Chapter 5 Aftermath



The Battle of Northampton was one of the first great battles of the Wars of the Roses, and it was a real turning point. For years the disputes between the causes of York and Lancaster had been played out in the political arena but when the Lancastrians turned to violence they surprised and shocked the Yorkists. But not for long.

The Duke of York fled into exile in Ireland with one son, while a second went to France and the others sought sanctuary. It proved to be only a temporary defeat. With his dashing, talented ally the Earl of Warwick, York contacted friends and supporters across England. Word spread that the Yorkists should get ready to support their leader for he was coming home in the summer of 1460.

In the event it was Warwick and York’s son Edward, Earl of March, who reached England first. London welcomed them with open arms and men flocked to join their standard. But lurking in the Midlands was the Duke of Buckingham with King Henry VI and an army of prodigious strength.

Warwick marched north, confronting Buckingham just outside Northampton. The battle was fought to the south of the crossing over the River Nene, in the grounds of Delapre Abbey. The site is now a golf course and - bunkers apart - has not changed much over the years. The battle that followed was savage and murderous. Cannon were present in numbers for the first time in a battle fought on English soil, though the older weapons of bow, sword and lance predominated.

The Wars of the Roses would continue for years after Northampton, but the battle fought here set the tone and the pattern for what was to follow: treachery, ruthless violence, political subterfuge and barbaric slaughter dominated at Northampton and were to become savagely typical of the Wars of the Roses in the decades that followed as England was torn apart in a civil war of unparalleled viciousness.

This book seeks to explain why the Battle of Northampton was fought, how it was fought and what its results turned out to be. So read on and learn how history was made in Northampton.


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