Archive for December, 2013

Firstly, I need to say that others have written about the battle of Wakefield in more depth than I can here. Keith Dockray & Richard Knowles’ excellent article can be found here in its entirety; and Helen Cox and Philip Haigh have both written more detailed accounts, among many others.

I’ve been digging through some of the Chronicles today. There’s far more primary source material online than most of us realise! I seem to find something new every time I venture out into the interwebs. Taking a list of sources from Haigh, I found various references in: The English Chronicle; Gregory’s Chronicle; Halle; Stowe’s Annales (which I think might be an early draft of Halle); Polydor Vergil; Croyland and Fabyan. There are some elements everyone agrees on: the date York’s party left London, their arrival at Sandal on Christmas Eve; the date of the battle; the list of the dead. Most of the chroniclers stick to the bare facts (as they knew, or at least heard them). Only Croyland philosophises and only Halle embroiders. He gives a stirring speech to the Duke of York, full of “I’m no coward!” and “wouldest thou that I for dread of a scolding woman, whose weapon is onely her toungue, and her nayles, should incarcerate my self, and shut my gates then al men might of me woundre and all creatures maie of me report dishonor, that a woman hath made me a dastard…”. Halle gives no clue as to his informant of the astonishing, word perfect memory. Halle’s most egregious flight of fancy involves the death of the young Earl of Rutland. Not quite “scace of ye age of xii yeres, a faire getleman, and a maydenlike person” but a grown lad of 17 – too young to die, then as now, but by the lights of his times, old enough to go to war and fight by his father’s side. Interestingly, there’s no mention of either York’s pre-battle speech nor Rutland’s pathetic end (“chyldkylling”) at the hands of Butcher Clifford in the version to be found in Stowe’s Annales.

There are usually three reasons given for York leaving the safety of Sandal Castle and riding into the teeth of a superior enemy and his demise. Responding to the taunts of his enemies (or the ‘scolding woman’ with her tongue and nails), suggests he was hotheaded and impulsive. Riding out to rescue stranded foragers suggests he was noble and empathetic. Betrayal by Robert Nevill (the usual suspect) suggests he was trusting and, perhaps, desperate for allies and men. While most commentators will plump for one or another of these, there might well have been elements of more than one in play.

The deaths of the duke of York and his son, Edmund earl of Rutland, are usually the focus of Wakefield discussions, commemorations and thoughts. Their deaths were certainly a blow to the Yorkist cause, one that perhaps many feared they’d not recover from. Certainly the duchess of York feared for the lives of her two younger sons and sent them to safety in Burgundy the first chance she got. But for the Feast’s purposes, there were other deaths that day (and the next) that need to be remembered.

Richard Nevill, earl of Salisbury, was set upon by a mob, dragged outside Pontefract castle and summarily beheaded. The Bastard of Exeter, Henry Holland’s half brother, is often found at the top of the list of suspects. Far from falling into a catatonic trance at the news, as one novelist would have it, his widow sprang to action and launched a wrongful death suit against several men, on behalf of her surviving sons. It was unresolved at the time of her death in 1462.

Sir Thomas Nevill, Salisbury’s second son and husband of Maud Stanhope lady Willoughby, died in the battle. Those who enjoy a game of ‘what if’ with regard to Rutland may enjoy a similar game with Thomas. Just as with Edward IV, Thomas was the next brother down in a swag of brothers not known for their love of peace or the quiet life. He didn’t seem to have had much of a calming influence on either Warwick or Montagu, but his actions when York made his bid for the throne – the unknown words spoken to his uncle in private that got him to back down… a bit – suggest he was something of a diplomat. If he’d lived, he’d likely have been elevated to the peerage prior to 2nd St Albans. Instead of John, it might have been Thomas who remembered and celebrated his mother’s family name in his choice of title. I don’t think John would have been far behind him – and judging from his belligerence versus the Percies in the 1450s, I doubt John would have been overshadowed in war by Thomas, but with three Nevill brothers in the fight instead of two, things might have been very different – would Thomas have joined Warwick in rebellion? would Warwick still have rebelled? – or they might not. Who can possibly say?

William Bonville, Lord Harrington, 18 year old husband of Katheryn Nevill, was also killed. He died the same day as his father. William and Katheryn had been married just two years, and probably only sharing their own household for perhaps one. They were the parents of a six month old daughter, Cecily.

There were far too many deaths in England during the Wars of the Roses. The Nevills were wiped out; the Percies came close to it. The House of York supplanted the House of Lancaster and neither flourished in the end. Wakefield was just one tiny part of it, but the shock of the deaths of so many important Yorkists must have sent  the duke of York’s family and supporters reeling, as well as the earl of Salisbury’s.

And, for those of you who don’t know, I get to remember the murder of Salisbury on a very special day for me. It’s my birthday tomorrow!

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This document found its way to me through secretive and convoluted means. I can attest absolutely, 100%, to what I like to call its provenance. Others may choose a different word. Shocking, revealing and world-shattering as this document is, I promise you it will rock you to your core! Or it won’t. Who can say?

Minutes of the 2013 AGM
of the
Internet Douchebags International Obnoxious Toerags Society

Meeting opened: We can’t work it out! Everyone says it’s a different time but we all know someone is lying!. Once we find out who that is, we shall expose them most cruelly with taunts and execrable doggerel.

Members present: Everyone who matters. Well, mostly those who matter. We’re still not sure about Sister Shred-of-Decency and Sister Pisspot is starting to get on our nerves.

Apologies: We don’t apologise for nothing! What do you think we are, a bunch of sissified pansies?? You can take your apology and shove it up your arse!

Correspondence in: Sister Tampon claims the anonymous hate comments on her blog are being posted by an Anonymous Enemy called Smellyfart Pukeface. Sister Pisspot lolololed at this. Brother Frockshop got a nice comment on his latest Facebook post bragging about his Illustrious Ancestors saying ‘Well done you! You must be a truly Special Person to have Illustrious Ancestors! Please tell us how you did that so we, too, can have Illustrious Ancestors of our very own!”. Brother Flamewar had a twitter argument mostly with himself under several different names. He’s sure it will give him net creed, loads of sympathy and a bunch more followers. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! received a review of her latest book I Know Everything About Everything Ever and You’re Nothing But a Speck of Dust Who Knows Nothing! that was only four stars! Sister Trolls! Everywhere! is very upset by this and has invited everyone she knows (except that evil, jealous, nasty, possibly certifiable, illiterate, jealous reviewer) to a Facebook Pity Party. Bring a plate. A bottle of orange Kia Ora cordial will be provided by our generous hostess. Thank you Sister Trolls! Everywhere!! Sister Shun-the-Unbeliever says she received messages from a Hater who did some serious Hating for a bit. She also received her usual weekly memo from God telling her what He hates. Which is a lot of stuff, apparently, so you can imagine how busy she is!

Correspondence out: Sisters Tampon, Pisspot, Bowel Movement, Reality Bypass and I-Heart-Rameses-11 all sent personal messages on Facebook containing a single four letter word. Sister Pisspot lololololed. Everyone else just sniggered. Sister Tampon posted some anonymous hate comments on her blog that must have come from Smellyfart Pukeface because they were anonymous! Brother Frockshop told various people to go fuck themselves. Brother Flamewar traced his own ip address, sent himself some nasty emails, telephoned his employer and threatened to have himself sacked. Sister Shun-the-Unbeliever commented on sixteen Facebook statuses and contributed to 19 twitter conversations with very helpful advice about how people should live their lives and how soon they’ll be going to hell if they don’t follow her advice coz God hates them and she knows this coz she got the memo.

Business Arising

1. Sister Shred-of-Decency is still undecided about changing her name. She received encouragement from members present and a quiet reminder that ‘decency’ has no place in IDIOTS. She has promised to get back to us before the meeting closes.

2. Sister Pisspot lolololed at the word business.

3. Sister Bowel Movement offered to do her business right there on the floor. Brother Creepy-Old-Man heard the word ‘arising’ and looked around with interest.

4. Six more names were added to the list of People we Really Really Hate! They will all be contacted shortly with the good news.

5. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! reported back on her hacking problem. It’s still going on and she reaffirms that anything she has ever said on any digital forum that might be taken as the slightest criticism of another human being wasn’t her but some evil, jealous, possibly certifiable, nasty, jealous hacker, especially if it’s stuff like how pathetic a writer Trills Everywhere is and how she churns out trash™, pre-digested and with all the big words removed so stupid people can read and enjoy it, not like Sister Trolls! Everywhere!’s books, which are intellectual and deep and just so much better than anything the trash™ churning out so called ‘writer’ Trills Everywhere pollutes the world with. As soon as she can work out a way to claim her actual real words spoken from her actual own mouth have been backed, she will announce that this has happened.

6. Sister I-Heart-Rameses-11 tabled a report on People Who Hate Rameses 11 and Why We Should All Hate Them! It was greeted with gasps of awe and wonder. Sister Pisspot lolololed.

6. The New Four Letter Word Working Group tabled an interim report into their Search for New Four Letter Words. Everyone agreed that plum doesn’t sound all that rude really, and fnot just isn’t phonologically feasible except no-one knows what ‘phonologically’ means, it’s probably some gay arse thing put about by the Anti-Rameses-11 bitches who, everyone agreed, are total bitches and complete and utter trams. Sister Pisspot lolololed and said she’d like to stab all those trams in the arse with a pickle fork, which is JUST A JOKE! you stupid people with NO SENSE OF HUMOUR!!!!!! then she flounced for a bit coz she was so distraught she was shaking. Like everywhere! And she’s down to half a bottle of gin! She got lots of supportive messages and executed a rather shambling and unconvincing reverse flounce which is, frankly, starting to get on our nerves.

Election of Officer Bearers

Sister Tampon pointed out that as she’s the grossest, least hinged and most totally crass member of IDIOTS, like, ever, there was no need to go through the boring process of electing office bearers, she should just be confirmed in her position as Chief Douche for Life and everyone else should bow down before her. Sister Perennial-Follower agreed. Sister Pisspot lolololed. Sister Shred-of-Decency rolled her eyes and Sister Bowel Movement farted. And then sniggered. Brother Creepy-Old-Man asked if anyone had any sketches of their tits he could look at. Sisters Tampon and Reality-Bypass passed him several pieces of paper and he seemed quite happy after that. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! offered to write a really clever poem with rhymes and everything, except she probably won’t get the lines to scan but who around here can?, commemorating the occasion.

Motion: That Sister Tampon be confirmed as Chief Douche for Life.
Seconded: Sister Perennial-Follower.
Brother Frockshop moved an amendment: That the office of Descendant of Several Thousand Illustrious Ancestors be created and he be appointed to that office. When he didn’t get the general acclamation he expected, he told the meeting it could go fuck itself and went to the corner to sulk for a bit. Members reported receiving several messages, in all caps, suggesting they go fuck themselves, but hoped Brother Frockshop might settle down after a nice cup of tea.
Sister Shun-the-Unbeliever was appointed by God (again) to be The Voice of God. She said God says “thank you”.

Motion carried as amended.

Motion: That Sister Pisspot go and make everyone a nice cup of tea.
Carried by general acclamation.

Motion: That a new secret Facebook group called ‘We All Hate Sister Pisspot!” be established so everyone can hang shit on Sister Pisspot.
Seconded: Sister Perennial-Follower.
Sister Tampon spoke to the motion saying “Well, she’s been asking for it, stupid bitch!”
Sister Shred-of-Decency questioned the decency of this idea.
Sister Tampon suggested Sister Shred-of-Decency might like to go help with the tea.
Motion carried.

Election of Office Bearers declared bloody well done now so will everyone just sit down and shut the fuck up coz I’m speaking!

Any Other Business

1. Nominations for Toxie Awards
The meeting congratulated all members nominated for Toxies this year. Sister Tampon was nominated for Douche the Year for the third year running. Sister Bowel Movement was nominated for the coveted Speaks With One Side of their Face award. Brother Flamewar and Sister Trolls! Everywhere! both received nominations for the Career Self Destruct award. It’s going to be a tight finish there! Sister Shun-the-Unbeliever is, once again, up for the Religious Intolerance award and Brother Frockshop is up for Most Four Letter Words in a Single Facebook Comment. All members agree that Sister Pisspot has no competition for the Lololol award and Sister Perennial-Follower is almost guaranteed the Nez Brun. IDIOTS should be very proud of their achievements in 2013.

2. Sister I-Heart-Rameses 11 will be organising a trolling party of various Anti-Rameses Facebook groups, including the Nothing Whatsoever to do with Rameses, We Don’t Even Mention Ancient Egypt group which is, as everyone knows, a hotbed of Anti-Rami trolls! And we Hate them! She tabled various romantic sketches of the totally gorgeous and sexy Rami which everyone sighed over, except Sister Tampon who just went kind of quiet and her eyes glazed over for a bit. Sister Pisspot lolololed so hard she knocked over her cup of tea. Sister Bowel Movement sent a private message to Brother Flamewar and they both looked at Sister Pisspot and giggled.

3. Sister Shred-of-Decency gave a heartfelt speech about how left out of things she feels, what with being just a teeny bit decent and everything, and has asked that all members address her in the future as Sister No-Shred-of-Decency. Sister Reality Bypass immediately set up a new secret Facebook group called ‘We All Hate That Two Faced Bitch Sister So Called No Shred of Decency! The Bitch!”. Everyone else immediately joined, except Sister Pisspot coz we didn’t tell her about it.

4. Sister Bowel Movement described her latest bowel movement.

5. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! tabled a report that every other writer on the face of the planet was jealous of her and trying to destroy her career. Brother Flamewar objected to this, saying every writer on the planet was jealous of him and trying to destroy his career. Sister Reality Bypass offered to write one star reviews of every book ever written if that would help. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! thanked her for her kindness but wanted it on record that she’d never actually ask anyone to do anything like that even though it’s totally justified and would help her sales, and if anyone saw anything on Facebook or twitter or whatever that looked like it was her asking people to do anything like that, she was hacked! Brother Flamewar said what about him? and Sister Reality Bypass got a bit confused.

6. Brother Flamewar suggested setting up a More Reasons to Hate More People working group. Sister Tampon pointed out this was already covered by both the Why We’re So Outraged About Everything! sub-committee and Taking Disagreement Personally and Responding with Insults and Abuse advisory group. Brother Flamewar disagreed. Sister Tampon said Brother Flamewar was a sad, pathetic, jealous troll who was just jealous! Brother Flamewar said Sister Tampon should GET A LIFE!! Sister Perennial-Follower agreed. Sister Tampon said that everyone know that Brother Flamewar knew everything! like all sarcastic and everything and Sister Reality Bypass said that everyone was sick of Brother Flamewar insulting everyone with his insulting words. Sister Perennial-Follower agreed. Brother Flamewar said that Sister Tampon is a fnotting tram! Sister Perennial-Follower agreed. Sister Trolls! Everywhere! said Brother Flamewar was a troll and Brother Frockshop told everyone to go fuck themselves. Overwhelmed by her latest fantasy about RamiBaby, sister I-Heart-Rameses-11 passed out in the toilet and Sister Bowel Movement had to step over her. Brother Flamewar said he’d set up his own More Reasons to Hate More People working group and he wouldn’t let Sister Tampon join no matter how hard she begged coz her name was going to be at the top in ALL CAPS!!!!! Brother Creepy-Old-Man took photos.

Meeting closed when Mummy said it was time we were in bed. We hate Mummy!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE FROM ALL OF US HERE AT THE FEAST!