Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Poisoned Shot, Brampton Bryan Castle, 1643

In 1643, Lady Brilliana Harley, a puritan at heart, held Brampton Bryan Castle against a Royalist force sent to take it. She had fifty men against a force of some six hundred. The siege lasted six weeks and saw the Royalists plunder her lands and lifestock, drive away her tenants and smash the family church. They even used the church as a platform for a canon to bombard the castle until not a roof remain within the place. During the siege her cook was shot by a poisoned bullet. This small detail caught my imagination and inspired the picture above. I researched the matter further and found that soldiers could poison their shot with a solution of copper and Yellow arsenic. This meant that any hit, no matter how minor, could result in an agonising death. Sieges certianly brought out the darker side of warfare.


GrumbleJones said...

Fascinating...thanks for this interesting post. Sounds like this siege would make a great table top battle.

Thanks again.

Scott B. Lesch said...

...or a movie!