Blackborough: A Complete History of a Non-Existent Place (Part 3)

Dissolution, Civil War and a City in Flames (1470 – 1675  AD)

The War of the Roses is felt in the town as the Earl is a prominent Lancastrian, and Blackborough is a major Lancastrian hub in Northern England. The Earl is often away fighting battles during the 1460s, until he is killed at a nearby battle. Blackborough, undefended at this time and under control of the Earl’s son, defects to the Yorkists and is allowed to keep his title.

The Anglo-Hanseatic War begins, and the recently-built Hanseatic trading post and warehouse are destroyed.

As the manorial system declines, many farmers inside the outer palisade of Blackborough begin to leave, many farmers abandon their small fields and utilise the newfound social mobility caused by the decline of manorialism to join the middle/merchant class. The remaining farmers sell their land and relocate outside the city, many carving up parcels of the poorly-maintained selions for themselves.

Centuries of erosion lead to the land between the wooden palisade and the Dubnus River becoming either eroded or built into dockland.

Many fields become pastures as the quality of life for peasants increases and they are able to consume more meat. The Earl’s frequent warring allows many peasants to secretly sneak into the earl’s forest north of town and get away with poaching. In 1465, one hermit who is grazing his hogs in the woods discovers truffles and by the end of the decade, a small black market for truffles and other products from the forest is established in Northbridge.

As the old Roman roads continue to deteriorate, shipping becomes more important than ever, and the docklands are expanded northward.

In 1478, an episode of violence in the Docklands leads to a Jewish house being destroyed. Many Jews flee to Rothray, and one family flees to the decaying ruins of the Anglo-Saxon watchtower to establish a farm.

A small Scottish raid in 1479 destroys two sheepfolds and many sheep are stolen. A watchtower and barracks to the north of the shepherding district is established to protect from the omnipresent threat of Scottish raids and attacks.

The local aldermen and town officials finally pressure the King in 1469 to make Blackborough and its environs into a county corporate.

Mining operations intensify in this region, with the strip mine shifting its major focus from coal to lead due to coal’s low prices at the time. Another bell-pit is established.

A new dock is built east of the new bridge, and a small market district grows up around it.

An old man claims that drinking only water from the creek has allowed him to live so long. He dies in 1476 and his daughter establishes a small brewery to brew ales from the creek. Although home brewing was extremely common in Blackborough in the fifteenth century, the old man’s daughter’s brewery is unique in the fact that it is a separate building from his house. The daughter’s husband establishes a tavern nearby.

In 1491, a wealthy merchant by the name of Montgomery Higgins moves to town and builds a mansion for himself. The remaining pasture in the back is used for his horses to run around in. He quickly becomes good friends with the Mayor, gaining a fast track to power.. By 1494, the mayor, Higgins is appointed his successor. When the old mayor dies on October 2nd, Higgins becomes the Mayor of Blackborough. That same year, a Merchant’s College is opened in Westburgh, bringing in merchants who want their sons to be better educated in the trade.

In 1498, the construction of a bridge between Blackborough and Redhall ends, connecting the two towns as one.

As the Treaty of Everlasting Peace is signed between the Kings of England and Scotland, plans for a regular training a militia are shelved. Henry VII’s very negative outlook on lords having armies of their own leads to a decrease in the garrison. The money which would have been used to pay the soldiers instead goes into silver plate for the lord’s private treasury.

The Master of Stonewall Manor, Sir Edmund Stonewall, constructs a hunting lodge in the far north east. Or so he says. He just made sure the road leading to it wound quite a bit. He is on the lookout for wolves. Only having a young daughter, he brings around the occasional young man as he searches for someone worthy of adding a hyphen to the Stonewall name in case his wife bears him no sons. So far they have just gotten pigs and boars. Very tasty, very dangerous. Wolves are all but extinct in England, but Scotland… Well, maybe someone will go there to bring back glory.

After it was discovered that silver and gold coins used to pay royal taxes, few in number though there were, had a quantity of counterfeits within it, using thin layers of gold of silver over lead. What was worse was that they showed the former King Richard III. The eye is laid upon the Earl and suggestions are voiced that he might have retained some of his Lancastrian father’s sympathies. When a man from of some learning starting quoting the “Give unto Caesar”, He swiftly agreed and declared that he would make a statue of His Highness with gilt to show his loyalty. The statue of the city’s patron saint seems to be in a perfect spot to put it…

A large building is built near the hunting lodge for forest wardens so that the Earl can keep track of how much the Master catches. As it is not the woods directly behind his estate as his father had once asked for and received rights to, he would need to pay for whatever he catches in the way of deer.

Odd signs of sickness appear. While it is not realized, the strip mining of lead has rather negative side effects. The burning of coal in the pits to save time in removing lead have left many of the workers with harsh coughs. In time it is decided that it must be due to the body rejecting the fire and brimstone that was created in the mine. The miners deemed too ill to keep working as set up in the increasingly over crowded hospital. There was still lead to mine, though. Workers would not even have enough time to brush the lead dust from their hands before eating their meals and getting back to their duties.

There would be minor problems in years to come over where to put the statue of Henry VII, to Arthur Tudor, to Henry VIII. It was constantly remade, too thin, and all around an embarrassment to Merdin’s neighboring communities and Earl as neither the cathedral nor St. Dumnas church will accept it. After thoughts of placing it in an empty part of the old town, the Earl bitterly places it in Merdlin. “At least it’s not lead.” He is reported to have said, apparently blaming the whole embarrassing incident upon them.

New homes are built. Some belong to a family versed in witchcraft. Pay your fees and get protection from poisons, miscarriages, and hexes. Or get poisons and abortions. It’s all real magic though, so pay up.

On an unrelated note, there are noticeably less unmarried women having children. Same with the married ones who already had many. The population is fairly stable, but the health of miners, those downsteam from where slag is dumped into the river, and women visiting new neighbours takes a blow. It is expected that there will be many widows, orphans, and those who cannot work if something is not done about the miasma. On the plus side, the ale is still safe to drink and they are almost certain that nobody is sweetening the wine shipped in for medicinal and religious purposes with lead.

A convent, to be funded with the tithes, donations, and services of the locals, is to be built on the far side of the woods from their lake. It is not yet deemed fit for occupation, but it does provide Frogmere with some migrant workers with wares to sell and strong hands to help in trying to push back the shores of the lake before it floods homes. Some clay is extracted and stacked up in the sun in blocks.

After the cutting down of the woods around the borders between Frogmore and Redhall, the peasants are informed that the forests north and east of the lake and canal are being granted to the office of the Bishop for use by the Priory, Cathedral, etc.

Miners from Merdin come to the Cathedral wishing for a cure to their illness. They are bathed in the presences of burning incense, woods, and a variety of tried plants. They feel better afterwards and go home with explanations that they needed to burn plant life so the vapours could expel those that came from the rocks that were burned in the mines.

Pilgrimages to the island spiked after a check-up was done on the island to see if truly possessed Nails of the Cross. It is not taken especially seriously by anyone of rank outside of the area, though it is suggested that the nails may be for the Penitent Thief, St. Dismiss. Perhaps appropriate to what was to come, where several deserters from a private merchant vessel left with their kit in a boat, landing on the eastern shore. They do their best to lay low, and marry some of the less attractive women on the island after the locals decide they have down enough unpaid labour. Several children are born and as far as anyone is concerned, the men were born there.

The Stonewall family of Westbugh has no sons, his heir being is his daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth is married to one John McIntyre, a young business man of Scottish descent, originally from York. Elizabeth dies in childbirth in 1515, though her son, Edward McIntyre, survives. Seeing the Stonewall Manor in Westburgh fall to to another family, especially a Scottish one, greatly upsets the Stonewall of the Holly Estate in Merdin. So, the head of the Merdin Stonewalls, Henry Stonewall, gathers a small group of friends and guardsmen, a little army, to demand that the manor is handed over to him from the McIntyre’s. John refuses, and the men try to burn down the building, only for Henry Stonewall to be taken out by a hunting dog and the men to flee to Merdin. This begins the family feud between the Stonewalls of Merdin and the McIntyre’s of Westburgh, a feud that would continue for centuries.

In 1534 the Act of Supremacy established Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church of England and later that year the King empowers Thomas Cromwell to carry out an inventory of the ecclesiastical estates in England.

In 1535 Cromwell’s men arrive in the region of Blackborough.

In 1531, under the newly passed Vagabond’s Act, many of Blackborough’s beggars are rounded up. With the general increase in crime it is necessary to build a hasty extension of the Debtor’s Prison out of stone from the old Roman Wall.

The statue of St. Dubnus (originally a Roman statue of Theodosius I) is saved from Cromwell’s commissioners by the fact that a millennia of exposure to the british elements has rendered it unrecognisable and it now appears to be no more than a lump of vaguely person-shaped stone in the centre of the square.

The skull of St Dubnus, in its golden reliquary, is hidden away in a cellar under the church that bears his name.

A number of new homes are built on the approach to south Blackborough.

In 1534 a slaughterhouse is built in Northbridge.

Several city farms are built over with new houses and large areas outside of the town are turned over to farms and enclosures as Blackborough becomes increasingly urban.

In 1535, with enclosures expanding the townspeople complain of a lack of places to graze cattle and the McIntyrs’ respond by granting common rights to the forest clearing north of town.

With fears of invasion growing, the shipyard is extended between 1535 and 1538 and new homes constructed nearby for the shipworkers. Work begins on a large carrack named “The Monarch” which is almost complete by the end of the decade.

In 1538 Merdin Monastery is dissolved, with the east wing granted to the pre-existing hospital whilst the rest of the monastery is given over as a parish church.

The cloisters of Merdin Monastery are converted into Royal Merdin Hospital; a centre specialising in the “treatment” of what we would call mental illness under the patronage of the crown.

More mines are dug contributing to the pollution of Merdin Creek.

With the monks gone the private brewery expands to fill the gap in supply. From the profits a grand house is built by the brewing family on the southern side of the Merdin.

With the passing of the Egyptians Act of 1530 the Romani travellers are expelled from Frogmore, moving on in the hopes of finding somewhere new. However a small number integrate into the town, having intermarried with the settled population, and an even smaller number refuse to leave their encampment, despite harassment and intimidation from the locals.

In 1539 The Frogmore friaries and the priory are seized by the crown, although they have yet to be disposed off and currently sit empty.

Mr S Dott continues trading until 1534 when one of his patrons find a fingernail in his pie…with a finger still attached to it. Mr Dott is suspected not only of taking the recently deceased for meat but killing several beggars when his usual supply ran dry. His shop is pulled down and Mr Dott himself is the first man to be hung from the gallows in front of Redhall’s newly built guardhouse. The people of the town give what remains of the Demon Dott’s house a wide berth.

In 1538 St Canute’s Cathedral loses some land and wealth to the crown but otherwise remains largely unscathed by the reformation. For now at least.

Rothray suffers worst during the reformation as Cromwell’s men report that the island hermitage is little more than a front for selling supposedly holy trinkets to the gullible.

The monks of Rothray actively resist seizures of their wealth and relics and half a dozen monks are killed in the ensuring chaos which comes to be known as the Battle of Rothray.

The entire island subsequently becomes the property of the crown and whilst the underground hermitage is left largely preserved Henry is considering having a royal residence built on the island.

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A whole branch of mines are built. The pollution in the south is getting to be too much for the people of Merdin, and a wall is built to separate the Mining District from the Residential District.

Parts of the castle fall out of use, as businesses in the region prefer selling in the more popular Westburgh. The stores away from the gate and far out of eyesight see business decrease and start looking for new areas to lease. The castle is still a major place for political meetings to take place, however.

More roads are built in Westburgh. It Is getting extremely unfashionable to be seen walking around in the mud and dirt. There is talk about either paving the streets or getting some vehicles around. Those boxes that Henry VIII had people carry him around in might work…

The houses in Blackborough condense further, as more are built even closer together. There is a sense that too much of the areas within the Old City is being built over. The houses are getting very cramped together.

The Monarch is finished. More warships are not asked for, and construction begins instead on fishing boats and on merchant vessels. These would mainly focus upon the lucrative and vital Baltic trade. They do decent enough business, though their old ties to the Hansa do little good for helping against superior competitors with more to offer. Outside of Bergen that is, where an important Hanseatic Kontor was set up. There is the understanding, of course, that all ships are like English militiamen. To be called up in times of war as the King sees fit. Having lost Calais has put a big dent in the Royal Treasury anyways (despite holding the port being quite costly for the country), so having the possibility of new ports for more income (and healthy gifts of satin, furs, honey, and amber for His Majesty’s household) do not meet with any enmity.

Docks become more crowded as they try redirecting trade from Scotland to Europe by see so it went south and into Blackborough. Results varied, but the higher Germanic presence brought meant that the island of Rothay was given to Anne of Cleves as a gift, as she didn’t stop the annulment which would have screwed over chances of closer relations with the Germans. A residence was started on the island, once the farms were taken care of.

The Earl is torn on the matter of how to deal with religion, but not so others. McIntyre of Stonewall becomes semi-Presbyterian in mindset, and has many of the furnishings from his family’s private chapel taken to the hunting lodge where they would remain. Many of the paintings of Catholic icons and saints are painted over with guache scenes and places upon the walls there, in areas little light would get to them. The Earl instead buys up vestments, chalices, and such with some of the money gained from the much needed wool, flax, tar, and wheat trade, placing the items into his own treasury. A few are used as gifts while he buys members of parliament with his increased income.

Estates are planned for the Earl’s sons. One or two may need a house of their own in the countryside, unlike son number five, who has gotten himself a decent hunk of land in the Irish Pale, or for one of the Earl’s own younger brothers who managed to become head of the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge and have a few kids of his own. Redhall might not be a bad area, come to think of it. After all, the Bishop won’t live forever and if the dioceses are reorganized even further in their favor… Yes. Hopefully the Bishop would be too holy get married like the new King Edward VI is demanding.

A whole branch of mines are built. The pollution in the south is getting to be too much for the people of Merdin, and a wall is built to separate the Mining District from the Residential District. Farmers are somewhat upset that the walls are only keeping large areas of land away from them, and not the stuff leaking or dumped into the river. Rubble begins to pool under the bridges downstream.

Monks and friars are expected with the closure of their orders to become productive, tax paying members of the public. A monk in Merdin helps around the mines until a deposit of white lead is found. The population jumps by more than ninety people as those farmers and miners who died from the polluted air and water are replaced by dirt-farmers, who can expect better pay from mining than their previous professions. The future moves into cosmetics and paints will be taken as an example of the good that the closing of the monasteries died. Mainly because of how many times the King and his lackeys got to put fees on them.

New homes and a few small farms are built. Some Cornishmen form a disassembled residence come to the area and settle down as they try to decide if they should go back to Cornwall or try to make more money before that. Military life was hardly the most rewarding, though they did snag some booty from the last raid into Scotland. Various Scottish and French-Norman items enter the market as they sell a few of the trophies too heavy to lug around any further. They show a market dislike for the ale which has become polluted by some slag slightly further upriver from it.

A long road is built from the main road to the ocean, as plans for a large port begin to form. It is planned to be the biggest port in the region, and it expected to get new tenants in Frogmore. Not much is expected from it, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Sand is shoveled away, trees felled for construction, and prayers are made that they can attract the increasing trade coming to and from the Baltic. After all, they don’t have Blackborough or Redhall’s high taxes and duties. Infact, they don’t even look too hard at your cargo if you offload it at night…

A few homes and a farm are built but Frogmore otherwise stagnates. The farm furthest from the village center is let to go fallow from lack of workers. One of the sons who left plans to try getting together with a nearby family with many migrant sons, so that they can all chip in and buy the former Priory. Throw in two pairs of weddings between the families, and perhaps they would have enough to go back afterwards to fix up the farms and start a string of homes along the road. Not that they would realize what prime real estate it would be many generations down the line…

A stables is set up in the never used convent across the woods from Frogmore. It is as good a place as any for those wanting to avoid the peasant rabble or to not have your pockets picked by the Gypsies. Hard to tell which is worse though, since so many of the area’s children are almost like Gypsies themselves. While the population grows somewhat, more than a fourth of the sons have taken to traveling as traders of small items or to become sailors. Rothay gets some of them to their ships, but other Frogcs prefer heading north to the shipyards. Plenty of work there, though most headed out on ships after their presence in Blackborough nearly got them arrested as vagrants. This would not be forgotten.

Three more men are hung by the gallows, in suspicion of conspiring to kill the leader of Redhall. They notice a small group of conspirators who continuously plan to kill the major leaders of the region (like a gang would). There is some suspicion as to whether or not they were responsible for the mysterious appearance of bodies on the menu. Certainly was a spike of corpses washed up on shore after the shop was closed…

The sale of meat products drops in Redhall. Now they want to make sure they know what is in their food. This means fresh fish, freshly killed game, shellfish, oysters, etc. After it was discovered that some people were making their chickens and geese look plumber by jamming shit into it to make them plumper, poultry was looked down upon. Pork form the northern forests was also a no-go when people from the former pie shop discovered how similar in tasted to… Well, they didn’t want to talk about it. Venison was too expensive or had a similar taste so a Jewish butcher in Blackborough and a converted Jew who lives on the bridge to the north (Or one of the farmers) gets most of that city’s business, due to their hygienic practices. As well as how they can be sure they never use pork.

The town has a hard time recovering from the Battle of Rothray, with most of the monks fleeing to the church in Redhall or Westburgh. They can hide there easily enough as there were barely eight ten monks on the island to begin with, though the actual parish priest sticks around harvesting oysters, farming the land, delivering births, presiding over marriages, etc. He is considered to be fairly godly, but no one ever really brings up his former position in those years. Hardly as if he was spending all his time sitting in dank caves looking at a mummy or sitting in warm rooms wondering where he can find a few dozen skeletons to break up and sell.

The rather oversized farms are chosen as a good site for building, as the land was already cleared. The island’s occupants are given some promises for land further north or on the mainland, as well as a chance to remain on portions of the islands. In the first case they would be expected to be able to form a larder worthy of such a residence or to take to working on the estate. As it is unlikely that the estate would be used year-round, if at all, there is some interest in sticking around. The population of Jewish descent that have married non-Jews (They were all basically related at that point) are iffy. Whether or not the promises are kept to the island’s inhabitants remains to be seen.

The island was decided to be filled with swans. They dump about two dozen swans on the island and four dozen geese. The islanders are dumfounded by this and how seed grain is taken to feed them. They leave them well enough alone after someone gets maimed by one of the birds. They wouldn’t tell which type since they had other things to worry about.

Edward VI dies in 1553, Mary takes over for five years, only for Queen Elizabeth I to come to the throne in 1558

After being Mayor for 56 years, Montgomery Higgins dies on 3 October, 1550. His only surviving son, Samuel, takes over as Mayor. Quickly, he does something that the citizens inside the wall have wanted – close off the old fort area. Using the old bricks near the prison/poor house, the fort area is again protected from “scum”. This increased his popularity as now people from outside the Roman walls had to pay to get in, also increasing revenue for the city. However, things took a turn for the worst for Mayor Higgins. During the time, he was secretly taking money from the town treasury to build up his own funds. He was discovered in 1559 and hung in Redhall on Christmas Eve that year and his funds seized. However, not all of his money was there. The mansion he lived in was burned to the ground, and his family allegedly died in the fire. However, legend goes that his second son, Paul, took the treasure and hid it before fleeing town or possibly took it with him to who knows where. The world may never know. On the site of the old Higgins mansion, talks of building a school or possibly a bigger guard center are discussed. In Hollowstone Castle, a small new pond is built inside the walls.

Elizabeth I continues to reign while Catholic powers across Europe plot to overthrow her and put Mary of Scots on the English throne. Pope Pius V excommunicates the queen in 1570, fueling Catholic rebellion against her. However, many plots are crushed and Elizabeth remains in solid control of her lands.

In 1570, after her success in crushing the Rising of the North, Queen Elizabeth gets the idea to construct a royal palace in Blackborough itself to keep control of the area. The destruction of the mayor’s residence in the north of town provides an excellent opportunity for the Queen to construct a building. She begins construction that year, however construction is very slow, and anti-Elizabeth sentiment spreads among the city’s Catholic working class.

In 1572, the Duke of Norfolk is found guilty of treason for trying to place Mary of Scots on the English throne, in what unsuccessfully amounted to the Ridolfi plot. While not a northerner, the Duke of Norfolk, himself a cousin to the Queen, becomes popular among Blackborough Catholics as a martyr and patriot. Several acts of mob violence against Protestants occur throughout 1572 and 1573.

In 1576, Another ship begins construction in the nearby port (hint, hint, perhaps a ship to the new world? full of Catholics???)

In 1578, a mob of Catholic men, feeling oppressed by royal governance, raid and set fire to a section of the town hall. The men are subsequently caught and hanged for treason, while the burnt areas in the hall are cleared away.

In 1579, the Queen entertains marriage with Henry, Duke of Anjou. She treats him to a visit to her nearly finished estate in the north of Blackborough. It is at this time that the estate becomes known as the ‘Angevin Palace’ due to the Duke’s visit. Unfortunately, marriage plans don’t pan out and the Duke leaves England a bachelor.

In 1574, Sir John Stonewall of Holly begins a massive renovation project on the Holly Estate. By the time the renovations are finished in 1578, the estate is transformed to look like a giant ‘E’ in order to impress Queen Elizabeth and get her to visit.

In 1576, an addition to the rebuilt St. Dubnus monastery is donated by the Pope.

Elizabeth I visits the Holly Estate in 1579 on her way to court the Duke of Anjou, and as customary, the local nobles carry the financial burden of her visit. Sadly, the Queen sees the newly renovated estate as tacky and decrepit, while none-of-the-less remaining flattered that the renovation was done in her regards. John Stonewall falls into debt because of her expensive visit, however many local nobles blame him for vying for such attention.

In 1573, under advice from Francis Walsingham and the Lord Burghley, Elizabeth establishes small royal retreat on the island. She doesn’t have much money to spend, due to the soon-to-be Angevin Palace being a more important venture, so she declares that the retreat will be small in scope and absolutely no burden to the residents of Rothray.

The ship built for the Catholics is finished in 1581, and dubbed “The Mary” by them, after the catholic pretender to the throne. They leave in 1582, taking a large portion of the Catholic population with them, primarily lower class citizens, farmers, workers and the like, though wealthier Catholics were among them, including Paul Higgins, who fled the town roughly twenty years before. He was using the fake name Judah Lincoln to avoid being persecuted by the townsfolk. Several members of the Stonewall family leave, including a couple running from their families’ wrath, by the names of Edward McIntyre and Amelia Stonewall. They leave on the ship, posing as a married couple under the name of George and Beth Stonetyre, taking a fair portion of Mr. Stonewall’s remaining fortune with them.

The shipyard produces no more large ships in this decade, but the dock in Northbridge gains a new amount of houses as traders and fishermen and merchants construct houses and shops along the dock.

Several poor fishermen build houses inbetween the walls of the town and the moat.

The Queen’s palace is finished in ’84.

The leaving of the Catholics crumples the remainders spirits, sparking conversion en masse, to the Church of England. St Canute’s Cathedral and other churches are converted to Church of England churches.

The Renaissance continues to flourish in Redhall, more so than anywhere else in the region. The town also converts to Protestantism more quickly than the rest, possibly due to the Church converting quickly. It losses less people to the New World, and actually has a some amount of net growth.

Merdin, on the other hand, is hit hard by the leaving of the Catholics, as the monk’s legacy could still be felt and more of the town was practicing Catholics than elsewhere. Houses are built, but several remain empty or abandoned.

Frogmore stays much the same, though just to the south of the town, along the road, debtors released from prison set up houses for a new start, leading to the road gaining the name ‘Debtor’s Row’.

After the attempted, and failed, invasion by the Spanish Armada, the ships fled north to circle around Scotland then go south by Ireland. Some of the ships stop in Rothray, finding more sympathy there than in Redhall or Blackborough. Some of the crew decide to stay in Rothray permanently, marrying into the native population.

Several families of Jews, feeling unwelcomed elsewhere, set up houses and a shop along the dock to the east of Frogmore. They argue over whether to be recognized as part of Frogmore or their own settlement.

In 1600 a new comedy by William Shakespeare debuts at the Globe theatre in London: “The Battleing Brides of Blackborough”. The play is based (loosely) on Raphael Holinshed’s account of the 812 AD Viking raid on Blackborough. It tells the story of how a vengeful townsperson, bitter at having his advances rejected by a young nun at the local monastery, opens the town’s gates to a Viking raiding party, who then kidnap several nuns from the monastery to take as their wives but are ultimately thwarted when the remaining nuns band together and mount a rescue. Over the following centuries the play will often be performed in Blackborough, but outside of the north of England it remains one of Shakespeare’s lesser known comedies until the 20th century, when there is a surge of interest in the play’s supposedly feminist and pro-catholic themes.

In 1601 a rebellion against Elizabeth I by the Earl of Essex is defeated.

In the same year a new Poor Act codifies the responsibilities of parishes and local governments in relation to the poor.

In 1603 Elizabeth dies and is succeded by James I, uniting the crowns of England and Scotland.

Due to the visible contamination of the waters of Merdin Brook, the brewery is relocated north of the river, expanded and re-established as the “Blackborough Brewery”.

Blackborough is becoming increasingly urbanised and farms within the city are subdivided or built over for new houses.

In 1604 a large glass blowing workshop is established to the south-west of Blackborough market, and a small clock makers workshop open close by, serving the city’s wealthy merchants.

In 1608 the Jews of Eastmoreland are forced out by residents of Frogmore, and relocate back to Old Jewry Street and the docks of Blackborough. With their old homes in Blackborough gone the Jews rent small rooms and build shacks, creating a warren of narrow alleys.

Also in 1608 Blackborough is hit by an unusually severe winter and areas of forest north of town are illegally harvested for fuel.

In 1609 the merchant Samuel Sharpe establishes a goldsmith bank in the south-west corner of the old town, partially built into the old Roman wall for security.

Later that year the merchants of Blackborough begin discussing a proposal to have a clock tower built as a gift to the city.

In 1605 a belltower is added to St Canute’s Cathedral

In 1606 a brothel and inn is established just outside the town’s east gate.

Some of the old gypsy camp to the south is cleared away, by this point only one Romani family remains.

In 1608 several gristmills are built just outside the southern wall.

In 1609 there is an outbreak of plague that kills almost two hundred people before the year’s end.

Between 1601 and 1609 the mines are expanded and work begun on a canal to ease the transport of coal, lead and quarried stone. During this period several windpumps are built to help drain the mines of water.

The old brewery is moved north of the river, however the economic impact is lessened by the expansion of the mines.

In 1606 more land is enclosed for pasture near to the road. Wool-based cottage industries expand.

By 1609 Royal Merdin Hospital exclusively treats what we would now call mental illness, and a hedge is built around the grounds to muffle the screams that had been disturbing local townsfolk.

Following the Poor Act of 1601 an Almshouse is established in Frogmore, on the north side of the lake.

The frost of 1608 causes the lake to freeze, and a frost fair is held upon it which gives a temporary ecnomic boost to Frogmore.

In 1609 the recurrence of plague that started in Redhall spreads to Frogmore, and kills 120 people by the end of the year.

Unlike his predecessor Elizabeth, James I has no interest in actually visiting Blackborough and sees no purpose in having two royal homes in the area. Therefore in 1607 James decides to retain the grander Angevin Palace and divest himself of the unimpressive Summer Palace.

Whilst the crown retains possession of the island the King generously gifts the royal house on Rothray to the county…as a house of correction. For the moment Rothray Prison is mostly used to house the “idle poor” who are forced to work on the island’s farms, however a small number of more dangerous prisoners are also held there.

Apart from some houses being cleared from the bridge to make way for a guard post (and some free labour from the prisoners) daily life goes on unchanged for the islanders.

Immense discontent and in many places outright resistance, erupts, partly inspired by resistance in the West Country, to the Enclosure of Common Land. One of the most visible examples of such enclosure is the installation of vast hedgerows and fences around vast swathes of the woodlands to the North, with the approval of the authorities, to protect what the lord of Hollowstone views as his own private hunting estate. He deforests much of what he claims as per his plans for rolling lawns and hills in his garden estate. Thick wild hedges are only the prelude to gates and walls

As Blackburgh enters the new decade, it is a time of prosperity, calm and growth. It wont last

The increasing urbanisation and consolidation of the housing stock in the town, and the greater control of farming exerted by parliament and the local council in the firm of increasing enclosure, sees some of the urban farms within the city limits built over

With the Union of Crowns, trade between Northern England and Scotland picks up markedly. just behind the Angevin palace, ideally situated at the northern gate, a paved market for trade to and from the North develops. Unimaginatively, called the Scottish Exchange.

Beginning construction in 1620, and launched in 1622, the shipyards of Blackburgh produce the good ship `St George`, a 42 gun great ship, upon the orders of King James

As plague ravages London and the south of England, Blackburgh and its environs does not escape a brief but unwelcome visitation by the Great Plague.

As if the plague and its nigh on 300 victims in the year 1626 is not unwelcome enough, on November 5th, a further blow is struck.

As has already become customary, a procession commemorating the narrow escape of King James and his family during the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot some 20 something years before, is held.

A torchlight procession advances through the city, to culminate in a great bonfire in the public square outside the Guildhall in Westburgh.

It never makes it that far.

Beginning in the Stonewall estate, the procession passes over the bridge and into the narrow warren of houses and shops that make up the commercial heart of the city. Then disaster strikes. One of the hundreds of torchbearers drops his torch.

From this minor mishap, a grim chain of events proceed. The torch, it is later suggested, lands on the back of the legs of the torchbearer ahead. In the panic, the crowd is jostled and more torches fall, until one inevitably lands in the piles of flammable filth which litter the streets of any medieval town.

Within an hour, the Church of St James is ablaze. Within 2 hours, all of Westburgh is aflame.

For 10 hours, the fire blazes.

It is reported that Sir Nicholas Donne, Mayor of Blackburgh, directs the battle from the ground, leading teams of fire-breakers who clear houses and debris.

This work and the sudden arrival in the early hours of the morning of a fierce thunderstorm, save the medieval old-town and the majority of the homes to the north, but Westburgh is all but obliterated. Nothing save the Guildhall, built uniquely on the island predominantly of stone, survives.

By sheer good luck, the vast majority of the 900 or so residents of Westburgh survive.

The death toll is still severe however. some 200 are estimated to have died. Most in an event that will sour the city for a generation, when the Lord of Hollowstone fails to open his southern gate to the fleeing hoard. The weight of 100 people on an old, ill maintained wooden bridge causes the inevitable collapse. Most of the death toll that night is not from flame but from water, as the majority drown

Crowds surge from the affected areas. Many encamp in the Stonewall Estate. If the Lord of the Manor objects, his objections come to naught with half a town setting up camp in his garden.

Many of the richest residents of this commercial hub find lodgings easily enough with patrons and friends within the Old Town or in Redhall.

A great many of the poorer refugees, at least those who do not encamp in Stonewall, now live in fear of the densely packed towns altogether. First the plague, then fire.

Many find themselves preferring to set up camp on the strongest, most fire resistant structure they know of-St Dubnus bridge itself. Impervious to flame, and surrounded by water, what better idea for the local peasants?

Within days, the Aldermen of the city realise this cannot last.

The West of their city is in chaos. 800 homes reduced to Ashes, the Guildhall blackened and sitting amidst a field of ash, the market square inaccessible, the bridge to the castle gone, the Stonewall Grammar School and the vital St James Meat Market, the primary slaughterhouse of the city, gone-and a village of tents and shanties blocking the main southern route across the river? Something must be done.

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Even as the Churches and Cathedrals are providing their alms and the ruins are being cleared, the Council resolves it cannot afford to let the town fail. A competition is announced within weeks for submissions to rebuild the district anew. `in the modern fashion`.

Rewards are put up by a combination of the Aldermen, the Guilds and the families Stonewall and McIntyre. At £1000, the prize is a lifetimes earning for any one

Almost 2 years pass and the authorities are still looking. Many plans are presented, and many are rejected. For one reason above all. Money. This fire has burnt to ashes the main trade route of the city.

With trade slumping, the city is in deep financial straights. Wool supplies have dwindled to a trickle, and the Wool merchants of Incheap are on the verge of collapse.

Any rebuilding must begin quickly and must be cheap.

The natural spread of people returning to the area sees a familiar jumble of makeshift and highly flammable buildings risk returning. When in 1629 another, very much smaller fire, breaks out over the river in Blackburgh proper. The damage is slight, as the area is relatively empty, yet the authorities are convinced of the urgency.

They make what will turn out to be the wisest decision in the history of Blackburgh, but initially for all the wrong reasons. Unable to find a homegrown architect who can promise plans of suitable grandeur and affordability, they look abroad. To Antwerp.

The burgesses of the town find an architect who is, because he is unknown and a poor negotiator,above all, cheap.

Of secondary consideration is his brilliant and beautiful plan for buildings both aesthetically pleasing and fireproof.

His name is Abraham Micheal Crayer. Beyond building a barn for his uncle in his native Antwerp, Blackburgh is his first, and it later turns out, his only, commission.

He arrives in town in November 1629. He has a lot of work to do. His plans are to;

Replace the bridges of the island with pleasing stone bridges.

To build a number of wide, straight and ordered streets, with tall, narrow but deep houses in the Dutch Renaissance style so popular with the merchants of Antwerp and Amsterdam.

To build a meat market of commodious size

To rebuild the Grammar School in a manner befitting a true renaissance city,

To rebuild the gutted Church of St James in the manner of his beloved church of the same name in Antwerp,

And to create such a network of broad esplanades, fountains and running water, as to make the risk of fire a thing of the past.

Before the year is out, the work of clearing the debris is begun. As a mark of the importance of this rebuild to the city economy, the first thing constructed is a paved road. The plan for the rebuilt and enlarged Church of St James, and the Westburgh Grammar School are also laid down before years end. It soon becomes clear that the greatest opportunity lies in over the river in Blackburgh proper, where there is more free land and space in which to construct the myriad of modernising projects. For Westburgh, our architect has different plans. No more, the dense warren of streets. Westburgh will soon become the lungs of the city

The much loathed Lord of Hollowstone, he who refused to open his gates, acquires a profitable share of fertile land in the newly established Virginia Colony.

His dealings in the tobacco trade make him increasingly wealthy. In his country hunting lodge he assembles an increasingly varied selection of Native American artifacts. Many centuries hence, this collection will form the nucleus of a world famous museum.

As his wealth increases, and his newly enclosed and bitterly resented enclosed lands become a popular visitor destination amongst the local aristocracy, Lord Hollowstone desires a country pad more fitting to his inflated sense of wealth and importance. He takes on the services of no less than renowned English country garden designer Inigo Jones to desire a suitably imposing garden to go along side his plans for a suitably enlarged house

The plague, the fire and the resultant disruption of the demolitions and rebuildings that follow, is not so disastrous as might first appear. Population growth remains strong.

But for the various cataclysms of the decade, the population would be strongly up. For these ten years at least, the population remains at the end, much what it was at the beginning

Events in the surrounding area, see a surge in the population of Redhall. Some of this surge is temporary, but some isn’t.

Around this time, a travelling toupe of Troubadours come into possession of a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

In the bustling hub of the area, just athwart the bridge and in the shadow of the great Cathedral of St Canute itself, the areas first theatre, albeit an unofficial one for now, is opened.

The Bishop of Redhall makes a token attempt to close it down, but soon, the knowledge that this new form of entertainment is so wildly popular that the crowds it brings cause the profits of the taverns and brothels paying their tithes to the Cathdral to skyrocket, inexplicably causes the Bishop to forget about this distinctly immoral activity.

With the exception of 1625-26, when the risk of plague makes such public gatherings both unwise and unpopular, the popularity of the threatres of Redhall skyrocket

The number of shops, taverns and whorehouses sees quite a rise, as does the general population of the town following the fire

The afore mentioned Bishop of Redhall is something of a bon-viveur, and very fond of a tipple. He also has a pressing need for funds to support the upkeep of St Canutes.

Fortunately, the Bishop is more worldly than his calling finds seemly. He knows how to make money. The Cathedral has long had an interest in the local hostelries and taverns. Not least, it has spent centuries supplying them with cheap plonk. With the increase in the population of Redhall, the Bishop sees nothing but opportunity.

As luck would have it, the Cathedral has long tended a healthy supply of vines, of hardy German stock, in the common land beyond the town limits to the east. In former times, it was common land but they were commonly respected as the Churches vines. Nowadays, the new arrivals and the changes in attitudes to the church, make this a much less safe assumption.

Fortunately the rising tide of enclosure presents more opportunity. Buying the rights to the land, the Bishop encloses a good sized chunk of land with hedgerows.

Developing their vines more intensively than ever before, `Redhall White`, a form of Hippocras (that is, wine mulled and steeped in spices to mask the inferior quality of the grape) becomes a staple of the taverns and stews of the district.

And what cannot be drunk, for wine spoils easily in this day and age, in turned to vinegar, which the markets buy to pickle and the miners of Merdin buy to use in their dirty mines.

In 1628, a mass at the Cathedral of St Canute goes badly wrong. The Bishop attempts to enforce the changes of Archbishop Laud. No sooner has he started speaking before a local Puritan firebrand, Isaac Mudd, and a band of supporters, have physically dragged him from the Pulpit.

For an hour, the doors are barricaded, whilst those against and for the reforms, give battle in the vast confines of the Cathedral.

Eventually the city watch breakdown the door and restore order. Not before 25 people lose their lives, and the Bishop has his jaw broken by the blow of the Jewelled Crucifix adorning the Altar. A Jewelled Crucifix being clearly, a symbol of unforgivable Popery and idolatry.

Mr Mudd finds himself in the Stocks. The event is one of many such to occur across the country as the bitterly religiously divided country charges headlong into the gathering storm-clouds of civil war, merily fanned by the oblivious King and his hated Archbishop.

By the decades end, two enterprising local vaudevillian tavern owners, late of the Irish plantations, purchase some derelict homes upon the riverbank. Demolishing them, Messrs Donnelly and MacPartlin open the first purposes built theatre in the area. Named after the local enterprise adjacent to it, `The Stagecoach`, it is a modest affair for now, safely accommodating 200 people. Unsafely accommodating many more…

Without a doubt, the favourate performance is, you guessed it, `The battling brides of Blackburgh`

General population expansion causes a stable expansion of house and business construction.

As the fire takes hold in Blackburgh, such food and housing as can be offered, is indeed offered by the Monks of Merdin.

A small number of the local mine owners of Merdin are found to be in serious breach of the Assizes, for contamination of the water supply with the effluent of their mines. This coupled with a propensity to flooding, causes some of the less valuable, poorly maintained mines to fold in this decade. One even floods, forming something akin to a lake.

Though James the I & VI, and his successor Charles, live in London and are focused on their English throne, they cannot forget they sit upon the Throne of Scotland too.

Sitting upon the great northbound roads, Frogmore increasingly finds itself at the heart of a transport hub. Messengers travelling north and south between Whitehall and Holyrood invariably come via Frogmere. Many a farrier and stable exist to re-shoe horses and provide fresh ones. Many a blacksmith and tanner to repair wheels, axles or cut new saddles. Many a tavern and boarding house to provide food and lodging to weary travelers

As fortune would have it, a high quality seam of good marble is found in the area, not 2 months before the outbreak of the Market Street Fire. The local owner, and the owners of the various local brickworks, lick their lips in anticipation.

At this time, at least a generation after the Spanish Armada, and following many decades of integration with the local, strongly pro Catholic population of the island, Rothray has a distinctly…..odd, dialect. English to be sure, with a great many Spanish loanwords.

Being a fishing community, underpinned by the Catholic dietary laws which prohibit meat consumption for large portions of the year, coupled with the fact that its most significant (albeit covert) influx were people of nautical profession and from a culture which had made an art of preserving various forms of food, be it the hams of inland Spain or the seafood of the coastal regions, Rothray has developed a distinctive cuisine, based heavily around the preservation of all foods but especially fish.

Rothray Salt-Cod is renowned throughout the region. Even the kitchens of Angevin Palace serve this local delicacy. The royal kitchens turn a blind eye to the distinctly `un-protestant` origins of the food.

Population growth is steady as the demand for Rothray produce grows, and orders for the accoutrements of every day life in a Royal Palace buoy the local market.

The English Civil War comes to an end in 1651 with Charles II fleeing abroad to France. A grim decade follows for Catholics, Royalists and moderate Anglicans across England.

The idealism that had driven many Parlimentarians fades as Lord Protector Cromwell comes to rule as a military dictator enforcing a strict Puritan regime and when Cromwell finally dies and is succeeded by his son Richard in 1658 the army quickly turns against him. By the end of the decade negotiations are under way for Charles II to be restored to power.

In 1652 Sir Archibal McIntyre of Westburgh is arrested for alleged involvement in a Royalist conspiracy. Westburgh’s lands and property are forfeited, and whilst much of it goes to the Earl of Blackborough and other nobles who have remade themselves as Cromwell’s cronies, some of the seizure goes to the wider public good. The grounds of McIntyre’s manor become a beautiful public park named (rather unsubtly) “Cromwell Common” and the house itself becomes The Blackborough Library; the city’s first public library/museum.

The clearing of ruins and rubble from the fire is completed and the reconstruction of Westburgh continues: the high dutch-styled houses are continued and neat little backyards built, most of which are used for home gardens although some are used for storage or remain entirely ornamental. Some grander homes are also built to encourage wealthy merchants back to the island and new stone bridges built.

A wide public square is also built in Westburgh and the rebuilding of St Jame’s Church and the grammar school is completed.

In 1653 one of the houses close to Westburgh market becomes an artist’s studio, and a large restaurant (or “chop house”) opens next to the market to cater to traders and businessmen looking to make deals over lunch.

Work continues on expanding the Earl of Blackborough’s hunting lodge into an impressive country home, a project that brings in labourers and craftsmen from miles around.

Some road expansion takes place to serve the construction of the earl’s country home.

The south-west corner of Blackborough is rebuilt with more widely spaced homes to protect against fire.

Most of the people living on the bridge have now been cleared off.

In 1653 the Northbridge shipyard is expanded to support naval efforts in the Anglo-Dutch War. A barrier is built to protect ships under construction from tidal surges.

With negotiations over the return of the Jews to England taking place in the mid 1650s and Cromwell essentially turning a blind eye to Jews resettling new life is breathed into Blackborough’s Jewry street and a second synagogue opens close to the docks in 1657.

In 1658 the city’s first regular periodical, The Blackborough Gazette, is printed.

In 1659 a Law College opens next to the old city’s east gate.

The new regime takes a dim view of some of the goings-on in Redhall and several brothels and playhouses are forced to shut in the early 1650s by the nervous Bishop. Of course in reality many just temporarily shift underground.

The old gypsy encampment is cleared in 1655, all save one caravan close to the road where a fortune-teller continues to operate.

 

A new coalmine opens in 1658 and work begins on a series of navigable underground canals to allow coal to be transported more easily (and hopefully without contaminating the river).

In 1652 a large bakery opens east of the lake. One of its specialities, a kind of pasty made by sealing herring, onion and potato in crimped pastry, becomes popular with fishermen as the pastry prevents their food getting wet when they’re out on the water. “Frog Pasties” become increasingly popular throughout the area during this decade.

Houses begin to spring up around the quarry.

To make it easier to transport marble from the quarry work begins on a new canal in 1659. Meanwhile negotiations on clearing out the old canal seem to have finally gotten somewhere thanks to the Bishop negotiating a settlement.

Some people have begun to blame the witch in the woods for misfortunes in the town…

Rothray prison is expanded and security tightened to accommodate the influx of Royalist rebels. Despite the expansion conditions at the prison remain abysmally cramped.

Some Rothray chefs have made it as far as London, spreading the island’s distinctive flavours there and bringing back new ideas.

It is time to take out the rainy day fund prudence and self-restrain had helped swell. It’s time for the Restoration, with Ireland, Scotland, and England happily under Charles II. Throw in the restoration Royal control over New England, the gaining of Jamaica, and the expansion into Carolina, and you have a King returning to a large, prosperous empire. Given his time in Jersey and France, enjoying French products is no longer a vice.

The McIntyre family is furious at the betrayal by their supposed friends the Earl. While the family still has land outside Blackborough, they are basically sick of the whole place. Attempts will be made to regain their land, but they may have poisoned relations with their attempts at grandifying themselves and not throwing all support into rebuilding Westburgh as promised. The Family begins to split up, deciding it was getting tooo crowded in Blackborough anyways.

Fortunate that the McIntyre name was now seen as one of the more Royalist in the area. A McIntrye who changed his name to MacIntyre when in exile in Jersey got together well enough with Charles and his horde of friends. He is playing the long game now, having ingratiated himself early on with assisting in acquiring Cocker Spaniels for the king and is now responsible for acquiring wigs and make-up for the King.

His associate, the Right Honourable Hedson, is sent to Blackborough to make sure that the King’s property wasn’t too badly damaged and to acquire more things for him. He holds the possibility of patronage, as there are now vacancies for Member of Parliament, Tax Collector, and High Sheriff due to removal of Cromwell’s men and death causing the rest.

Most of the Bridge is evicted, except for some of the sturdier homes nearby stairs leading down to a dock.

One of the McIntyre’s has changed his name to Wright and made a member of the Pensioner’s Parliament, to sit for the next two decades. He marries into a Derbyshire family and pays more attention to that region than his own.

The path between the gates leading between the two bridges in the south of Blackborough is lined with gravel. Buildings in the area increasingly focus on trade, as the Westburgh focused mainly on residential and academic needs.

Large shipments of porcelain, bone china, and luxury ceramics from France and East Asia come to liven up the homes of the nobility. The bourgers need to make due with *sniff* Dutch imitations

The farms and pastures within the walls of southwest Blackborough are increasingly used for milkcows and chickens, so as to supply a reasonably sized middle class who want eggs and baked goods. Excess milk is used for a regional variety of cheese. Due to the smell, it is likely they will be forced to head further west.

With the end of the Protectorate, the Roundhead Stonewalls of Merdin try to regain Stonewall Manor, which had been turned into a library under the Protectorate.

The Earl’s Hunting Lodge proceeds with construction but might be a bit too grand. Or would have been, if not for the Puritans getting the boot. Now he no longer needs to pretend to care about the poor, what God would want, humility, or any else of that drivel. He needed to sell a little of his Stock from the extremely Cavalier Virginia Company, but it was worth it. He was determined to have a home fit for a King. Or Duke. Now if he could only decide how many floors he wanted it… Perhaps six?

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With the end of the Protectorate, the Roundhead Stonewalls of Merdin try to regain Stonewall Manor, which had been turned into a library under the Protectorate. That house was beautiful and well placed. Not to mention all the farmland and homes that were controlled by the McIntyre’s, at least until recently. Besides wanting the home there is of course the bad precedent it is setting, where the homes of the nobility are taken away, to instead be used for the public good.

There is some discussion as to whether or not the town should try getting up walls on the sides of the river banks or not incase of floods. Given the problems with Frogmore’s canal, there is some wariness about introducing lots of building materials that might fall in and clog the river. The slag is bad enough.

Large amounts of lead are plated with silver and gold leaf to be sold to new nobs,

The second-cousin of a Frogmorian who married well in decades past is made Norroy and Ulster King of Arms when the vacancy opens up. Doesn’t mean much at this point, but it has potential to help out the right social climbers.

On Rothray a mass breakout is staged. By this point every occupant of the island has the blood of funny foreigners in them so are somewhat suspected by the guards for their strange habits (present in most people born more than a day’s walk from their hometowns). It is likely that many of the escapees would have been drowned or the Roth’s homes burned is not for what would one day be called the Coldstream Regiment coming on down from the north, loyalty sworn to the Restoration of the Stuarts. The nobility move from their cells and the beaches to take the quarters of the Warden in the Summer Palace portion. Given how similar much of those quarters were to that of the newer portion of the prison, this will create jokes and editorial cartoons about the Gaolers and prisoners standing upon two sides of a wall, each trying to push the door shut, as each thought they were the jailer.

Sand keeps falling into the canal that they are attempting to build. Work continues building a canal through the earth further to the west, but with a gap keeping it from the seaside portion of the canal. They want to find a way to shore it up first before letting the sea in.

The occupants of the former Convent are annoyed to find the canal will go right through their land. They approach the courts about stopping it, or at least getting them a large amount of compensation. A key factor in the case, if it is accepted, is who exactly had the rights to a convent that was not used by nuns and which would have been confiscated four or five times over the last century.

Charles II gives a charter to the Hudson Bay Company

Isaac Newton reads his 1st Optics paper before The Royal Society in London

England and France, having concluded a secret alliance, declare war on the Netherlands

Charles II accepts `The Test Act`. Roman Catholics are excluded from public functions and positions in England

The Dutch experience a sequence of victories against the English and French, including the various changes of hand for the small colony of New Amsterdamn and the burning of Charles flagship, `The Royal James

The unproductive and unpopular Third Anglo Dutch war is ended with minimal changes beyond the English acquisition of New Amsterdam, renamed New York after The Duke of York.

By the 1670s the shipyards of Northbridge are booming, as war is a constant in this decade, first with the Dutch, then with the French.

There is however one interruption in 1672 when a Dutch Man o War enters the Dubnus and burns the newly constructed 52 gun warship, `North Country`. The attack is short and does little real damage. The ruined hull of the ship, sticking out of the river like the ribs of an unearthed fossil, will be an attraction for the next 30 years, until the final pieces of the old ship rot into the sea

Cromwell Common is, perhaps unsurprisingly, renamed as the new Royalist regime establishes itself. Its name? As equally unsubtle as its former, King Charles Park.

The Earls Hunting Lodge, located adjacent to the Northwood Common, becomes known by common consent as `Northwood House`. A grand house built in the Palladian style, its aristocratic owners, enriched by an explosion of the popularity of the tobacco with which they do much dabbling, becomes the finest of the newly rising stately homes of the north.

Its gardens are massively expanded and the original designs of Inigo Jones completed with gusto.

The walls of eastern Blackburgh seem to have a rather bad time of it in this decade, not that anyone really cares-the civil war is over, why does anyone need walls………..

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