After suffering greatly at the hands of their lords, the local peasants living in serfdom rise up, with pockets of rebellion springing up all over the South East of England.
Poorly equipped and mostly untrained, the rebels joined forces to create a huge peasant army and marched on London to demand fair treatment and equality for all.
At Scotney, one of the labourers building the castle witnesses the abuse of his fellow workers and decides to take action.
John Hales, a former peasant soldier in a polearm unit during the wars with France, has the military background to lead his fellow peasants in local rebellion and together they join the march on London
This period is known as the English Reformation. The monarchy was in radical transition, and the religion of the country with it; from Church of England under Henry VIII, the country became briefly Protestant under Edward VI, Catholic under Mary I, and then Protestant again under Elizabeth I.
These four changes to the accepted religion of the country happened within the space of just 11 years. It was a time of immense fear, full of plots, intrigues and conspiracies involving the highest levels of society.
Scotney is in the hands of a strong Catholic family who are forced to give consent for their daughter to marry the Protestant poet, Barnabe Googe. Their reluctance cast a cloud of suspicion around the family and when a Catholic Priest arrives unexpectedly at their door seeking refuge, things can only get worse.
With the decline of the Kentish Iron Industry and tax increases to fund arms for the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland and wars in Europe, many people in South East England – and indeed nationwide – became involved in the smuggling trade in one way or another. In the 18th century illegal trade across England’s coasts grew at a prodigious rate. What had once been simple small-scale evasion of tax transformed into an industry of astounding proportions.
Alone on his horse, Arthur Darell crosses the vast Romney Marshes after landing his contraband in the small hours. He is wrapped up warm, his frock coat collar turned up high and tricorn hat low against the morning frost. There are two small kegs of brandy strung across his horse, and his saddlebags are bulging with packs of tobacco.
His men went on ahead with most of the contraband, but he stayed behind to negotiate the next landing. He prefers to do the return journey to Scotney Castle alone. Perhaps he’ll catch up with the men at the next inn and buy a round of ale to keep the spirits up. Perhaps not.
After the battle of Waterloo in 1815 came a long period of peace and prosperity during which those who could afford not to work were able to divert their attentions to the study of the sciences and arts.
Scientific advances meant that wealthy people were becoming more interested in, and able to influence, their health. Sanitation reforms were made and soap was the main product shown in the relatively new phenomenon of advertising. They also wanted to be seen to have the best and newest technologies on the market, which drove the rise of an increasingly bizarre and elaborate array of inventions.
Scotney Castle sees a quick succession of tragic deaths leaving the lady of the house, Anne, and her young son, Edward, alone in the world. Anne takes Edward away from the cursed place, raising him in health and happiness in Mayfair with the cream of high society. However, after completing his law degree at Oxford, Edward cannot resist the lure to return to Scotney and claim his inheritance. Despite his mother’s protests.
In the Edwardian era there was a huge difference in the lives of the rich and poor, with social classes very rigidly defined. However, within the bounds of these classes, there was generally widespread relative prosperity. Britain was at it’s most powerful in economic terms, with London being the financial centre of the world.
There was a great trend for travel amongst the upper classes, and big game hunting was the sport of choice for many aristocrats both male and female. The British Empire still covered vast swathes of the world, and so an English aristocrat touring the Empire carried an attitude of superiority.
When the hop-picker families descend on the Scotney Castle estate for another season, Arthur Hussey, bored and irritable, seeks to get away from the hordes of happy families by going hunting. In a luxurious North African riad he is severely bitten by pregnant female mosquitos that need his blood to nourish their eggs. Feeling a little queasy from the bites and the heat, Arthur continues his hunt, but things aren’t quite what they were…
A collaboration between writer Jamie Rhodes and the National Trust, this unique graphic novel plunges us into the rich and often dark history of Scotney Castle in Kent.
Recreating the castle’s past from the Medieval to the Edwardian ages, five rising stars from the UK comics scene (Isaac Lenkiewicz, Briony May Smith, William Exley, Becky Palmer and Isabel Greenberg) have illustrated five short stories that mix fiction with fact, creating a visually striking graphic collection that is steeped in historical context.