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Caynham Camp



Actually not a particularly cheerful story, especially in view of Valentine's day, but it is another one that connects the goings-on at Ludlow Castle and Caynham Camp.
We learn, through a very curious and interesting Anglo-Norman History of the Fitz-Warines, that the camp was temporarily occupied in late Norman times. This history, which is written in verse, is called "The Romance of the Fitz-Warines." It must have been composed at an early period of the thirteenth century, and gives a very early notice of Caynham.

It states that when Joce de Dynan laid siege to Ludlow Castle, he made his headquarters here; and it gives also the only details known of the early history of the castle. This Joce de Dynan, who had received the castle as a free gift from the king, was frequently at feud with his powerful neighbours the de Lacys, who laid claim to the castle;

and upon one occasion Walter de Lacy, accompanied by a trusty knight, Arnold de Lisle, having approached too near the walls, were taken prisoners and lodged in the castle, where they appear to have been well treated, and were frequently visited by the ladies of the Court. One of them, Marian de la Bruere (Marian of the heath), being smitten by the courtly mein of Arnold de Lisle, assisted them to escape through one of the windows of the tower by means of towels and napkins tied together.

Shortly afterwards Joce went upon a visit to Hertland, leaving the castle in charge of thirty knights and seventy good soldiers, 'for fear of the Lacy and other people.' Marian de la Bruere, having remained behind on the plea of sickness, sent word to Arnold de Lisle to come and visit her, and promised to let him in by the same window by which he had escaped. This invitation he accepted, and brought with him a leathern ladder and one hundred men, who were left concealed below. The ladder being drawn up to the window, the knight entered, leaving it suspended in readiness for his men to follow, who in the darkness of the night, made their way onto the walls; and having thrown down the guards that were on duty, entered the apartments and slew the knights and soldiers in their beds, and thus did the castle fall into the hands of the Lacys.

Marian at daybreak, hearing the shouts of the victors, and learning the treachery that had been enacted, seized Sir Arnold's sword, and thrusting it through his body afterwards committed suicide by throwing herself from the window and breaking her neck. Joce, having received tidings of these events, assembled his men and came and besieged the castle.

Failing, however, after repeated efforts to regain possession, he finally retired, to take up a position upon Caynham Camp. Here, with a force of 7,000 men, he lay entrenched for three days, surrounded by the Lacy and his Welsh allies, numbering 20,000 men. At the end of the third day, being hard pressed, and reduced by famine and thirst, 'for there is no well within the camp,' they were compelled to fight their way through their enemies.

Joce being severely wounded was, together with most of his knights that were not killed, taken prisoners and committed to the dungeons of his own castle. A very valiant young knight, however, Fulke Fitz-Warine, who had been under the guardianship of Joce from his youth up, and who had married his daughter Howyse, made a desperate attempt to rescue his father-in-law, but was himself wounded, and with difficulty escaped and joined King Henry at Gloucester. The king received him with great favour, and commanded Walter de Lacy to set free Joce de Dynan. He did so, and Joce joined his son-in-law at the Royal Court, then retired to Lambourne, where he died in peace shortly afterwards.
From 'Notes upon Caynham Camp' by C Fortey, in Archaeologia Cambrensis for July 1899.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th February 2012ce
Edited 16th February 2012ce

Comments (1)

High body count Rhiannon. The lack of a well (there is a brook close by, below the slopes of the hill) suggests limited defensive capability. The fort was clearly occupied in the IA though, judging by the excavation evidence of round houses. No doubt someone lowly had the job of trekking down the hill and back for water. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
15th February 2012ce
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