Nicola de la Haye . . . now there’s a girl you’ve gotten in all probability by no means heard of.
But she is a purpose you’re studying this in English, not French.
It began with Magna Carta, the nice constitution that restricted the facility of the king.
In 1215, King John, one in every of England’s least succesful monarchs, had been pressured to signal it after stress 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 conflict 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 Could 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 arms of the rebels. Lincoln Fortress, nonetheless, held out towards them.
Enter the redoubtable Nicola de la Haye. In an period when ladies had 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 conflict got here to the fortress gates she was in her mid-60s however below her canny command the fortress held for months towards the siege.
The well-known English lengthy bow could have been the weapon of alternative in that point, however Nicola used crossbowmen to carry the partitions.
The lengthy bow was wonderful in open warfare, however on crenelated partitions an extended bowman needed to stand properly again from the wall in an effort to shoot. A crossbowman, with a extra compact weapon, might fireplace 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 fortress till a relieving pressure below the command of the well-known William Marshal, arrived to alleviate the siege. The invaders had been defeated and returned to France.
Historians place this, the Battle of Lincoln, as among the many three most vital 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, unhealthy pun).
Had it gone the opposite approach Louis would have grow to be king of all England and, as I mentioned at first, you’d in all probability have been studying this in French.
King Henry III continued to confer with Nichola as “our beloved and devoted Nichola de la Haye” in acknowledgement of the numerous function she performed in saving his kingdom. Royalist writers referred to her as ‘a worthy woman’ 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 learn about.