From London Requiem

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If the Lancea Sanctum had been happy to consolidate in the 14th and 15th centuries, the 16th century brought major upheaval. The crisis instigated by Henry VIII's break from Rome forced the Catholic, and by their nature more conservative than mortal, Lancea Sanctum to re-examine its role. The clash between Catholicism and Protestantism (of varying forms) continued throughout the 16th century, and caused rifts within the covenant as different factions formed.

Cardinal Henry Woolmer led the Lancea Sanctum in London at this time. Young for his position, he is thought to have been embraced in the early 16th century, and rose quickly within the covenant. Archly conservative, Henry was appalled at his royal namesake's actions, and through his force of leadership and no little "divine" punishment, he maintained a strongly Catholic loyalty within the covenant in London throughout the reigns of both Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Edward VI's freedom of religion had, however, brought new thinkers to the city, and a small cadre of Protestant leaning kindred were led by Sydney Watson. Little is known about his background, save that he travelled from the Netherlands to London some time around 1550. His group based itself near Bishopsgate, on the opposite side of the city from the main centre of Lancea Sanctum influence, and it seems that for a time the two groups successfully coexisted peacefully.

That peace was shattered in 1556 when Watson and his group reacted against Woolmer's support (and, indeed, adoption) of Queen Mary's persecution of non-Catholics. Watson publicly insulted the Cardinal at a gathering at Leadenhall, and Woolmer responded by striking him across the face. This is generally considered to be the only breach of the Square Mile Elysium since it was created. The Lord Mayor of the time, Aaron Tyndale, was not known for his patience and sentenced Woolmer to execution. The sentence was carried out the same night. The executioner, Edward Lord, disappeared soon after the event - it is believed he feared for his own safety for carrying out Tyndale's order.

The majority of the Lancea Sanctum, those who followed Woolmer, boycotted the court of the City for six months following this event, though records suggest that privately a number of senior members concurred that the sanctity of Elysium was of enough importance to have warranted the action. Woolmer's Bishop, Andrew Owenden, became the most influential member of the pro-Catholic Lancea Sanctum. Although of strong faith, he was not as automatically conservative as his predecessor. He successfully negotiated a truce between Watson's group and the larger majority within the covenant in London. He also travelled to the City and publicly accepted Mayor Tyndale's sentence on Cardinal Woolmer.

The Lancea Sanctum in London therefore managed to co-exist again, much as most of the mortal population did following the accession of Elizabeth I and her more permissive attitude to religion - although reversed in that the covenant maintained (and generally has since in London) a significant Catholic-leaning majority. The issue continued to simmer, however, and arguments and infighting had led to a significant reduction in Lancea Sanctum influence in London, timed badly to coincide with the rise of a new Covenant - the Ordo Dracul.

The issue was not completely closed until 1605, however. It was then that the covenant discovered moves by a small group of Catholic Lancea Sanctum to indirectly aid Robert Catesby and other members of the Gunpowder Plot. In common with the covenant across the nation, it was at this point that the most senior members of the Lancea Sanctum in London enforced a strictly applied rule of non-interference with mortal politics. The news of the Lancea Sanctum's involvement, minimal though it was, in the Gunpowder Plot (indeed, it is not believed the kindred involved ever in fact made contact with any intermediary who may have then contacted Catesby), caused them great embarrassment in kindred society in the city.

It is also around the late 16th and early 17th century that the trading nature of the City of London, in kindred terms, became a little more formalised. 'Night Markets' became a relatively common occurrence, supported by the Mayor and, at least by some accounts, arranged in large part by the transient London resident Alixandre Zaragoza. The markets were held not only in the City, but also in one or two other locations in London, which became de facto Elysia, and a centre for trade in the more rarefied kindred desires, ghouls, blood, etc.

Ordo Dracul - Beginnings >>>

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