Monday, 24 February 2014

Women Warriors - Nicola de la Haye

Nicola de la Haye inherited the title of castellan of Lincoln Castle. Mostly her husbands carried out the duties - she married William fitz Ernais, who died in 1178, and after him Gerard de Camville, whose father was the admiral of the fleet that took King Richard the Lionheart and his army to the Third Crusade.
In 1191, though, Gerard was at Nottingham with King John, and she was in charge during a month long seige of Lincoln. In 1215 - 17, she was again in sole command of the defence of Lincoln during the unrest when King John died and the French invaded. John's only heir was Henry III, who was about eleven years old at the time, so Prince Louis of France made a bid for the throne of England. Young Henry had the advantage of having William Marshal on his side, the greatest knight in Europe at the time, and totally loyal to the Plantagenets. He was Henry's regent, so basically ruled England until the young king came of age. Nicola was in her mid sixties by that time, and William Marshal was around seventy, but they were more than a match for the French besiegers! She continued as castellan under King Henry III, and also served as the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire for a time.

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