By William E. Welsh In 1194 English King Richard I returned to England from his long absence on the Third Crusade and set about recovering the castles his younger brother John had taken in his absence. Upon learning Richard had returned safely, the garrisons of most of the castles held by John yielded without a fight. But not the stubborn garrison at Nottingham Castle. On March 25 Richard arrived at Nottingham determined to take the stronghold by force. Richard donned harness and helmet, for he was always in the thick of the fray. As he moved about, several bodyguards carried large shields in front of him. Richard’s knights and men-at-arms fought their way into the barbican and outer bailey on the first day. The next day, Richard deployed catapults against the castle walls. On the third day of the siege, two defenders were allowed into the king’s presence to confirm that he had indeed returned to England and that there was no hoax being perpetrated against the garrison. “Well, what can you see?” he asked them. “Am I here?” This was enough to convince those who doubted Richard was among the besiegers. The garrison surrendered on the fourth day. Richard pardoned the garrison troops, but he made each one pay a fine. This move was intended to expand his coffers, for he was gathering funds by every conceivable means to finance a protracted war on the Continent against French King Philip II to regain lands that were his by right of being the Duke of Normandy and Cou


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