In anticipation of the day, here's a quick look at Saturday's edition of the Hereford Times...
Once again the greatest threat that civil war can bring has been spotted in this glorious county – outsiders!
Armed groups have been seen making their way cross-country to join in the battles to come. Some carry the dreaded and alien red banner of socialism, or it’s brother the red and black flag of Anarchy. Others profess to support His Majesty, or that traitorous cabal of Bishops known as the Anglican League.
Some are thought to have hopped over the border from Wales or the Forest of Dean, while others hail from more exotic climes – Shrewsbury, Ludlow and even Winchester!
The authorities advise all locals to remain calm, and if possible avoid all contact with the outsiders. If contact is necessary, Herefordians should respond politely, mutter something unintelligible and then charge them twice the price that they would normally do.
Kington: A tough nut to crack?
The border town of Kington; occupied by Welsh nationalists and with it’s strategically important railway station; has been the scene of feverish activity recently, with the Welsh defenders throwing up formidable defence works in preparation for a Royalist assault.
However it seems that the King’s men are wary of shedding too much blood in capturing the town. After receiving a bloody nose at the battle of Bullock’s Mill, Royalist forces appear content merely to maintain a blockade of the town.
The exotic accents of the King’s Colonial troops that locals have become so used to in recent times are beginning to fade away as their platoons are slowly moving away to other postings, leaving the siege line to be held by our brave Herefordshire Territorials.
Whence are the Colonials bound? Only time will tell.
Fresh from her presentation to the King, the debutante Miss Nemone Mortimer-Wagstaff, Ward of Lady Deirdre Ffaines-Muir and last surviving member of the once-powerful Kingmaking Mortimer family, has taken up residence in her Guardian’s residence at Wigmore Manor.
Hundreds of local well-wishers descended on the manor to witness her arrival and cheered as she stepped out from Her Ladyship’s motorcar. Miss Mortimer-Wagstaff seemed somewhat taken aback by her rapturous welcome, but quickly regained her composure and smiled warmly at the crowd.
The arrival of such a glamorous young lady has set the area alight – it is not for nothing that such a large swathe of North Herefordshire is called ‘Mortimer Country’, and many local folk draw great pride from their association with such an ancient dynasty. Indeed, many have already pledged their allegiance to Miss Mortimer-Wagstaff, and have promised to take up arms for her if necessary.
Like moths to a flame, her return has also drawn scores of admirers and potential suitors, each vying to gain her attention and favour with acts of bravery. It is believed that such a state of affairs is most pleasing to Her Ladyship, who is keen to establish a suitable match for her ward, and is said to have dispatched agents to all corners of the county in search of a sterling fellow to take hold of the Mortimer tiller and steer it into profitable waters!
Anglicans on the move
While the main battle lines around Foy appear to be static, the Anglican League presence in the border country is stirring. Not content to sit tight in their recently captured salient at Eardisley, reports are coming in of a significant Anglican force heading out of the village for parts unknown.
A current theory doing the rounds is that this force is heading north to break the siege of Kington at the behest of their Welsh allies. Others believe that some sort of advance into Royalist-held territory is being attempted, while many in Hereford are clinging to the hope that they have opted to withdraw from Eardisley and retreat into nationalist Wales.
Whatever their intentions, readers can be sure that they will be keen to regain the initiative.
Stand-off at Bredwardine
The current stand-off at Bredwardine continues, as both sides face each other across the important Bredwardine Bridge; the only crossing point over the River Wye for some distance.
Neither the Anglican League and their allies, or the BUF/Royalist coalition, managed to score a convincing victory during the last battle for the bridge, and sources report that both sides are now looking for ways to break the deadlock.
Current low river levels are sure to complicate matters, as a number of fordable points have been discovered by locals recently, and news travels fast in Herefordshire…
The quiet village of Dorstone, the only Royalist-held village on the Golden Valley Railway, is said to be bracing itself for the oncoming storm, as several factions converge on the area in order to gain mastery of the vitally important railway line.
Practically cut off from the outside world, villagers are throwing up defence works using whatever they can find. Bathtubs and toppled-over wardrobes block the main street, the forge and motor garage are hives of activity while at the approaches to the village large holes are being dug for an unknown purpose.
Some reinforcements are getting in, as Royalist militiamen trickle in via seldom-patrolled back roads, but more importantly a famous Herefordian has arrived in the shape of Joseph ‘Himalaya Joe’ Wagstaff – explorer, big game hunter and devoted subject of His Majesty.
Speaking on the village green, Wagstaff has pledged defend the village of his birth with ‘every drop of blood’.
Lord Reith’s demands
The Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the recently ennobled Lord Reith, has turned his fiery gaze from the glamorous world of radio and television and onto the sleepy Herefordshire countryside.
He has written to the authorities to demand that the local Three Counties BUF Legion suspend the use of it’s controversial mobile pillbox (nicknamed the ‘Darlek’) on the grounds that it infringes BBC copyright. Lord Reith asserts that the contraption is a direct copy of a design the Corporation drew up as part of a proposed science fiction series.