March 21, 2023

Nicola de la Haye . . . now there’s a lady you might have most likely by no means heard of.

But she is a motive you’re studying this in English, not French.

Nicola de la Haye

Nicola de la Haye

It began with Magna Carta, the nice constitution that restricted the ability of the king.

In 1215, King John, certainly one of England’s least succesful monarchs, had been compelled to signal it after strain from the English barons.

Inside weeks, nonetheless, he started reneging on the guarantees he made, a matter that didn’t go down properly with the nobles who divided into two camps – people who supported the king and a bunch of rebels. Civil warfare ensued.

The insurgent barons invited Prince Louis, son of the French king, to take the throne.  He mustered a military and arrived in Kent in Might 2016, declaring himself King of England on arrival.

John died in October 1216. His successor was 9-year-old Henry III who inherited a deeply divided nation. The entire of the east coast from Dover to Lincoln was within the fingers of the rebels. Lincoln Fortress, nonetheless, held out in opposition to them.

Enter the redoubtable Nicola de la Haye. In an period when girls have been little greater than their husband’s property, she was distinctive. When her minor noble father died, she inherited the title of Constable of Lincoln Fortress.

When warfare got here to the citadel gates she was in her mid-60s however underneath her canny command the fortress held for months in opposition to the siege.

Crossbowman shooting from the castle walls

Crossbowman taking pictures from the citadel partitions

The well-known English lengthy bow could have been the weapon of selection in that point, however Nicola used crossbowmen to carry the partitions.

The lengthy bow was glorious in open warfare, however on crenelated partitions an extended bowman needed to stand properly again from the wall with a view to shoot.  A crossbowman, with a extra compact weapon, may hearth from the wall itself with devastating accuracy.

Nicola used them with lethal impact.

Towards the may of a mixed French and English military she held the citadel till a relieving drive underneath the command of the well-known William Marshal, arrived to alleviate the siege.  The invaders have been defeated and returned to France.

The defence of Lincoln Castle

The defence of Lincoln Fortress

Historians place this, the Battle of Lincoln, as among the many three most essential battles ever fought on English soil, together with the Battle of Hastings and the Battle of Britain. (OK it was fought within the air.  Don’t break up airs.  Sorry, dangerous pun).

Had it gone the opposite means Louis would have grow to be king of all England and, as I mentioned at the beginning, you’d most likely have been studying this in French.

King Henry III continued to discuss with Nichola as “our beloved and devoted Nichola de la Haye” in acknowledgement of the numerous position she performed in saving his kingdom. Royalist writers referred to her as ‘a worthy girl’ deserving of God’s safety ‘in physique and soul’.

Historians have named her ‘the girl who saved England’, but her story is one which only a few find out about.