Margaretta van Hesse from “John Culpepper, Esquire”

JC Esquire (1)In place of my usual Saturday Snippets, I’m writing about the people and places from the Culpepper Saga. The third book, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” will be released in July. If you missed books one or two, click HERE or HERE.

margaretta van hesse Lady CulpepperOne of the more tragic figures of “John Culpepper, Esquire” is Margaretta van Hesse, also known as Lady Culpepper (photo). She was an heiress from Denmark who married Lord Thomas Culpepper second baron of Thoresway in 1659 at The Hague. Lord Thomas (photo) was the son of Lord John Culpepper, known in the story as JC, cousin of our hero.

lord_thosFollowing the English Civil War, JC had taken his family to Denmark while he watched over the exiled prince, but when the prince was welcomed back into England in 1660 as King Charles II, the whole family moved back. Lord Thomas and his new bride took up residence at Leeds Castle. She was newly married, probably didn’t speak the language or understand the English customs, and Lord Thomas unceremoniously dropped her off at the castle and moved to London to live with his mistress Susannah Willis.

Fortunately for Margaretta, John’s nephew Alex was asked by JC to stay at the castle and help her get settled in. There is no proof of Margaretta and Alex having any sort of relationship, but there are a few strange coincidences that make me scratch my head.

Alex’s mom, Katherine, died in 1658.

LadyCatherineMargaretta, somehow without a husband around, gave birth to a daughter in 1670. The baby was named Catherine (photo). Hmmm.

In 1671, Lord Thomas appointed Alex the Surveyor General of Virginia and tried to send him away. Records show Alex in Virginia for a short time, but he almost immediately came back to England.

In 1689, Lord Thomas became ill and died in his house in London. Margaretta didn’t even find out about it until well after his death. His mistress had him buried. He left a will in favor of the mistress, but Margaretta had the will suppressed, making sure Catherine got everything. Before Margaretta went to court, with Alex along to assist her, Alex, now 58-years-old, quickly and conveniently married Lord Thomas’s sister Judith, who moved into Leeds Castle with them. The woman was old and died a year later.

Alex died in 1694 and in his will, he left everything to Margaretta. He was buried at St. Margaret’s Church in Bromfield, Kent, near the castle.

Margaretta never re-married. She died in 1710 at Leeds Castle and was buried at St. Margaret’s.

Thomas_Fairfax 5th baron of cameron, catherine culpeppers husbandA year after her inheritance, young Catherine married Lord Thomas Fairfax (photo) in 1690. Their children were: Thomas Fairfax, Henry Colpepper Fairfax, Katherine Fairfax, Margaret Fairfax, Frances Fairfax, Mary Fairfax, and Robert Fairfax. Family historians state that Catherine had all of her children baptized at St. Margaret’s and had built a family vault to bury her mother in. Nothing is ever mentioned about Alex’s connection or the fact that he is buried there also. Strangely enough, Catherine’s husband died the same year as her mother but was buried elsewhere.

Catherine died in 1719 at the age of 49. She was not buried with her husband. She was buried at St. Margaret’s with her mother and Alex.

The Culpepper Saga ends in the late 1670s, so we don’t learn about Catherine and Lord Fairfax, but in book two “John Culpepper the Merchant” their grandfathers were trying to kill each other during the civil war. I imagine their marriage was quite scandalous in both families, and I suspect there will be a juicy sequel about them coming this winter or early next spring. “The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal” sounds like a good title.

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Saturday Snippet – John Culpepper the Merchant

If you read the first book in the Culpepper Saga, “I, John Culpepper,” you’ll remember the red-headed wench John’s father was flirting with at the Blackwall Inn the day John was born in 1606. I was tickled to included her in the second book, and in an off-handed way, she is instrumental in saving John’s family at the end of the book.

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The Merchant ebookJohn Culpepper the Merchant

January 1643, Oliver Cromwell

John and his brother rode through a cold and damp fog into London and went for an ale at the Blackwall Inn. They removed their hats and scarfs and took a seat at the dank, corner table nearest the soot-encrusted fireplace that was glowing warm with embers. A scrawny boy placed a few logs into the fireplace, and the brothers watched the red embers grow into a roaring fire. They ordered a couple pints of ale, and once the barkeep delivered the mugs to the table, Thomas began to fill John in on all the unrest in the land that John had missed over the previous year.

“JC wrote me of the king trying to arrest those five members of the House of Commons and of his raising his standard at Nottingham, but what happened in between?” John asked.

Thomas took a drink and sighed. “Did he tell you about Cromwell?”

John shook his head.

“After the fiasco in the House of Commons, the king fled London and was ambushed in Birmingham.”

“JC told me that.”

“That attack was instigated by Oliver Cromwell.”

“Who’s Oliver Cromwell?”

“Exactly. He’s a nobody, a man of modest means, barely inside the gentry class. He’s sat in Parliament for a few years but has been pretty much useless and quiet. His only claim is that he led a single cavalry troop some years ago, and for some reason, Parliament thought that enough to elevate his status. They placed him in charge of their cavalry. He’s a committed Puritan with deep-rooted desires to take the king down because of his past religious rulings. After remaining quiet and never participating in Parliament’s dealings for years, somehow he convinced Parliament to pass what he called the Militia Ordinance, proclaiming the people of London are bound by law to join Parliament’s militia if called, and he immediately began recruiting men of low birth.”

“What’s the punishment for not joining?”

“Beheading.”

John exhaled and shook his head in disbelief.

Thomas continued. “He’s not recruiting military men or men of gentry, he’s recruiting anyone he can get his hands on. He’s not a trained military leader, so from a strategic standpoint, it’s difficult to guess his next move.”

“How many men does he have now?”

“Probably twice as many as we do. He took over the king’s royal army in London and is recruiting men by force.”

“Have the members of Parliament lost their minds?”

“Apparently so, but not all of them. Many members have disappeared to their country homes. They refuse to participate in taking down the king. The ones who are left, like Cromwell, are now jockeying for position in what they think will be a new country. Parliament is supposed to represent the people, but sadly, the citizens are now afraid of Parliament and the king is nowhere to be found to protect them. Without an option, they’re joining Cromwell’s militia in droves.”

John groaned and looked down into his mug.

An older woman with slivers of gray in her long red hair set two more pints on their table.

“Thank you,” John said.

“You’re Culpeppers,” she said, unquestionably.

John nodded.

She looked into John’s eyes. “You look just like your father.”

“Excuse me, do I know you?” John asked.

“No, you don’t know me.” She smiled and pointed at the mugs. “These pints are on the house. Tell your father to come by and visit.”

“Our father is long dead, madam,” Thomas said.

She spun her head to look at Thomas, shock in her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” A flash of sadness crossed her face and she looked back at John.

John wondered how this lowly, tavern wench knew a man of his father’s importance. She was middle aged with soft wrinkles around her eyes, but he could tell by her prominent cheekbones and full lips that she had probably been quite beautiful in her younger days. Perhaps this wench was the reason his father remained in London for lengthy stretches of time so many years ago.

The woman’s eyes became misty. “I’m very sorry to hear that. I was rather fond of your father. Well, if you ever need anything, my son owns the fishery in Maidstone, right on the River Medway. His name is Waller and the place is called Waller’s. You tell him his mother sent you.”

John and Thomas looked quizzically at each other and then Thomas said, “Um, Waller’s. All right. Thank you for the information, madam.”

“Of course.” She nodded at Thomas and slowly backed up from the table, stealing fleeting glances at John. “Just like your father,” she mumbled.

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“John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the Culpepper Saga, please visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

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Saturday Snippet – John Culpepper the Merchant

The Merchant ebookMy new release, “John Culpepper the Merchant” is the second book in the Culpepper Saga. It begins in England in 1642 at the onset of the English civil war. The king had been angering his people for his entire reign of seventeen years, and the opening chapter of the book sets the scene. It is one of the catalysts of the war.

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John Culpepper the Merchant

Chapter 1

January 4, 1642, London, England

The king marched into the room unannounced. He walked through the middle of the active session of Parliament and was greeted with stunned silence. Never before had a monarch entered the House of Commons uninvited, and the nearly two hundred members present froze in place as if someone had painted their portrait, capturing the moment complete with paper strewn across tables, pens held in the air, and faces turned to pose for the painter. The king did not return their shocked gazes.

From his seat at a table in the center of the room, JC watched the king walk past him, easily slipping between the unmoving members of the House. JC’s jaw fell open when the king sat in the speaker’s chair. JC looked back toward the door, wondering how the king had entered the room without warning and saw the king’s sergeant at arms blocking the doorway. Behind the intimidating man stood the king’s soldiers—hundreds of them as far as JC could tell.

After a lengthy and excruciating silence, the king rose from the chair. The knuckles of his right hand turned white as he gripped the ball on top of his walking stick. His left hand remained at his side, balled into a fist.

“Gentlemen!” The king narrowed his eyes as he scrutinized each face. It was obvious he was not going to stay as he had neglected to remove his wide-brimmed hat, which matched his black velvet cloak. Underneath, he wore a red doublet and breeches, almost the same shade as his face. “I am sorry to have this occasion to come unto you, and I apologize for violating your parliamentary privilege.” His beard twitched as he clenched his teeth. “But those guilty of treason have no privilege.”

There was a collective gasp from the room, and a trickle of sweat dripped down JC’s back. Parliament had not been convened for nearly nine years, as the king thought it his royal prerogative to rule the country alone, but after Scotland had invaded the north in retaliation for the king’s religious rulings, he desperately needed money to fund his army. The only body that could legally raise taxes to fund an army was Parliament, so the king was forced to call on it. It denied the king’s request to raise taxes, and instead compiled a list of over two hundred grievances against the king, demanding he address them. The document had been delivered a month ago but Parliament had never received word as to the king’s reaction.

JC had not participated in the writing of the grievances. For the last nineteen years, he had worked in the king’s service, just as his family had done for many kings and many generations. He would never contribute to anything as treasonous as telling the king how to rule. During his service, JC had never seen the king’s demeanor this threatening. This unannounced visit to the House of Commons was not going to end well for someone.

The king lifted his hand and gestured for his sergeant at arms to enter the room.

All heads turned toward the door, and all eyes followed the sergeant as he walked to the middle of the room and unrolled a piece of paper. He held it with both hands in front of his face and turned clockwise as he read aloud. “I am commanded by His Majesty, my master, upon my allegiance that I should come to the House of Commons and request from Mr. Speaker five members of the House of Commons. When these gentlemen are delivered, I am commanded to arrest them in His Majesty’s name for high treason. Their names are Mr. Denzil Hollis, Sir Arthur Haselrig, Mr. John Pym, Mr. William Strode, and Mr. John Hampden.”

The sergeant rolled up the paper and stuffed it back into his breast pocket.

JC witnessed a scowl cross the king’s face while the sergeant read the names. The five men were the authors of the list of grievances.

Attempted_Arrest_of_the_Five_members_lenthall kneels before charles“Mr. William Lenthall,” the king bellowed.

A man wearing a black cape with a white collar emerged from the crowd and knelt before the king. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Mr. Speaker, where are these men we seek? Do you see them in this room?”

Lenthall kept his eyes to the floor. “May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but only as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am.”

The king stared at the top of Lenthall’s head. Lenthall remained still. No man risked a glance toward another or even dared to breathe for fear of attracting the king’s attention. The king sighed and said, “I see all the birds have flown.”

With a flick of his wrist, the king flipped his long hair off his shoulder and marched past Lenthall, leaving him kneeling in front of his own empty chair. The sergeant at arms followed the king from the room. When the door slammed, everyone exhaled.

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John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

New Release! “John Culpepper the Merchant”

51hHerBrPbL._UY250_If you’ve been following along, I’ve been writing a four-book series on 17th century John Culpepper who was my 10th great-grandfather. He was born in 1606 in Kent, England and was trained as a lawyer in his youth, but his greatest desire was to command a ship. Against his father’s wishes, when he was in his twenties, he purchased a ship, and his father never spoke to him again. His childhood story is told in the first book of the series, “I, John Culpepper.”

The Merchant ebookMy new release, the second book “John Culpepper the Merchant,” begins in 1642 and follows John to the colony of Virginia, but it more-or-less leaves him there as England finds itself in an uproar. The King had been angering his citizens with his religious antics since he took the throne in 1625, and the citizens had had enough. Parliament began fighting back and effectively split the country in two – the parliamentarians vs. the royalists. As civil war raged on, John returned over and over, but by the time he reached his wife and family, the fighting had usually died down. By the time he returned to Virginia, it had started back up again.

While everyone hoped the bloodshed would soon end, the members of Parliament, namely Oliver Cromwell, had other plans. He wanted to take over the country, he wanted the king dead, he would stop at nothing. After the king’s surrender, kidnapping, trial, and ultimately, his execution, the royalists found themselves at the mercy of Cromwell, and John had only one choice. He had to return to England under the cloak of darkness and rescue his family from certain death. It’s a good thing he had a ship and didn’t listen to his father.

“John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

The third book in the series, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” will be released July 2015.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? Cover Reveal!

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I’ve been reading “John Culpepper the Merchant” by Lori Crane. LOL!

It’s my book, so I guess I’m cheating a little bit on posting it for this blog, but if I don’t make sure it’s error free before release, someone will lose their marbles, and we don’t want that to happen. So…I’ve been in final edit, proofread, flip-flop mode, wavering between thinking it’s-not-ready-for-release and it’s-the-best-book-ever. Truthfully, it’s probably somewhere in the middle, but as all my author friends know, that’s what we do. Flip-flopping is our most time-consuming hobby. 🙂

The Merchant ebookI’d also like to show off the new cover. Isn’t it so cool? My cover designer is amazing!

The book will be out in a few days and I’m tickled pink!

Blurb

For hundreds of years, the Culpepper family backed the monarchy, but when King Charles disbanded Parliament, married a Catholic princess, and appointed an archbishop who was a Catholic supporter, the royalist Culpeppers found themselves at odds with their friends and neighbors.

Years earlier, against his family’s wishes, John had purchased a merchant ship, sailed to Virginia, and spent most of his time there. While on American soil, he received word of the uprisings that followed the king’s actions.

When civil war began, John feared for the safety of his family in England. He was horrified when the king was captured, convicted of high treason, and beheaded. Would John’s family be next? The only way to rescue them would be with his ship, under the cloak of darkness. Would he succeed, or would they all be caught and tried as traitors?

John Culpepper the Merchant is the second book in the Culpepper saga and is the story of the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was the author’s tenth great-grandfather.

Oliver Cromwell. Regicidal dictator or hero of liberty?

In place of my usual Saturday Snippets for the month of May, I’m posting about the people and places in my coming book “John Culpepper the Merchant,” which is the second book in the Culpepper Saga.

Oliver_CromwellOne of the most controversial figures in my coming book is Oliver Cromwell. He was born into mild obscurity and remained nearly invisible for the first forty years of his life, serving in Parliament, but not accomplishing anything of significance. But in 1640, he stepped into the spotlight.

The king had been aggravating his country with religious rhetoric since his coronation in 1625, and Parliament had stepped forward and addressed the king with a list of grievances. After political struggles for a year between the king and Parliament, the king finally declared war on Parliament. Cromwell, a devout puritan who believed God guided his every move, stepped forward to command the cavalry of the parliamentarian army.

His command and influence grew and at the end of the war, under his leadership, the king was tried and found guilty of treason. Cromwell was the third of fifty-nine men to step forward and add his signature and seal to the king’s death warrant (photo). Following the king’s execution 30 January 1649, Cromwell led England as the English Commonwealth for nine years.

Charles I death warrant

After Cromwell died in 1658, the members of Parliament brought back the Stuart monarchy, declaring Prince Charles to be king since his father’s death years earlier. They acted as if the last decade had never happened.

The prince, now King Charles II, took the throne, and on 30 January 1661, the anniversary of his father’s execution, he had Cromwell’s body exhumed and posthumously executed. Cromwell’s body was hung in chains and his severed head was displayed on a pole outside of Westminster Hall, where the trial of the king had taken place.

Some historians consider Cromwell a hero, some a revolutionary, some a dictator, but at least this ‘nobody’ has not been forgotten. In my coming book, he is enemies with my Culpepper family, so I’m certainly not fond of him.

“John Culpepper the Merchant” will be released May 24, 2015.

Saturday Snippets – I, John Culpepper

Culpepper_1My new book, I, John Culpepper, is now available!!

It is the first of four books in the Culpepper Saga and takes place during John’s youth. John was born into great wealth and prestige and got to do things and see things mere commoners would only dream about. When John was fourteen, his cousin, JC was knighted by His Royal Highness King James I, and John not only attended the ceremony, he also attended the joust afterwards.

Here’s what happened…

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Trumpets sounded again, causing the spectators’ din to increase in pitch. Knights’ horses were usually escorted onto the field by a groom, but a massive black horse, its face covered with metal plate, galloped onto the tiltyard. On its back sat a knight clad in iron armor, sunlight glinting on his breastplate, making it look as if it had been polished for weeks just for today’s event. The crowd roared and rose to its feet as the black horse pranced back and forth, kicking up dust. The rider removed his helm and waved to the crowd. It was JC! John rose to his feet and cheered loudly for his cousin.

A second knight in full plate, riding a white horse, galloped toward the field. The crowd applauded even louder for this contestant, and John bobbed up and down on his tiptoes to see over the standing spectators. Who was this newcomer to receive more applause than his cousin? The horse was wearing plate on its face and chest, and its back was covered with a sapphire blue blanket. It was followed by a small donkey ridden by a squire carrying a standard and trying unsuccessfully to keep pace with the knight and his mighty horse. As the two approached the tiltyard, John saw the standard boasted the royal crest. It was the king!

The two opponents met each other in the middle of the tiltyard and tapped their lances together. JC nodded to the king and then pulled sharply on his horse’s reins. The massive beast stepped backward and curled one of his front legs beneath him in a regal bow. The spectators gave a collective roar of approval.

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I, John Culpepper is available at Amazon.

The Culpepper Saga Facebook page contains photos and paintings of the houses and people in the series. Hop over and take a look.