A few years ago I researched some local history for my 'A Very British Civil War' forces via my local library. So for my ECW Companies I already had a bit of an idea of the background that I might be able to employ. Since then the wonders of the internet has made much more information readily available for those wishing to do a bit of research. Having spent some time sorting through some ideas I have come up with the following background fluff for my protaganists:
The Creswickes of Hanham Court are a long established family and hold substantial lands in and around the Parishes of Hanham and Bitton. Their family seat of Hanham Court used to belong to the Priory at Keynsham, until the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. The local gossips hint at them still holding onto the Catholic faith, despite outward appearances to the contrary. The head of the family, Sir Francis Creswicke, has sided with the party of the King, as he has little sympathy for those wishing to change the established order of things. He has gathered a small Company of troops, that are under the command of his son, Henry Creswicke.
Sadly Henry is a rather uncharasmatic fellow who is viewed by many has having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. As a result his troops do not view him very favourably. Keen to re-dress this poor view of himself, Henry likes to take the offensive as and when he can, often at the head of his cavalry.
So far Henry has really failed to distinguish himself in battle, often sitting at the back away from his troops. Naturally this has done little to endear him further to his Company. Luckily for him his last battle saw the capture of some pigs so at least his troops are currently well fed...
Sir John Newton of Barrs Court is a newcomer to the area, believing he has claim to more land than he actually does. This has already seen him in conflict with Sir Francis Creswicke over land in the Parish of Hanham, which Sir Francis won in the courts. With the outbreak of the War, Sir John Newton has sided very firmly with Parliament in an attempt to change the status quo and possibly gain land that he believes is his under the guise of taking it from Papist sympathisers.
Now Sir John is not one to risk life-and-limb and so has called upon the services of one Johannes van Arnheim, a veteran of the recent Thirty Years War. His troops have quickly taken to him, probably due to a string of quick victories. He has a commanding presence which his troops admire and his superior officers have started taking note of this potential rising star. Promoted to Captain after his recent successes, his only problem is a tendency to be a bit careless, wanting to charge home at all costs, which nearly cost him dear in his last battle.
The overall history of the two feuding families is true, but I have taken liberties with which party they sided with during the Civil War. In reality they both probably supported Parliament as this part of the Country was staunchly aligned to their cause. Still a bit of artistic license is required in these things.
To give an idea of the area that the battles will take place in, the following maps will give a good overview of the Parishes and the sort of countryside around at that time.
|To the North of the Parishes of Hanham and Bitton, lay the Kingswood Chase, a former Royal Hunting Ground. This area was largely wooded, but to the South of it lay some good agricultural land.|
|A more modern map of the area, but showing the important landmarks that wouldn't have changed much from the 17th Century|
For a bit of background reading for the period I have just ordered the following book off of Amazon.
It looks to have plenty of good background information and fluff for use with 'The Pikemen's Lament', such as scenarios, units, characters etc. When I recieve my copy I will probably do a small review in case anyone is interested.
So now I have my background sorted out I need to carry one with some more skirmishes. Only a few more weeks until I collect my Pendraken goodies so my versatile wooden blocks will have to suffice in the meantime.