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(???? - 1799 AD) Pre-19th Century Battles
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/5/2019 10:28:21 AM

On Kimg Edward’s orders, no mercy was shown in victory.

Skulls later found on the battlefield showed the most horrific injuries: faces split down the bone, heads cut in half, holes punched straight through foreheads. Some men died with more than 20 wounds to their head: the signs of frenzied slaughter by men whipped into a state of barbaric bloodlust.

Some victims were mutilated: their noses and ears ripped off, fingers snipped from hands to remove rings and jewellery in the plunder of the dying.

The field of Towton was known as the "Bloody Meadow", and with good reason. On April 7, Bishop Neville of Exeter wrote to the bishop of Teramo in Flanders. He reported the events of the six weeks that had just passed, including the slaughter at Towton, where he estimated that 28,000 men had been killed. “Alas!” he wrote, “we are a race deserving of pity even from the French.”

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Regards

Jim






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dt509er
Santa Rosa
CA USA
Posts: 787

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/5/2019 11:45:41 AM

Interesting, thank you for sharing Jim.

Dan
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/5/2019 12:02:58 PM

Thanks Dan


Quote:
The field of Towton was known as the "Bloody Meadow", and with good reason. On April 7, Bishop Neville of Exeter wrote to the bishop of Teramo in Flanders. He reported the events of the six weeks that had just passed, including the slaughter at Towton, where he estimated that 28,000 men had been killed. “Alas!” he wrote, “we are a race deserving of pity even from the French.”


Bloody Towton was a ghastly one day episode in English history; and was even more horrific than the first day of the Battle of the Somme .Bishop Neville was right to say that "we were a race to be pitied" such was the carnage brought about by the English fighting each other WITHOUT guns.The common man fought with weapons fashioned out of farm implements and cudgels-they stood no chance against armoured knights on horses.

Regards

Jim
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kaii
Tallinn
 Estonia
Posts: 2622

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/6/2019 8:50:16 AM

When I toured the battlefield at Towton a few years ago (incidentally after a failed attempt to organise a MHO Euro Muster), the guide told that the battle killed 1% of the population of England at the time (with 28,000 estimated deaths, that would mean the population was 2,8 million, which sounds about correct, but was probably slightly higher.

(yet, even if the number is 0.5% of the population, it is a staggering number. Just imagine one single battle with 2,4 mill casualties!)

K
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/6/2019 9:04:23 AM

Thanks kaii--talking about %age of population -the two sides mustered 108,660 sr nearer 3%

Throughout March, thousands of men bearing weapons like these assembled throughout England and beyond. By the end of the month, Edward and Warwick had 48,660 men. The Queen may have had as many as 60,000. A showdown for the throne of England had begun.

The armies met in the north, near Towton, on Palm Sunday, March 29 1461. The Yorkshire countryside was frozen. Snow and sleet fell, increasingly heavy as the early morning unfolded.

Nevertheless, the two massive armies rumbled into position and by nine o’clock they were ready to fight, mustered in two huge lines, facing each other across a shallow ridge.

The blizzard swirled around them, making the battlefield a slippery, half-blind nightmare.

Regards

Jim
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George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10054

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/6/2019 9:13:01 AM

Jim, did the battle alter the balance of power at all?

I don't think that the issue of which house would rule was settled with this battle after all of the killing, was it?

Cheers,

George
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 1/6/2019 9:35:22 AM


Quote:
Jim, did the battle alter the balance of power at all?

I don't think that the issue of which house would rule was settled with this battle after all of the killing, was it?

Cheers,

George
--George


Your assumption is correct George--Bosworth was the last battle in the Wars of the Roses.

The Wars of the Roses were a series of battles fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1485 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The name Wars of the Roses (sometimes mistakenly referred to as War of the Roses) is based on the badges used by the two sides, the red rose for the Lancastrians and the white rose for the Yorkists.


Major causes of the conflict include: 1) both houses were direct descendents of king Edward III; 2) the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles; 3) the civil unrest of much of the population; 4) the availability of many powerful lords with their own private armies; and 5) the untimely episodes of mental illness by Henry VI.

The wars ended when Richard III, the last Yorkist king, was defeated at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 by Henry Tudor founder of the house of Tudor--the overall dearth toll was c. 55,000.

Regards

Jim


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jeremycrowhurst
NASHVILLE
TN USA
Posts: 2

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/8/2019 4:19:08 AM

thanks Jim for sharing interesting things

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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/8/2019 5:26:34 AM

By 1464, the Yorkists had "wiped out all effective Lancastrian resistance in the north of Engl.

Edward's reign was not interrupted until 1470; by then, his relationship with Warwick had deteriorated to such an extent that the earl defected to the Lancastrians and forced Edward to flee England, restoring Henry to the throne.

The interruption of Yorkist rule was brief, as Edward regained his throne after defeating Warwick and his Lancastrian cohorts at the Battle of Barnet.

This battle lasted from two to three hours, and was over by the time the fog lifted in the early morning. As usual in most battles of the time, the routed army suffered far more casualties; fleeing men were cut down from behind. Contemporary sources give various casualty figures; the "Great Chronicle of London" reports 1,500 dead, whereas "Warkworth's Chronicle" states 4,000. Edward Hall and Raphael Holinshed, both 16th-century chroniclers, say that at least 10,000 men died in the battle.

The Yorkists suffered half as many casualties as the Lancastrians. Royle favours the recorded approximate figures of 500 Yorkists and 1,000 Lancastrians dead.

The bodies of the two Neville brothers were brought back to London. They did not suffer the customary fate accorded to traitors—quartering and display at the city gates.

Edward exhibited the brothers' naked corpses in St. Paul's Cathedral for three days to quell any rumours that they had survived, before allowing them to be laid to rest in the family vault at Bisham Abbey.

Regards

Jim



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phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4071

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/8/2019 1:09:04 PM

Do you think that we ought to be a bit circumspect about this claim for 28,000 dead for Towton ?

Is it really plausible that one per cent of the entire English population was killed in one day ?

Medieval chroniclers liked to indulge in rhetorical exaggeration.

On no account imagine that I seek to downplay the horror of what happened there.

Perhaps my circumspection is not merited : after all, the people of Rwanda slaughtered 800,000 people in a matter of weeks, many of them hacked to death. I suppose English society was also tribal in the fifteenth century, and combat was unimaginably gruesome.

The ghastly wounds and deliberate mutilation that Jim alludes to in his OP were inflicted on an archer, whose skeleton was conspicuous for the musculature developed by longbowmen. Archers were hated on account of their ability to kill at a distance.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/8/2019 1:55:49 PM

I fave to agree about the Towton dead-this was the forecast made by a bishop and how he arrived at that figure is not given. I would remid you however that Towton was a massacre afrer Edward ordered NO Quarter

Contemporary and resonable recorders are therefore more likely sources but give various casualty figures for the follow on battle and are very much less; the "Great Chronicle of London" reports 1,500 dead, whereas "Warkworth's Chronicle" states 4,000. Edward Hall and Raphael Holinshed, both 16th-century chroniclers, say that at least 10,000 men died in the battle.

Throughout March, thousands of men bearing weapons like these assembled throughout England and beyond. By the end of the month, Edward and Warwick had 48,660 men. The Queen may have had as many as 60,000. A showdown for the throne of England had begun.

The Yorkists suffered half as many casualties as the Lancastrians. Royle favours the recorded approximate figures of 500 Yorkists and 1,000 Lancastrians dead.

As you can see-the figures are all over the place.

NB.The population of England, around 3.5 million or more in 1086, is estimated to have grown to somewhere between 3.7 million and 5–7 million, although the 14th-century estimates derive from sources after the first plague epidemics, and the estimates for pre-plague population depends on "assumed" plague mortality.

Regards

Jim



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Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4071

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/9/2019 8:50:03 AM

One of the aspects that challenges my understanding about the claim for Towton’s toll is how this sort of scale can be reconciled with the needs of a subsistence economy .

England was a rural society, with the vast majority of people working the land, literally hand to mouth.

I suppose that, in this respect, a huge deployment in February was not so disruptive to agriculture, since the principal tasks of the farming year had already been accomplished.

I must keep an open mind about the legendary figure of twenty eight thousand dead. Reservations notwithstanding , it would be rash to dismiss it as hyperbole.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS
 UK
Posts: 7899

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 5/9/2019 9:29:39 AM

The Lancastrians lost many more troops in their rout than from the battlefield than the battle itself.

Men struggling across the river were dragged down by currents and drowned. Those floundering were stepped on and pushed under water by their comrades behind them as they rushed to get away from the Yorkists.

As the Lancastrians struggled across the river, Yorkist archers rode to high vantage points and shot arrows at them.

The dead began to pile up and the chronicles state that the Lancastrians eventually fled across these "bridges" of bodies.

The chase continued northwards across the River Wharfe, which was larger than Cock Beck. A bridge over the river collapsed under the flood of men and many drowned trying to cross.

Many of the surviving Lancastrian nobles switched allegiance to King Edward, and those who did not were driven back to the northern border areas and a few castles in Wales. Edward advanced to take York, where he replaced the rotting heads of his father, his brother, and Salisbury withhose of defeated Lancastrian lords such as the notorious John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford of Skipton-Craven, who was blamed for the execution of Edward's brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, after the Battle of Wakefield.

Those who hid in Tadcaster and York were hunted down and killed
Extracted from Wikipedia

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan
MI USA
Posts: 5490

Re: Bloody Towton 2nd February 1461
Posted on: 7/7/2019 9:50:40 PM

Hi Jim,

Medicine being so bad back then, did not help the situation!?

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What say you?
MD
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