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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian Battles and Sieges

Battle of Maisebel (or Battle of Mexborough)

Mexborough Ings, is also known as the ancient field of Maisbell (or Maisebell), and in pre-Roman times was within the area in the North of England that home to the Brigantes - the most powerful, boldest and warlike Celtic tribe in Britain.

The Romans dominated this country for 320 years and following their departure, with no one to defend it, became a hotbed for infighting with county kings vying for supremacy and constant raids from the Picts and Scots.

By now, the Brigantes had erected a powerful fortification, now known as Mexborough Castle, Castle Hills, and in 489 Mexborough Ings was chosen as the gathering point for the whole English Army. However, a traitor betrayed their movements to Kentish King Vortiern's head soldier Hengist and they marched their hordes to nearby Conisbrough Castle and seized the fortification there.

The Brigante's had been wise - they obtained the services of one of the last remaining Roman Military Generals in Britain, Aurelius Ambrosius to lead them. Ambrosius got the help of Eldol the Prince of Gloucester, Eldad, the Bishop of Gloucester, and numerous others - many from the west of the country.

They were ready for Hengist's attack - with the Britons organised into cavalry, archers and pikes/lances - adhering to Roman tactics. The Saxons attacked with their short swords, in one body, charging in one dense column and were subsequently defeated. Some were unable to escape and cross the River Don and so were chased along the northern bank to Sprotbrough while others were driven back to Conisbrough where Hengist was captured and beheaded.

Info partially from Mexborough and District Heritage Society.

Battle of Hatfield Chase

The Battle of Hatfield Chase was fought on October 12 633AD at a marshy area about 8 miles North East of Doncaster on the south bank of the River Don. It was between the Northumbrians under Edwin and an alliance of the Welsh (Gwynedd under Cadwallon ap Cadfan) and Mercian (under Penda) forces.

The Welsh and Mercians won a decisive victory that saw Edwin killed (and his son Osfrith) and his army was defeated, leading to the temporary collapse of the Northumbrian state.

Tickhill Castle Sieges

In 1102 Robert Bloet added a curtain wall to the rampart around the bailey; the first part of the castle to be built of stone after a major siege.

John of England was also besieged by Hugh de Puiset here in 1194 and refused to surrender until they heard of the return of Richard to England. After gaining permission from Hugh they sent two knights to find out directly if Richard was indeed returned, and the knights immediately offered to restore the castle to Richard. Richard refused, saying he would only accept an unconditional surrender, which the knights negotiated upon their return, surrendering the castle to Hugh de Puiset in exchange for the defenders' lives.

In 1321, the castle was also unsuccessfully laid siege by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster during a rebellion against Edward II.

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