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Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford

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Thomas Wentworth
Thomas Wentworth
Historical Figure
Nationality: England
Religion: Anglican
Date of Birth: 13 April 1593 (O.S.)
Date of Death: 12 May 1641
Cause of Death: Beheaded
Occupation: Statesman
Spouse: Margaret Clifford (died 1622)
Arabella Holles (died October 1631)
Elizabeth Rhodes (October 1632- 1641)
Appearances:
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): 1633
1634: The Baltic War
Grantville Gazette IV
Ring of Fire III
Grantville Gazette VI (paper)
Grantville Gazette XXX
Type of Appearance: Direct
Occupation: Politician, Prime Minister
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641), was an English statesman, a major figure in the events leading up to the English Civil War. He served in parliament and was a supporter of King Charles I. From 1632 to 1639 he instituted a harsh rule as Lord Deputy of Ireland. Recalled back to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position against parliament. When Parliament condemned him to death, Charles signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

Thomas Wentworth in 1632Edit

Thomas Wentworth was made Earl of Strafford in 1633 by Charles I, after Charles obtained history texts that William Harvey had brought from Grantville. Wentworth also oversaw the arrest of several people that would have been involved in the English Civil War, including Oliver Cromwell. He also arranged for the imprisonment of the Embassy from Grantville in the Tower of London, and personally greeted them. The fact that he introduced himself as "Earl of Strafford" tipped off Melissa Mailey that Charles I knew what the future was supposed to hold. It also meant that Wentworth was probably very dangerous to Grantville.

Wentworth became de facto Prime Minister. His heavy-handedness, and the fact that he had the king's ear exclusively, left him despised by and alienated from his fellow politicians. Richard Boyle, the Earl of Cork, began to plot against Wentworth almost immediately.

Ironically, after his initial actions, Wentworth's attitude began to soften. He witnessed the Grantville embassy employ its advanced medical technology to assist the sick in the Tower. Moreover, after lengthy conversations with Cromwell, the two became friendly. Indeed, when the plague threatened to break out in London, Wentworth saw the Americans as his only hope of preventing the outbreak, and had his family safely living in the Tower. When confronting Charles and his wife Henrietta Maria about the plague, the nobles argued with Wentworth about the outbreak's existence since, according to the history books they had acquired, it had never occurred in the original timeline. Wentworth tried to reason that the turn of events and their actions in bringing foreign mercenaries from the European continent had brought the plague to England. Finally Charles believed him, but intended to leave the city with his wife and go to Oxford to wait out the epidemic despite Wentworth's protests that England was already on the verge of turmoil, that he could not guarantee the king's safety outside of London, and that remaining in London would give confidence to the people. However, Charles indignantly retorted that "his subjects should have confidence in [him] because [he is] king, not because of where [he] choose to reside or what I choose to do." and sent Wentworth to look over his affairs instead, which bitterly infuriated the Earl of Stafford.

Wentworth's comeuppance soon fell on him as, due to the machinations of Richard Boyle, Charles I was seriously injured, and his queen, Henrietta Maria was killed during a carriage ride to Oxford that was arranged by Wentworth. Boyle immediately placed the blame on Wentworth, accusing him of treason in an attempt to overthrow the king and take power in England. Charles, accepting Boyle's accusations as truth, imprisoned Wentworth and his family in the Tower in February of 1634. The former Prime Minister was kept isolated in the Bloody Tower. In May of 1634, Wentworth and his family were rescued by a USE commando group led by Harry Lefferts; however, Wentworth himself had withdrawn into a funk and would not leave until Cromwell persuaded him to.

After arriving in Amsterdam, Wentworth remained melancholy, and was fixated on the date of his execution in the OTL. In the winter of 1634-1635, William Laud persuaded Wentworth to send an invitation to Rupert Stuart, who was preparing to move to Amsterdam, even though Rupert had supported Wentworth's execution in the OTL. The meeting was good for both of them. Meeting the famous "Rupert of the Rhine" as a fifteen-year-old boy with his life ahead of him helped Wentworth focus on the world he was in and the life he had, rather than the life he had had in a different time and place. In turn, he helped Rupert realize that deliberately avoiding what he had done in his "other life" was still allowing that life to guide the one he had. Both of them realized that they were not the people in the histories, and that even if they did something their "other selves" had done, they would be doing it for the first time. At that meeting, Wentworth also realized that, in the world he was in, he had no choice but to seek the overthrow of Charles I.

By the time Karl Ludwig converted to Catholicism late in 1635, removing the possibility that he could be put on the English throne, Wentworth had gotten to know Rupert well enough to know that Rupert would refuse the throne if it were offered to him. Later that night, he was present at a masque rehearsal conducted by Ben Jonson, and was one of the targets of the assassins who invaded the rehearsal. He was not recognized behind his mask, and was not shot at, though the two assassins who shot an unidentified "tall fellow" may have thought, or hoped, they were shooting at Wentworth. After this attack, Wentworth made no attempt to persuade an irate Rupert that he and his sister had almost certainly not been targets. Wentworth knew that, while Rupert would refuse an offer to be put on the throne, his anger might lead him to conclude that Charles I should be removed from it.

This article is a stub because the work is part of a larger, as-of-yet incomplete series.


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