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

Dramatis Personae 1496
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-?

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

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)
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1497-1500 Part I
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 Columbia Company and the Norland Trading Company 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 lay out recommendations for the most advantageous trade; an interlocking system a 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 flying 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.
So just to say folks the format of this volume will be different from the last; I am doing 3-4 years at a time and each 'Chapter' (group of 3-4 years) will have sections on domestic, Columbian and European theatres, so this is the 'English' section to Chapter 1. Good to be back!
1497-1500 Part II
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 western 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) 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 Richard 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’ as 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 Part I
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 brother 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. 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 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 Pizacenza 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.
1501-1504 Part II
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 Spain 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 1530s would see, it nonetheless lay the groundwork for future agreements. Most worryingly of all for the English, Trente, heralded the beginning of the end for the League of London and the Yorkist Consensus.
1505-1507 Part I
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 black 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 gasp, 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 undershirt 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 sat 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 Christ 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 needed fighting in the first place, I lost a wife for you, at least now have the decency to not reward that by bidding me to 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 fingers steepled in front of pursed lips, his chin resting on protruding thumbs, his eyes never wavering.

‘Richard you 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 the letter 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, you are a terrifying man, father would be proud, 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.
1505-1507 Part II
The False Crusade, R Rex, in Renaissance Historical Review 2007

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 Papal 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 were 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 50 miles 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 represented a devastating blow to the League of London, and its days were numbered.

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 Siloam. In light of these developments, the Treaty of 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 has been named such because it was called under false pretenses 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 embarrass 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 men 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 allowed 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 accounts seldom agree on even the most basic events, and the motives of the various players are all but impossible to adequately explain without 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 its accuracy 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, 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 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 in the process. 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, MA), 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 estimated 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 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 on foot. 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 in order to more easily kill them. 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 1507 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 Cortez 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 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 for 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 as 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. Even Edward was uneasy as he knew that Oxbrow would not be an end but a beginning. Ultimately, there are some who see the False Crusade as the spark that lit the Reformation aflame.
Thanks all very much for the support, just the one update today, and perhaps a break for the next two days. Rest assured I am on fire and ready to roll with the next update by Sunday at the latest!

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 directly 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 supposed independence was merely convenient cover 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 Lord John Fineux, Chief Justice, and a number of justices from the Star Chamber. Between them, Fineux and his companions were able to take apart the legal arguments for Prince Richard’s wrongdoing. Fineux showed that Edward had engaged in good faith, and assisted the Crusade as much as he was able. In this regard the Chief Justice 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 them. 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 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 the Earl of 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 of 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 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-style 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 significant 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 the authorities attached to them. It may have become eclipsed by the later Reformation, but the early works of Erasmus laid the foundations for their advancements, and exposed a good number of people, particularly in the English courts, to these new Humanist ideas.
1511-1515 Part I
Well since you are so kind to support, I managed a bit more!

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 the Duke of Suffolk 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 awards 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 benefited 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, 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 Yorkshiremen 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.
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Charles Brandon the Duke of Suffolk
Isn't John de la Pole Duke of Suffolk? Or if not him (maybe he just took the title of Earl of Lincoln), his brother Edward? Both of whom are Edward V's cousins, and John is also one of the Falcons? Seems odd.

Alas, poor Scotland, so far from heaven, so close to England. This really sucks for them, I guess. Not sure how they can get out of this pickle. On the other hand, if Scotland becomes part of England, it might get to enjoy some of those benefits they so desperately want?

If they keep importing cotton, how long is the wool trade going to last, I have to wonder? It was seemingly the reason for quite a few rebellions, due to enclosure, but as cotton becomes more prevalent, its importance would go down... another reason to break off ties with Burgundy, perhaps? Although to be fair, it's not like they have anything close to the cotton plantations of the Americas OTL, to say nothing of the cotton gin.

Also, it looks like the stage is set for an England/Spain war pretty soon. I guess I can see England trying to ally with France for it, though I'm not sure how that would work for them - the French are just as likely to ally with Spain in the hope of getting Artois, Boulougne and Brittany back as they are to ally with England in the hopes of getting Burgundy.

Amazing stuff, really enjoying this (binge read all of it last night), and I can't wait for more.
@CrepedCrusader: with the Yorks still in power the Dukedom of Suffolk is still in the hands of their de la Poles cousins. If his father (husband of Edward IV’s sister Elizabeth) is dead, the Duke of Suffolk now is John de la Pole so the Dukedom is NOT vacant and can not be given to Brandon.
And Scotland applied semi-Salic succession so Margaret is NOT the heiress of her father, after the death of her brother, but the next in line is John Stewart, Duke of Albany