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BATTLE OF LINCOLN, 1217

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BATTLE OF NUNDINAE, BATTLE OF LINCOLN FAIR
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The site of the Battle of Lincoln is located in Lincoln in Lincolnshire. The Battle was fought on the 20th May 1217 between William the Marshal against a largely French army which had besieged several English castles. Lincoln Castle was being besieged by a force of rebel magnates led by the constable of Arras, one of the captains of Louis of France. Louis was investing Dover, and had divided his force so that a contingent under the Earl of Winchester, and Robert fitz Walter the Earl of Perche could join in the relief of Mountsorrel Castle. On reaching Mountsorrel they discovered that the siege had been raised. The constable of Arras clamoured for their aid, and the army slipped through the Vale of Belvoir and into Lincoln. A royal force under William the Marshal and the Bishop of Winchester was at Northampton and decided to strike at once. He detoured via Newark reaching Lincoln Castle from the North-West on May 20th and was met with no opposition and made contact with the hereditary castellan, Nicholaa de la Hay.

Fawkes de Breaute went to aid the garrison and prepare to attack the rebels from the castle's East gate. The Bishop of Winchester noticed a former gateway in the castle's outer wall had been in-filled, and could be rapidly breached to mount a surprise attack on the rebels. They attacked the rebels in force, catching them in the area between the castle and the Cathedral. They were rapidly scattered and fled into the lower town. Despite a counterattack to seize the higher ground, the rebels were rapidly defeated. 300 knights, half the number in the rebel army, were captured in a relatively bloodless victory, defeated by a force of 417 knights and 317 crossbowmen and their attendant men-at-arms. The defeat was a disaster for Louis' ambitions, and led to negotiations for peace. Following the defeat of his fleet at the Battle of Dover on 24th August, peace was concluded at Kingston in September, and Louis returned to France.

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