Offham

near Lewes in Sussex

In the battle of Lewes in 1264. There was a great slaughter. Large quantities of human bones were unearthed inpits around the side of Lewes Gaol and in chalk pits near Offham Hill. Simon de Monfort's army clashed with the King's troops; 3,000 men were killed and there were stories of horsemen being sucked to their death into a sticky lake of treacle, while still in the saddle. While this account seems to be exaggerated and probably fabricated, as many of the barons and knights escaped death - a poet recorded that some came to a "sticky end".

"Speed on my pen, to write what is to come,
For I do in praise to bless, O God
And Father, Lord of Virtues, your right hand,
Who when you will, give to all faithful souls
Success and fortune at your single nod.

For in this year of grace, twelve sixty-four,
The feast of Good Saint Pancras four days past,
The English army rode the heavy storm
Of mighty war, at Lewes' Castle walls.

But let us see how our battle went.
The Earl had few men used to bearing arms
But on the side of Henry mustered there,
The more to swell his ranks, the army of
Those older and more practised warriors.
Thus of the Londoners three hundred men
Stood armed to meet the thousands of the King.
For certainly the army of the Earl
Was for the most part of a tender age;
Novices in arms, they little knew of war.
Yet practised warriors or novices in arms,
Came to a sticky end on Offham hill."

 

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