Yes, there was a Battle of Margate!  It was a naval battle of Margate, where the rewards for victory were over 2 million gallons of wine!  Maybe that’s why there isn’t a picture of it!

More interestingly, I believe that it took place by mistake!  You see in March 1387, the English fleet thought they were fighting the might of the French Navy, but in fact they were fighting a Franco-Castilian-Flemish wine fleet, even so it was still of huge significance in British history. You see in the previous year the French, under the instructions of Philip the Bold, the ruler of North France and Flanders, had assembled an army of 30,000 men and a fleet of 1,200 ships ready to invade England. However, in the autumn Philip suddenly fell ill and the expedition was delayed,

King Richard wanted him out and replaced by someone pro English, because even though the invasion had been delayed, he knew the fleet remained, or so he thought.

Therefore, the King gave Richard, The Earl of Arundel, sixty ships to end the threat.  On 24th March 1387 he sighted 300 French vessels, in fact they were carrying wine from La Rochelle to Sluis in the Flanders.   Richard immediately attacked this much larger fleet, which was, of course, totally unprepared and, of course, with both inadequate manpower and armaments.

The battle took place in the Southern North Sea, where the Franco-Castilian-Flemish fleet was defeated, those ships not sunk were then chased all the way to the port of Sluis, where seven ships were captured, and the rest burnt or sunk.  The Earl followed this up by putting landing parties ashore to burn and plunder coastal villages. The campaign succeeded in its aim, it destroyed France’s chance to invade England for at least the next decade.  That is why it is such a significate battle.

But, what about the wine you ask, well, all the barrels were bought to London and sold cheap, making the Earl of Arundel an extremely popular Earl!

That is the story of the forgotten Battle of Margate.

Isn’t history fun?