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'The Surrender of Gloucester Castle in June 1265'

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date5/12/2023
Host publicationEnglish Medieval Government and Administration: Essays in Honour of J.R. Maddicott
EditorsNigel Saul, Nicholas Vincent
PublisherPipe Roll Society
Number of pages21
ISBN (print)9780901134875
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NamePublications of the Pipe Roll Society New Series


At the end of June 1265, Gloucester Castle was surrendered by its Montfortian garrison to the Lord Edward, heir to the throne. This was a pivotal point in the civil war between royalists, fighting to restore Henry III to power, and the party of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, intent on imposing a radical conciliar-parliamentary regime. Simon was trapped by a royalist blockade at Hereford, to the west of the River Severn, attempting to escape the Welsh Marches via the Bristol Channel. Only once Gloucester was taken could Edward and his ally, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, move to obstruct him. After the fall of Gloucester, and until the opening days of August, in the desperate last march that would be curtailed at Evesham, Simon would not again attempt to break through the royalist lines. On 4 August 1265, at Evesham, he was to be killed together with almost his entire army. Thus ended England’s first experiment with a revolutionary regime that ‘came near to putting the crown into commission’. The texts edited below, meanwhile, reveal how, in June 1265, in a remarkable feat of political and military acumen, Edward’s cohort brought about Gloucester’s surrender. Taken mostly from the inquests into Montfortian activity launched by Henry III in 1267, they reveal the terms offered to the Montfortian garrison.

These entries also contribute information about the garrison’s personnel. When it became clear that the war would be won or lost in the Welsh Marches, the defence of Gloucester was entrusted to a band of Northumbrian lords, seconded from the northern borderlands. The Northumbrians’ role at Gloucester in turn illuminates the career of William III de Vescy (d.1297), one of the garrison’s commanders ...