Wars of Religion

The Alternate Wars of the Roses

 

Wycliffe

This segment was initially  in “Pseudo History”. It has been filed under “Underlying Events ” because it is so important to Ximene’s story.

John Wycliffe completed his his arts degree at Merton College Oxford in 1356, the same year as the battle of Poitiers.

He was a member of the “anticlerical nation” at Oxford. This meant that even as a young man he was questioning the role of the clergy. In particular he argued against the way in which the church accumulated money and spent it on material possessions.

He became the master of Balliol college in 1361.

By this stage he had attained some notoriety and raised the possibility of the redistribution of lands owned by the church.

He received support and protection from John of Gaunt and a group of Gaunt’s close supporters, including his father’s mistress Alyse Perrers, and Joan of Kent, Gaunt’s sister in law.

By 1377 Wycliffe had recruited a strong following , known as the Lollards and found himself in open conflict with the church. Wycliff wrote De Civilii Dominio in which he identified a rationale of depriving the church of its major landholdings.

In the segments on the Wars of the Roses there are many references to the undercurrents of reliigious infuences.

There is a strong possibility that the Henry VII’s reformation was not an instant event, invented by Henry to meet his maritial needs, but a determined ambition fashioned over two hundred years.

Wycliffe himself was the spokesperson but the support he garnered showed an initiative with much wider origins.

It is proposed that there were several strands of descendants from the 1300’s.

The Clarences.

Philippa of Clarence was the daughter of Lionel of Antwerp, who in turn was third in line to the throne, after the Black Prince and Richard II. She married Edmund Mortimer and they had a son Roger. Philippa and her husband both died whilst in the company of John Stanley in Cork in 1381. Their son Roger died in battle in 1398 but not before he had fathered a son also Edmund. After the death of the Black Prince in 1376, King Edward in 1377 and Richard II in 1400, the latter Edmund was the rightful King of England. He also died young in 1425, without issue leaving his sister Anne as heir to the throne.

This family was a supporter of the papacy, and therefore against Wycliffe

The Mortimers

Edmund Mortimer was a descendant of that most remarkable couple Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville. (see Holy Mortimer). Edward III executed Roger himself and the next three generations all died relatively young.

This family were also supporters of the papacy

The Hollands

There is much circumstantial evidence that these were not the children of Thomas Holland but of the Black Prince. They were much in demand as marriage partners and were treated as part of the Royal Family. Thomas daughter Alianore married Roger Mortimer. As children of Joan of Kent they were against the papacy. The marriage with the Mortimers was  to an attempt to turn them against the Papacy

The Beauforts

Children of John of Gaunt and Catherine de Roet. Joan de Beaufort was married to Ralph Neville and their daughter Cecily was married to Richard of York.

John of Gaunts great granddaughter Margaret Beaufort  married Edmund Tudor  and their son became Henry VII.

Margaret Beaufort later in life married Thomas Stanley great grandson of John Stanley. Earlier in his life Thomas had been married  to Eleanor Neville, neice of Cecily Neville, Edward IV’s Mother.

 

This family were against the papacy

The Yorks

Edmund of Langley married Isabel Perez, who also had an affair with John Holland. Isabel’s son Richard of Conisburgh married Anne Mortimer, the legitimate heir to the throne. Richard of Conisburgh was executed by Henry V on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt. Their son Richard of York married Cecily Neville and their son became Edward VI.

This family were against the Papacy except that a son of Richard and Cecily, Richard III turned in favour of the Papacy to support his own claim to the throne.

The Bolingbrokes

Descendants of Henry IV, who with the support of the Papacy seized power in 1399. Henry IV’s son Henry V used Papal support to successfully claim the throne of France  but his grandson Henry VI suffered from incapacities which offered the “anticlerical nation” another opportunity.

The Chaucers

Very misleading they were actually descended from John of Gaunt’s children by Phillipa de Roet. The marriage to geoffry de Chaucer was a cover. They were much in demand as marriage partners because of their true parentage.

This family should have been against the papacy but evidence is they turned in support of the Papacy in support of Richard III.

De la Pole

Intermarried both with the Yorks and Chaucers.

Undoubtably Pro Papacy

The Link to Ximene

The initiative was possibly launched and certainly had the support of the women who figure in the stories about Ximene.

There were two objectives in this initiative the first was to establish manipulate the genealogy of the English royal family  so that they had an unchallenged right to rule and then, having achieved this, to separate from the realm from Rome.

The one had to precede the other because of the way in which the church of rome had promoted Hugh Capet because of his greater nobility not because his inherited right to the throne.

In the stories about Ximene this initiative started when Ximene Trencavel arrived in England.

Ximene found that  England had many Cathar cells. The most notable of these had been at Old Sarum, near Salisbury, the stronghold of the Earls of Salisbury.

The Church of Rome had been ejected  from Old Sarum, hence the establishment of Salisbury and it’s cathedral on the plain below.

The cell at Old Sarum had given the same Cathar education as Ximene recieved at Chateau Foix,  It was attended by William Montacute, son of the Earl of Salisbury, Joan of Kent and Edward, the Black Prince, providing the origins of the most regal menage au trois.

From her contacts with Ximene, Joan of Kent knew of the way in which the Cathar faith had almost been eradicated in Occitan and the way in which those who had held on to the faith were being persecuted by the inquisition.

Such attacks were unknown in England and Aquitaine because from the time of Henry II the church had been prevented from playing a part in the Plantagenet civil courts and Edward I  had resisted attempts to operate an inquisition.

Nevertheless, Joan wanted to protect herself and other Cathars from the Inquisition and resolved to break all ties between the governance of England and the church of Rome.

With Ximene’s co-operation she set about winning the support of other members of the royal family.

Mistresses and Wives

The heir to the throne was the Black Prince, Joan’s long time lover and she felt confident that as a Cathar himself, he would give her his full support. She already had two illegitimate children by the prince, Thomas and John Holland.

The second in line to the throne was Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence and in 1360 another of Ximene’s friends
Phillipa de Roet was assigned to be Lionel’s mistress and persuade him of the need to separate the state from the Church of Rome.

In 1361 Joan finally married the Black Prince, thereby ensuring that she could influence his decisions.

She quickly discovered, or perhaps already knew, that King Edward, The Black Prince’s father, though sympathetic, preferred the status quo, whereby he nominally gave support to the Pope, but prevented the Church of Rome from carrying out any persecution.

On the basis of what had happened in Occitan Joan put no trust in this solution.

She therefore took steps to bring the king under her control. One of Ximene’s circle of friends, Alyse Perrers AKA Alyse Perez, became the king’s mistress in 1363

Incredibly Alyse also controlled parliament, inventing the process of legal soliciting. It was Alyse who founded the “Inns of Court”

In 1366 Alyse became aware that John Wycliffe, ex head of Balliol college, Oxford had become disillusioned with the Church of Rome. Specifically Whycliffe claimed that the authority of the papacy was without foundation and that both Monks and Priests were irredeemably corrupt.He believed that the only way to separate the church from its preoccupation with material possessions was to take those possessions away. The implication of his beliefs was that the members of the church had to be separated from the Church of Rome.

This was exactly what Joan was seeking. Wycliffe was emphatically not a Cathar but his central theme of destroying the power of the Church of Rome was totally compatible with Cathar Objectives. Joan and Alyse set about garnering support for Wycliffe.

Joan’s first legitimate son by the Black Prince, Edward of Angouleme was born in 1365 and replaced Lionel as second in line to the throne, Richard II was born in Bordeaux in 1367. The succession looked assured; two sons, both of whom would be educated as Cathars, both of whom would be under Joan’s control.

Lionel now third in line to the throne, died in 1368, possibly murdered. However he left behind a daughter, Phillipa, whose claim was only bettered by Joan’s sons Edward and Richard.

Phillipa was betrothed to Edmund de Mortimer thereby securing the most famous of the Sangreal blood lines for the succession.

After Lionel’s death John of Gaunt became fourth in line to the throne, but nevertheless a person of great influence. Phillipa de Roet transferred her attentions to him shortly after the death of his wife Blanche of Lancaster, who succumbed to the plague in 1369. A short time later Philippa’s younger sister Catherine also became Gaunt’s mistress.

Queen Philippa’s also died in 1369, but apparently not of the plague. Alyse was not only the virtual queen but also the effective ruler of the country.

Richard II

At the time of Richard’s fifth birthday in 1372, his Cathar education commenced. He would have expected to continue to his progression in 1383.

John of Gaunt, could normally have been expected to play a prominent role in Richards upbringing. The attempts to influence Gaunt intensified. In 1371 he had been persuaded to marry Constance of Castile (AKA Constance Pedra AKA Constance Perez, who was Alyse Perez’ younger sister.)

The Perez sisters carried the other famous blood line, supposedly a direct matrilineal descent from Mary Magdelene.

Alyse now openly supported Wycliffe. Gaunt , not surprisingly followed suit.

The control of the Royal family was extended when in 1372 the third Perez sister Isabelle was married to Edmund of Langley fourth in line to the throne.

Richard II was excluded from this absorption of “holy” blood lines and it seems that Joan of Kent was planning to get her son appointed as the Holy Roman Emperor. He was betrothed In the same year Richard married Anne of Bohemia who was both the daughter and sister to a Holy Roman Emperor.

A religious movement called the Lollards, based on Wyclif’s teaching, was allowed to grow, in order to win the support of the common people. It seemed that everything was now in place to allow a breakaway from the Church of Rome. All that had to be decided was the timing.

The support of every member of the royal family was thought to be assured and the lollards grew in strength. Gaunt provided patronage to Simon Sudbury, the recently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury who then became Lord Chancellor. Sudbury became sympathetic to the idea of separation from the Church of Rome.

Everything changed in the years from 1372- 1377. First Richard’s elder brother died, then Richard’s father in 1376 and his grandfather in 1377. Richard was now king at the age of ten and the subject of his education became a national issue.

Ironically the activities of Alice Perrers had taught Parliament about its inherent power.

No parliament had been called between 1373 and 1376 but this was always a balancing act as the approval of Parliament was needed to raise revenue.

King Edward was determined to fund ongoing expenditure by taxation and to leave Ximene’s treasure untouched.

The Parliament of 1376 took its opportunity to demonstrate it’s capabilities. Alice Perrers was sent into exile. Richard II, at the age of nine was summonsed to appear before parliament, and it was demanded that he confirm that he would uphold the laws of the people, that is the laws created by Parliament. This was something Richard never forgot or forgave. Even at this early age he had been brought up to believe he had the divine right to rule and was answerable only to God, not The Church of Rome certainly not Parliament.

Even at this early stage in the development of the parliamentary system the reality of power was quite different.

It would appear that the members of Parliament were suspicions that there had been and probably still was a hidden agenda.  Gaunt tried to protect Alyse but found that his opinion was totally disregarded.

Interestingly in this same Parliament, John of Gaunt raised the possibility of imposing the Salic law (the disallowing of claims to the throne through the female line), in England.

It was not what it seemed, Gaunt sensed that this particular Parliament was determined to oppose him so he raised this issue knowing that his proposal would be rejected and thereby protecting the female succession. The implication was that he was favouring Phillipa, daughter of Lionel, over his own son!

Peasant’s Revolt

Gaunt was already committed to the longer term initiative to improve the blood line and separate the state from Rome.

After this experience Richard was determined to break free from the control of parliament and manipulated his council to include those favourable to his view of how an absolute monarch should govern.

The first test of his powers was the peasants revolt in 1381. This was caused by attempts to control agricultural wages which had doubled or in some places trebled after the Black Death had taken so many lives. There was also a thrust to end the vestiges of serfdom, which prevented some agricultural workers from taking advantage of the higher wages being offered.

Richard at the age of fourteen dealt with the revolt personally, riding out to face the dissidents from the south east who had entered London.

At this time he was still under the influence of his mother. It is known that Joan had contact with the rebels immediately before and during the invasion of London. Joan emerged from these meetings unscathed. She was a very capable lady and the contacts were unlikely to be an accident. She wanted to convince the rebels that her son was sympathetic to their cause thus enabling Richard to approach them with confidence.

There was an attempt to link the revolt to the preaching of Wycliffe but the rioters burned down the Savoy Palace residence of Gaunt and the inns of court, owned by Alyse Perrers, both known to be supporters of Wycliffe.

The rebellion was in fact inspired by genuine grievances but then the Church of Rome was implicit in the use of the uprising to discredit Wycliffe, as evidenced by the fact that the rioters mysteriously gained access to the Tower of London where they kidnapped and subsequently beheaded Simon Sudbury, who supported the idea of separation from Rome.

Richard’s subsequent treatment of ringleaders is regarded as firm but fair. However in the following six months over 1500 of the rebels, as far afield as York in the North and Bridgewater in the West, were executed.

Disruption of the succession

In the following year Philippa of Clarence and her husband Edmund Mortimer both died in Cork. This meant that their child Roger Mortimer who possessed the Sangreal of the Mortimers and the inheritance of the Plantagenets was heir to the throne.

After the marriage of Richard to Anne of Bohemia, her courtiers carried Whycliffe’s teaching back to Bohemia where it became the basis of the Hussite movement.

This came a little too soon and disrupted the plan was that Richard would eventually become Holy Roman Emperor Therefore plans for Roger Mortimer to become King of England were also disrupted.

After the peasants revolt Richard continued to stack his council with those who were sympathetic to his vision of how a king should behave.

Joan of Kent died in 1385 thereby removing a critical and experienced political advisor.

What Richard should have done was favour those already rich and powerful with additional benefits to win them over to his point of view. Once he lost his mother’s council, what he actually did was identify those without power or influence, who were only too willing to support his point of view without challenge if Richard rewarded them for their compliance.

The result was that he antagonised the rich and powerful by creating competitors with sufficient lands and wealth to be a serious threat to the status quo.

Aristocratic revolt

It did not take long for Richard to be challenged. In 1386 Gaunt sailed south to invade Castile hoping to claim the Crown and possibly to separate the Castilian nation from the Church of Rome.

Almost immediately three lords; Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III and thus the king’s uncle; Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel and of Surrey; and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick accused Richard’s Council of Treason in that they exercised undue influence over the king.
The were joined by Gaunt’s son Henry Bolingbroke, then Earl of Derby and Thomas de Mowbray Duke of Norfolk. Richard obtained advice that the Lords Appellant had no authority and should be arrested as traitors. Richard sent an army commanded by Robert de Vere to arrest the lords but they resisted arrest and having defeated De Vere’s army forced Richard to summon a parliament.

Most historians believe the cause of this more aristocratic rebellion was Richard’s determination to make peace in France. but it was actually driven by the Church of Rome to prevent the plans which had been laid coming to fruition.

Under the influence of the Lords Appellant virtually all of Richards advisors and their staff were condemned to death by Parliament and in most cases the executions were carried out. Some, including de Vere, fled abroad.

This parliament was known as the “Merciless” parliament.

Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, married to Isabel Perez, was furious at the activites of the Merciless parliament but took no action.

He had to be pursuaded not to take military action. He was impetuous and ill prepared. He might have launched himself into battles he could not win.

His son Richard married Anne Mortimer,  daughter of  roger de mortimer and Alianor holland thus bringing together the various sangreal and the hereditary rights to the Plantagenet throne.

The prominence of the holland family was because  the holland brothers were in fact fathered by the black prince not by Thomas Holland.

Gaunt returned from Castile in 1390 and his presence enabled Richard to regain control.

Between 1390 and 1397 Richard took revenge on the Lords Appellant. His uncle, Thomas Duke of Gloucester was forced into exile and then was captured and executed (murdered?)in Calais. The Earl of Arundle (Richard Fitzalen) was accused of treason and executed, the Earl of Warwick( Thomas Beauchamp) was imprisoned in the Isle of Mann and both Boligbroke and Mowbray after accusing each other of treason were sent into exile.

However the schemes were now severly threatened. Joan of Kent died and Ximene and her friends were now in their early fifties . Plans were made for the next generation to take charge.

A new generation

Ximene’s son by John Stanley was nominated to continue Ximene’s role as Co-ordinator. Not directly involved it would be his responsibility to plan the future strategy.

The plusses were judged to be that the current legal heir to the throne was Roger de Mortimer, son of Philippa Of Clarence.

There were multiple children of John of Gaunt by Constance, Catherine and Phillipa de Roet all of whom could make marriages and extend their influence

There were multiple children of Joan’s illegitimate children by the Black Prince, (the Holland brothers} who could do the same thing.

However human frailty intervened. Arrangements had been made for Roger Mortimer’s daughter, Anne (by Alianore Holland) to marry Isabel’s son Richard of Conisburgh. There was a slight problem in that it had become known that Richard of Conisburgh’s father was not Edmund of Langley but John de Holland, Alianor’s uncle

This one element of the succession planning  was therefore open to challenge.

In any case in the current legal heir to the throne was Roger, Anne’s father and then Edmund de Mortimer Anne’s elder brother.

In 1394 Anne of Bohemia died leaving Richard II without an heir and it had become clear that he was not going to be elected as HRE.

Things did not improve Henry Bolingbroke, Gaunt’s son invaded England and supported by the church of rome overthrew Richard and commenced a persecution of the Lollards.

The movement went underground. In England Henry IV was succeeded by Henry V, who ignored the claims of the Mortimers. In fact Roger de Mortimer died in ireland in 1398

John Stanley died in 1414.

Roger Mortimers son , Edmund also died in Ireland

 

 

Spread of the the Hussite movement.

John Huss was executed after the 1415 Council of Constance

His followers rejected everything that they believed had no basis in the Bible, such as the veneration of saints and images, fasts, superfluous holidays, the oath, intercession for the dead, auricular Confession, indulgences, the sacraments of Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick; they admitted laymen and women to the preacher’s office, and chose their own priests. But above all they clung to Wycliffe’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, denying transubstantiation,

On March 23, 1430, Joan of Arc dictated a letter that threatened to lead a crusading army against the Hussites unless they returned to the Catholic faith, but her capture by English and Burgundian troops two months later would keep her from carrying out this threat.

A war in Europe demonstrated once again how the church was able to use royal succession to suppress those with different beliefs.

 

The scene was set.

 

The most dangerous woman in the world