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Battle of Northampton, 1460

Battle of Northampton, 1460

Wars of the Roses

Northampton was one of the principal seats of Medieval Royal Government: its castle and administrative centre for the southern part of the kingdom. This accounts for the fact that the trial of Thomas Becket took place here and the University was founded here in 1261 but also for the significant Battle of Northampton in The Wars of the Roses. The Lancastrian King Henry Vl with his wife Margaret Anjou held the strategic position on the far side of the river Nene with the castle behind them. On the 10th July 1460 the Yorkist forces under Warwick the Kingmaker and the Royal claimant Edward Earl of March massed on the sloping ground of Delapre Abbey (now Delapre Golf Club).

At 2pm they advanced towards the Lancastrian army which was well dug in behind a water filled ditch filled with sharpened stakes. The Lancastrians answered with a shower of arrows but the wind and heavy rain tended to deflect these. Worst still for Henry Vl his commander on the left flank Lord Grey of Ruthvin changed sides allowing the Yorkist army to sweep in and capture the King. He was first taken to the abbey itself and from there to imprisonment in the Tower of London. The following year Edward, Earl of March was crowned Edward lV. One notable feature of the battle was the fact that artillery was used for the first time in England, though this had little effect as the rain has rendered the powder ineffectual.

The other principal Yorkist site in the county is at Fotheringhay where the tombs of Edward lV father and his uncle Edward, 2nd and 3rd Dukes of York are to be found.

Contact & Opening Times

Delapre Abbey
London Road

NN4 8AW 

The battlefield is now in the grounds of Delapre Abbey, hugely popular year-round with walkers and garden lovers.

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