The Kings Name is a Tower of Strength

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by CP11, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    The King's Name is a Tower of Strength: a very different Bosworth

    Hi, this is my first effort at a TL after almost two years of wanting to write one, but not being able to get it out of the planning stages! I look forward to any suggestions, feedback or comments that anyone might have and I hope you enjoy it!

    The PoD is a rather simple and somewhat clichéd one, that Richard III defeats Henry Tudor at Bosworth. It maybe slightly slow with updates, but I am hopeful of being able to keep them at least semi-regular! :)

    A Taste of Things to Come

    The Tudor uprisings have long been a neglected part of English medieval history, overshadowed by the later rebellions which would plague King Richard III throughout his reign. However, the Battle of Bosworth Field, while ignored by many modern historians could quite easily have destroyed the Yorkist dynasty and have placed the last Lancastrian, Henry Tudor, on the throne. Instead, the last Lancastrian was brutally executed, being hung, drawn and quartered for his treason. The lessons Richard learned in both the 1483 and 1485 campaigns against Tudor are crucial to understanding his reaction to the threat posed by his nephews later in the reign. – Treason: The Life and Reign of Richard III
  2. Jammy Grand Duke of Abingdon Donor

    Jun 12, 2006
    Looks interesting
  3. DanMcCollum P-WI

    May 29, 2011
    Wauwatosa, WI
    I'm interested!
  4. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    More Background
    The Battle of Bosworth Field

    The confrontation between King Richard III and Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field on the 22nd August 1485 had been two years in the making. Richard had eagerly and somewhat anxiously awaited his rival’s invasion, keen to remove this threat to his throne once and for all but well aware of the fickle nature of some of his main supporters. For Henry Tudor, the 1485 invasion marked the final throw of the dice, the support offered by his French allies would not be available to him again if the battle was to go against him.

    Henry arrived at Milford Haven on the 7th August and marched inland through his native Wales, where he hoped to rally support for his cause and bolster his small army. Indeed, Henry did gain the support of some important Welsh figures such as Rhys Fawr ap Maredudd and Rhys ap Thomas who brought with him a sizable force to join with Tudors. Henry’s men emerged from Wales and Henry’s army had increased in number although was still likely to be smaller than that which the King was mustering. To have any hope of victory Henry needed more men, and although Sir Gilbert Talbot brought his family’s troops to Tudor’s cause, Henry was still in desperate need of the support of his step-father, Lord Stanley, who had mustered some 5000 along with his brother Sir William but who had refused to join up with Richard’s men as ordered. Henry had been in constant contact with the Stanleys and even met them twice, where he begged them to openly declare for him. The Stanleys however, preferred to wait until the battle was already engaged before they showed their hand and their promises of support ‘when the time was right’ and with this Henry had to be content for now.

    The two sides would meet just outside of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, with the Stanley host positioned ominously off to the side. The battle began with the Yorkist cannon firing upon Lord Oxford’s men, which forced them to march up the slope towards the King’s vanguard, led by the Duke of Norfolk. The two armies clashed and fierce hand-to-hand combat raged until the Tudor forces began to give way. Just when the battle began to move against them though, the standard of the Duke of Norfolk fell and with it did the leader of the Yorkist van. Panic spread through the Yorkist lines and the rejuvenated Tudor men-at-arms pressed forward. Sensing the danger, Richard summoned his reserves, led by his friend Lord Northumberland and with Richard at their head, crowned helmet flashing in the sun, the Yorkist reserves flooded into the battle, reinforcing the lines and stopping the Lancastrian surge. The battle raged on for a further hour, until Richard and his men began to make headway and force Oxford’s men back down the hill. As had been the case at Barnet and Tewkesbury a decade and more ago, Richard was in the thickest of the fighting. With his cause on the rocks, Henry Tudor set out for his step-father’s position to beg for his support. Lord Stanley, deciding that Richard’s position was unassailable arrested his step-son and his bodyguard, led by his uncle Jasper Tudor and ordered his men to sweep down the slope and engulf the retreating Lancastrians. The result was a bloodbath as the slowly retreating Lancastrians entered full flight, with many being cut down by Stanley’s fresh troops. – Extract from the Bosworth Field Society guidebook

    The King returned to London, where the pretender, Henry Tudor and his uncle Jasper were publicly and gruesomely executed, as were many others who had encouraged or supported his invasion. Tudor’s mother, Lady Stanley was arrested and kept in the Tower, although our merciful and glorious King has pardoned all those commons who rose against his rightful lordship. – Crowland Chronicle
  5. Jammy Grand Duke of Abingdon Donor

    Jun 12, 2006
    Looks good, i do have some questions though?

    What about Stanley? Although he did side with Richard it was only when it was clear that he would win and now his wife has also been arrested, can't be looking good for him, or his brother.

    Elizabeth Woodville? Her daughters were suppose to be heading back to court, what will happen to them?

    Future marriage of Richard, he needs a new wife and heir?

    Also, Edward in the tower - the Duke of Clarence's son. He was kept in the tower because he was a legitimate Yorkist claimant. What will happen with him now? Brought up as a memeber of Richards court or left to rot?
  6. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Thanks for all the feedback so far :D

    Stanley is on very thin ice, by not responding to Richard's summons he has shown himself to be loyal only to himself (to the extent that Richard had threatened to kill Stanley's heir Lord Strange if Stanley didn't join the royal army) but Richard is keen to avoid more strife, so Stanley survives but only just.

    The other questions should hopefully be answered in the next update, although Clarence's son was brought up with Richard's court after Richard became King, it was Henry Tudor who imprisoned young Warwick. However you have picked up an important fact that he is a legitimate claimant...
  7. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Happy Families

    The autumn of 1485 was a happy one at the Yorkist court. The king’s victory at Bosworth had provided an air of security that had been sorely lacking since the death of Edward IV, an air that was personified when the King brought his nieces and nephews, both legitimate and illegitimate from Sheriff Hutton to reside with him at court. It was around this time that the Marquis of Dorset returned from France, having been released from French custody as a gesture of friendship by the French, well aware that their support of Tudor had been noted by the English King. Dorset was received into the king’s presence and formally pardoned and restored to his lands and titles. Dorset’s rehabilitation had been the price Richard had paid to convince Elizabeth Woodville and her daughters to leave sanctuary and despite his initial reluctance, Richard knew that in order to heal his wounded country he would need at least the tacit support of the Woodvilles. This apparent family unity must have seemed to many who saw it as a return to the tranquility of the 1470s, however to the king’s councilors the proximity of the king’s young relatives was problematic. The king, having drawn attention to his relatives had also drawn attention to their status as potential Yorkist heirs or worse, potential rivals to the king and had also highlighted his lack of living children.

    As a result of this concern, councilors such as Sir William Catesby and Sir Richard Ratcliffe strongly encouraged Richard to marry off his nieces to men of proven loyalty and limited means to remove the threat they posed to the King. However, Richard had promised Elizabeth Woodville that her daughters would be married off to gentlemen of good birth, which somewhat complicated the process. The council was also very concerned with the person of the young Earl of Warwick. While the Princes and Tudor had occupied the role of pretender during the first two years of the reign, the Earl of Warwick had an excellent claim to the throne, only being barred due to his father’s attainted (and how many of those had been reversed during the 15th century!). As a result of this, Warwick was seen as a threat and his upkeep was entrusted to his cousin the Earl of Lincoln, who would reside as President of the Council of the North at Middleham Castle, which in the heartland of Richard’s support was seen as the best place for the boy, as Richard was unwilling to lock up his nephew in the Tower.

    Richard’s niece Elizabeth posed an equally difficult question for the King and his council. A large part of Henry Tudor’s support can be attributed to his promise to marry Elizabeth, highlighting her dynastic importance, and while Elizabeth at 19 was beyond ready to be married, just who she could marry without posing a threat to her uncle was not clear. Further complicating matters was the relationship between uncle and niece. Richard and Elizabeth were extremely close, sharing an almost fanatical love and devotion for Edward IV and Elizabeth’s presence at court during the previous year’s Christmas festivities had shown just how strong the bond between the two was. Rumours of the king’s desire to marry his niece abounded at the time, and while we can safely assume the King never seriously considered the idea, it does illustrate the bond between the two. For that reason Richard was unenthusiastic about the suggestions for Elizabeth’s removal from court and marriage to a member of the lesser gentry.
  8. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Foreign Policy (Autumn – Winter 1485)
    Not all of Richard’s opponents were captured or killed after Bosworth. The staunchly Lancastrian Earl of Oxford had fled the battlefield, while John Morton, Reginald Bray and John, Baron Welles all found refuge at the French court. – The Family Feud: England in the 15th Century

    The return of Lord Dorset from his French captivity was seen as an attempt at reconciliation from the French Regent, Anne of Beaujeu designed to show a willingness to work with Richard despite the French aid given to Henry Tudor only months before. The French government was facing problems of its own, the Dukes of Orleans and Brittany having challenged the machinations of Anne’s government, finally agreed to a short term truce in November of 1485. The prospect of Richard supporting Breton independence and the Orleans’ claim to the regency was a grave threat that many in France fully believed would become a reality. Richard had always wanted a grand campaign against the French, but he realised that he was not yet in a position to launch such a major offensive. Instead Richard demanded the payment of his brother’s French pension which had not been paid since Louis XI renegaded on the Treaty of Picquigny in 1482. While this was flatly refused by the French Richard did manage to wrestle some concessions from the French as the price for his temporary friendship. – Treason: The Life and Reign of Richard III

    In the aftermath of Bosworth, James III of Scotland hoped to extend the three year truce between the two countries in 1484. James, facing problems at home from his nobles, led by the earls of Angus and Argyll, was desperate to secure his southern border from raids and hoped to avoid the pirating of Scottish ships in the North Sea that had been commonplace over the last few years. Furthermore, the King of Scotland was keen to heal any wounds which may have been caused by the Scottish contingent in Tudor’s army many of whom had been captured after the battle. Indeed, the leader of the Scottish contingent, Sir Alexander Bruce was ransomed during the negotiations of late 1485. However, Richard refused all offers of extending the truce, but did confirm the provisions of the 1484 agreement and agreed to the formal betrothal of his niece Anne de la Pole to the Duke of Rothesay. – Conflict: Anglo-Scottish relations in the Middle Ages

    The execution of Pierre Landais severely weakened the position of Francis and left the Breton government in the hands of the pro-French faction leaving the independence of Brittany, already hanging in the balance, even more precarious. The French noted this weakness and Francis was under no illusions that the fate of his Duchy was now tied up in the struggle between the French government and the Duke of Orleans. Brittany became a base of opposition to Anne of Beaujeu but Francis also sought alliances across Europe. The matrimonial prospects of his daughters, Anne and Isabeau were a key component of Francis’s foreign policy. The main issue came however in ensuring a marriage to a powerful husband, while ensuring the independence of the Duchy, a sticking point which stopped any talk of Anne marrying King Richard III of England before they had gotten off the ground. – Francis II, The Last Montfort
  9. Hurrah!Praga! Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    Very interesting TL, consider me subscribed!
  10. Simreeve Differently-Sane Scientist

    Apr 25, 2012
    Worthing, Sussex, England
    And that would [almost certainly] be "the Earl of Northumberland".


    IOTL her marriage to a Portuguese prince -- along with Richard's marriage to a Portuguese princess -- was being negotiated at the time of Bosworth.
  11. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Thanks for reading and commenting. :D
    Yeah, by all accounts given their relationship before Bosworth Northumberland (yes he is the Earl of Northumberland but Lord is interchangeable when used to describe the person who holds a title as opposed to the title itself I believe) and Richard were on good terms, and given Richard's personality and his respect for loyalty, I imagine he would class Northumberland as a friend if he fought for Richard at Bosworth.

    For a brief discussion of the Scottish contingent at Bosworth see the essay by Grant in Gillingham's Richard III: a medieval kingship.

    Finally the Portuguese marriage discussions are in the next update, the discussions in the last were merely to show the foreign situation, something I think Richard would want to at least look into, marriage being a key part of diplomacy at the time.

    I hope this answers your questions, thanks again for reading and the feedback :)
  12. Blurgle Off stalking Anne Boleyn

    Aug 4, 2013
    An earl may be referred to as "Lord Titlename" in all but the most ceremonial situations.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  13. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Marriage (Winter 1485 – Summer 1486)
    The King does not seem as keen as one would expect at the prospect of marriage. It is claimed that it is his council that is engineering the Portuguese match. Still, it appears that the Princess Joan will be wed to King Richard by the end of next summer. – Report from the Burgundian Ambassador to Duke Philip of Burgundy

    The marriage of Richard and Princess Joan was not the only one agreed upon. Elizabeth of York was to be wed alongside her uncle to Manuel, Duke of Beja and Viseu. Manuel was seen as the perfect choice to be Elizabeth’s husband by the king’s council. Manuel was the cousin of John II of Portugal and was only a few years younger than Elizabeth herself. As a royal duke Manuel surpassed the requirement that Elizabeth’s husband be well born, but due to John II’s centralisation and the distance from England to Portugal, Manuel was not seen as being powerful enough to claim the throne on behalf of his to-be wife. While he was loathed to see his favourite niece leave his presence Richard recognised both the realities of the situation and accepted the double-marriage arrangement. - Treason: The Life and Reign of Richard III

    On the 26th day of July, in the 1486th year since the coming of our Lord, King Richard was married to Queen Joan in great splendour at Westminster Abbey, where our new Queen was afterwards crowned. The festivities were doubly grand as Lady Elizabeth, natural daughter of our late and beloved, King Edward IV was married off to the Duke of Beja. Despite the comely appearance of our new Queen, there are many who believed that the Lady Elizabeth was in every way bar birth, the perfect Princess.

    After a week of celebration, the King saw off his niece as she and her husband departed the capital for Portugal. Their return journey was a challenging one, being forced to pause at Brittany to await a fairer wind. King Richard departed shortly afterwards on a royal progress across his Kingdom to introduce his new Queen to his subjects. – Crowland Chronicler
  14. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    The Aftermath
    The victory at Bosworth changed the attitude of Richard’s kingship, restoring it to the idealistic start he had made in the first few months of his reign in 1483. Thoughts of invasion and defence were gone and Richard now turned his attention towards uniting the country under his rule and imposing himself on the European stage. Support for Brittany and Burgundy was a key component of Richard’s foreign policy but until his finances recovered from the burdens of defending his crown there was little Richard could do directly.

    At court much changed after Bosworth where Richard finally acted to reduce the power and influence of the Stanley family. Their loyalty, often suspected, had been proven once and for all to be false and fleeting in Richard eyes, the failure of Lord Stanley to join the royal army and his lateness in entering the battle were betrayals, despite their later participation in the routing of Tudors force. Lady Stanley, Tudor’s mother, was of course imprisoned while Lord Thomas was stripped of the title of Lord Constable and replaced by Francis, Viscount Lovell one of Richard’s closet friends and a member of the King’s council. In the North West, Richard elevated the head of the Harrington family, fierce rivals of the Stanley’s to a Barony and granted him several manors. While the Stanleys remained the most powerful force in the region the Harrington’s now offered a the men of the area a new patron with better relations with the crown, thus eroding the previously iron-like grip the Stanleys had in the area.

    In the north the Earl of Lincoln was head of the Council of the North with his brother-in-law Baron Morley and the earl of Northumberland as his deputies. Northumberland was to remain as Warden of the Eastern March while the Earl of Westmorland was appointed as Warden of the Western March. In Wales, Richard replaced the attainted traitor Rhys ap Thomas with Lord Maltravers, whose family had long held positions of influence in the Welsh Marches and the King’s son-in-law the Earl of Huntington who as Justicar and Chamberlain of South Wales was hoping to re-establish his family as the preeminent family in Wales. Finally Richard confirmed his natural son Sir John as Captain of Calais with Lord Dynham acting as deputy until John came of age.

    As can clearly be seen, Richard wanted to continue the system put in place by his brother of entrusting the fringes of his kingdom, where royal power was weakest to reliable magnates who could ensure the crowns will was carried out. However, one must suspect that in the back of his mind he realised the potential dangers this could cause to his throne. The way Richard had used his position and popularity in the north to take the crown in 1483 had some parallels with Henry IV’s usurpation of the throne, and therefore it is reasonable to suspect Richard kept these ‘great nobles’ on a short leash. – The Yorkist Polity
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  15. CP11 Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Hey everyone. Sorry for the delay, Uni work has been crazy the last few weeks. Hopefully the next proper update will be up shortly but until then here is a little taster of things to come.

    Our most gracious lord, King Richard and his new Queen having completed their progress, seem at once to be total ease in one another’s company. It has been mentioned in many quarters that it has been some time since England has been blessed with a royal couple of such immense piety. – Crowland Chronicler

    Queen Joan, prior to her marriage had sought the solace and peace of a nunnery. Instead she was thrust into the centre of the English court. However in Richard she appeared to have found a kindred spirit. Indeed, nowhere at their court could the vice and sleaze of Edward IV’s court be found, while many monasteries and churches benefitted from lavish royal patronage during the 1480s, most famously Queen Joan’s Chapel at Kings College, Cambridge. Given her saint-like piety, one should perhaps not be surprised that Joan was not one to indulge in passion, but again her husband seemed of similar mind to her. Whether it was the death of Queen Anne or whether, as some historians have suggested, it was Richard’s repulsion at the moral standard of his brother’s court, romance does not seem to have been a part of the royal couples make up. Instead the royal couple formed a solid if rather platonic friendship and partnership. – Queens of England in the Middle Ages

    The King’s lack of an heir is a source of great concern here at court and the King’s failure to clarify the succession is only adding to the confusion. The news of the reappearance of the boy claiming to be the King’s nephew Richard in France has also ruffled some feathers yet despite this sudden revival in discussion about the children of Edward IV, I am still unable to discover any specifics about the fate that befell them so many years ago. – Letter from the Burgundian Ambassador, 1490