• Wars of the Magna Carta Series

Books in this series

Book One – Battle For England

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By 1215 King John was in serious trouble. He had upset his subjects in many and various ways. He had lost the English dukedoms of Normandy and Brittany, and the counties of Aquitaine, Poitou, and Anjou, to Philip of France. He had got involved in the murder of his nephew Arthur – the heir nominated by his brother, King Richard. He had been excommunicated by Pope Innocent III and he’d had to deal with a revolt in Wales. Latterly, he had been persuaded into signing the Magna Carta by his nobles – which he reneged on, claiming that he was forced into acceptance and had only signed it under duress.
This final bad decision led to the barons inviting the French Prince Louis over the Channel to take charge of a new ‘civil’ war in England.
In 1216 John lost Westminster and fled to Winchester. Dover Castle was under siege, and England south of a line from the Wash to Bristol was in revolt. John was being pulled back and forth by the tides of war, travelling as far north as Berwick to quell the flames. By the autumn he was back in the south with the state of England in serious danger of becoming a French crown territory.
The eyes of England turned towards the Midlands, where, sitting proud on its ridge, stood the mighty citadel of Lincoln, a stronghold since Roman times. Lincoln must hold out if the country was to survive.
Lincoln and its nearby supporting fortress of Laxton are in the hands of two redoubtable women: Nicholaa of Lincoln, and Matilda of Laxton, both are hereditary Keepers of the King’s Forest. Nicholaa and Matilda hold the lands of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire between the coast and the Pennines secure through the defence of their castles. They must hold firm: the central defence of England rests upon their shoulders.

Book Two – A Contest of Wills

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With the siege of Lincoln castle lifted, after the garrison, led by the redoubtable Nicholaa held firm, and the English army led by William Marshall breaks through the strangling French, the gallant ladies who led the resistance find themselves embroiled in plots to take over their appointments.

Notwithstanding the ongoing problems with managing the forests, including the predations of the Sheriff of Nottingham, suitors began to arrive to claim the women’s appointments though the mechanism of marriage.

How will our redoubtable heroines survive?

Book Three – Battle for Supremacy (Provisional)

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King John, having parted on good terms with his two female castellans, Nicholaa of Lincoln, and Matilda of Laxton, set off from Lincoln for Newark.
In the country the civil war was enjoined, his rebellious barons having invited a French prince to come and lead them in their revolt against John’s repudiation of the 1215 Magna Carta.
The unfortunate and in many ways, incompetent king, was not to survive that visit to Newark, he died there on the night of 18/19 October 1216, leaving his eldest son, Henry, to succeed him as King of England.
The problem was, that Henry, to be the third of that name, was merely nine years old, and a power vacuum loomed.
However, Henry, who personified the legitimacy of the monarchy, had friends and supporters, the backbone of which was William the Marshal, who’s words follow:
‘By God’s sword, your counsel is true and good, and goes so straight to my heart that if all the world should forsake the King, save myself, know you what I should do? I would carry him on my shoulders from one land to another, and never fail him, though I had to beg for bread.’
Spoken before the council of regency after the coronation when they were choosing a guardian for the young king.