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The English fury on the Grote Markt in Mechelen

The English Fury at Mechelen was an event in the Eighty Years' War on April 9, 1580 in which the city of Mechelen was conquered by Calvinist forces from Brussels supported by English mercenaries and brutally sacked.[citation needed]


In 1579, the Lordship of Mechelen was one of the few territories in the Netherlands that had remained loyal to the Spanish King. Most surrounding cities, like Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent were ruled by Calvinists. There in 1580, plans were made to take over all remaining loyal cities, to deny the Spanish army any stronghold behind the frontline.[citation needed]

The frontline in 1580

Mechelen taken

The Calvinist mayor of Brussels, Olivier van den Tympel, gathered a military force, supported by English mercenaries under command of John Norreys and Scottish under command of captain Stuart. After a short battle with Mechelen's Schutterij and civil guards, the city was easily taken.
But then, the English mercenaries turned against the population and plundered homes, churches and monasteries.
[citation needed] Some 60 civilians were killed.[citation needed] The later Archbishop Mathias Hovius hid in a cupboard for 3 days and then fled the city, dressed as a peasant.[citation needed]

Mechelen remained under Calvinist rule until it was reconquered in 1585 by the Spanish under Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma as one of the last cities in the Southern Netherlands.

The 1580 event was named the English Fury after the Spanish Fury that hit the city in 1572.[citation needed]

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