Henry VIII,the Reign
Waiting and Waiting at Winchester
The Parliament scheduled for 3 November had been prorogued, that is to say postponed, until February the following year. There was sickness, plague, in London, that was one of the reasons.
The great royal train that had wound its way around the western counties since the beginning of July had been scheduled to begin the return leg to Windsor via the road well-trodden for centuries by the Bishops of Winchester. It was a pretty straight run stopping at Old Arlesford, Alton, Farnham and home or for the more leisurely an extra overnight at Easthamsted before meandering into Windsor.
There was bitter disappointment for those, after almost three months on the road, who were desperate to get home. There would be no home coming for weeks yet, be it by chaos or design all about was changing. There would be an entirely new route from here on.
The progress, for the time being however, had stalled, congregated at Bishops Waltham Palace, at Winchester and at many a place in between.
In keeping with the theme of recent months Anne de Boulogne would have been inducted here with a history lesson – propaganda. The Bishops Palace, at Waltham, somewhat inevitably, had been built by Eustace de Boulogne’s uncle Bishop Henry of Blois in 1135. He presided from there until he was ousted by Robert of Gloucester’s forces fighting for Henry II. He was replaced, again somewhat inevitably by a man from the western counties, born in Bath, a forefather of the Henry – Johnites, and named Richard of Ilchester.
Anne was one of those who was desperate to get away, away up Beeches Hill from Waltham over the downs and home, but for her the road to Windsor was barred.
There were rumours spreading up from Dover about the pope, the cross-channel merchants had wind of something.
The Duke of Norfolk was on his way south. If there were ever two men at the forefront of military combat during the reign of Henry VIII, Norfolk and Suffolk, were they.
Brandon too was on his way to Winchester.
Word from France that the Bailly of Troyes, Anne de Boulogne’s teenage friend from the French royal court, had been sent by the King of France to talk to Henry. But, where was he?
Daily the king waited, he paced up he paced down, pensive, irritable and above all else frightened, very, very frightened.
Stalled between Winchester and Bishops Waltham they waited – Henry waited.
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