• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

tudor

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Hello to whoever might read this,

I have just succumbed to the odd urge to write my very first AAR.

As you can see by my Join Date I am some kind of long time lurker, as my current post numbering suggests I am more of the silent kind...

However a few days ago I was hit by this strange feeling... "Write an AAR, write an AAR"... and by now the resistance has vanished.

Don't expect anything funny or a great narrative. I am - for now - not funny enough (at last not voluntarily) and my narrative style is... well... beneath ground level. So I will keep it in a bookish kind of style.

I will start as Waltheof Siward, Earl of Northampton.
Version: DV Vanilla (dreaming a little bit of making this a Mega campaign some day).
Settings: Hard/Normal
Changes I have made:
- eliminated the negative effect of "wise" on intrigue (just because someone is wise does not mean he can't scheme)
- changed the MTTH of "early death" to counter the high fertility a bit
- made Williams second son duke of Oxford to avoid, that he gifts me with the ducal title.

Expect the first "story post" in a few hours (after I have recovered from the shock to have actually written all this).

PS
Please excuse my grammar/english. It is not really my native language.
 
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jordarkelf

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Good luck with your first AAR! I tried doing one only once, but that did not go far... hope you'll fare better.
 

tudor

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@ jordakelf & kadvael56
Thank you for your encouraging words

@ kadvael56
At least I could prevent "my" Waltheof to marry Judith de Lens. There was this tingling in his forehead that this marriage won't be good for his health... ;)

and now...

The Siwards




Book I: Waltheof


Waltheof Siward


Part I: 1050 - 1066 - From Waltheof’s birth to the first days of the Norman kingdom of England

Waltheof’s exact date or place of birth is not known to us. He was born in early 1050 as the second son of Earled Siward, earl of Northumberland and Aelflaed of Bernicia.
It seems that he was first intended for the church, as he was given into the care of the monks of Whitby by 1052 (this would also explain his ability to read and write) but after the death of his elder brother Osbern in earl Earled’s campaign to support Malcolm (III.) Dunkeld against Macbeth of Scotland 1054, Waltheof was taken back to his father’s court.
Whatever plans Earl Siward had had for his younger son, they all came to naught when he died just a year after his eldest son in 1055.

Earled & Aelflead Siward (both quite dead in 1055)​
Waltheof was deemed to young to rule the important marcher earldom and it was given - against the wishes of the Northumbrian nobles which asked for an earl of local origin - to Tostig Godwinson instead. Young Waltheof was placed into the care of a minor Northumbrian nobleman to get a military education.

It would take almost ten years before he resurfaced on the political stage.
In 1065 the Northumbrians revolted successful against earl Tostig and demanded the installation of Morcar Leofricson, younger brother of Edwin, earl of Mercia as earl of Northumbria. King Edward III. (“The Confessor”) gave partly in to the demands of the revolters. He divided Northumbria into two earldoms. The larger and more important part to the north – Northumberland – was given to Morcar, as demanded. The smaller part to the south was given to Waltheof, who became earl of Northampton.

At the Witenagemot following the death of Edward III. in January 1066 it became clear that there was no love lost between Waltheof and the great families of Godwinson and Leofricson. He claimed both families had deprived him of his rightful inheritance and supported Edgar (II.) Atheling against Harold Godwinson as candidate for the English throne. He returned to his holdings in Northampton after the appointment of Harold as king of England.

In the following months neither Waltheof nor any of his soldiers were present at the battle between Harold II. of England and Harold III. Hardrada of Norway at Stamford Bridge or at the battle near Hastings where William the Bastard, duke of Normandy defeated and killed Harold II.
He supported - this time successful - Edgar II. again at the Witenagemot after the death of Harold II. A short-lived success it turned out to be. Just a few months later Edgar II. surrendered to William of Normandy, now called the Conqueror.


William, former duke of Normandy now King of England

In the days following his coronation king William seemed eager to pacify his newly won kingdom - especially his major Saxon vassals. He elevated Edwin and Morcar Leofricson to the rank of dukes of their respective territories and confirmed Waltheof as earl of Northampton.
He also offered Waltheof the hand of his niece Judith de Lens in marriage and the creation of the duchy of Oxford for the young couple. Waltheof - following an odd feeling – refused the marriage proposal and instead courted Margaret of Wessex, sister of Edgar II., who lived at the royal court of Scotland at that time. He negotiated with Malcolm III. and reminded him of the great support his family had given him in gaining the Scottish throne.


Waltheof's Chancellor Ecgfrida Darcy - disguised as a man - proposing the marrige between Waltheof and Margaret to Malcolm III.

William was furious when he learned of the negotiations and regarded the refusal of his relative by a saxon as a personal affront. He created the duchy of Oxford for his second son Richard – who was still a child – and declared that the earldom of Northampton was from now on of lower rank and subject to Oxford.


Europe - Christmas 1066

- To be continued with Part II: 1066 - 1068 Years of Orientation -​
 
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tudor

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Part II: 1066 - 1068 Years of Orientation

The final days of 1066 saw Waltheof away from the royal court and away from the royal wrath and possible further retaliation.
In January 1067 Waltheof’s situation changed slightly for the better.
William wanted an alliance with Malcolm III. of Scotland in order to prevent unrest at the northern borders of his kingdom and to eliminate the possibility of an alliance of the Saxon Dukes with Scotland.


Malcolm III., King of Scotland

The Scottish king agreed on the conditions that he and William would be regarded as rulers of equal rank (no English suzerainty for Scotland) and the marriage of Princess Margaret of Wessex to a noble of his choosing, thus making it possible for Waltheof to marry with his king’s “consent”.


Marriage and alliance agreement finally took place on January 18th 1068 in York, where Margaret and Waltheof were married in the presence of the two kings. Afterwards the treaty was sealed and a great banquet was held.

The happy couple: Margaret, princess of Wessex and Waltheof, earl of Northampton​

The newlyweds returned to Northampton a few days later, where Margaret was officially installed as mistress of the Siward household (and wardrobe - especially cloaks and daggers).


Waltheof's council in 1067

In general William’s coronation and his Scottish alliance were followed by an uneasy peace.
The Norman and Saxon lords eyed each other hostile in distrust and animosity. The Norman victors were divided among themselves, each baron and noble envying the success of the other. The air was filled with small border disputes and squabbling over: rank, reward and royal favor.


Internal strife - England 1067/1068

In this time Waltheof showed two aspects of his personality: the learned (one might say “intellectual”) ambitious man and the youth with the hot temper, who was insulted very easily.
His hot temper led to a short feud with Hugh de Monfort, earl of Suffolk in summer 1067 during which both men claimed each others lands before finally becoming close friends.
His learned side (some say the ambitions of his wife Princess Margaret) let Waltheof seek the help and advice of the monks and clergymen living in the monasteries and churches of his earldom.
He summoned many of them to his court, asking them to search for written evidence of rights on land, privileges and other goods he and his family might have had on territories outside his earldom in their charters, patents, chronicles, annals and other records stored in their archives. Additionally he gave them the task to collect and compare the different king lists which had been created during the last centuries, concentrating especially on the Northumbrian kings.
By spring 1068 the wise and holy men had unearthed claims on fiefs and manors in Northumberland and Durham – as Waltheof had expected – and surprisingly on the Welsh lands of Powys.

All these investigations had put a enormous strain on the treasury of the earl. It is recorded that it took him almost three years before he could invest in forestry like his fellow counts (June 1068). Investing in woods was very “en vogue” among the European nobles in the mid-sixties and early seventies of the eleventh century.

The early autumn of 1068 saw another happy event take place. Lady Margaret gave birth to her first child (September 4Th), a healthy boy who was given the name of Aethelfrith, after the great king ruling Northumbria c. 593-616.


Young Aethelfrith, a small child representing a great goal

- To be continued with Part III: 1068 - 1075 The King's Man -​
 

jordarkelf

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A good start, befriending the Scots in the north is one way to ensure survival against the Normans. You seem to have picked up some interesting claims as well.
I can't say I ever saw England and Scotland ally before... could this mean even more disaster for the Celts?
 

tudor

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I have to admit I was a little bit concerned seeing the two "major powers" of the British isles in blissful harmony - when they should be at each others throats with England taking Fife...

The claim on Northumberland was the original target I had saved (and spend) all my prestige for.
Lord Suffolk did not like "me" at first but after the feud he seemed to have had an "enemy of enemy"-event, because like Waltheof he is a rival of the king.
Powys and Durham were "discovered claims"-events - for which I am very grateful esp. for Durham, as it fits so nicely.
 

tudor

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Part III: 1068 – 1075 The King’s Man

In late September King William summoned his levies to Chester. It was not clear if he wanted to depose his Saxon vassals to the north or if he wanted to attack his neighbor to the east the Kingdom of Gwynedd. But on November 18th, 1068 he declared war on Gwynedd crossing the border of the county Perfeddwlad.
By November 28th Waltheof joined his king in the war against Gwynedd, hoping he could profit from the kings strength in arms and press his claims on Powys.
To the surprise of the court he decided to lead his (small) army in person.
His liege duke Richard declared that he wanted to join his father too.

On Christmas eve that year the Leofricsons decided to present the king a very special gift. They had allied themselves with the king of Tir Connail and thought that the Welsh war would bind the bulk of King William’s forces. On December 24th they declared independence and proclaimed Morcar King of Northumbria and Edwin rightful King of England. A few days later they approached Waltheof to join their cause.

Meanwhile Waltheof’s men were engaged in battle with the army of Gwynedd in Powys.


The armies of Gwynedd (the levies of Powys) and Northampton meet in Powys


Waltheof slightly outnumbered

On January 13th, 1069 they defeated the welsh force and started to besiege the main castle of the county.


To spare the lives of the few men he commanded he decided against an onslaught on the castle, a decision his men found quite cowardly.

The siege of Powys was entering its third month when messengers from Prince Bleddyn of Gwynedd offered Waltheof castle and county if he would accept peace.


The treaty was signed on March 24th (William will sign a separate peace two months later gaining Perfeddwlad).


Bleddyn of Gwynedd granting Waltheof the Conunty of Powys

On this very day Waltheof decided against his fellow Saxon lords and declared war on King Morcar. He led his army north from Powys to Chester to join with the forces of King William. Together they marched to Lancaster were the king besieged the city (Edwin will surrender in July) while Waltheof continued his march to Durham. Although Waltheof’s liege Richard of Oxford gave Morcar money for a peace agreement in May - which strained his relations with Waltheof and angered his father King William - he had to resume the battle when Tir Connail declared war on Oxford in July. In August and September the armies of Walteof and Morcar clashed several times with Waltheof always victorious. But in October the long campaign took its toll. Waltheof’s men were defeated by a Northumbrian army and had to retreat to Lancaster. Waltheof spend a few days with his wife and newborn son Burgred (August 17th) in Northampton before he returned to his troops.
On December Waltheof was back in Durham bringing with him reinforcements from King William.


The Siege of Durham

The city fell in March 1070 and Walteof offered Morcar to cease hostilities if he surrendered the county to him, which Morcar declined in April. In July Northumberland fell into the hands of Waltheof and King William and on July 24th, Morcar surrendered Northumberland and Durham to Waltheof, on the 28th the king took Morcar’s remaining possessions and titles.
The Saxon lords of the North were crushed. Of all the former Leofricsons’ might only Estmond Leofricson, Edwin’s son remained as Earl of Derby.


The Movements of Siward's Army 1068-1070

Waltheof spent the rest of the year and the first two months 1071 visiting his new holdings, being now one of the most powerful landowners of the realm, second only to the king.


The Siward Demesne 1071

The family happiness was complete when in October a third son – Eadric – was born.

In March 1071 the earl was present at the royal spring tourney at London. It came to an éclat when the Duke of Oxford tore down Waltheof’s shield and destroyed it before the eyes of the spectators.


Richard was obviously bearing a grudge against the earl and his father because he could not realize any gains out of the Welsh war or the Saxon rising, while his vassal was now more powerful than he. William forced his son to beg Waltheof’s pardon by threatening to revoke his ducal title and bestowing it on his third son William (called Rufus). He also granted Waltheof a new Coat-of-arms.


Siward CoA 1071

Just a few days later (April 4th) the chaplain of Duke Richard accused Margaret of witchcraft and sorcery. Waltheof refused the accusations and Margaret was proven innocent, but it left a stain on his and Margaret’s reputation.

The Siwards left London in May and stayed in their castles and manors in Northumberland and Powys supervising the development of their holdings. Waltheof did not return to London that year and was not part of the army sent to crush the rebellious Count of Evreux (Uprising started December 30th; 1071, subdued October 20th, 1072).


After the death of his second born Burgred on June 14th, 1072 Waltheof was found back in London being the center of a court faction called the “Earls Party” (consisting (mainly) of Waltheof - Hugh de Montfort, Earl of Suffolk - Ralph de Bohun, Earl of Norfolk and Estmond Leofricson, Earl of Derby) which stood in sharp opposition to the “Dukes Party” led by Duke Richard of Oxford (consisting (mainly) of Richard – Robert de Courscelles, Duke of Somerset and Lanfranc of Pavia, Bishop of Salisbury and the "foreign" dukes of Brittany and Flandre).


Richard, Duke of Oxford - Son of a powerful King - liege to a powerful Earl

Not much else is recorded for the years 1072/73 except for some charters from Waltheof granting privileges to some towns in Northumberland.


In March 1074 the Duke of Moray, being already in open rebellion against his liege King Malcolm III., asked for Waltheof’s support.


Waltheof’s answer can still be read in the chronicles of Whitby: >> Just eight years ago the power of all England was not enough to repel the Norman onslaught. Six years ago the mightiest of the Saxon lords learned, that they can not withstand the combined forces of Normandy and England. What devil gives Your Grace the idea that he can challenge the might of Scotland, Normandy and England without paying the ultimate price? I will never assist any rebel against his lawful sovereign.<<
The uprising was crushed in December that year.

In September Waltheof tried to reconcile with his liege and offered his son Aethelfrith as fosterling. Duke Richard refused outright.


February 15th, 1075 was a cold and clear day. Edgar Atheling, high ranking Scottish courtier - and short-time king of England - was on his way to Stirling Castle when his horse stumbled. Edgar lost his balance and fell to the ground. He knocked his head on several rocks, broke his arms and finally dropped into a small river. His servants brought him to Stirling as fast as they could but Edgar died the same night without regaining his Consciousness. As Edgar had no children of his own, his rights for the English throne fell to the firstborn of his sister Margaret – Aethelfrith Siward.


Suddenly Waltheof was the father of the Saxon claimant to the English crown.

- To be continued with Interlude I: Europe 1075 -​
 
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jordarkelf

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Wow! You made excellent progress in short time there. You now have a base of power, and a claim on the Bastard...

Nice incorporation of the game CoAs with those mediaeval pictures by the way :)
 

Enewald

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This aar is really great!
Keep the updates coming!
 

tudor

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@Enewald
Thank You,
I will try to keep the update frequency stable. The "Interlude" on Monday, Part IV on Thursday I think... as my fiancée is coming out of hospital on Tuesday and she will get all of my attention and spare time she wants.

@jordakelf
Marching in the shadow of the Bastard makes success almost scaringly easy. When the wars started I was hoping to get Powys with my little band of men (at the rate the siege was going William would have signed a peace treaty with Gwynedd at would be finished with crushing the Leofricsons). I was quite surprised when the county was offered to me before the siege had ended. The Peace with Morcar was the well known "race You to the treaty".

At the moment it seems Lady Luck is smiling on the Siwards.
 

tudor

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I'm copying the idea of some other AARs to give a short statement to "what happens to the rest of the world" from time to time.
At the moment I'm thinking of every 25 years and/or if my "main character" dies.

Interlude I: Europe 1075

Europe 1075​


The British Isles

In Ireland Domnall O'Neill was able to form Ulster (thanks to Tir Connail depleting its forces in the Saxon uprising). Leinster has lost Osraige to Munster and Murchaid ui Mordha was severyly wounded in the battle.

Wales is quite peaceful. Gwynedd is still recovering from the war with England and Deheubarth has just fabricated a claim on the county of Glamorgan.

I will come to the uprising in Suffolk in my next update.


France and the Iberian Peninsula

Philippe of France is enjoying a peaceful reign too. The Duke of Brittany has paid hommege just the year before, and all seems happy and well.

In the christian part of the Iberian peninsula small changes have occured: Aragon was conquered by Navarra and Barcelona has taken Zaragossa from the Taifa of Zaragossa (loosing its capital seems to be "en vogue" as Polotsk and Novgorod have lost their namegiving provinces too).
In the muslim South the smaller Taifas - except for Almeria - have vanished and the Taifa of Sevilla has grown into a regional power, taking provinces from all neighboring princes.

Count Alberto Rufo of Corsica has allied himself with the Count of Arborea and has taken over Cagliari. As his nickname is "Kinslayer", he does not seem to be a very nice person.


Scandinavia and The Baltics

While Sweden has started to pick up the surrounding minor countries, the prince of Polotsk has finished his first pagan smashing tour with mixed success. he gained two coast provinces but lost his capital to Livonia (he now resides in Finnland).


The Russian Principalities

The Russians were quite successful against the pagans.
Nowgorod has expanded to the North.
Chernigov has forced the Mordvins to wander East and had even taken some provinces from the Cumans.


Central Europe

Bohemia just declared Independence.
Emperor Heinrich IV. was able to lose almost all of Italy and Carinthia without beeing excommunicated (all shown Italian states and Carinthia are at peace with the Empire!).
King Boleslaw II. of Poland has a little trouble with his Archbishop... regarding questions of loyalty.
Hungary and Venice have allied and are fighting the Petchenegs with some success, Apulia has conquered Capua and Serbia after having absorbed Ragusa was split in half by a short civil war.


Byzantine Empire and the Levante

The Fatimids have lost their hold on the Levante and Arabia and are reduced to their Egyptian possesions.
Georgia has absorbed the land of the Alans while the Byzantine Empire is going down in flames. It has already lost half of its former territory. One half of its current holdings are in open revolt and Emperor Isaakios II. is still at war with the Seldjuk Turks.

- To be continued with Part IV: The Wrath of Kings -​
 
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Enewald

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Oi, poor Byzant and its dumb emperors! :eek:

The rest of europe isn't that odd yet. :eek:o :p
 

tudor

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@ Treppe

I wish, I could tell you.

The readme of the download (s1871_Graphics) does not give a name... and I have to admit I can't remember when I downloaded it...

After a little bit of research, I think this marvelous collection of pictures and backgrounds was made by Sarmatia1871.
 
Last edited:

tudor

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Part IV: 1075 – 1078 The Wrath of Kings

At the beginning of April 1075 Waltheof had a serious fallout with Hugh de Montfort. The Earl of Suffolk had approached him with new religious teachings not quite in line with the catholic faith, destroying their friendship utterly this way.
On April 16th, Waltheof even declared war against Suffolk, supported by his liege and the king.

But the forces of righteousness were not victorious at the start.


In May the army of Northampton suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Suffolk but came back in June with reinforcements from Powys and Durham.
In July a few days after the birth of Waltheof’s fourth son Saebert, King William finally granted Suffolk to him.


The Siwards still pondered the question where to send Aethelfrith as fosterling.
It was much too dangerous to let him stay in England, but to send him to the Scottish court – although Malcolm III. had always been favourable to the Saxon cause – seemed not to be an alternative due to the Scottish-Norman alliance. Waltheof finally asked Maldred, Duke of Galloway, if he would accept Aethelfrith at his court. Galloway – being a vassal of Scotland but near the main Siward holdings it seemed an ideal constellation. Maldred welcomed Aethelfrith with open arms.


Sending Aethelfrith to Scotland lead to strained the relations of King William and Duke Richard, when the king was informed that his son had refused to take the Saxon heir into his care last year. Ironically this friction with his father led Duke Richard on a reconciliation course with his vassal.

The Year 1076 saw few but major events happen.
On February 22nd, Waltheof refused an alliance proposal of the King of Castile, deciding that the realm was too far from England and had too many of problems of its own to be of use to him.


Just the following day, Pope Alexander II. turned to the Christian princes and lords and begged them to free the city of Alexandria (surprisingly not Jerusalem, which was at that time a much easier target) from the clutches of the Muslim hordes (modern historians call it the Caliphate of the Fatimids) .
The first Crusade had started.



In late December not feeling save anymore Earl Waltheof forged an alliance with the child king Donnchad V. of Leinster.


The first half of 1077 was still peaceful but on June 18th, disaster struck.


King William named Waltheof a traitor to the crown and declared war on him and all his possessions (on a side note: he also declared war on another Saxon noble – Wulfhere de Leyburne, Earl of Westmoreland – a few days later).
The Siward family was ill prepared for a war. Their treasury almost empty, spent on improvements of their counties.
To the surprise of the Earl of Northampton his liege Richard of Oxford decided to fight his father alongside his vassal as was Waltheofs new ally the King of Leinster.
Malcolm III. declared war on Waltheof claiming to be bound by his alliance vows (and certainly hoping to gain Northumberland for himself).
The war started well for the small Alliance (Leinster-Oxford-Northampton; a “modern” synonym – it was not used before the 17th Century). Waltheof defeated a royal division near Lincoln in July and again near York in August, before laying siege to the city.
Waltheof’s Northumberland levy marched north into Lothian where he was joined by an Irish army. Here near Edinburgh the allies defeated an Scottish force in October and while the men of Leinster started besieging the city Waltheof’s men marched south to assist in the siege of York.
In November the Earl’s Welsh men were repelled when they tried to lift the English siege of Northampton and Duke Richard was defeated by his father in Essex.
The situation changed slightly for the better when Malcolm III. decided to stop hostilities. He paid some indemnities to Leinster (the exact sum is lost to history) to leave Scotland. Waltheof and Richard signed “White Peaces”.
But in 1078 the war went from bad to worse for the allies.
There are no recorded victories in field battles for them in the later part of the war.
Waltheof’s Welsh army was defeated at Suffolk in January, Richard was defeated at Bedford and had to retreat to Oxford, to find himself besieged in the city just two months later.
After York had fallen into his hands Waltheof gathered all his remaining men and marched on Northampton in hope to break the siege and free his wife. But in June/July the Northamptonian army was defeated and had to retreat.
Seeing all her hopes crushed before her very eyes the pregnant Countess Margaret had a miscarriage and died - after two more months in suffering - on September 12th, 1078.



Movements of the allied Troops 1077-1078​

Ten days later Earl Waltheof offered to surrender his forces to King William, to pay hommage to him and not to force his sons claims to the English throne as long as he or King William lived, if he would be allowed to keep his fiefs and the city of York.

Earl Waltheof meets with King William for Peace Negotiations​

After two days of consideration and against the advice of his council, William the Conqueror agreed, but added the conditions that Waltheof had to marry Berthe de Blois, the sister of William’s friend Thibaut, Duke de Champagne and that Waltheof’s second son Eadric had to stay as hostage with the Duke of Somerset.

Berthe de Blois, Waltheof's second wife​

In compensation for his loss of York the King stripped Duke Richard of Oxford and Earl Wulfhere of Westmoreland of their possessions (their peace proposals had not been fast enough) a month later. Richard even had to take the vows and was ordained Bishop of Carlisle (though he had to reside in Kendall - to where he was banished).

Waltheof had survived the onslaught of The Conqueror. He had even gained an additional county (which surely put his administration abilities to a strain). But his most valuable provinces had been plundered and he was drowned in debts (although Berthe’s dowry had lifted this weight a little).

- To be continued with Part V: Years of Recovery and the Treaty of Lincoln -​
 

Enewald

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At least you survived. And got another county!
Now you really need a ducal tittle.
Buy one from the king? :D

worked actually so in the mediaval sometimes. Or try pope. :cool: