William IV
William IV Anglia (The Kalmar Union).png
William IV
King of Anglia
Reign 28th April, 1590 - 9th April, 1603
Predecessor Richard III
Successor Anna II
Born 3rd February, 1552
Dunholmshire, Anglia
Died 9th April, 1603
Hertford, Hertfordshire, Anglia
Spouse Isabel Troyes

Margaret of Luneberg
Catherine of Hesse

Issue William

Nicholas of Ely
Henry of Ipswich
Anna of Ljouwert

House Norfolk
Father John III
Mother Anne of Brittany

William IV, William of Dunholm, was king of Anglia for the last decade of the 16th century. He would be the victor of the Anglian War of Religion and was partially successful in settling the religious situation in Anglia.

The second son of John III and Anne of Brittany William's early career was bound up in the fortunes of his father. John III had publicly converted to Lutheranism in 1574 beginning the Anglian War of Religion and for much of the rest of the decade William and his growing family would be mostly be based in Fryslân.

Upon John III's death in 1581 William became the Lutheran scion of the Norfolk dynasty. The north of Anglia quickly rose in support of Richard III, returning from Wessex in triumph once more. William's supporters could not hold Lincoln long enough for William to be crowned so he retreated to Fryslân again. The Lutherans still held various towns on the east coast however and while Richard repressed the Lutherans in his territories further William could launch consistent low-level assaults from his bases.

His chief aim however was to launch a full-on invasion, an aim that could not be achieved simply with Fryslân on its own. He took great lengths to court the lords that surrounded Fryslân; Munster-Westphalia, Hesse-Kassel, Oldenburg and Luxembourg, a policy which help shut down Richard's trading options and access to continental banking houses. A full alliance with either Luxembourg or the Kalmar Union was out of the question however. While both would undoubtedly preferred Anglia to be a Lutheran country the animosity now building between the two would have put Anglia in a poor position whichever way it went. He would allow his navy to indulge in piracy against Anglian shipping. He would also hold an extraordinary close watch on the state's finances. Every coin which could be put to use in the war was saved. He was largely able to do this thanks to the Frisian lords' full backing of the 'Lutheran reconquest' and the fact Fryslân's own parliament had withered over the centuries leaving little to barr the way of an authoritarian-inclined monarch.

With the careful penny-pinching and diplomatic moves building William simply had to wait for the right moment to strike. The time came in August 1589 when Catholics attempted to remove Norwich's Lutheran mayor by force. They were met with an even larger Lutheran force which defeated them, took over the city and sparked revolt in several other towns, not just in the east but also in the Midlands. The time had come and William returned to Anglia in force. For the next eight months there would be near-constant fighting between William's mercenary-heavy army (which slowly built up a considerable militia element from the shires) and Richard's regular troops. Whilst Richard preferred to stay in Lincoln dictating events from afar, William remained at the forefront of his army. When Richard finally came out to meet his cousin at Newark in April 1590 he was treated to a resounding defeat. His army in tatters he would go into exile once more, this time for good. William was king. And Anglia was now a Lutheran country.

Entrance of Henry IV in Paris 22 March 1594

Entry of William IV into Lincoln, 1590

Of course it wasn't really. At this point Catholicism was still in the majority, if perhaps it had lost its moral superiority, and William was careful not to repeat the mistakes of his father by going too far too fast. Rather than simply removing all Catholics from government positions he urged them to 'follow their conscious' rather than forcing any resignations. By the middle of 1591 the Witenage commons was 80% Lutheran and the lords remained at 50-50. Only the very largest monasteries were forcibly closed and their lands confiscated as removing the smaller local ones was thought too politically dangerous and it was assumed that they would close naturally as new recruits dried up. Finally William would enact two pieces of legislation; the Act of Succession (1592) and the Act of Settlement (1593).

The Act of Succession banned any Catholics from holding the Anglian throne, at a stroke barring Richard III and any of his heirs from the crown. It also disinherited William's own son John of Halifax, who had converted to Catholicism in 1588 and was at that time in Aquitaine. The Act of Settlement made it clear that Anglia would be a Lutheran country, however the rights and lands of Catholics were upheld. In effect this was the law of tolerance which John III had in mind back in the 1570s. Anglia would slowly drift toward becoming a Lutheran-majority country. There were occasional revolts however but William was very careful in suppressing them, minimising the loss of life and making sure grievances were aired publicly.

Deep in gratitude to Fryslân, William made sure the county was well-rewarded for its support and loyalty and this helped him secure religious unity over it too. It had already largely embraced Protestantism but not just Lutheranism; Calvinism and Anabaptism had also made inroads. William introduced a slightly modified version of the Act of Settlement in Fryslân (it was not subject to the Anglian Witenage so required separate legislation) which put pressure on the nobles and city councils to endorse the official religion and remove and protections the other sects enjoyed. Whilst most would conform some such as the followers of Joost Cassens would continue their religious practices across the Atlantic in Leifia. Elsewhere William was mindful that he and his father had run up huge debts in the fight for Anglia and after the splurge of spending surrounding the invasion and coronation there was a return to a careful hold on the purse-strings. This meant a cautious and perhaps mean-spirited reign as William ruthlessly farmed the country to put the economy on an even keel.

William would die in 1603, to be succeeded by his sole surviving Lutheran child, Anna of Ljouwert. He had left behind a state still burdened by debt, largely isolated from European politics and with religious issues still to be worked out.


Catherine of Hesse (The Kalmar Union)

Catherine of Hesse, William IV's third wife

William IV married three times and would have ten children. However only five would survive to adulthood.

He married Isabel Troyes in 1569. They would have two children:

  • William (1571-1586)
  • John of Halifax (1572-1637) (converted to Catholicism, hence was struck from the line of succession)

In 1573 he married Margaret of Luneberg. They would have three children:

  • Elizabeth (1574-1595)
  • Nicholas of Ely (1576-1600)
  • Philippa (1577)

After Margaret's death from childbirth complications he would marry Catherine of Hesse. They would have five children:

  • Henry of Ipswich (1578-1601)
  • Eleanor (1579)
  • Anna of Ljouwert (1580-1643)
  • Ottolie (1582-1588)
  • Maximiliaan (1584-85)
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