Talks

23 June. Anthony Rich – The Battle of Mortimers Cross

THE BATTLE OF MORTIMER’S CROSS (2 Feb. 1461), was fought near Wigmore in Herefordshire, between the Lancastrians under Jasper Tudor, and the Yorkists under Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV).According to legend, on the morning of the battle, Edward witnessed a conjunction of three suns in the sky; after the victory, Edward, now Duke of York, took the white rose-en-soleil as his personal badge in remembrance. Anthony is an NBS committee member and  badged member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. He has done considerable work on the site of the Battle of Mortimers Cross

21 July. Harvey Watson – The First Battle of St. Albans

The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York and his allies, the Neville Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, defeated a royal army commanded by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, who was killed. With King Henry VI captured, a subsequent parliament appointed Richard of York Lord Protector.
Harvey is co-author of the book “The battles of St. Albans” published by Pen and Sword, currently editor of the Battlefields Trust’s quaterly magazine Battlefield, and Chair of their London and South East Region.

All 7:30pm start. Free to full NBS members otherwise £5.00 on the door

Location : https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/#directions

Our next talk: Thursday 28 April at 19:30 The History of Artillery from medieval to ECW

Our speaker Roger Emmerson has been building accurate reproductions of cannons since the early 1970’s as a member of the Roundhead Association. His latest working cannon is an entirely accurate 1640’s six pounder bronze drake.
His talk will cover the earliest cannon in England through to the later middle ages and up until the seventeenth century,
and will look at the development of gunpowder, some of the logistics of supply, and at the science of ballistics – as much as it was a developing from art into science.

7:30pm Thursday, 28 April 2016 at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton. NN4 7HW

Book launch

There will be a  launch for our new book at Northampton Museum on Sat 19 December 2:00 – 4:00 where you will be able to buy copies and get them signed. We will also be on John Griff show on BBC Radio Northampton discussing the book on 18 Dec at 3:10.

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/story-of-the-battle-of-northampton-told-in-new-book-1-7112372

Mike Northampton2 cover

New Book

We are pleased to announce the publication of our new book on the 1460 Battle of Northampton. Written by medieval historian Mike Ingram and illustrated by Matthew Ryan. Forward by Earl Charles Spencer.

It should have been the battle that ended Richard of York’s rebellions. With the Yorkists politically destroyed and the estates confiscated, all that remained was to carry out the punishment for treason – death. On 10 July 1460 King Henry VI and his army waited for the Yorkists in a heavily fortified camp in fields outside Northampton. However, they did not count on the treachery of Lord Grey of Ruthin. For the first time, this is the full story of the Battle of Northampton which took place during the turbulent period now known as the Wars of the Roses. It was the first and only time that a fortified camp was assaulted and was the last time protracted negotiations took place before a battle. In its immediate aftermath the House of York laid claim to the throne of England for the first time and so began the bloodiest phase of the Wars of the Roses – the war of succession. As well as the battle itself, the book looks at Northamptonshire’s medieval history and its involvement in the Wars of the Roses.

Foreword by Earl Charles Spencer

Northampton today is, frankly, an under-appreciated, often overlooked, town. The joke is, people only know of Northamptonshire because they shoot through it on the M1: they note the name of the county town on notice boards from exits 15 to 16. But this was, once, one of the great centres of power and influence in early and Medieval England. It was also, with Oxford, home to one of the first two universities in the land. Mike Ingram brings fine scholastic research to play, in reminding people of Northampton’s past importance – strategic and social. His energetic prose gives colour to every page, while his revelations intrigue and entertain. He helps us appreciate why one of the great battles of English history took place in this Midland town, and he skilfully resurrects the generals and ordinary soldiers who clashed in an engagement that helped lay the foundations of this nation’s past. You don’t need to be a champion or resident of Northampton to appreciate this overdue appraisal of the battle that bears its name. This is a book that everyone who loves History – particularly the almost forgotten kind – will savour.

The book is published by Northampton Battlefield Society priced £9.99 and is available in printed version and for kindle etc. Available from Amazon or from Northampton Battlefields Society.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/099307779X?keywords=mike%20ingram&qid=1449230084&ref_=sr_1_5&s=books&sr=1-5

 

AGM

Its the Northampton Battlefield Society AGM this Thursday 24 September. 7:30pm start at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton.

We are pleased to announce our speaker will be Dr. John Ashdown-Hill MBE. Acclaimed Richard III author who will be talking about his brand new book on the Wars of the Roses. Free to full members otherwise £5.00 on the door.

john-ashdown-hill-large-richardiii-team

New threat to 1460 battlefield

The 1460 battlefield is under threat again. We will of course be objecting as there has already been enough development of this wonderful green space of national historic importance. Now is the time to say enough is enough.We need to show anybody else that might be thinking of developing any other part of the battlefield that its not wanted. If you agree please object as detailed at the bottom of this post. Please share with your friends, colleagues and other pages and impress the importance and it should not be left for others.

The two press reports both of which, as the application states, say there was nothing of archaeological importance found. The actual report of the finds is ‘hidden’, deliberately, accidentally or otherwise within the photograph section of the application documents. And as you will see below, are actually of great significance.

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/golf-club-ordered-to-stop-work-on-car-park-eight-months-ago-puts-in-new-bid-for-part-of-northampton-battlefield-site-1-6886142

http://m.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Northampton-golf-club-submits-controversial/story-27539543-detail/story.html#ixzz3ho1667WA

The application says that responses are required by 28 August, so an early response is essential.

The reasons we are objecting are as follows:-

The area concerned is green space and parkland, there for enjoyment and use of the community. This development would considerably erode that sense of open space, and once gone, will never return. Whilst the application makes provision for the protection of any further archaeology below ground, it does not consider the environment that will be destroyed in its creation.

This is a registered battlefield protected by the National Planning Framework which says that any development on the site should be wholly exceptional. The application does not say how this car park etc. is exceptional. This application does not give figures or demonstrate the need for additional parking, and there is no analysis of car park use. It is not for the benefit of the golfers themselves but a separate commercial enterprise to ‘sell’ parking spaces to workers on Brackmills Industrial Estate, as an early morning visit and comparison between the number of cars and number of golfers clearly demonstrates.

By allowing this application it will be condoning the golf clubs earlier action of illegally carrying out the work without prior planning permission, and against the CMP.

The councils own Conservation Management Plan for the battlefield was adopted as part of its planning decision framework and the CMP says it should resist further development within the Registered Battlefield. The application fails to address how it complies with this section of the CMP and therefore should be rejected.

The CMP effectively acts as a local designation of the heritage asset and implies that substantial impact on the battlefield occurs with any further development on the registered battlefield and the Council needs to take this into consideration when reaching its decision.

The application claims that there no finds of archaeological importance, and this has been reported in the local press. This is contrary to the archaeological report, the key part of which has been strangely tucked away at the back of the photographs section of the documents. The broach is potentially of national significance as it is of high status with a French inscription and as the report admits, may be from the 1460 battle. See also https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/730007

Crucially, the report clearly states there has been insufficient evidence found to date that can categorically discount the round shot from being from the 1460 battle. There has also been numerous finds of round shot of these sizes found elsewhere in England and dated to the medieval period (see Portable Antiquities Scheme database). The only way to determine the date of the shot is ‘uranium thorium lead isotopic analysis’ and this has not been carried out. If, the shot is proved to be from 1460, then this could not only be a crucial part of the battlefield but also of national significance in that it is the earliest known use of hand-gunnes in England, and be the oldest surviving small round shot in England too.

Until the whole registered battlefield has been archaeologically investigated and understood, the true significance of this area cannot be known. In the long term, this area might prove to be a part where a future battlefield trail etc. could be sited. It is therefore extremely short-sighted to allow any development of this sensitive area at this time.

The ball pit and trench is an addition to the original application and should not be included in this one. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that the site of the trench is made up ground and given the significance and sensitivity of site, it needs a full archaeological survey before any planning permission can be considered.

You may of course have other reasons why this application should be rejected, please add these too.

The application says that NBC will respond before 23/09/2015 but does not give a date when it will go before planning, so an early response is essential.
We would urge all of you to write to NBC planning to object to this application using the reference N/2015/0785 addressed to The Planning Department, The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton. NN1 1DE
or
go to the on-line Planning Portal http://www.northampton.gov.uk/…/…/view_planning_applications click the search for a planning application button, on the new screen, enter the reference number N/2015/0785, click search. When details of the application appear, click the red comment button and you will be able to register your objection.

Dates for your Diary

Our forthcoming talks

Thursday, 26 March 2015 – Andy Lubienski is giving a talk on medieval games. Marriott Hotel Eagle Drive, Northampton. 7:30 start £3,00 per person.

Thursday, 30 April 2015 – Andy Chapman, “In search of Northampton Castle”

Marriott Hotel Eagle Drive, Northampton. 7:30 start £3,00 per person.

13/14 June 2015 – Battle of Naseby Anniversary Event. See http://www.Naseby.com for more more details

Saturday, 4 July 2015 – 1460 Battle of Northampton anniversary event, with foot tournament by Sir William Harrington’s Companye, Delapre Abbey, Northampton

Friday, 10 July 2015 – 1460 Battle of Northampton memorial walk from Delapre Abbey to Queen Eleanor’s Cross where flowers will be laid in memory of the fallen.

Golf Course Update

You may remember the story a few weeks ago that the golf club had dug up part of the battlefield without permission? We can now reveal that this was relatively close to where the cannonball was found. The deadline for a response from the club has now passed and it appears that they will be applying for retrospective planning permission.

We hope those concerned have read the Council’s own Conservation Management Plan for the battlefield, which on pages 80 and 81 states

Overriding Policy 1

“Any operations which may result in disturbance of potential archaeological evidence or contamination with metallic artefacts should be appropriately assessed by a battlefield archaeologist to ensure that any archaeological evidence is recorded, interpreted and protected”

Overriding Policy 2.

“Conserve and enhance the historic and planned elements of the Registered battlefield’s built environment and landscape including remnant medieval features and the designed parkland.”

Overriding Policy 6.

“Maintain the landscape assets of the site, key views linking the town of Northampton to the battlefield, parkland within the site, the quality of the Abbey Grounds”

Overriding Policy 7.

“Ensure that the natural and built components of the site are maintained in a manner which conserves and enhances their heritage, ecological and amenity value ….”

One other question. If you or I built something without permission what would happen? We would be ordered to put it back to how it was and fined heavily. What is going to happen here?

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Oldest cannonball found in England

A lead ball, believed to be the oldest surviving cannonball in England, has been found at Eagle Drive on the site of the Battle of Northampton.

The battle was fought between Yorkists and Lancastrians on 10 July 1460 in the area now known as Delapré Park and the 50-60mm diameter ball was originally found on farmland in the area of Eagle Drive, Northampton, part of the English Heritage registered battlefield.

The ball was actually found several years ago by the late Stuart Allwork, but had been believed lost until last year. Since its rediscovery the cannon ball has been subjected to detailed analysis by Dr Glenn Foard, one of the UK’s leading experts on medieval artillery and noted battlefield archaeologist from Huddersfield University.

Dr Foard also led the team that found the true site of the Battle of Bosworth. A programme of research and scientific testing of the ball is ongoing, Dr Foard has concluded that “It is highly likely that the projectile was fired during the battle in 1460”.

The Eagle Drive Cannon Ball itself has suffered massive impact damage from at least two bounces, and one gouge still contains small fragments of Northampton Sand and Ironstone. A testimony to the immense forces in play as the shot ricocheted across the battlefield.

Other damage may have been caused by the cannon ball hitting a tree. But whatever caused the damage it is a vivid reminder of the dangers of a medieval battlefield which could at any moment maim or kill without favour the lowliest peasant conscript, one of the most powerful nobles in the Kingdom or even a King. In August the same year James II of Scotland was killed by an exploding cannon at the siege of Roxburgh Castle.

The whole area in which the cannon ball was found is of immense archaeological importance.

Not only is it part of the 1460 battlefield, which contains large and well preserved areas of the medieval field system over which the battle was fought, it is also the site of a Roman villa or settlement. A possible Neolithic cursus of national importance and evidence of ancient trackways criss-cross the site of the find, showing the importance of the area during even earlier periods. Indeed, a number of other important finds from the Stone Age have also been found in the area.

The Battle of Northampton itself is also unique in British military history.

It was the only time a fortification was assaulted, the last time protracted negotiations proceeded a battle, and the only time a whole army was excommunicated during the Wars of the Roses. In its aftermath, Richard of York, the father of Richard III, laid claim to the throne for the first time, setting in train the series of violent and tragic events which eventually saw his son die on the field at Bosworth twenty five years later.

Contemporary accounts suggest as many as 12,000 men could have been either killed during the battle, or trampled to death or drowned in the rout as the defeated Lancastrian Army tried desperately to escape.

Both the Yorkist and Lancastrian armies are known to have had artillery available during the battle, although some contemporary accounts suggest that the Lancastrian guns failed to fire because of the rain. Therefore, the ball most likely originated as the Yorkist gunners targeted Lancastrian troops in their defences.

Thus the find of the Eagle Drive Cannon Ball supports current theories about the position and orientation of the battle which form the basis of Northampton Council’s Conservation Plan for the site which was adopted in 2014.cannonball1

The 1460 Cannonball