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Battle of Lewes 1264

List Entry Summary

This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by English Heritage for its special historic interest.

Name: Battle of Lewes 1264

List entry Number: 1000018

Location

LEWES

The battlefield may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Hamsey

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Lewes

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes

District Type: District Authority

Parish: St. Ann (Without)

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

Grade: Not Applicable to this List Entry

Date first registered: 06-Jun-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: Battlefields

UID: 19

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Battlefield

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

Reasons for Designation

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

History

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

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

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: TQ 39829 10977

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing