French Raid

In 1337 the Hundred Years War with France began. On 4th October 1338, 50 ships of French, Genoese and Sicilians arrived. As the South and West of the town was not walled they landed around the bottom of Bugle Street. The town and its silver were looted and those citizens who took refuge in St. Michael’s Church were murdered there.

There is a story of a Sicilian Prince who when he encountered a Hampshire Yeoman, who came to take the town back, wielding a club cried “Rancon” meaning Ransom. The yeoman took this as being “Francon” or Frenchman and killed him with the club.

As a result of the raid Edward III ordered the town to complete its walled defences.