Apparently, the part of France William fought in was only 31 km from the part of France John fought in.
John was killed at Houplines, in Nord in July 1915. From there, eastward just past Lille, is the town of Bouvines where, in July 1214, William Longespee, together with his half-brother King John and their ally, Otto II, fought the French forces led by King Phillip II. The Anglo-German coalition, incidentally, was defeated.
I had no idea these places would be so close together, or that the dates were only just a little over 700 years apart.
Furthermore, I’m frankly surprised that both the memories and locations all sync with a historical figure of some prominence; my previous life I was pretty well respected among intellectuals and fans of the genre I wrote in, but not really a major historical figure by any stretch; in the life before that- the first life I remembered- I was just a farm boy from Somerset.
This also leaves some strange questions. What happened in the almost 7 centuries between my time as William and my time as John? Why did I go from the Earl of Salisbury to a farm hand who probably made a living picking hops, yet still have these strange, tangential things in common?
Maybe I was merely obsessed with William Longespee or King John in my life as John Harris, and tried to emulate them by joining the army and proving myself in an act of valor; it could be that as John, I visited his grave in Salisbury and heard the story of King John’s troops at Bouvines.
That doesn’t explain my memories of being in a ruined abbey as John and remembering a similar abbey (though probably not the same one) in its active days hundreds of years before.
I just have a hard time believing that this was me, even if memories and circumstances are telling me that this is a distinct possibility.