Christmas 1223

It was Christmas 1223, the rebel alliance (the Schismatics) were on the run. They planned to meet in ‘great array’ at the castle of Northampton which was held by one of the rebels, Sheriff of Northampton, . However, they were beaten to it, and on 23 December, the young King Henry III arrived at Northampton Castle with Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury and many bishops, earls, barons and Knights intending to spend Christmas there. It was not the first time, the King had celebrated Christmas at Northampton, as de Breauté, had entertained him in the castle after the victory at the Battle of Lincoln Fair during Christmas 1217. The Dunstable annalist noted that neither in the days of his father (King John), nor afterwards, is such a feast known to have been celebrated in England. The next day Langton excommunicated all the rebels, and they were summonsed to appear before the King at Northampton on 30 December. When they arrived the Schismatics were shown letters from the Pope ordering the restoration of their castles to the King. They surrendered their castles and de Breauté and the Earl of Chester lost their sheriffdoms. It was not until mid Jan that Ralph de Trublevill was appointed as de Breautés replacement. The following June, de Breauté was convicted of 16 charges of seizing other peoples land. In reply he captured one of the judges Henry of Braybrook in Northants and threw him in the dungeon of his last surviving castle at Bedford. The King who had been at Northampton ordered his army to march on Bedford. It was to be one of the longest sieges during this period lasting eight weeks, with over 200 killed by the missiles of the defenders. After a fourth assault broke the walls de Breautés brother William and 80 knights were captured, refused pardon and hanged. De Breauté himself was exiled and died in 1226, allegedly from a poisoned fish.henry iii

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Talk on Simon de Montfort by Richard Brooks

We are pleased to announce as part of our February meeting there will be Talk by historian Richard Brooks on Simon de Montfort – Martyr or Mountebank?

Thursday 25 Feb 2016 7:30pm start at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton. NN4 7HW

Richard Brooks is a freelance military historian with a particular interest in the intersection of naval and military history, and the use of hitherto untapped sources to develop fresh insights into past campaigns. Richard is the author of “Lewes and Evesham 1264-65: Simon de Montfort and the Barons’ War” and “The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217” both for Osprey. Previous books for Osprey include Solferino 1859 and Walcheren 1944. He was also Consultant Editor for The Times History of War.

Free to full members, otherwise £5.00 on the door.

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https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/

Forthcoming talks

 

Thursday 28 January 2016 – Talk by Mathew Morris, the archaeologist who led the search to find Richard III’s grave. Thursday 25 Feb 2016 – Talk by Richard Brooks Simon de Montfort – Martyr or Mountebank?

Richard Brooks is a freelance military historian with a particular interest in the intersection of naval and military history, and the use of hitherto untapped sources to develop fresh insights into past campaigns. Richard is the author of “Lewes and Evesham 1264-65: Simon de Montfort and the Barons’ War” and “The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217” both for Osprey. Previous books for Osprey include Solferino 1859 and Walcheren 1944. He was also Consultant Editor for The Times History of War.

Free to full members, otherwise £5.00 on the door.

All 7:30pm start at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton. NN4 7HW

https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/

History of Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire has always played an important part in the history of Britain. Sadly it is a current trend that modern historians leave the county out of narratives of important events such as the wars between Saxons and Vikings, the sealing of the Magna Carta, the Second Barons War, the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War.

In an attempt to redress the balance, we are making available below a potted history of the county as two pdf’s. Part 1 covers Saxons to the mid 15c, Part 2. the Wars of the Roses to the Black Watch Mutiny.

northants history part 2 northants history part 1

November Meeting

Our next meeting will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton Wednesday 26 November at 7:30pm. Our speaker will be Edward Dawson, the Battlefields Trust coordinator for the Magna Carta 800 Project.

A higher seat of Learning

Did you know that in the late 12c, Northampton had one of the leading studiums in England and was on par with the European Universities, Both Geoffrey de Vinsauf, a leading proponent of the early medieval grammarian movement and Daniel of Morley an English scholastic philosopher, and astronomer taught there. It was during the reign of Richard I that the students migrated to Oxford, only to return to Northampton during the reign of Henry III at the time of the 2nd Baron’s War

The Battle of Northampton 1264

On 3 April 1264. King Henry III, his son Prince Edward (later King Edward I) and their army left Oxford marching towards Northampton. At their head, Henry’s dragon banner with sapphire eyes. In the meantime the rebels commanded by Simon de Montfort’s son, summons the men of the county to gather outside the walls of Northampton, near the modern day Beckets Park. Despite many protestations, they are forced to defend the towns south wall. The Second Baron’s War had begun!

On April 4 1264 Henry III’s army began to arrive at Northampton from the south. They brought with them a variety of siege engines which they brought along the modern London Road and set them up to the south of the town and in what is now Beckets Park. Behind the walls, as well as the 80 or so rebel barons and their men were all the students from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. They had all abandoned their cities after a major row with the Papal Legate two years before, and had made Northampton the main university centre of the country.

At dawn 5 April 1264, the Royal Army began its assault on the south gate of Northampton. Unbeknown to the defenders, Prince Edward and Phillip Basset lead a large body of men around the town to attack the north-west corner of St. Andrews Priory (most likely in the vicinity of the junction of the modern-day St. Andrews Road and Hampton Street). Whether the wall was in a poor state of repair, or it was weakened by the Prior, depends on the chronicle, but it quickly collapsed. On hearing of the breach, Simon de Montfort the younger races to its defence. Twice, the attackers are repulsed. During a third assault, Simon is thrown from his horse and is captured. The defense quickly collapses and the Royalist infantry pour into the town.. Some of the defenders flee into the churches where they are quickly captured, the majority retreating into the castle. Henry’s army begins to plunder and burn the town. Although numbers are not given, many towns people are killed. They then prepare to lay siege to the castle itself.

On the morning of 6 April 1264, the surviving rebels holding Northampton castle surrendered. Simon de Montfort the Younger was put on trial and exiled for a year. A number of the other barons were put in prison. The university scholars apparently fought hard for the rebels and Henry wanted to execute them. However, as many were the sons of his nobles, he was persuaded otherwise. Instead, Henry banned any university from being in Northampton again. The tables would be turned a few weeks later when on 14 May 1264, the royal army was smashed by the rebels at Lewes.