Many of our records are crucial to understanding the conflict for the crown throughout the ages, particularly key people and important events – battles, rebellions and dynastic change.
We are therefore delighted to be one of the main partners in a new exhibition – Battles and Dynasties – which brings together a diverse collection of internationally significant manuscripts, artwork and artefacts. 1 Jeff James, The National Archives’ Chief Executive and Keeper, is one of two Honorary Curators.
In this blog I will focus on the documents The National Archives is loaning to the exhibition, including Great Domesday Book, and the stories they bring to life.
The exhibition’s main focus is the second Battle of Lincoln, but it covers Lincolnshire’s role in historical events from 1066 to the present day. The battle was fought in the city on 20 May 1217. The army of Louis, son of the king of France, was defeated by the forces of nine-year-old Henry III (1216-72), led by William Marshal. This ended the threat of the English throne being united with the French in the person of Louis.
One of the most important aspects of the battle is the role played by one of medieval England’s most remarkable woman, Nicola de la Haye. 2 Born to a local aristocratic family, she held the position of constable of Lincoln – one of very few women to hold royal office in this period.
Lincoln Castle, the seat of royal government in one of England’s largest shires, was first besieged by Louis’s army in the summer of 1216. It did not fall, due to Nicola’s actions.
- 1. Battles and Dynasties is an exhibition developed by Lincolnshire County Council and Lord Patrick Cormack in partnership with the Historic Lincoln Trust, The National Archives and the British Library. ^
- 2. L.J. Wilkinson, Women in Thirteenth-Century Lincolnshire (Woodbridge, 2007), ch. 1. See also http://magnacarta800th.com/schools/biographies/women-of-magna-carta/lady-nicholaa-de-la-haye/#_edn1. ^
- 4. Full colour images of medieval seals in the Duchy of Lancaster series DL 25 and DL 27, with descriptions, can be downloaded for free from Discovery, The National Archives’ online catalogue. ^