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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > May 2017 > Battlefield: Lincoln

Battlefield: Lincoln

William Marshal’s victory prevented a foreign prince from ruling England, but Lincoln’s citizens had little cause for celebration. Julian Humphrys explains.

Taking Back Control

A WOMAN’S TOUCH The French were unable to capture Lincoln Castle, governed by the formidable Nichola de la Haye
THE MASTER AND FELLOWS OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE/MS 16II (F. 55V) X1, ALAMY X1, GETTY X1

BATTLE CONTEXT

Where

Lincoln, England

When

20 May 1217

Who

English (William Marshal)

French (Comte du Perche) and English rebels (Earl of Winchester)

Why

Louis of France’s attempt to become king of England

Result

Decisive English victory

While most people have heard of Hastings, Crécy, Agincourt and Bosworth, few have heard of the Battle of Lincoln, and even fewer know that had it not been for that battle, England might well have been ruled by a King Louis the First.

Towards the end of King John’s reign, the barons of England rebelled at what they saw as his arbitrary and vindictive rule. In June 1215, John temporarily appeased them by agreeing to what would later be called Magna Carta, a document addressing the perceived abuses of his reign. But when Magna Carta was withdrawn less than three months later, many English barons concluded that there was no doing business with John and invited Louis, the son of Philip Augustus of France, to replace him as the king of England.

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About History Revealed

When news broke a couple of years back that the body of Richard III had been discovered under a car park in Leicester, hope sprang afresh that the truth about this most divisive of kings would finally be put to rest. But while the find offered many clues, we have much fact yet to separate from fiction. Who was the real Richard? Was he a murderous usurper, or has his reputation been tarnished in a classic case of the victors writing history? We get to the heart of the matter from page 30.
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