Posted on 02/12/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 02/17/04
This is an “what if” scenario in the Historical sense. I’ve tried to base as much on historical, geographical and constructive fact, yet due to it’s nature as a “what if” scenario, a story, editor limitations and so forth it cannot be entirely accurate. Though the beginning and ‘successful’ end of the scenario follows the actual history. The castles ‘setup’ is taken from John Forde-Johnston’s “Great Medieval Castles of Britain” and the blueprints I used come from both the same book and it’s official homepage: http://www.isleofpurbeck.com/corfe.html I cant publish the map within this book, but if you request a small picture of the map from the book then please request it again by E-mail (ShoeMaker_@hotmail.com).
For Historical sources I used the following (recommended if you want to understand all the events that would lead to such a scenario as this and the reasons for its end!):
I had a few more sources but have seemed to have lost them.
I had originally intended the map to be about King John, where he had at one point all his treasure, daughter and 22 French knights imprisoned within the castle! Very evil and interesting. But without the outer bailey it wouldn’t have satisfied my urge to build Corfe castle completely! Thus King Henry the Third will be your alias!
The scenery was magnificent from here atop the castle. Looking down upon the natural hills that the castle rested almost made the castle natural and merge with it. Walter de Tranchant could feel nothing more than relief and new given drive at the dominance of his King. For the past several years he’d been shoved around by the bickering lords in the council. Absolutely useless fools! At least now the kingdom could be restored again.
Ah… the smell of the high lofty air, the smell? Of cinder and ash! Twisting about to find the blacking timber he saw its source, by the Armoury! “Fire! Fire by the Armoury!” A torch lay within the open doorway leaving half of the armoury alight before the words were spoken, and quickly worsening. “By all that’s worthy! Save the armoury at all costs! Water!!!”
Mayken was training as he heard the shout and turned to look up to where it came. Yet before he could catch the source he was thrown flat to the ground. Now looking up he saw three men running full tilt past the barracks, torches in hand. He jumped up and ran immediately after them, yet knowing they could possibly not escape with the number on the walls it would be better to awake the whole garrison. Knowing the hall to be in session Mayken sprinted for it, stumbling in, almost unable to gasp his breath. “Arson! Arson and treason!”
Finally talks had begun, so much feasting and enjoyment, why not the talk of rule and battle? But allas thought Huges of Grinoult, it would be but another glorious campaign with money lavishly spent and lands lost. If only the King were more wise… A squire runs into the hall, his own! “Squire, return to your training, we have need of no such interruptions!” MayKen would not leave, he’d have his head for this! But then the boy spoke, and a grin spread on the dukes face, battle was here, he could smell it!
The men could be seen running for their lives, ducking, weaving, sprinting and what not! Setting alight to whatever came in their way, without anyone able to get to them quickly enough. Huglit could see their path though, and from the wall it would be a difficult shot indeed, but not impossible at any length. He taught his bow and let his arrow fly. It struck one of them men peculiarly in the thigh, yet brought him to the ground non-the-less. Huglit tried a second and a third, but the other two managed to take more heed of him and avoid him and the other archers. They were out of the gates before he could do any more, so he ran down the wall to his prey to ensure he did not get away, or kill himself.
De Tranchant looked back towards the valley in which he had been eyeing before, knowing he could do nothing more to ensure that the fires were put out. The valley now seemed all but soothing as it had done previously, the bitterness of the ash and the heat on the back of his neck did everything to pry his mind upon what could be happening, who were the men who had lit the spark? What lay ahead for him and his King?
It didn’t take long however for him to answer the first, the kings men knew the secrets of torture well. They had been a group of scouts from De Montfort, the Kings step-brother, who apparently wants the crown for himself. The coming of darkness only agreed with this testament, the valley was covered in shrouds of stars, torches of at least several thousand men lay strewn beyond the castle. De Tranchant guessed it wouldn’t be long before his second question would be answered…
It is 1262, after the failure of the Provisions of Oxford, you, Henry the Third, King of England, have reasserted all power as rightful king of these lads back upon yourself. It has been less double a fortnight since you have reclaimed your title fully again, and as such you must fortify this claim. Towards your fathers utmost castle you do travel, to Corfe Castle in the Purbeck Hills. It is your wish to view the damaged caused under the minor insurrection in 1258, which forced you into receding your powers. As well as the immediate reparations of this fine castle!
With you, you have brought a many loyal knights and men to talk council within Corfe’s fine halls and walls. Knowing that Corfe Castle is perfectly suited to whatever plans that will be conceived. Yet talks are cut short as the echo of fire is shouted by a stumbling squire. “Arson! Arson and treason!” is the shout. “Men have set fire to the castle, and are heading away!”
You’ve sent men to capture the flying bastards whilst the castle is still aflame. However one of them was pierced by an arrow before he could escape and has yielded under force. There is news of Simon de Montfort’s journey towards this place, with ill intent none the less. It is known! Civil war has erupted! And he had been planning on your capture during your journey, yet he seems more than content in laying siege. No sooner have you heard this news with the timbers still crackling in the background, do you hear the shouts of De Montfort’s banners flying in the swamps below.
Survive at all costs and prepare for provisions and armourments. Your only chance is to break out and assemble with your son Prince Edward in Evesham with the supplies and crush the resistance! To the walls! Montfort awaits!
*Rebuild Castle using the best limestone in the land, situated underneath the foot of the castle, the Purbeck hills! (200 stone)
*Stock up on supplies for war to assist your son Edward (60 Armour, 30 Maces, 50 bows)
*Survive and escape with a few of your entourage towards Evesham where you know your son Prince Edward is ready to suppress the upsurge in union with you and your supplies. Do this before Simon De Montfort rallies his strength and removes you from your throne.
*Your Majesty only has a limited time before De Montfort will pitch everything that he possesses against Corfe. It will have to be emptied of you and the provisions you shall bring forth to Evesham with you before then. Pray haste!
*Protect the Armoury at all costs! Your Majesty doesn’t have enough time to erect new ones, and a loss of them will mean failure to suppress De Montfort. Need I tell you your majesty that it would cost you your crown?
*Use the three separate sections of the castle (Inner, Middle and Outer Bailey) combined with the use of pitch and boiling oil to suppress the attackers advancing towards the keep!
*The important stone, pitch and ore supplies lay a fair pace away from the castle walls. Rather than leaving men to cover them and thus weakening the already deteriorated castle, build as many quarries as possible and reap your harvest quickly!
(Picture of Corfe Castle: Courtesy of http://web.ukonline.co.uk/nigel.battysmith/Dorset/bankesmisc.html)