King Richard Leads Attack
on Nottingham Castle
King Richard visits the shrine of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral before receiving a rapturous hero's welcome in London.
After a thanksgiving service at St. Paul's, Richard (pictured right) made yet another pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Edmund at Bury to give thanks to God for his safe return. It was only then that our King set about dealing with his rebellious brother's supporters.
Now coming to light is evidence of Earl John's treachery - King Philip and Earl John had clubbed together and offered to buy King Richard from Emperor Henry for 100,000 marks; or alternatively, pay 1,000 lb. of silver each month for as long as he kept him captive in Germany.
Emperor Henry, tempted by this offer, delayed Richard's release - it seemed that if we wanted our King back we had to bid higher than the French. And what is so enraging everyone in the South-West and Midlands, is that taxes collected by Earl John for his brother's ransom were actually going towards keeping him captive!
On hearing the news of King Richard's release, King Philip sent a message to Earl John: 'Look to yourself; the devil is loosed.' Anticipating his brother's wrath on his return home, Earl John fled across the channel to join King Philip.
|Nottingham and Tickhill Castles Holding Out
None of Earl John's castles had been siezed until Richard's arrival at Sandwich prompted a speedier reaction. The keeper of St. Michael's mount in Cornwall died of fright as soon as he heard that the King had landed.
The castles of Marlborough and Lancaster immediately surrendered but those of Tickhill and Nottingham still held out - their garrisons believing Earl John when he told them that King Richard was dead. Hugh, bishop of Durham, was besieging Tickhill Castle when the garrison sent out two knights to find out, if indeed, King Richard had returned. On discovering the truth, they offered to surrender as long as the King promised not to put them to death. Bishop Hugh assured them on his own authority of their safety in life and limb.
David, Earl of Huntingdon, brother of the King of Scots, was besieging Nottingham Castle (pictured right), the garrison continuing to stubbornly resist. Stone throwers, siege machines, chains, shields, arrows, bolts and Greek fire had all been brought up outside the castle to support the besiegers.
On 25 March, King Richard arrived outside the castle gates accompanied by a loud blowing of trumpets and horns and a multitude of men. Greatly disturbed as the garrison was, they still refused to accept that King Richard was alive, believing that it was a ruse to weaken their resolve.
The King pitched his tents so close to the castle walls that one of the archers on the battlements shot dead one of the King's men right at his feet. In his anger, Richard put on his armour and headed an assault on the castle. Just as he had done in the Holy Land, he led the bravest of the men into the hottest part of the fight to such good effect that he captured the outer works, burned some of the gates and killed a knight with his own hand.
King Richard then erected a gallows outside the castle gate in plain view of the garrison; and when Bishop Hugh added his own forces to the besiegers and displayed the prisoners that he had taken at Tickhill in front of the castle, the garrison wavered.
The Constable of the castle sent out two knights (pictured right) under a safe conduct to see if the King was truly present and sure enough they found him dining with Bishop Hugh. 'Well now, what do you think? Am I the king or not?' asked the King when they stumbled into his tent.
'You are,' they quiveringly replied and immediately knelt before their sovereign King Richard before he sent them scurrying back to the castle with their confirmation to the Constable. The garrison now saw what everyone else could see - that it was folly for them to hold out against the greatest warrior of our time.
Later that night, William of Wenneval, Roger Muntbegun and twelve others surrendered themselves directly to the King, throwing themselves upon the mercy of their sovereign. Early the next day, the entire garrison surrendered.
No doubt the threatening gallows had played some part in bringing about the castle's surrender, though no person was actually hanged on it, but the presence of King Richard the Lionheart was enough to bring the castle garrison to their senses.
The King triumphantly took possession of the castle, feasted his gallant knights and nobles, called a meeting of the Great Council before riding into Sherwood Forest in search of the outlaw Robin Hood.