The Second Battle of Lincoln
The battle which took place in and around the city of Lincoln on May 20 1217 probably determined the destiny of the English crown. Prince Louis of France (later Louis VIII) had established a base in Southern England with the support of barons determined to oust King John . John died in October 1216, and his son thus succeeded him as Henry III . But as a boy of eight his position was precarious.
John’s death changed the political landscape: some barons satisfied by his exit reverted to supporting his son. Louis, already besieging Dover Castle , stretched his forces by attempting to take Lincoln, a major city and key to the North.
Louis’s forces laying siege to Lincoln Castle were commanded by the Comte de la Perche, who, when alerted to the approach of a relief force under William Earl of Pembroke decided on continuing the siege of the castle, while defending the outer walls of the city. This failed. The relief force with crossbowmen to the fore broke through one gate and reached the castle. When Perche’s men attacked uphill they were countered by Pembroke’s main body, the arrival of the Earl of Chester’s division on the French right flank leading to a rout. Perche chose to die fighting; some of his men escaped, only for most to be cut down en route to London .
After the battle Lincoln rather than being able to celebrate was pillaged, the excuse being supposed collaboration with the French, an event history recalls as ‘Lincoln Fair’. But the rest of England could rejoice that the threat of continuing warfare was effectively ended; Louis soon withdrew to France.
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