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Battle of Towton 1461

List Entry Summary

This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by English Heritage for its special historic interest.

Name: Battle of Towton 1461

List entry Number: 1000040

Location

TOWTON

The battlefield may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Lead

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Saxton with Scarthingwell

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Towton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not Applicable to this List Entry

This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. As these are some of our oldest designation records they do not have all the information held electronically that our modernised records contain. Therefore, the original date of scheduling is not available electronically. The date of scheduling may be noted in our paper records, please contact us for further information.

Date first registered: 06-Jun-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: Battlefields

UID: 41

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Battlefield

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

History

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Details

BATTLE OF TOWTON 1461



The Wars of the Roses were caused by the protracted struggle for power between the reigning dynasty of the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the competing House of York (white rose).

Edward, Earl of March, newly proclaimed King by his Yorkist supporters, led an army north to confront Queen Margaret whose forces upheld the Lancastrian cause of her husband, King Henry VI. The forces met during a snowstorm on a plateau between Towton and Saxton on Palm Sunday, 29 March 1461.

The Lancastrians attacked, but during the course of ten hours of fighting they were forced back until their line crumbled and the struggle degenerated into a series of combats stretching towards Towton and beyond. The heralds after the battle numbered the dead at 28,000.

Towton, reputedly the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought in England, was a decisive victory for the Yorkists. The Lancastrians were unable to muster a field army for three years after the defeat, but it was to be another twenty-five years before the political struggle came to an end.

The battle took place over open arable fields much like the modern landscape, with substantial woodland on both flanks. But for the absence of narrow strips within the fields, the scene is remarkably unchanged from 1461.

AMENITY FEATURES The Listed battlefield cross is at a good vantage point and has a small lay-by for parking. Many of the noblemen were buried at Towton. The old London Road at the northern tip of the battlefield is lined by ancient hedgerows and is a historic feature of interest.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS The battlefield lies in Green Belt land according to the development plan. The east bank of Cock Beck is a Significant Site for Nature Conservation. Much of the tree cover is ancient woodland.

KEY SOURCES Hall, E, 1809, Chronicle Waurin, J de, 1891, Recuiel des Croniques et Anciennes Istories de la Grand Bretagne, a present nomme Engleterre, eds. Sir W Hardy and E L C P Hardy

Selected Sources

Websites
English Heritage, 1995, Battlefield Report: Towton 1461, accessed 11-JUN-2015 from https://content.HistoricEngland.org.uk/content/docs/battlefields/towton.pdf

National Grid Reference: SE4788538800

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing