Sussex Castles




The Battle of Winchelsea


29 August 1350

The battle of Winchelsea took place at sea, just off the Sussex coast near Winchelsea and Rye. Animosity had been growing for many years between the English and Spanish with regard Spanish piracy against English ships and King Edward III was looking for an opportunity to punish the Spanish. Edward had learnt that a Spanish fleet was re-equipping in Sluys, Flanders and would be sailing back down the English channel to Spain. This provided Edward his opportunity and he travelled down to Rye to meet with his fleet. His Queen, Philippa of Hainault, accompanied him to Rye, but stayed at the Greyfriars monastery in Winchelsea when Edward put to sea.

On August 29 the fleets met and joined battle. The Spanish had a strong wind and could have outrun the English, but were eager to engage, confident of an easy victory. The battle was hard fought all day, but the failing light saw the English as victors. The Spanish had lost 14 ships from their fleet of 40, with their remaining ships put to flight. The victorious English returned to Winchelsea and Rye. The Queen was greatly relieved to hear of their victory, especially given the large size of the Spanish fleet.

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