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The Great Siege of 1224

Great Siege cartoon illustration of Bedford Castle

August 2024 marks 800 years since the end of the Great Siege of Bedford Castle. To commemorate this unique event in Bedford’s history, a new play with music will be staged on top of the Castle Mound to tell the story of those who lived in the castle, and who lost it to the young King, 17 year old Henry III.

When Bedford Castle was built in around 1087, many earlier Saxon buildings were destroyed, and the castle eventually took up a quarter of the Town. The castle was large and important, and lay at the heart of life in Bedford, until its destruction at the hands of Henry’s army in August 1224. With the whole of Europe watching, the young Henry III marched on Bedford with 2,700 soldiers to bring down Falkes de Breaute, the ‘Robber Baron’ of Bedford. At the end of the eight-week siege, Henry ordered the destruction of the Castle.

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