10 Monks Orchard….final

This is the final part in the introduction from a story I am working on…..:

“These so named Puritans, or English expatriates, would return to England in 1558 when protestant Elizabeth I assumed the thrown. She was an avowed anti Roman Catholic, and like her Father, Henry VIII, began to adopt all of the auspices of Protestantism and purge Catholicism from the English landscape. By the end of her reign with her death in 1603 the Church of England was firmly entrenched, although ripe for treason’s discourse and ultimately rebellion. This would come eventually and would have dire consequences for my own family. By the way, Elizabeth was childless, without heir. Consequently, the crown was bequeathed to the Stuarts of Scotland, James I. Elizabeth was the last of the Tudor monarchs.

“A new and equally dangerous religious era in England was about to begin. Not so much with James I who succeeded Elizabeth I and reigned from 1603 until 1625, but with his royal next of kin – Charles I. No, James I, known for his proclivity to male courtiers, the arts and matters of the heart, was predisposed to the new religion. He put up with Catholicism but when he tried and failed to convince his Scottish compatriots and countrymen to shed their Presbyterian, Calvin ways and adopt the instances of the new and Anglicized Church of England, they refused and this would ultimately result in problems, for the monarchy – not so much for James but for his son Charles I. Indeed James was somewhat of a dour pushover as male monarchs go. In fact Elizabeth was known to us as the King of England whereas James was forever cast as England’s Queen

“James is noted for one very important measure: The King James Version of the Bible. This came about due to a major disconnect of the various versions of the Bible that were out there in print. This added confusion as to who had the right interpretation of God’s written word. The Puritans? The Scottish Presbyterians? The Church England? the Irish Catholics? Who was right? The King James version of the Bible standardized the Word of God throughout the Kingdom and is considered to be a masterful work of art of this, our Jacobean period.[1] I believe it is still popular in your day.

“James was also noted as a peace keeper. He managed to keep England out of the 30 years war and placated many Anglo – Spanish disagreements. While many of us Puritans would have welcomed a war with Spain, James refused to variate from his Pro Spanish policies, even attempting to have his son Charles marry a Spanish infanta, which failed. James also averted disaster in 1604 with the so called “Gunpowder Plot”, a plot to blow up Parliament. You know this as Guy Fawkes Day. Overall, James I, for all of his weaknesses, was well liked by his people. What we didn’t know or comprehend at the time were the grave consequences that his weakness of spirit and lack of judgement would have over the years to come. For James’ reign was an era of debt. So much so that he lacked the means and flexibility to adopt many of his programs nationally and internationally. Somewhat a supporter of the Divine Right and Absolutism of the monarchy, which meant that he felt himself as being above the laws of the land, he prorogued parliament many times when he couldn’t achieve his goals or get his financial way. This would set a dangerous precedent. One that his son Charles would use to a great degree and one which would become a detriment to the crown, the ruling class, the middle classes – well to just about every man, woman and child of this English nation, including the king himself. A crisis of confidence was soon to come.

“And with that I will leave you now and let this story unfold unto itself.

[1] Jacobean era refers to time frame of the reign of James VI of Scotland, who was also James I of England.

Final Oasis song:

Have a great Navy day.


10 Monks Orchard……….cont

Some more:

“With Henry, England experienced a religious reformation of sorts. A selfish act, it was only on Henry’s part to take England away from Rome but for purely carnal reasons. There was no religious epiphany in the court of Henry VIII. The old ways of worship remained. The dichotomy that existed across the land had England sitting on the religious fence in many respects. Those who pined for religious reform were elated at the stance that Henry took but severely disappointed when attending religious service. All of the hallmarks of Catholicism remained. Religious confusion reigned across a land that was dearly unstable under God. Are we Protestant or are we Catholic?

“Instability came with dire consequences. In 1540 Henry executed Thomas Cromwell, one of his closest advisors but who was a strong proponent of Protestantism. Reformers such Barnes, William Jerome and Thomas Gerrard were burned at the stake. In a display of religious impartiality and equanimity on Henry’s part Thomas Abell, Richard Featherstone and Edward Powell—all Roman Catholics—were hanged, drawn and quartered while the Protestants burned. All in the name of Christ. Nice! The one commonality that remained in all of this bloodshed was the brutality in the name of God. But these were the acts of men, not God. Just as most laws are man made laws and not God’s Laws. Nevertheless, the theological carnage in the name of God and Jesus Christ continued unabated.

“This English theological schizophrenia continued for many years. Finally Henry died in 1547. Young Edward VI came to the throne but died in 1553. He was replaced by Mary I – Bloody Mary, or the Marion Terror as her tenure came to be known. A devout Catholic her aim was to bring England back into the folds of Rome. She began to purge all instances of Protestantism and executed some 283 men women and children at the stake for heresy. Protestants, who could, fled England to religious sanctuary cities and refuge centres, primarily Geneva. One of my kin joined this group. Here they were comforted and safe and fell under the liturgical spell and genius of John Calvin. To say they were not reformed would be an understatement for under Calvin a new form of Protestantism would manifest itself with the English expatriates. A pure form of worship to God and to Jesus Christ would emerge with the purity of life itself and all that it meant – in work, in culture, in education, in governance, in worship and in all things being. Puritanism!

Another great song from Oasis:

Have a great Navy day.



10 Monks Orchard….cont


“For Henry, spiritual divorce from the Roman Catholic Church and Rome was not likely for he was adamantly, violently opposed to the Lutheran, Protestant Doctrine and the new ways of worship. Physical divorce? Now that was another matter and Henry pursued this path with vigour when it became clear that Rome under Pope Clement would not grant him an annulment from his wife Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn.

“Without a male heir with Catherine of Aragon and enamoured by the charms, wit and class of French educated Anne Boleyn, Henry was determined to win a divorce from Catherine and marry Anne. When Rome refused to grant Henry an annulment Henry sought out the counsel of the intellectual sect and the intelligentsia of Oxford and the religious order from Canterbury. Canterbury in itself was an interesting ally for Henry because the Archbishop and his religious cohorts were beginning to lean toward Protestantism but dared not to do so publicly while Henry was still betrothed to Catherine. Of equal importance however was the threat of death through execution if one disagreed with or refused to publicly support Henry in his quest for divorce. And Henry was a master in the art of intimidation. The executioner was literally and figuratively Henry’s right hand man. Off with his or her head became the brand of Henry’s reign. Thousands would die.

“Backed by his own counsel Henry broke away from Catholicism and papal control by establishing himself, that is by his position as the King of England, as the head to the new Church of England. This new church with its basis in Canterbury was not Catholic in name but it was not quite Protestant either. Henry just couldn’t seem to rid himself of the religious icons, some of the liturgical doctrine or the ceremonial and ritual nuances of the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps he was a bit paranoid and riding the theological fence on this one.

“Rome would not capitulate on this issue. Consequently, the Church of England was born by a Reformation Parliament. In 1536 the Act of Supremacy was legislated thereby emasculating all of the power of Rome over England. Henry, through his hand picked Archbishop of Canterbury, was now king of the new Church of England. And with any reforms, or revolution / evolution of newness the bloodbath began. Henry went off on a religious rampage to oust or destroy and execute all of those who disagreed with his Act of Supremacy. Thousands were killed. Most notably was Thomas More, Lord High Chancellor of England, in essence Henry’s Chief of Staff, who refused to agree to Henry’s Act of Supremacy and his break with the Church. Henry’s Act of Treason legislation in the same year ensured compliancy of the rigours of his new church with fear of death. Death came to Thomas More in 1534. He was canonized as a saint in your day for his stance against a King and a Country that challenged God himself. Such arrogance!

“Interestingly, Henry swept across this land and laid waste to all of the religious “Priories, Abby’s, Monasteries,” citing a fear of disloyalty to the Supremacy Act. Thus, under the threat of the Treason Act, Henry destroyed a way of life that invoked religious traditions over a thousand years. No matter to Henry. Their infrastructure – abodes, buildings and agrarian machines were burned to the ground, destroyed and their lands confiscated without compensation. Land titles were reassigned through sales to the highest bidders. This had a two fold consequence. On the one hand it ensured compliance and loyalty to the new Church of England by rooting out all dissenters to Henry’s acclamations while on the other hand it filled the royal coffers of much needed funds for Henry’s indulgences and interests. One of the Priories that was destroyed by Royal Decree would play some part, not insignificant mind you, in my own story of my own kin and their ancestors. Tillmore Gardens, which encompassed the working orchards of some Franciscan monks, was one of these Priories. Nestled among the hills and valleys of the so named South Downs of the Hampshire County, near Winchester, it would fall into the hands of a distant relative. This would have a profound impact on my own sense and sensibilities, and loyalties to my King and Country, as you shall soon see.

Clocks by Coldplay.

Have a great Navy day.



10 Monks Orchard…cont

Some more from the story I am working on:

“Luther was summarily excommunicated for his beliefs but no matter. For what was the authority of the Church or the Pope if not for God’s laws and the word of Jesus Christ as the only true word for a God fearing Christian to believe.

“In spite of all of this, it was a wonderful time to be alive, to be a Christian and to be free of the financial burden, encumbrances and stranglehold of a pompous papacy. For the working classes, of which I now belonged, it was also a very, very dangerous time. 

“What were the consequences of this religious reformation and the 95 Theses of Martin Luther? Churches were burned or stripped bare of any vestiges of Catholicism; religious icons were demolished and destroyed; defrocked Priests and Nuns were suddenly free to marry; Papal Bulls galore, excommunications, heretical dictates, the Inquisition, murders, debauchery, fraud, licentiousness, wars and purges. Life was anything but boring in this new awakening.

 “As this reformation took hold across much of Europe and the British Isles there was no turning back as new leaders of the Reformation would emerge. John Calvin, born in Picardy France, schooled in Paris, and enemy of Catholic France, practiced and preached his unique form of Protestantism in Switzerland and Strasbourg. He was a liturgical genius who transcribed what could be called a religious Declaration of Independence, his “Institutes.” In them he laid down the foundation and pillars of worship for this new form of worship. His sermons in Geneva were legendary so much so that the city fathers protected him from every threat that could be conceived by the Catholic Church to undermine his personal security. His work emerged as seminal and his doctrine, interpretation of the word of God and his view of worship ultimately spread to France, the Lowlands, Switzerland, Germany, the New World and South Africa. Italy was a non sequitur to this new doctrine of Christ. France was unique however in that France could not decide how it would go. Nationally, officially, this country was Catholic but there were many who leaned toward the Protestant way. Huguenots, The House of Burgundy were renowned in the Protestant faith but a purely Machiavellian scheme by Catherine de Medici arose to undermine the Protestant cause. This led to the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre in August, September, 1572 in which up to 30,000 French Protestants were killed in Paris and outward across France. If anything else the efficacy of killing in the name of the Catholic faith was impressive and without equal.

“St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was the worst of the religious skirmishes to date although there was worse to come. The 80 years war between Spain and the Low Countries, 1568 – 1648, would result in the Dutch Republic and Dutch Calvinism and the Dutch “Golden Era”. The 30 Year’s War, 1618-1648, enveloped much of central Europe and culminated with the Treaty Of Westphalia of 1648. The interesting thing about the 30 Year’s War was its brutality. Ferdinand II of the Holy Roman Emperor thought to impose Catholicism as the national and only religion across his entire empire. Naturally, this sparked outrage and rebellion. He failed to implement his Catholicism at great cost in human and material resources. It is thought that up to 8 million fatalities occurred, about a third of the population of Europe. Most of the European nations and nation or city states were engaged in this Protestant versus Catholicism conflict. The plague returned. Famine was rampant. Religious fervour, especially Catholicism, was severely undermined. It would never return as the dominant form of worship in Europe. Westphalia? Finally, officially, underscored and under written by a political treaty, meant religious freedom and respite from the shackles of Rome, the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. Westphalia also meant the genesis of the European nation states.

“Who would have thought that such carnage could occur over the Love of Christ? We here in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland however were not immune to the chaos. While Europe was aflame in one of the most terrifying and devastating conflicts in World History, we were experiencing our own form of religious terrorism. This so called religious reformation was evident in our island nation. Our King, Henry VIII, watched the events of Reformation Europe unfold with the writings and teachings of Martin Luther and later John Calvin. However he was not a admirer of this monk and publicly criticized and adopted religious change but purely for his own selfish reasons.

“This Martin Luther is an abomination, a religious zealot, insane, with the peasant mind. These 95 Theses? Religious, heretical trash from the mind of a mad monk” so thought Henry VIII. He added to that with his infamous pamphlet “Defence of the Seven Sacraments.”

You can imagine how Pope Leo X viewed Henry’s remarks. 

“The defender of the Faith.” he exclaimed of the robust, dynamic and influential monarch.

“I am “The Defender of the Faith” retorted Henry, who was justly proud of this confer and publicly rejoiced in the papal laurel right up until he died. Indeed the English Kings and Queens right up to your day and age still confer upon themselves this title, proudly.

Too bad these brothers didn’t get along. Great group.

Have a great day.