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This England

This England is the quarterly magazine for all who love our green and pleasant land and are unashamedly proud of their English roots. Published since 1968 the magazine has now become one of England’s best loved magazines and has a readership of over 115,000 people from around the world. As well as being popular in England it outsells all other British heritage magazines in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and is sent to readers in every country of the world. Published in Cheltenham, in the heart of picturesque Gloucestershire, the magazine is edited, printed and despatched direct from England. Subscribe today and celebrate all that is best about England and the English way of life.


‘A ROYAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND’ (continued) The George Inn at Norton St. Philip. On 6th July 1685 Monmouth’s army of some 4,000 men mounted a surprise night-time attack on James II’s royalist forces at Westonzoyland, a village near Bridgwater in Somerset. In what has become known as the Battle of Sedgemoor, Monmouth was easily defeated and around 1,300 of his supporters were killed and he was later found hiding in a ditch. He was captured and sentenced to death. The Duke of Monmouth was executed at the Tower of London on 15th July. More than 300 of his followers were hanged, others were flogged or fined, and around 800 were deported and sold into slavery following the “Bloody Assizes” of Judge Jeffreys. It was not an auspicious start to James II’s reign. There were also rumours that the Queen and courtiers had made a shameless profit out of the sale of pardons and that the King had sanctioned acts of cruelty. Across the border, there was also a small rebellion in Scotland when the Earl of Argyll sailed from Holland, where he had been hiding following a conviction for treason. Accompanied by 300 men, he tried to raise an army of the Campbell clan, but it came to nothing and Argyll was taken prisoner in Edinburgh on 18th June 1685 and was sentenced to death as a traitor. As with so many of his predecessors, the matter of religion came to dominate much of James II’s reign. He was England’s last Roman Catholic monarch and some Protestant MPs fought against him as he tried to obtain acceptance for Catholics and non-conformists to worship, as his brother had done before him. It was while living in France that James had been drawn to the Catholic faith and secretly converted to Catholicism in around 1668. He applied for a papal dispensation which would enable him to continue worshipping in the Church of England for the sake of appearances, but Pope Clement IX refused to grant it. During the reign of Charles II, Parliament introduced the Test Act of 1673 which required anyone holding civil or military office to denounce Catholic practices and to receive the eucharist only in the Anglican church. James refused to accept this and relinquished his position as Lord High Admiral. In doing so, he effectively revealed his Catholic conversion and Parliament tried unsuccessfully to have him removed from the line of succession. Whilst remaining a Catholic, James agreed that his daughters, Mary and Anne, should be brought up as Protestants so that their place in the line was secure. When, as King, he wanted to allow Roman Catholics to command regiments he faced opposition from his once loyal Parliament. The Tories were the dominant power and were staunchly Anglican. The Whigs tolerated nonconformists. Both parties were anti- Catholic. Not to be undermined, James discontinued the Parliamentary session and it never sat again for the rest of his reign. He placed Catholics in high offices, including important positions at Oxford colleges, and in 1687 issued a Declaration of Indulgence, which effectively ended all laws that were unfavourable to Catholics. The following year, at his instigation, it was proposed that a revised version of the Declaration should be read out in every Anglican church in England on two successive Sundays. Most vicars in England refused and, where they did, congregations walked out of church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, and six bishops, fiercely opposed the Declaration. They were arrested, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and put on trial for seditious libel, but were later acquitted. On 10th June 1688 James became a father again when Queen Mary gave birth to a son, christened James Francis Edward and immediately titled Prince of Wales. As a male he superseded James’s Protestant daughters and became a Roman Catholic heir to the throne. To discredit this new Prince, James’s Protestant enemies invented the warming pan story, spreading rumours that the baby had been smuggled into the Queen’s bedchamber. As a result, there was always doubt that he was actually a son of James II and the Prince became known eventually as “The Old Pretender”. On 22nd October 1688 James made a declaration to Parliament that the Prince of Wales was genuinely his son and heir, but it was rejected. The young Prince was barred from the line of succession by an Act of Settlement and subsequently had to forfeit all his British titles. Although royal births had witnesses at this time, none appeared to be impartial at Queen Mary’s confinement. James’s daughter Anne should have been present at the birth, but had been persuaded to visit Bath instead. Within weeks the Bishop of London and a group of six prominent politicians invited the Dutch William of Orange, who was James’s nephew and son-inlaw, to come to England to “save the Protestant religion”. William of Orange landed at Brixham, Devon, on 5th November 1688. A statue at the harbour now commemorates his arrival. An army of some 13,000 men followed and marched through Exeter and on to Bristol and Salisbury. It was the beginning of what is now called the Glorious Revolution, with James’s supporters becoming known as “Jacobites” after the Latin version of “James”. The King was taken by surprise, expecting William to land in Kent rather than Devon. His army prepared to confront William’s men at Warminster, but the King was stricken with a serious nosebleed on 19th November and withdrew, eventually going back home to Whitehall Palace in London, where he discovered that even his daughter Anne had fled to Nottingham. The army and navy lost confidence in their monarch and soon the whole English navy became supporters of William. James decided to run rather than fight for his position, first destroying as many government papers as he could lay his hands on. With the Queen and A memorial to the Battle of Sedgemoor. W.P. ANDREWS 14 THIS ENGLAND, Winter, 2017

the baby Prince of Wales escaping in advance to France, James set off to join them, leaving London in the early hours of 11th December. At Vauxhall he threw the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames, which symbolically marked the end of his reign. He had been on the throne just three years and many historians consider that he gave up the crown far too easily. James was preparing to set sail from Sheerness when he was recognised, captured, and returned to London. William of Orange, placed in a difficult position with James being his fatherin-law, decided that the King should be set free. On 23rd December James crossed the English Channel, arriving at Ambleteuse, near Boulogne on Christmas Day. He went directly to his cousin, King Louis XIV of France, who gave him a home at St. Germain and a pension. Jacobite sympathizers in England began to drink a secret toast to “the King over the water” as a sign of their allegiance to him, holding their glasses over finger-bowls of water on the table. Fellow supporters instantly recognised the sign. The news that James had thrown the Great Seal into the River Thames was taken by Parliament to mean that the King had voluntarily given up the crown. It was agreed that William of Orange would become King of England and rule jointly with his wife, James’s eldest daughter, Mary. A Bill of Rights brought an official end to James II’s reign and included clauses that still affected the monarchy into this century: stating that no Roman Catholic could be King or Queen, and no one in the line of succession could marry a Catholic. In 1978 Prince Michael of Kent gave up his place in the line of succession to marry the Roman Catholic Marie Christine von Reibnitz. The Duke of Kent’s eldest son, the Earl of St. Andrews, also lost his place in 1988 on marrying the Catholic Sylvana Tomaselli. Following a new Succession to the Crown Act, which came into force in 2015, anyone marrying a Catholic is no longer disqualified. Consequently, the Earl of St. Andrews was reinstated and is now 35th in line, and Prince Michael currently 45th. James II was formally deposed on 23rd December. After a short interregnum, he was succeeded in February 1689 by his Protestant son-in-law, and the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II began. On 11th April 1689, Scotland also decided that James had given up the crown and was no longer their King. A painting of the Battle of the Boyne by Jan Van Huchtenburg (1647-1733). Although James appeared to cast off the mantle of sovereignty without a fight, he did make attempts to reclaim his crown. In March 1689 he sailed to Ireland, where an Act of Liberty and Conscience had been passed by the Irish Parliament, which granted religious freedom to all Catholics and Protestants. Basing himself in Dublin, he formed an army and on 1st July 1690 attacked the forces of William of Orange 30 miles away on the River Boyne. William personally led his army, the last time two Kings of England faced each other in battle, and had a decisive victory at the Battle of the Boyne. It marked a turning point in the Protestant history of Ireland and is commemorated every July with a public holiday and a march of Orange Men through the streets of Northern Ireland. James returned to France and never visited England again, although he did send an invasion fleet from Normandy in May 1692 in one final attempt to regain the throne, but lost in the resulting naval battles of Barfleur and La Hogue. In 1697 Louis XIV signed the Treaty of Ryswick, which brought to an end a nine-year French conflict with England, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, and also stripped James of his independent army. In the treaty, Louis finally recognised William III as King of England and promised to give James no further military support. Louis XIV continued to support James on a personal level as his cousin and gave him the magnificent Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he lived with his wife and some English Jacobite supporters, and which became his home for the rest of his life. In 1692 he became a father again with the birth of a daughter, Louise, whom he called “his solace”. James died at the château on 16th September 1701 at the age of 68 after suffering a brain haemorrhage. Unusually, the former King was not buried but his coffin rested in the Chapel of St. Edmund at the Church of English Benedictines in Paris, guarded by monks. They believed that someone from England would make arrangements to transport the body to London to be buried amongst his royal predecessors in Westminster Abbey, but nobody did. Rather gruesomely, his remains were eventually divided up by the monks, possibly in the belief that he would one day be canonised and the parts would become holy relics. James’s remains were rediscovered in 1824 and were reburied, along with those of his second wife, Mary of Modena. In 1855 Queen Victoria visited St. Germain and personally paid for a memorial to James in the church to mark his final resting place. PAUL JAMES THIS ENGLAND, Winter, 2017 15

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