TOWTON , a
See also:village of
See also:Yorkshire, England, 22 m . S. of Tad-caster, the scene of a
See also:battle fought on Palm
See also:Sunday, the 29th of
See also:March 1461, between the armies of
See also:York and
See also:Lancaster . The party of Lancaster had lately won the battle of St Albans, but, unable to gain
See also:admission into
See also:London, and threatened by the approach of
See also:Edward the
See also:young duke of York from the west of England, was compelled to fall back northward . York, havingbeen proclaimed as Edward IV. on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March 1460/1461, followed them up into Yorkshire, and on the 27th his leading troops surprised the passage of the
See also:Aire at Ferrybridge . The Lancastrians were encamped at Towton, some
See also:miles away, covering Tadcaster and York; but a force under
See also:Lord Clifford was promptly sent out, recaptured Ferrybridge by surprise, and cut to pieces the.Yorkist garrison . About the same
See also:time, how-ever, Edward's
See also:van, under Lord Fauconberg, an experienced soldier, crossed the Aire higher up, and Clifford was compelled to retire . He was closely pressed, and at Dintingdale, within a few furlongs of his own camps, was cut off and killed with nearly all his men . Edward's
See also:body was now close at
See also:hand, and the Lancastrians drew up on their chosen battlefield early on the 29th . This
See also:field was an elevated
See also:plateau, with steep slopes, between the
See also:North Road and the
See also:Cock, cut in two by a depression called Towton Dale . On opposite sides of this depression stood the two armies, that of York facing north, their opponents southward . Both lines of battle were very dense . On a front of little more than a thousand yards the Lancastrian party had nearly 6o,000 men .
Edward's force (less than 50,000) was not all present, the
See also:rear " battle " under Norfolk being still distant .
See also:Snow and
See also:sleet blew in the faces of the Lancastrians and covered the field of battle . The skilful Fauconberg used this
See also:advantage to the utmost . Aided by the
See also:wind, his archers discharged flights of arrows against the enemy, who replied blindly and feebly, hampered by snow and wind . The Yorkists withdrew until the enemy had exhausted their quivers, and then advanced afresh . Their arrows soon stung the Lancastrians into a
See also:wild and disorderly
See also:charge . Suffering severe losses the latter closed with Edward's
See also:line of battle . No quarter was given by either party, and on the narrow front the numerical superiority of the Lancastrians counted for little . The long, doubtful and sanguinary struggle was only decided by the arrival of Norfolk's
See also:corps, which charged the enemy in flank . Driven backwards and inwards, the Lancastrians were in a desperate position, for their only way of
See also:escape to Tadcaster crossed the swollen
See also:waters of the Cock by a single narrow and difficult
See also:ford, and when, after a stubborn struggle, they finally broke and fled, they were slaughtered in thousands as they tried to
See also:cross . At the close of the
See also:day the defeated army had ceased to exist . Twenty-five thousand Lancastrian and eight thousand Yorkist dead were buried in and about Towton .
The neighbourhood of the battle-field contains many
See also:relics and memorials of this, the greatest battle hitherto fought on
See also:soil . Particularly well pre-served is the
See also:tomb of Lord Dacre, a prominent Lancastrian, in Saxton churchyard . See R .
See also:Brooke, Visits to English Battlefields (London, 1857) ; C . R . B . Barrett, Battles and Battlefields of England (London, 1896) ; H . B .
See also:George, Battles of English
See also:History (London, 1895) .
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