Battle of Edgecote Moor
The Battle of Edgecote Moor took place on July 26, 1469 during the Wars of the Roses at Danes Moor in Northamptonshire by a tributary of the Cherwell River . King Edward IV of the House of York was defeated and captured by his own brother George, Duke of Clarence and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (also known as the "Kingmaker"). The victors took over government power in England for a few months until Edward IV was freed by his brother Richard .
With the Battle of Towton in 1461, the House of York had won the first phase of the Wars of the Roses. King Henry VI. , Queen Margaret and Henry Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset ( executed after the Battle of Hexham ), had to flee to Scotland, Edward of York ascended the English throne as Edward IV. The nobility who had sided with the House of Lancaster swore allegiance to King Edward.
A major contributor to the success of the House of York was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the largest and most influential landowner in England. During Edward's early reign, the king and Neville had a very close relationship. Neville held the office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1460 .
In the following years, however, there was an increasing estrangement between Eduard and Neville. One of the main reasons for this was Edward's secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville in 1464 while Neville was negotiating a French marriage option for his king. This insult was soon joined by bitterness over the preference given to the Woodvilles at court. There were also differences in foreign policy: Eduard favored an alliance with Burgundy , while Warwick favored France . In addition, Edward refused to allow his brothers George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to marry Warwick's daughters Isabella and Anne .
In response to these conflicts, Warwick withdrew more and more from the king in the late 1460s. Behind Edward's back he made an alliance with Edward's brother George, Duke of Clarence, who also married Isabella Neville in 1469. When the king moved north in 1469 to put down some minor revolts, Warwick and Clarence took advantage of his absence and began to spread the rumor that Edward was a bastard and Clarence the real heir to the House of York.
In the north, Sir William Conyers, one of Warwick's captains who called himself Robin of Redesdale , started a rebellion. King Edward believed that he could easily put down this rebellion and went there with only a few men. However, he quickly realized that his men were inferior to the rebels and retired to Nottingham to recruit more soldiers there. However, the king had fallen in popularity significantly and found few men willing to join him. Edward therefore waited in Nottingham for the Earls of Pembroke and Devon , who were to come with an army from the south.
On July 12, Warwick and Clarence declared their support for the rebels, and on July 18, Warwick left London as the leader of a large army. The rebels, in turn, rushed south to meet Warwick. In doing so, they bypassed the king in Nottingham, but met the army of Pembroke and Devon at Edgecote Moor.
The armies noticed each other on July 25th. While the Earl of Devon and his Welsh archers had stayed in a village a few miles away, on the morning of July 26th the rebels attacked the Earl Pembroke's troops across the river and forced them to retreat a certain distance. Pembroke was then attacked again, but was able to defend itself while waiting for Devon.
Around noon Pembroke received the message that Devon was approaching quickly. At the same time, however, Warwick's vanguard reached the battlefield, which immediately spurred the rebel fighting spirit. When they recognized Warwick's uniforms, Pembroke's men imagined the full power of his battle-hardened soldiers against them and fled the battlefield. The resistance of the royal army collapsed, possibly before Devon had even reached it.
Result of the battle
Edward IV and the Earl of Pembroke were captured. After the battle, Warwick had his rival Pembroke executed. Warwick and Clarence took over government power in England for a few months. However, a large number of English nobles, including Warwick's brother John Neville, were loyal to the king. Edward IV was soon liberated by an army led by his youngest brother Richard.
Warwick was charged as a traitor in 1470 and was forced to flee to France. He made his allegiance to the House of Lancaster and formed an alliance with his old enemy Margaret of Anjou , wife of Henry VI.
- Philip A. Haigh: The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses. Brambley Books, 1997. ISBN 978-1-85833-770-8 .
- Alison Weir: The Wars of the Roses. Ballantine Books, 1996. ISBN 978-0-345-40433-6 .