Writing about James V1 and !st naturally leads to thinking of the civil war. It’s labelled an English affair but, in fact, it involved the whole of Great Britain. The Royalists were winning until the Scots got involved and one of the King’s plans brought troops from Ireland. I can only assume the English don’t want to admit the Scots helped and the Scots want nothing to do with it after they sold their king to the English for money. What is really missing from the history books is the effect it had on ordinary people. In the village of Faringdon, it split the community and Cromwell is accused of firing a cannonball into the village church – it’s on display in one wall of the building – or at least a cannonball is. It seems this Faringdon was important for the protection of Oxford and saw some fierce fighting. So much so that members of the local Writer’s Group have looked at writing a novel about the affair. The original proposal was for a family divided tale but, like the war itself, the members disagreed over the thrust of the tale and it was later changed to a tale of a young woman’s experience during the war, showing how she grew from a girl to a woman during the struggle. What I liked about the idea was the struggle was really about whether the King was the law or subject to it.
There is a bit of a story in the events of the early days when men from further south, called out by the King to quell the uprising in the north but hadn’t been paid as promised, on arrival in Faringdon on the way home, took it out on their officer, who happened to be Irish.
If you look into most of what are called the major events in history, there are enough anecdotes like that about ordinary people to add spice to a story, or even make a story of their own. It was looking for that kind of thing that led me to the 1914 civil war in South Africa and the writing of King or Kaiser.