I’m starting to question my identification of Count William since it seems rather flimsy when I look at it.
First, a lot of my few medieval memories were misinterpreted or strung together from disparate fragments to form narratives that have inevitably proven dead ends; I think trying to string them all together into a coherent story was a mistake.
Second, my ID of William Longespee becomes really questionable when I consider that I did note that I was wearing 14th century clothes in that memory of the church with dark columns. That memory was previously linked to Salisbury Cathedral, where I found Count William’s tomb and linked his life to a few things I remembered, places I traveled to, coincidences with John’s life, and coincidences with my first novel. However, I was never certain about such a tentative identification in the first place and when I revisit certain details, it seems even more doubtful.
Obviously, 14th century clothes, and the colors I remember wearing (black and red) would cast doubt on Longespee, who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries and whose colors were blue and gold, but I had initially written these details off because I had been working heavily with 14th century imagery in a recent novel at the time. Now I’m starting to reconsider these memories and the prospect of having been a 14th century yeoman of minor status (liveried but not titled), rather than a 13th century earl.
Also, it bears mentioning that a number of churches and cathedrals in England have columns of Purbeck Marble and admittedly, it could just as easily be Westminster Abbey or even some church that is no longer standing.
That being said, if I was wrong about the ID, it would leave a mountain of weird coincidences involving Count William up in the air; also, it would leave my ID of Roland in question, since I had not known that Roland was Henry’s court jester nor had I correctly identified him at first (I had variously identified him as my father and as a fellow knight previously).
At any rate, the memories I have aren’t easy to sort out because this is an era I had studied… if only tentatively. I did pay more attention to objects and places than what every William Fitz Henry and Henry Fitz William was doing in 1190-something so these aren’t people I was necessarily aware of. Still, I could have confabulated the whole thing easily and just gotten confirmations by all the darts of possibility I threw out. The memories are also dim, fragmentary, and of an era so remote from our time that even someone who had lived continuously for 850 years might have a difficult time zeroing in on specifics.
My memories of John and Phil’s lives carry more weight because they’re more complete, involved little or no guessing, and were easier to confirm. John’s life was easy enough to trace that I made several very decisive place matches, and in Phil’s case I was actually able to speak to someone who knew him and found proof that he’d had flashes of WWI before American involvement. I have a pretty good circumstantial case for those lives. But anything before 1877, I have to admit, I’m completely stumped and might never be able to nail down at this point.