Friday, February 1, 2008
View of Lewes Downs from Lewes Castle
To the immediate right of the tower can be seen the chalk pits in the background upon a rise, marking one bondary of the battlefield. From the pits, stretching left across the high ground are the heights upon which it seems most likely that the baronial forces under Simon de Monfort appeared on the morning of the battle. The exact location of the battle and of the baronial deployment has been in debate. I will continue to research and examine the accounts published thus far (too few compared to some) but it seems most likely to me to be across the ground as described above. In forming up on the heights, overlooking Lewes, de Montfort would have had a view to attack the King's army, either trapping them in the town or at least maintaining the high ground in an area of obvious elevation from where the royalist forces were encamped, and would have to array. Further, from this position, the royalists see only what the barons bring forward to show them, whereas from the ridge, the baronial command (in clear weather) gains total observation of royal deployments and movements.
The photo is a 'stiched' shot taken by me in June 2005 from atop Lewes Castle - sharing what may have been the same view of John de Warrene, Earl of Surrey, perhaps peering out to confirm the squires' reports that de Montfort had come to battle. At the time, Lewes Castle in fact had twin mottes and keeps, only one of which has survived.