On April 12, 1534 Thomas More was asked to sign the Oath of Supremacy. Five days later, he was arrested and taken to the Tower where he spent the remainder of his days. So what was he doing during those five days? Was he taking the opportunity to persecute a few more heretics? Filling out the lengthy application for sainthood? Was he indulging in some well-deserved self-flagellation? No, no, and no. The truth is… he had a bonfire party.
You see, Thomas More had a lot of things to hide. The ending to his “The History of King Richard III”, the whereabouts of at least one of the Princes in the Tower, and the directions to Utopia, just to name a few. Thomas More had even figured out how to effect world peace, build a better mousetrap, and time travel.
More knew that the villain Henry VIII would see to it that he did not survive. But he would have his revenge on Henry and on the world, which he deemed sinful and full of vice. So he strolled out into his courtyard and he built a pyre. He threw in the last chapters of Richard III, his decoder ring for his family portrait, and the iPhone he acquired on a trip to the 21st century. He stood merrily by, toasting marshmallows and roasting sausages, as the answers to so many questions went up in smoke.
More languished in the Tower stubbornly refusing to sign the oath. His trial might have come much sooner, were it not for Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell had dined with More at Chelsea and had heartily enjoyed a wonderful pastry during the meal. For weeks, he browbeat More and history would have us believe that the Oath was his primary objective. In truth, it was the recipe for the marvelous dessert that Cromwell craved. Unfortunately, More had burned his cookbook along with the rest of the mysteries and refused to divulge the secret to the tasty tart.
Almost five hundred years later, we still wonder what More meant by his History of Richard III and argue its relevance. Periodically, someone will point out a hidden message in the More family portrait and keyboards are ferociously pounded as historians great and small discuss the meaning of it all. Thomas More took to his grave the answers to some of the most puzzling questions in history. But his stinginess in withholding the instructions to delicious pastry was just not a very saintlike thing to do.
Jeff “the wiz” Berlin
The History of King Richard III
Thomas More The Saint and the Society
The Keebler Elves
Having sworn off strip clubs and agreeing to cut back on my consumption of scotch, I am happy to report that my wife seems less disgruntled than has previously been the case. I am not long to linger in domestic bliss, however. My next super secret spy mission is taking me to Phuket, Thailand, and then perhaps on to Cairo. There have been reported disturbances in these places, in regards to reggae music and national and historical safety.
Since Mrs JJ flounced off at the end of last year and went to stay with her mother, I have found something wonderful. I have complete and absolute unilateral control of the television remote control and no longer have to be subjected to hour after hour of repeats of repeats of repeats of QI or never ending programmes about women giving birth.
I sat down one night with a glass of homemade Elderflower Cordial that Mrs JJ had left in
the pantry and despite this cordial being maybe 110% proof (how did she do that?) I flicked through the channels on the TV, finding a film called Braveheart was just starting.
It is a film that I have never seen, to the incredulous amazement of my fellow Jeffs, but after fetching a plate of cheese and pickled gherkins I sat down to watch with enjoyment as Mel Gibson, cast as a fictitious character called William Wallace, swash buckled his way through the scenes.
Feeling mellow I reflected how similar this film was to the life of real person in history with a similar name and wondered why this should be.
For days I hunted through articles and journals and even took a trip to Rome to hunt for clues to this strange matter. It was in Rome, most glorious and historic of cities, that I found the answer, an answer so strange as to defy belief but believe it I must. I have seen the evidence. I have the photo copies and now you will have the story.
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historic fantasy film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson plays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. Except for the actual existence of a king of that name and regnal number and a war of that name, the whole of the plot is made up. (Scots are not made up of course and did exist in Mediaeval times and still exist today. My cousin Jeff’s wife is a Scot.)
Uilliam Uallas, however, was a mild mannered, scholarly land owner in Scotland who was born about 1270. As a child he liked pressing wild flowers and catching butterflies with his mother’s hessian hair net, but he longed to be more manly and masculine to attract the attention of the sweetest girl he had ever seen. This was not to be however, as after his father’s death he was sent to live with his uncle and continued his education in Rome.
It was while in Rome that Uilliam met the Medici family through a contact of his Uncle and lodged with them until his return to Scotland around 1291. He stayed mostly at their estate at Mugello, just 37 km from Florence and a day’s jaunt away from their town house in Rome. By road now the journey takes about four and a half hours but in baking summer sun it seems longer than a day and certainly no jaunt, particularly when undertaken with a car sick Mrs JJ and two small people in the back seat.
Uilliam’s greatest friend there was Salvestro de’ Medici, son of Averardo, who interestingly are cited as being the possible 18th and 19th great grandfathers of Princess Di. Salvestro was a young man fascinated in what we today would describe as physics or physical science but then was described as natural philosophy.
The Medici’s were up an up and coming yuppy family, famous for pickling gherkins, and although they were initially considered very nouveau riche and crass, their patronizing of artists and natural philosophers made them more acceptable among the old money; it also kept them abreast of the latest in ‘scientific’ experiments and gadgets. Among the papers in the family archives are Salvestro’s designs for what we would later describe as a helicopter and scuba diving equipment, designs that later would be reworked and credited to Leonardo da Vinci.
Also among the family papers are pages and pages of equations and one is amazing.
E = mc²
along with margin notes in Salvestro’s writing saying in Mediaeval Italian: time travel is possible, at least in one direction.
The page claims conclusively that Time Travel in both directions is possible, not only possible but probable! and consistent with the theory of relativity.
And Salvestro knew this and would have told his friend Uilliam who was desperate to be a manly man to woo the girl he loved (manly men were in big demand then*) and didn’t know how to go about it.
A third page article that I found online in the Cornish Guardian dated December 1995 gives the rest of the story.
So piecing together all of this evidence, it is clear that Uilliam time travelled forward to 1995, watched a fantasy film, thought ‘I can do that’, went back to Rome and spent hours weight training until he resembled the swash buckling hero of the movie, grew his hair long and didn’t shave too often and then journeyed back to his lands in Scotland….and the rest, as they say, is history.
Uilliam Uallas is better known of course by the modern spelling of William Wallace and is commemorated in Blind Harry’s epic poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.
The opening lines of The Wallace
Our antecessowris that we suld of reide, And hald in mynde thar nobille worthi deid, We lat ourslide throu verray sleuthfulnes, And castis us ever till uther besynes. Till honour ennymyis is our haile entent, It has beyne seyne in thir tymys bywent. Our ald ennemys cummyn of Saxonys blud, That nevyr yeit to Scotland wald do gud, But ever on fors and contrar haile thar will, Quhow gret kyndnes thar has beyne kyth thaim till. It is weyle knawyne on mony divers syde, How they haff wrocht in to thar mychty pryde, To hald Scotland at undyr evermar, Bot God abuff has maid thar mycht to par. Yhit we suld thynk one our bearis befor, Of that parablys as now I say no mor. We reide of ane rycht famous of renowne, Of worthi blude that ryngis in this regioune, And hensfurth I will my proces hald, Of Wilyham Wallas yhe haf hard beyne tald.
(Auto correct went slightly insane whilst typing that. Auto correct is currently under sedation in a darkened room and ‘hops two bee buck son’)
And that is the end of my tale, until Wallace comes again from the past, or will it be the future, or can he indeed do that at all now he has been hung, drawn and quartered not to mention castrated?
No! I said NOT to mention castrated!
Watch this space.
* Jeff Jefferty Jeff considers himself manly man, though maybe a little inclined to chubbiness. He is currently separated and looking for a suitable woman for friendship and to share his interests. Knowledge of how to use a tin opener and microwave is essential.
Cornish Guardian newspaper online
Brave heart- film
Microwave cookery for one: Belinda Bellend
The Medicis: Scrap of old paper I found in Aunt Rose’s trunk
Nat West bank Statement (from the personal collection of Jeff Jefferty Jeff)
How to get a quicky divorce from a flouncing wife: public interest article, the Guardian.