Siege of Exeter (1068)

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Siege of Exeter
Part of Norman conquest of England
Date 1068
Location Exeter
Result Conditional surrender of the city
Exonian rebels and allies from other nearby cities Royal forces
Commanders and leaders
Gytha Thorkelsdóttir William I of England
Much of Exeter's population of 2500 and allies from other local cities Initially 500 cavalry with reinforcements arriving throughout the siege
Casualties and losses
Unknown Heavy[1]

The Siege of Exeter occurred in 1068 when William I marched a combined army of Normans and Englishmen loyal to the king west to force the submission of Exeter, a stronghold of Anglo-Saxon resistance against Norman rule.

After the Norman Conquest, the Saxons of Devon, Somerset and Dorset rallied at Exeter in support of the remnants of the Godwin family. The citizens, together with Harold Godwinson’s mother, Gytha, refused to swear fealty to William or pay the tax he demanded, and shut the gates against him. William marched upon the city, where he was met with fierce armed resistance. After a siege of 18 days, Exeter capitulated (though Gytha escaped), and Rougemont Castle was established and garrisoned by the Normans.[5] Despite the king's initial threats against the citizens of Exeter, at the city's surrender William agreed that he would not harm its inhabitants, confiscate their possessions or increase the amount of tax they had paid to the pre-conquest monarchy.

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