allure of the Columbias the Society of Merchant Venturers had struggled to find people willing to go to Norland, but they had still gathered around 1,000 colonists, mostly from the West Country. A few of these settled in Jordanstown but Chatham was able to sweet-talk them into staying on for the journey to Goughtown in the land he had called Princess Elizabeth’s Land (OTL Virginia). It was a mouthful, but Chatham was desperate for royal patronage to match that of Bradbury and co further south.

Therefore after resupplying in Jordanstown, the fleet of some 18 ships sailed for Goughtown. (OTL Newport News) When they arrived they found the native village abandoned and many graves. Taking his initiative from English interactions in the Columbias, Chatham claimed the land for England and set about fortifying Goughtown along its isthmus to protect the new settlement, importing four cannon from the ‘Anna’, one of the ships of the fleet. Chatham also had brought horses with him, thought to be the first on mainland Norland. These horses enabled Chatham and his companions to raid the interior in search of Tobacco, recovering a number of plants, and also, it seems, impressing the locals with their horses.

Chatham’s return journey planted the seeds of Norland’s prosperity; literally. He gave some of the Tpbacco plants to the settlers at Goughtown, led by Henry Sampson and William Canynge, both lower gentry from around Somerset. Here the settlers were able over the next year, to cultivate the Tobacco and produce a small amount for trade - thus creating the plantation system in the new world. Flushed with success, and carrying a few more sacks of Tobacco, Chatham returned via Jordanstown to Bristol. The new trading post there furnishing him with potatoes and some seedlings for attempted cultivation in Europe, and some furs which would add even more economic clout to the newly formed Norland Trading Company. Yet before he left Jordanstown, Chatham had received news of an unexpected development.

The Joan of Newcastle had reached Jordanstown in May 1496 and requested a landing at Jordanstown. Mayor of the town, SMV company man James More, was suspicious of this unexpected and undocumented group of settlers, Chatham had certainly not predicted their coming, and refused to allow them to settle in Jordanstown itself without authorisation from England. More did however allow the inhabitants of the ship to settle five leagues south of Jordanstown on an inlet he had mapped. The town was called Wycliffe and the first Lollard settlement in the New World had been created.

It is unknown when James More, Robert Chatham and the SMV/NTC discovered that they now had heretics in their midst, but the Lollards could not have advertised the fact early; by nature they did not try to proselytise the locals and instead largely kept to themselves. Although the inhabitants of Wycliffe did set about teaching their children to read and write and to understand the Bible in English. The settlement is estimated to have begun with just 200 people, but the Joan of Newcastle returned to England with word of the new land to other Lollards, they would be the first of many. Wycliffe was insignificant in 1496, it went barely noticed beyond Lollard circles themselves, but it would come to play a vital role not just in the New World, but the Old as well.

Although 1496 is much more remembered for the European manipulation of the New World, the lands themselves also saw growth at this time as its resources were exploited by an increasing number of English explorers, gentry, merchants, clergy, heretics and even peasantry.
Epilogue: Gloucester
Requiem by Bernard Cornwell (2011)

Edward was cold. The soaring arches of York Minster sucking any warmth from the cavernous space. The towering columns pulled the attention up into the beautiful chasm of weak winter light straining through the narrow windows. His breath clouded in front of him like the steam of a boiling pot, the thought did not warm the King.

Into the great space poured the chants and laments of the choir, echoing down the vast emptiness of the Minster’s Halls. Their undulating tones attempting and failing to bring life to the occasion. Instead the choir merely faded into the background, swallowed by the still, solemn cold of this day. Edward knew how the world felt, his heart was similarly cold and still, for his Uncle, Richard of Gloucester was dead.

Edward knew that he was being emotional - not his face that remained a slate, impassable, grey - but in his heart he genuinely felt emptiness, as much as when his own father had died. Richard had been one of the last links to that old generation of Yorkists; the ones who had taken the throne and held it against all comers; Lancastrian, Scots, French, all of them. It was a testament to the man’s skill that he had died peacefully in his bed in age when so many of his peers had lost their heads in battle.

Richard had not been well for a good while, his back injury making it more and more painful for him to move until lying in bed, with a good amount of wine in him, was the only way for him to get through the day. Edward had given him the mercy, some would say punishment, of stepping down from official duty a few years prior to enjoy his remaining time with his grandson Richard of Hutton, who was by now a rambunctious 4 year old who was full of energy but nonetheless doted on his adoring grandfather.

Edward gazed into the gloomy northern light slicing through the windows into the frigid Minster. He really did not see the appeal of the north; it had all the rugged and rolling beauty of Wales but without any of the warmth or charm, from its climate or its people. Yet Richard had been happy here. York was the right place to bury him, that was clear. The Duke had died in Oakham, and the Aldermen of Leicester had made a preposterous request to have him buried in their Cathedral. Edward had over-ruled that one quickly; it was to be London or York for his Uncle - and a place had been found for him at the heart of the ancient northern capital’s Minster.

A large creaking noise told him that the main doors were open and Edward turned. He was the only one who did, his status made him the only one who could have escaped the move without censure. The rest of the assembled Lords and Ladies kept their heads bowed. Across their heads Edward saw the six pall-bearers from Gloucester’s own household with William Catesby, Duke of Humber leading them. Upon their shoulders, draped in a black shroud embroidered with the white rose and boar of Richard’s livery lay the great Lord’s body.

Edward turned from the sight and glanced across the mourners as he swivelled around;many of them were northerners, a surprising number for a ‘southern lord’ Edward realised. There was Northumberland with Edward’s sister Catherine, his wife, at his arm - her face veiled in black. Edward knew she was crying - she had been as close to Richard as any of his other siblings. Then the Earls of Derby and Warwick. Further back he could see the ‘new men’ as he called them, those who had recently come to his attention and risen to prominence: the Duke of Albion and Robert Chatham were here - the two explorers being forced to sit near one another much to their annoyance. Next to them were Thomas Boleyn, John Seymour and Charles Brandon, all men Edward would have to keep an eye on in future. Then came the falcons; Lincoln, Norfolk, Wiltshire and the Bishop of Worcester his sworn brothers in arms, he was glad they could be here today, not that they would have missed it.

Next to them stood Lord Protector Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond and his wife Elizabeth of York, another of Edward’s sisters. Richmond had become like a brother to Edward; he trusted him as much as he trusted his own blood. The realm was peaceful and quiet, that alone would have made Edward happy, but Richmond also made Elizabeth happy, they now had four children; Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary who were all healthy and boisterous, Edward’s own children enjoyed playing with them when they could. That made Edward happier still, that such contentment could be found with the last Lancastrian would have surprised Edward some years before, but not now.

Then closest to him was his own true family, Anna of course, although the children were not here. Uncle Rivers, one of the few of Richard’s generation left stood next to her, his adopted son William Compton behind him. The other of the last generation was Hastings of course but he also lay on his deathbed. And then was Prince Richard - their Uncle’s namesake, who seemed to be doing his utmost to match their maverick uncle in comportment as well as name. Edward gave an inward frown as he glanced over his brothers’ party; his new Italian wife Anna was dressed in a tight-fitting narrow black satin gown with a rather severe tight neck - not the typical fashion for England, but then she was Italian, although Edward suspected she may be wearing men's tights under that garb, as was her want. Edward had not approved of Anna at first, Richard had just upped and married her, but he had been won over by her unusually un-feminine charm and the fact that she clearly made Richard happy, not that he ever said any of this out loud.

Next to Anna stood perhaps the strangest mourner in the place. A tall thin man Richard had brought back with him from Oudenburg; he was wearing a long black cloak edged with fur and his hair fell flat where it had been squashed under a square fur hat which now lay by his feet. Erasmus was what the man insisted on calling himself, Edward was wary of such continental, cosmopolitan types but again he seemed harmless .

With a thundering boom the monstrous pipe organ began - drowning out the choir and Edward’s thoughts as he snapped round to face Archbishop Rotherham, his face stony though his eyes flashed at the King as if to rebuke him for his lack of decorum. The organ stepped up a notch, Edward had not believed it was possible, as the body of his uncle, Richard of Gloucester reached the foot of the steps, ready to join his father. Edward V gave an inward smile; the old man would have been incredibly proud of his family and his friends.

Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester by R Horrox (2001)

Richard Duke of Gloucester died at Epiphany 1497. His condition had been worsening for a while and he had been retired with a pension of £200 from the 1491 Parliament. Records show that he alternated his time between Sheriff Hutton and his manors around Oakham in the winter months. Richard’s cause of death has been much debated - with talk of his suspected spinal deformity figuring strongly. Yet there are no clear signs from surviving records as to what may have caused his death, the fact that he died aged 42 should give some clue that his health was clearly failing. Alas we shall perhaps never know, but more recently weight has increasingly fallen behind the idea that Gloucester had sustained some kind of injury - spinal or otherwise - and that this slowly led to his death.

So died one of the last founding members of the Yorkist dynasty. A History of the first 35 years of the Yorkist dynasty could easily be written focusing solely on Edward IV and V, but Gloucester was a constant presence in the background. He had led the vanguards at Barnet and Tewkesbury in 1471 and then controlled the north with deftness and tact, leading to the longest period of peace the region had seen in generations.

Yet all these earlier duties were merely a prelude to Gloucester’s greatest challenge. Following Edward IV’s sickness in 1483, Gloucester had rushed to his brother’s side and taken on the duties of Lord Protector in his stead. Such was Gloucester’s achievement in this role that it became permanent and eventually evolved into the present political system we have today. Yet it would be a mistake to attempt, as some have, to see Gloucester as some sort of proponent of a new, less autocratic, political system. Gloucester was simply fulfilling his role as one of the most loyal, capable, members of the York family in the late fifteenth century.

Gloucester’s position as Lord Protector allowed him to provide valuable continuity of governance during the waning years of Edward IV and the earlier years of Edward V; Gloucester was able to quickly respond to threats, such as Buckingham’s rebellion, and represent the crown in legal matters and on the battlefield where it was unable to itself. Gloucester was also vital in establishing the new systems of law and order which Edward IV and V brought in; he worked closely with William Hussey and John Fineux in the creation and operation of the Star Chamber in particular. In short Richard of Gloucester became one of the architects of the Yorkist Golden Age, and was one of the most astute political minds of the 1480s and 1490s. It should come as no surprise that Richard of Gloucester is mentioned twice in the Prince, published some 15 years after his death and by Macchiavelli who never met him, such was the Duke’s reputation.

Given the tumultuous decade from 1483 to 1493, there have been many speculations, increasingly tending towards conspiracy theories, that suggest Gloucester was merely waiting for the opportunity to seize power himself. These began with the building of his own power-base in the north and the translation of men such as William Catesby from this to the wider polity. The historical record does not support such an assertion. Richard of Gloucester was dependably loyal and capable, if he had wanted to seize power, with his brother ailing, he surely would have done so. Richard of Gloucester never looked like seizing power, although a lesser man may have done. Some have speculated what Gloucester's actions would have been had Edward IV's illness taken him in 1483, with the most negative suggesting an all-out usurpation. However such suggestions merely come from sensationalist propaganda. The fact that Richard is still well remembered, even beyond Queens’ College Cambridge, one of his greatest bequests, is testament to the man’s mettle, loyalty and above all his capability.

Richard of Gloucester certainly left his mark on England, the tangible evidence is overwhelming, but it is also possible to see the mark he left upon those closest to him, that being Edward and Richard of York and his own grandson Richard of Hutton. Edward V clearly had a soft spot for his uncle; the lavish tomb at York Minster alone makes that clear, but he also owed Gloucester an intellectual debt. Gloucester had mastered the art of creating an interlocking polity of stakeholders and gentry with himself at the centre. Well-oiled by his own charismatic leadership and the maintenance of cordial relations with all parties, Gloucester was able to construct a consensus in the north which lasted long after his death. The fact that the north saw little unrest in the Buckingham and Remnant Rebellions, in stark contrast to Wales, shows Gloucester’s success.

Furthermore his utilisation of the Council of the North became the template for Yorkist, indeed European, regional governance for a good century after his death. All of this had the impact upon Edward V that the king spent his entire reign imitating these policies; constantly bringing in new blood and incorporating them into his ever-expanding web of contacts; allowing them to pursue their own agenda so long as they did not undermine his own. Edward V’s broader handling of law and order also reflected his Uncle’s; swift, uncompromising and impartial, with some even suggesting that the Court of Requests instituted in 1491 was actually a Ricardian inspiration.

If Edward V inherited Gloucester’s political and judicial shrewdness, then Prince Richard of Shrewsbury, the Prince of Harts, was influenced by his bold and maverick streak. The furious battlefield tactics of Prince Richard, seen at Fornovo and later, not to mention those of Richmond, were clearly modelled on those of Gloucester himself at Tewkesbury and Hereford. In this regard Gloucester must also been seen as a prime influence on English military dominance into the 16th century. Beyond war, Gloucester’s influence could be seen in Prince Richard’s headstrong attitude to diplomacy and matters of state; his swift marriage to Anna Sforza and his openness to the ‘unorthodox’ influences of Savonarola, Macchiavelli, Erasmus of Rotterdam and all the reformers beyond, could be seen as Richard’s maverick influence on his nephew.

As for Richard of Hutton, 4th Earl of Pembroke, he only had four years with Richard of Gloucester, his grandfather. The death of Gloucester’s wife, son and daughter in law, in a few years, and his own increasing ailment, must have taken an extreme toll upon the wily politician. It is therefore with joy that we read in Mancini, Vergil and elsewhere that Gloucester was ‘much besotted with his grandson, the Earl of Pembroke’. Alas it would be navel gazing to suggest that Pembroke’s life was defined by his infant years, but his childhood, combined with extensive testimonial about Gloucester from multiple sources, must have surely influenced the young man’s own roguish loyalty and service to the Yorkist dynasty.

In the final analysis there has been much speculation and thought over the influence of Richard of Gloucester on the Yorkist Golden Age, he did after all pass away whilst it was still picking up speed, but his contribution should not be overlooked. Gloucester provided a stable framework and support for Edward V in his early reign, just as he had for Edward IV in his later years. His firm grip of the judicial system, bold battlefield tactics, strong local affinity, and his more maverick tastes surely left an indelible mark on the Yorkists well into the sixteenth century. The fact that a Medieval Prince could have such a lasting impact upon the Renaissance is testament to the skill and talent of Richard of Gloucester, loyal servant of the house of York.
This is the last part of the TL folks, thanks for all your support! I will be putting it on 'finished timelines' with your recommendations, after a bit of a break! I am also toying with the idea of a second part covering a Yorkist response to Spanish aggression in the New World, the Reformation, and the Habsburg dynasty. Any suggestions would be most welcome!
Well done!

So, just a reminder TTL Thomas Stanley's line gets Derby Earldom as insurance against Henry Tudor rebelling? Of course OTL he got it as a present from Henry by supporting his rebellion.
And of course marriage to Henry's mother - wherefrom Henry OTL derived his claim to the throne and possibly the Lancastrian inheritance of the Earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester, & Derby, and the Beaufort inheritance of the Earldom of Somerset - and lands in West Derby support this.

Where did the Duchy of Humber come from?
Well done!

So, just a reminder TTL Thomas Stanley's line gets Derby Earldom as insurance against Henry Tudor rebelling? Of course OTL he got it as a present from Henry by supporting his rebellion.
And of course marriage to Henry's mother - wherefrom Henry OTL derived his claim to the throne and possibly the Lancastrian inheritance of the Earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester, & Derby, and the Beaufort inheritance of the Earldom of Somerset - and lands in West Derby support this.

Where did the Duchy of Humber come from?
Thank you Professor as ever! Humber was created to reward William Catesby after the Battle of Hereford, at Gloucesters suggestion.
I just found this yesterday and LOVE it! I hate that it’s over so soon! I am always interested in Yorkist timelines, well past the Renaissance.
I just found this yesterday and LOVE it! I hate that it’s over so soon! I am always interested in Yorkist timelines, well past the Renaissance.
Apologies! Didnt want to get bogged down and leave an unfinished timeline! This way it is 'done' but open for a sequel, any thoughts on a Yorkist Renaissance?
I hope so. Current working title was The Prince, The Pope, and The Peruvian. But its more 1500-1530 and then a part 3 would be The Grandsons in Splendour!
I'm seeing this thread as:

The Sons In Splendour: The Golden Age of the House of York. Part I The Princes' Dawn (or Rise, or something like that)
Parts II and III depend on their contents
I'm seeing this thread as:

The Sons In Splendour: The Golden Age of the House of York. Part I The Princes' Dawn (or Rise, or something like that)
Parts II and III depend on their contents
Whe you start doing the sequels, please post links to them here. I don't want to miss them!