Photos By Phil Steele
The international award winning Northamptonshire Battlefield Society will be at Delapre Abbey on 15/16 July for the commemoration of the 1460 battle where we will be giving walks, talks and demonstrations. Come and play our new battle of Northampton game. We will have our new Northamptonshire and Rutland Wars of the Roses Gazetteer and battle heraldry posters on sale as well as the book and game.
All welcome. Meet at Delapre Abbey at 7:00pm to walk to Queen Eleanor Cross to lay flowers for the fallen of Northamptonshires medieval battles. Will include a mini tour and talk on the 1460 battle.
10 July 1460
The Battle of Northampton
King Henry knights ten of his men including Thomas Stanley and the five year old grandson of the Duke of Buckingham.Both would be heavily involved in the demise of Richard III, twenty four and twenty five years later
The Yorkists send Heralds and Bishops to the Lancastrian camp to negotiate, still maintaining they do not want to fight, only talk with the King. A Yorkist Bishop changes sides and urges the King not to negotiate but fight.Buckingham declares “The Earl of Warwick shall not come to the King’s presence and if he comes he shall die.”
Warwick finally replies “At 2 o’clock I will speak with the King or I will die”. It would be the last time that any negotiations would precede an English battle. Coppini, the Papal Legate pronounced the most terrifying of all excommunications – an anathema on their enemies, exhibiting before the camp an Apostolic letter in which was believed to contain the formula for the excommunication forbiding them to have a christian burial. Warwick orders either spare the commoners or spare Grey’s men (depending on the source).
‘le seigneur de Greriffin’, who along with thirteen to fourteen hundred men, was outside the fortifications. He goes on to say that the Yorkists skirmished with Greriffin outside the town for an hour and a half. It is not clear whether the report means the whole Yorkist army or just part, but it is more likely that it was the Yorkist vanguard led by Scrope and Stafford when they first arrived. These Yorkists then assaulted the town itself which took another half hour from when Greriffin’s men retreated. They entered Northampton by force, pillaging and burning the town as they passed through it
The Yorkists then advance on the Lancastrian position, it would be the only time a fortified camp was assaulted during all thirty-seven years of the wars. Several accounts say that the Lancastrian guns fail to fire. Although the guns might not have worked, they were not defenseless and shower the Yorkists with up to 100,000 arrows. Despite this William Lucy in Dallington hears gunfire and races to join the King (was this then Yorkist gunfire?)
When Edward Earl of March (later King Edward IV) and his men reach the defences, Lord Grey of Ruthin in the Lancastrian left flank and his men start helping the Yorkists into the camp.
Its all over for the Lancastrian’s. A fight takes place around the King’s tent in which Buckingham, Egremont, Beaumont and Shrewsbury are all killed. So too is Vaux from Northampton. The King is captured by the Yorkists.
Many Lancastrians try to flee. With the bridge under Yorkist control and the river under flood plus a myriad of smaller waterways that flow east and west between the Abbey and the town, they can only go east and lots of miniature battles take place across the landscape. Many are recorded as dying as they try to cross the river (probably Rushmills).
William Lucy arrives on the battlefield only to be met by his wife’s Yorkist lover, who kills him with an axe. The two marry shortly after.
Between 5-7,000 killed. All the Lancastrian lords are killed. King Henry is captured. He stays at Northampton for three days and takes mass at Delapre. He is then led back to London in procession. Soon after Richard of York returns and for the first time lays claim to the throne. Margaret of Anjou escapes with the Royal baggage but is overtaken at Gayton. The rogue bishop is arrested and thrown into the dungeon at Warwick Castle.
Want to know more? please buy our book “The Battle of Northampton 1460” published by NBS and available from either their stand at events, Northampton Museum, Bosworth Battlefield Visitor Centre or Amazon.
9 July 1460
The Yorkist army approaches Northampton through Blisworth and probably camps for the night at Hardingstone.
The Lancastrian camp begins to swell with men as towns answer the King’s summons. Twenty men from Beverley arrive after their mayor threw a party for them before they left. Men from Shrewsbury are also there too. Northampton’s leading gentry and their men such as the Wake’s, Catesby’s, Vaux’s and Tresham’s all come in support of the King. The Duke of Buckingham, as earl of Northampton draws men from his local estates, as does the Queen who owns Kingsthorpe Village. The town itself calls out the militia which fights under the town’s ‘Wild Rat’ banner.
The Yorkists send Heralds and Bishops ahead to the Lancastrian camp to negotiate, still maintaining they do not want to fight, only talk with the King.
26 June 1460.
The Calais Lords, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick; Edward, Earl of March; and William Neville, Lord Fauconberg landed at Sandwich with 2,000 men.
27 June 1460.
The Calais lords arrive at Canterbury. Robert Horne, John Scot and John Fosse and their men, sent by King Henry to stop them change sides and help negotiate the surrender of the city.
28 June 1460
Yorkists send out letters summoning help from the Cinque Ports. At least Rye and Winchelsea send men. After paying respects at the shrine of St. Thomas, a growing number of Yorkists leave Canterbury heading for London via Rochester and Dartford.
29 June 1460
The Common Council of London agree to resist the rebels but refuse to let the Lancastrian Lord Scales to act as the cities Captain. Men at Arms are placed on London Bridge. A deputation is sent to the advancing Yorkists warning them they would be refused entry to the city. Thousands flock to the Yorkist standard ‘like bees to the hive’.
1st July 1460
The Yorkist army reaches London and camps at Blackheath. As well as the Calais Lords it was said to include ” the many footmen of the commons of Kent, Sussex and Surrey”. By this time, according to some observers their number was between 20,000 and 40,000.
2 July 1460
11 Aldermen of London rebel in support of the Yorkists. The Yorkists enter London and are met by the Bishops of Ely and Exeter in Southwark. There is a crush on London Bridge and 13 Men at Arms are trampled when they fell.
3 July 1460
The Calais Lords make an oath of allegance to King Henry on the cross of Canterbury at St. Pauls. Warwick announces that they had come with the people to declare their innocence or else die in the field.
4 July 1460
Francesco Coppini, Bishop of Turin and Papal Legate joined the Yorkists at Calais. His official mission from the Pope was to persuade the English to join a crusade. However, he has a secret mission from Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan (If you have seen “The Borgias” on TV you will get the idea), to help put the Yorkists on the throne. The French were becoming heavily involved in Italy and Margaret of Anjou’s brother wanted to be King of Naples, thereby threatening Milan. If the Yorkists were kings of England they might be persuaded to invade France and take the pressure of of Italy. At St. Pauls and by letter, Coppini issues a chilling warning to King Henry… ‘….out of the pity and compassion you should have for your people and citizens and your duty, to prevent so much bloodshed, now so imminent. You can prevent this if you will, and if you do not you will be guilty in the sight of God in that awful day of judgement in which I also shall stand and require of your hand the English blood, if it be spilt’
Warwick’s Uncle, William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, advances north from London, with according to one chronicler, 10,000 men. Faucoberg was the Yorkist’s most experienced soldier having taken part in many of the later battles of the 100 Year War. He appears to have been heading for Ware. Warwick secures a loan of £1,000 from London to finance the coming campaign.
5 July 1460
The main Yorkist army commanded by Warwick leaves London heading north along Watling Street. They bring with them a train of artillery.
The Lancastrian’s make plans to leave their base at Coventry. Summonses are sent out to towns and to lords to assemble their forces. They too have a large train of artillery which they had been stockpiling at Kenilworth Castle.
Salisbury and Cobham stay in London to lay siege to the Tower
July 7 1460
The Lancastrians reach Northampton and begin to build a fortified camp in fields between Hardingstone and Delapre Abbey. Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England , William Waynflete, surrenders the Great Seal to the King in ‘Hardingstone Field’ Then he and a number of other senior members resign and flee.
In the meantime the two separate Yorkist armies join at Dunstable where they wait for the artillery and slower foot soldiers to catch up.
We are proud and pleased to announce that yesterday Mike Ingram and NBS was awarded the Battlefields Trust’s Presidents Award for outstanding battlefield preservation, conservation and interpretation. It will be formally presented by Sir Robert Worcester at the battle anniversary event at Delapre Abbey on the morning of 9 July.
If you have not brought the new book on the battle it is available direct from NBS or Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Battle-Northampton-1460-Mike-Ingram/dp/099307779X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466329476&sr=8-1&keywords=mike+ingram
Last year we asked all of you to object to a planning application from the local Golf Club to build a car park on the site of the battlefield.
Many of you did and in the end there were 217 objections. Thanks very much to all of you who took the time to write.
Since then things have moved on. The application was scheduled to be dealt with by the local planning committee last week. If you objected you should have had a letter offering you the opportunity to attend.
However the Golf Club withdrew the application at the last minute. This might sound like good news but for those of you who don’t understand the labyrinthine ways of the English planning process it actually isn’t.
You see the Club were going to lose. The application was inappropriate and the “Heritage Assessment” they paid for was a joke. Local press was opposed and then there was also all those objections. If they’d lost then that was it, pretty much.
What the Golf Club have decided to do is withdraw the application and resubmit a completely new one. This will mean that all the objections and work opposed to the old application won’t count any more. They now know all the reasons for objecting to the application, so they may well be able to deal with them in the new application which they will probably introduce on a shorter time frame.
What this means is that some time over the next few months I’ll probably be asking you all to object again and we will be hoping that you won’t be bothered because you did it last time. If the objections drop then the Golf Club will be able to argue that they have addressed the concerns of the community and interested parties.
In the interim what can you do? If you aren’t already a member of the Northampton Battlefields Society you could join (find us on Facebook). Membership fees go towards the costs of running the Society and organising opposition to damage to the local battlefields.
Or, if you haven’t bought a copy already, buy Mike Ingram’s book about the battle, available through Amazon: link
Profits from the book go into the Society’s fighting fund.
Thanks everyone for you support so far,
Graham Evans NBS committee member and editor of the NBS newsletter ‘The Wild Rat’