|The First Battle of Lincoln
King Stephen loses a battle and his freedom.
The First Battle of Lincoln
or 'The Joust of Lincoln'
2 February, 1141
Robert, Earl of Gloucester v King Stephen
The contest between Stephen of Blois and his cousin Maud (Matilda) for the throne of England was a messy affair, with first one side then the other gaining the upper hand. A supporter of Maud's cause, Ranulf de Tailebois, siezed control of Lincoln Castle and fortified it against attack. The citizens of Lincoln appealed to King Stephen for help.
The citizens of Lincoln joined Stephen's forces against the Gloucester's army, but the royal army was overwhelmed. One of the Lincoln men handed Stephen a Danish battle-axe, and the king, to his credit, fought valiantly, but his cause was hopeless, and he was captured. The battle was later popularly called 'The Joust of Lincoln'.
Note: Do not confuse this 'First Battle of Lincoln' with the so-called 'Battle of Lincoln Fair', or second battle of Lincoln, which took place in 1217.
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