Battle of Lewes 1264

Overview

Heritage Category: Battlefield

List Entry Number: 1000018

Date first listed: 06-Jun-1995

Location Description: LEWES

Map

Ordnance survey map of Battle of Lewes 1264
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

Location Description: LEWES

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: Hamsey

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: Lewes

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: St. Ann (Without)

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 39829 10977

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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History

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Details

BATTLE OF LEWES 1264



King Henry III, in his efforts to subdue the reforms springing from the Provisions of Oxford of 1258, provoked a baronial faction led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, to the extent that civil war was only a matter of time.

Simon de Montfort and the baronial army marched on the King at Lewes and positioned themselves on the crest of the Downs to the north-west of the town. The King's foot soldiers followed the cavalry under Prince Edward up the long hill, but were pushed right back against the Castle and Priory in the town. The royal army suffered significant casualties, several leading supporters of the King had fled, and much of the town was ablaze.

The battle gave way to negotiations which gave Simon and the Barons increased power. But progress towards reform was constantly hampered by the need to guard against the return of the King's supporters. The deciding factor in the struggle between reform and absolute monarchy had to wait until the Battle of Evesham in August 1265.

Apart from the expansion of Lewes towards Offham Hill, the landscape of the battlefield is essentially unchanged from the open grassland of 1264. In Lewes itself, the Castle dominated the crowded, largely timber-built rows of houses.

AMENITY FEATURES The battlefield is criss-crossed with public rights of way, which make access excellent to the baronial positions near Offham Hill. The Castle and Priory, both vital features in the battle, are also publicly accessible.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS All of the battlefield outside the town is on the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Offham Marshes and part of the Clayton to Offham escarpment are sites of Special Scientific Interest. In addition, Offham Hill Quarry and Lewes Racecourse are sites of nature conservation interest.

KEY SOURCES Halliwell, J O (ed.), 1840, Chronicle of William de Rishanger of the Barons' Wars

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 19

Legacy System: Battlefields

Sources

Websites
Historic England Battlefield Report, accessed 11-JUN-2015 from https://content.HistoricEngland.org.uk/content/docs/battlefields/lewes.pdf

End of official listing