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The Siege of Woodcroft Castle



Woodcroft Castle near Helpston was built in the 13th century as a fortified manor house with a tower and moat. During the English Civil was it was occupied by Dr Michael Hudson. He was a priest who had been the chaplain to King Charles I and was a staunch Royalist. In 1648 Hudson garrisoned Woodcroft Castle with Cavalier soldiers and attempted to get Stamford to rise up against Parliament but he failed. He was chased back to Woodcroft Castle by a troop of Roundheads. They attempted to storm the castle but they were driven off with the loss of several men. The besiegers were then reinforced by a full regiment of Roundheads who were determined to win the castle. Hudson and his men resisted bravely but it was stormed after the gates were blown in using gunpowder. The defenders retreated to the tower and Dr Hudson ended up dangling from the ramparts. When the Roundheads found him dangling they cut off his hands sending him plunging into the moat below. He was then dragged from the moat and disembowelled and his tongue cut out. His body was buried at Denton, Northamptonshire. As a grisly postscript his tongue was paraded around local towns as a trophy and a warning not to oppose Parliament!

Woodcroft Manor’s Royal Owner



Woodcroft Castle used to be known as Woodcroft Manor. It dates back to the twelfth century and appears frequently in court papers over the centuries. It is best well-known for the Civil War siege and death of Dr Michael Hudson, but it has a much better connection. On 6th October 1570 Woodcroft Mansion house was referred to as having been 'purchased of the late King Edward VI'. Many of the local manors have been owned by monarchs, often being given as presents. However the ownership of Woodcroft might suggest that it was once much more important than it is now. Indeed, in 1575 the manor was valued at £15, 6 shillings and 8 pence, which was more than Milton Manor.