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A Castle of Doomsday

A Castle of Doomsday

Автор Michael Kramer

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A Castle of Doomsday

Автор Michael Kramer

5/5 (1 оценка)
341 страница
5 часов
22 сент. 2020 г.


A journey through English history, starting with Edward the Confessor and going on to William the Conqueror, his family and their fighting among themselves for dominance. Because William built a series of castles to help impose his will upon Saxon England, the story of the two (2) castles he built within the city walls of York is included in this book. One of these was originally called York Castle. Both it and the other castle in York called Bailey Hill were burned down during the rebellions of 1068-1069. Both castles were of the Motte and Bailey types of castles in which the Castle Keep had a raised elevation.  The castle called York Castle was designed to dominate the former Danish Viking city of Jorvik. The Rebels of York were aided in their rebellion by a force of Danes who were led by Hereward the Wake. He was a Saxon and his mother was reputed to be Lady Godiva, while his father was Earl Leofric.  Hereward was a thorn in the side of the incoming Normans and, in the end, William the conqueror had to come to special arrangements with him in order to rule effectively.  Centuries after the exploits of Hereward the Wake, the legend of Robin Hood was formed. This in fact was the stories  based upon Hereward the wake who did exist, while Robin Hood did not.

22 сент. 2020 г.

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In 1967, he volunteered for service with the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, and was told that seeing how he was only twenty years old, he would need the signatures of his parents in order to join the army. Yet, the Australian Government was calling up males aged twenty years for service in the war if they wanted to serve or not. This prompted him to simply alter the date of birth on his Australian Naturalisation Certificate from 01/03/1947 to 01/03/1946 and he was in the army and this action was something that would become a problem forty five years later. He went on to serve in Vietnam with the First Battalion of Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) and continued to serve until he received a medical discharge some ten years later. As a treatment strategy for diagnosed PTSD, he was instructed to undertake tertiary studies which resulted in his better management of PTSD and his becoming a much better person as a result. In time, he was to undertake studies and now holds the Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering, and the Associate Degree of Civil Engineering. He operates his own architectural and engineering drafting service, providing a high level of competent drafting work. In 2010, he applied for an Australian passport which was refused by Immigration on the grounds that his Naturalisation Certificate did not list his gender. At a later date, the Australian Department of Immigration cancelled his Australian Citizenship papers, which have since been re-issued to him as well as an Australian passport. At a function held at his home, it was suggested that he put the experiences into a novel and this is the result.

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A Castle of Doomsday - Michael Kramer

England Prior to 1066 A.D…

Good day to you, kind reader, I am the ghost of King Alfred the Great of England. I have looked down at my former kingdom, and I have become alarmed at the succession of weak English kings who endanger England by their weakness and lack of decisive action.

Methinks the kings like Ethelred the Unready who just wanted to pay invaders to stay out of England put my former kingdom into great peril. He has since died, but it would appear that his replacement of Edward the Confessor required too much help from God and he should have taken more affirmative action himself. The only consolation that the people of England had is that Edward the Confessor had the support of the warrior earl of Wessex called Earl Godwin. I shall now relate the entire story of England from now to the reign of Edward II. Because it is not possible to completely separate the story of England from the story of the castles at York, both stories are told.

King Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwin

In the year of 1042, A.D., Edward the son of Ethelred, became the King of Saxon ruled England. He had been living in exile in Normandy for some time before Earl Godwin persuaded him to return to England. Strangely, during a time of turmoil and aggression, he held the throne for almost twenty-four years. He was not suited to rule, having mild manners and being devoted to God and felt that God directed him.

He was discussing his throne of England with his trusted advisors. They both told him, "Sire, as you already know, you are the son of ‘Ethelred the Unready’ and it is only the loyalty of your army and naval forces that keeps our country safe. As well as the fact that the reputation of English forces established by King Alfred the Great is such that very few enemies would attack us.

You are seen by Englishmen as being true to God and that you are his servant. Your devotion to God is such that the English population has named you as Edward the Confessor. Due to your religious commitments, which are seen by many as keeping England safe because of the will of God, but people also think you to be weak!"

While he continued to rule, there were no popular commotions arising which were not immediately quelled, no foreign war and everything was peaceful. This is an exceptional outcome for a king who conducted himself so mildly that he would not even utter a word of reproach to even the meanest person. This showed itself also when he went hunting.

The King had gone into the forest on a hunt. He found that a man had interfered with the railings by which the deer were driven towards the hunting party. Forgetting that he was the King, he exclaimed with indignation, "By God and his Mother, I shall do to you, what you have just done to me and my hunting party if ever I get the chance!"

This sort of thing was typical of this mild-mannered man who was regarded by his subjects as a weak and indecisive ruler. Some of the things that were suffered by the population of England during his rule, were that monasteries were deprived of their monks and outrageous judgements were made. These were often simply a means of the magistrates, judges and nobles helping themselves to the property of others.

An advisor went to King Edward and told him, Sire, you must do something about the poor governing of England as practiced under your rule! The monasteries are going to pot, and many of your judges are in fact iniquitous and passing false sentences for false crimes against those whose property they covert. Your Earl Godwin and his sons are laughing at you and your mild-mannered system of ruling England.

Edward said, Send messengers to Earl Godwin demanding that he attends my court here immediately! This is not a request; it is an order! The advisor thought to himself, At last, some guts from a usually indecisive and gutless king, and it is about time that it happened!

Earl Godwin, after spending time hesitating and reflecting, finally came to the court as required. He prostrated himself at the feet of Edward, who raised him up. Edward said, I have to inform you of the death of Hardecanute, and I beg you to assist me in returning to Normandy where I may live in exile.

Godwin, the Earl of Wessex, replied, "My King, it is better for you to live with credit in power than to die in exile! You are the son of Ethelred and the Grandson of Edgar. This being so, means that the kingdom of England is your due. You have now come to a mature age, and you are conversant with governing. You know how to feel the miseries of your people and how to help them overcome their problems. I will support you and your heirs as King because as long as I do so, no-one will oppose you.

In order to strengthen your Royal Family and secure the assistance of the Godwin family for all time, I propose that you marry my daughter Edgitha. You will find her to be wholly honourable and skilled in the arts and matters of education and chastity. I, urge you, my King, to take my daughter as your wife." This was answered by Edward, who said, By my God and his Mother, Godwin, what you have said makes perfect sense, and that is what I shall do!

These conversations took place just before Edward was crowned with great pomp and ceremony at Winchester, on Easter Day. The archbishop Eadsine then instructed Edward in the sacred duties of governing for God and the people of his country. Very soon after this, he married Edgitha, the daughter of Godwin. So it was that Edward the Confessor felt the need to have near him, several Normans who had ministered to him while he was in exile in Normandy. One of these was Robert, who was a monk from Jumieges. Edward had him appointed Bishop of London and later, as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The public reaction to this was that many people openly said, Why is it that King Edward the Confessor has gone mad and appointed a bloody Norman to be the head of the Catholic Church of England? Our King has too many Norman friends who can only be seen as potential enemies. A direct result of this was that the English people vilified the man appointed as head of the Church by Edward.

As a result of this, there were rumblings of disquiet. Discontent was among the English over what some saw as outrageous behaviour by their King. Many people were saying, "Look at the number of bloody Normans that the King is appointing to high places! I am extremely uncomfortable with the number of these foreigners that we have to put up with now! England should be for the English and not the foreigners from anywhere else!

Not only that, but the Norman known as Robert is an impeacher of our hero Godwin and a sower of great discord among people! We must somehow put an end to this madness by Edward the Confessor. We know that Godwin and his sons are men of liberal minds and defenders of the King. It is extremely fast becoming intolerable that has-beens and foreigners are now being preferred to Englishmen in the running of our country! Somehow, we must put a stop to this and help our great King to get back to installing English men to all positions of power in England!"

On the other hand, the Normans that I have spoken of now defended themselves by the making of allegations and false accusations which attempted to paint Godwin and his sons as villains. Typically, these Normans would say, Earl Godwin and his sons act with no respect at all for anyone. These men have no fidelity. They are not loyal to the King, and the people of England must not listen to anyone from the Godwin Family. The brother of the King, called Alfred, does not like the Godwin Family at all.

A grudge existed between the King and Godwin because of the propaganda practised by the Normans present in England. At a conversation between Earl Godwin and Edward during a meal, Godwin said, I note with alarm, my King that your bloody brother, Alfred is totally against me and the members of my family and that you now regard me with suspicion! This is intolerable, because the members of my family and me, including my son, Harold, are the staunchest defenders of you and your kingdom that you may ever find. God forbid that I should swallow this morsel if I am guilty of ever doing anything to your disadvantage or danger!

Godwin had barely finished saying this when he choked upon the morsel he had put into his mouth. He then died and slid from his chair to a point under the table. He was dragged from under the table by his son Harold, who had been standing near the King. Harold said to King Edward the Confessor, Your majesty, I do not like my father being here in this way. I need your help to take his body to Winchester for burial at the cathedral there!

This was answered by Edward, who said, Yes Harold, I have assigned a small party of my soldiers to aid you with this. Go ahead and bury your father at the Winchester cathedral!

Eustace, Earl of Boulogne

He was the father of Godfrey and Baldwin who were the elected kings of Jerusalem. His wife was the sister of Edward the Confessor and her name was Goda. She had a son named as Ralf to her former husband, Walter of Mantes.

Ralf had inherited the title of Earl of Hereford, but he was not suited to rule in any capacity, being both cowardly and lazy. He was at odds with the rulers of Wales and became genuinely concerned at the way things were going. He did not like reports of Welsh military activity and took little to no notice of what his advisors told him.

He was in conference with his commanders when he was told by one of his knights. He said, Sir, our military position against the Welsh is pitiful, and you must quickly do something to turn the situation around, or you shall lose the battle, your forces, and even possibly your earldom. I strongly suggest that you put on armour and personally lead your soldiers in the battles against the Welsh!

That was not what Ralph wanted to hear, so he said, That shall not happen, Sir knight, it is the job of officers like you and your men to defeat the enemy Welsh! Now get out there and wipe them out!

With a heavy heart, the knight started thinking, Oh lovely, my earl is a chicken-hearted coward who does not want to fight himself! He only wants others to fight for him while he does little to nothing. He has ordered continued action against the Welsh who are considerably stronger than our forces and they occupy the high ground. They have many archers on the high ground, which gives them a distinct advantage which we cannot match!

Accordingly, he now said to Ralf, Sir, we cannot win. We are outnumbered by about three to one, and the enemy holds the high ground. Please reconsider your plan to attack the Welsh.

Ralph now said, Fucking hell, Sir knight, are you still here? I thought that I had just finished telling you to complete the job of wiping out the Welsh, now get out there and do it!

The knight said, I have sent an urgent message requesting help from Earl Godwin. I beg you, Sir, to wait until he gets here before we engage the enemy; otherwise, we will suffer enormous losses, and you may even lose your entire lands and your castle!

Ralf now yelled at the knight, I do not give a tinker’s cuss about what you think or why you think it! Fucking well get out there and beat the Welsh now!

The knight immediately left the castle of Ralf and returned to his unit where he spoke to his Sergeant. Sergeant, we have been ordered to commit suicide by attacking the Welsh position. Bloody Ralph has left the area which shall soon be consumed by enemy destruction and fire. He has even left his bishop to face all of this and to die as surely as we shall all die to pay for his folly!

The Sergeant took it all in his stride and set about organising the men to obey this order, even though it was a hopeless situation. The whole situation was one of despair with was only stopped from becoming an absolute defeat for the English by the arrival of Godwin and his army.

The timely arrival of Harold Godwin and his army gave renewed hope and fighting ability to the despairing forces of the leader known among his soldiers as ‘Ralf the Chicken Heart’ and ‘Ralf the gutless’. It was known among the soldiers and the people of the Earldom of Ralf, that he was the product of a previous marriage by the King’s sister. This was also seen as yet another example of the King giving too many positions in England to Normans and weak Englishmen.

Eustace Crosses the Channel

While that was happening, Eustace crossed the channel and travelled from Dover to see King Edward the Confessor to confer with him. Having obtained what he wanted at the conference, Eustace was returning through Canterbury when he was informed about the activities of one of his supporters. This man, a Norman, was dealing too fiercely with an English citizen in that he demanded that the Englishman provide him with quarters but did not pay for it or anything else. That resulted in a fight between the Englishman and the Norman, which resulted in the Norman’s death. Upon being informed of this, Eustace and his men attacked the home of the Englishman.

The resulting military action left the Englishman dead, along with eighteen others. In this same action. Eustace and his men lost twenty-one of his men and suffered many of them wounded because of the call to arms of the Englishmen.

Eustace conferred with his knight. Saying, Send a messenger to King Edward the Confessor saying that I need to have a secret audience with him during which I shall inform him of the treachery of his people such as Godwin who has led his forces against us and beaten my soldiers! I am going to tell him my own story, which is not based upon the truth, but the English King should swallow it because he is a weak fool who thinks that God will aid him, and that will make things easier for me!

His knight answered with, Yes, Sir, I shall leave for the castle of the English king immediately! He then left and was successful in speaking directly to Edward. After that, Eustace arrived and told Edward his story, which was full of lies.

Upon having heard the story of Eustace, Edward yelled to his messenger, Ride with all haste to Wessex and summon Earl Godwin here immediately! Make sure that he gets here without delay. There cannot be any excuse for him not getting here as quickly as is possible!

Earl Godwin is Banished

Earl Godwin, in answer to the summons, arrived at the place where Edward was. No matter what others may think of say about him, Godwin was a loyal supporter of Edward the Confessor, and he was always ready to serve his King. He was perhaps, the ablest of the warrior Earls and other lords of England at the time.

As he arrived at Edward’s Palace, he was ushered into the presence of his King, and upon seeing him, Godwin bowed to Edward and greeted him with, Edward my king, I have arrived here as you have requested of me, what is it that you need me to do?

Edward the Confessor was feeling aggrieved at the insolence shown by the citizens of Canterbury towards his Norman guest, Eustace. He now very angrily shouted, Godwin, I hereby order you to take an army to Canterbury and then to slaughter the people there and in other parts of Kent because of what they have done to my guest, Eustace of Normandy! I demand that you get out there and fulfill this order right now!

Like many other Englishmen, Harold Godwin had become genuinely concerned that the King of England was appointing far too many Norman foreigners to positions of power in England and that too many of these had gained the favour of Edward.

Godwin, therefore, said to his King, "My liege, my King of England, you are supposed to be ruling for the well-being and good of Englishmen, and not for the pride and excesses of the fucking Normans and other French picks! The people of Canterbury are correct in having resisted Eustace and his murderous followers from France and Normandy. I am one of the best warrior earls who is supporting you but take heed of the fact that my first duty is to the people of my England and to God!

The simple fact in this is that if you wish to do what is right for England and its people, you should summon the leaders of Canterbury to your court and have them explain their actions to you. You have not heard what the people of Canterbury experienced because of Earl Eustace of France, and if you do not find out what has really happened, you may find that people will rise up against you!

Let us face it, Sir, you already have the reputation of being unjust and unkind and weak. Not only that but repeatedly, you are being spoken of as an object of scorn, in particular now that you have appointed so many Normans to positions of power and privilege in England! That is of great concern to the people, and I strongly advise you not to appoint more Normans to any positions in England, Your highness!"

Also present at this conference were representatives of the Welsh who had arrived before Harold and his party and who were spreading many lies and rumours about Godwin and his family until the point was reached where rumours about the Godwin men were rife all over the palace.

Godwin, hearing this, gathered his party and said, Friends, we have had our names blackened by the Welsh. For some strange reason, they appear to have the ear of the King, who is giving them far too much credence. It looks like the King may order an attack upon us at any time from now on. We shall not on purpose oppose our sovereign lord, however, if it comes to battle, we shall not retreat, and we shall avenge ourselves!

Sanity slowly began to surface, and new conferences were arranged, thus averting the possible civil war which would otherwise have happened. Harold Godwin was ordered to proceed as quickly as possible to London being in the company of only twelve men and that these as well as Harold should be totally unarmed. He was also ordered to give the King the command of his soldiers. Fearing a trap, he ignored that order.

Upon their meeting, Edward said, I consider the Godwin Family to be a pain and little more than self-serving, traitors! The Godwin Family has spoken against my appointing of Normans to various posts in England, and I consider your actions to be acts of treason. Therefore, I hereby banish your brother Sweyn and you, Harold, from England. Harold Godwin, your earldom, I take from you and grant it to Elgar, the son of Leofric!

Harold had retired to Ireland while his brother retired to Flanders during their exiles. Meanwhile, because of the death of his father, Harold returned from exile and boldly claimed his father’s dukedom, despite being banished.

Meanwhile, Sweyn, who was known to be obstinate and aggressive, showed himself to be without loyalty to the King and revolted against this. He then turned into a pirate and caused much upheaval and anguish along the coast. He was successful in this for a time, and after he had murdered Bruno, he went to Jerusalem. After he arrived there, he was surprised by the Saracens, who put him to death.

After having sailed along the coast to bring to justice with those who were pirating the shores of England, Harold and his companions were blown by a storm into the same bay as where the King and some of his commanders were. They were there to bring down the pirates.

A very heavy and thick mist had enveloped the coast and visibility was unbelievably bad, which is why neither party saw the other. In due course, Harold and his men found King Edward and a meeting was arranged between them. This now resulted in a pardon being issued for Harold and his followers.

In his old age, Edward the Confessor had become skilled in the examinations and probing of other people. He now listened attentively to the concerns of Harold, who said, "My liege, the fucking Norman whom you have appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury is working against you and England. It is high time to remove Robert from being Archbishop of Canterbury and to remove him and all of his followers from England!

The people are aware of this, and they are demanding that you get rid of these foreigners and give their positions to loyal Englishmen. I strongly recommend that you brand all Normans with ignominy and make sure that these potential enemies leave England before it is too late!

Hearing of this, Robert, the archbishop now fled of his own accord and travelled to Rome. He wanted to plead his case before the Pope. However, as he was returning through Jumieges, he died there and was buried in the Church of St. Mary, which he had built at great expense.

Rumours Cause Problems

There was a rumour circulating in England that Tosty, a brother of Harold Godwin who was elevated to the earldom of Northumbria by King Edward, had for ten years caused the Northumbrians to rebel against him. They found him unattended and managed to drive him from the district. Having decided not to kill him, they put to death both his English and Danish attendants. After which they used his house, horses and weapons as their own.

The King heard the rumour and was irritated by it. He, therefore, spoke of it to Harold. The King said, Harold, I need you to get out there and bring those Northumbrians to heel, no matter what the cost!

Harold replied, "My King, the Northumbrians are descents of the Engels and are by definition, a warrior tribe. When these people came to Britain from Germany back in the year of our Lord 445, they named the land where they settled as Engel-land, which is how the country got its name.

They consider themselves to be free-born and freely educated, such that they cannot put up with the cruelty of any prince. They have been taught by their ancestors either to be free or to die! My King, the fact is that the quiet of our country is what is most important in all of this. I, therefore, suggest that we withdraw the English Army from Northumbria and that you settle things with the people of this northern part of England."

The King thought over what had been said by Harold and said to him, Harold, I have thought over what you have told me about the Northumbrians, and I have decided to take into account everything that you have said. Accordingly, it is my decision to grant the earldom of Northumbria to Morcar. On the other hand, if I get hold of your brother Tosty, I shall have him hanged in public so that the people will see how traitors shall be treated by me!

Tosty became enraged by this and left England with his family to live in Flanders until the death of Edward.

Prophecy of Edward While Dying

As he lay dying, Edward the Confessor had been speechless for two days. On the third day, he awoke from his sleep and then sadly and deeply sighing, he said, Almighty God, if this is a real vision or a vain illusion, which I have seen, grant me the power of explaining it to bystanders.

Soon afterwards, he spoke with great clarity and said, "In my vision, I saw two monks near me, who lived most religiously and who have died like the perfect Christians that they both were. These men announced themselves as messengers from God. They now told me that God was very unhappy with the way that things were going in England.

It is with great sadness that I must admit that these messengers from God have told me that I have appointed far too many Normans to positions of high power in England. I was told by the messengers of God. That after my death, the kingdom of England will be delivered for a year and day into the hands of the enemy and that devils shall wander all over the country!"

Edward went on with, I asked if I could show this and explain it to my people that they must alter their ways and repent. However, that was not taken up by these messengers from God. Who now told me, ‘Neither of these shall happen because the chiefs of England, the dukes, bishops and abbots have proven themselves to not be ministers of God and they will not repent, they will simply continue with their evil and licentious ways.

King Edward the Confessor had no children of his own. Because of the death of some relations and losing his first hope of support, he decided to give the succession to the crown of England to William, Earl of Normandy.

Harold Godwin is Aggrieved

King Edward the Confessor sent for Harold Godwin. Having arrived at the palace, Harold came before the King and was spoken to by him. The King said, Harold, I have a secret mission which you must fulfil to the best of your abilities! Do you accept this great responsibility?

Harold Godwin answered, Yes, my King, I am always there for your service and that of England in particular. What is it that you want me to do?

The King said, Harold, as you well know, I am childless, and too many of the people around me in my court are plotters and schemers. I have been given a vision from God in which he has told me to appoint William the Earl of Normandy to become my successor to the crown of England.

That aggrieved Harold, who was always the epitome of an English patriot. So, Harold said, "My King, stop there for a moment and think! Please reconsider what you have just told me.

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