Tuesday 9 July 2013

Trouble in Lincolnshire leads to a battle in Rutland, 1470

Sometime in 1469 two landholders in Lincolnshire fell out over a piece of land. The dispute grew bitter as both sides refused any offer of mediation and began seeking friends and supporters among their neighbours. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the original dispute, the spreading storm had important connotations.
Sir Thomas Burgh of Gainsborough was one party to the argument. He came from an ancient and wealthy Lincolnshire family, though one that had never risen to the nobility. He himself had served as MP for Gainsborough and Sheriff of Lincolnshire. Although the Burgh family was not openly loyal to either side during the earlier bout of fighting, Sir Thomas did find favour with Edward IV in the early 1460s. When Edward rode away from the Earl of Warwick’s Middleham Castle in 1469, he made straight for Gainsborough to seek support and protection from Burgh. Sir Thomas had called out his retainers and escorted the king south while both wondered if Warwick would launch a treacherous attack. Edward therefore owed Burgh a personal favour.
The other man involved in the dispute was Richard, Lord Welles. Socially and materially, Welles was a cut above Burgh. His estates were wide and wealthy, while he himself came from a family that had been ennobled seven generations earlier. He was well connected and popular. In 1461 he had been on the Lancastrian side at the First Battle of St Albans, but he had soon convinced the Yorkists that he had acted out of loyalty to King Henry. By 1463 he was pardoned and returned to his estates. Not only was Welles a wealthy baron, he had attracted to his cause his two brothers in law, Sir Thomas of Lande and Sir Thomas Dymmock. Both these men were wealthy, and Dymmock was the Royal Champion of England. This was a largely ceremonial role, but it did involve the holder in close contact with the monarch - so Edward was again involved.
The dispute was to end with a savage battle fought in Rutland near Empingham.

From "The Battle of Losecoat Field" by Rupert Matthews.

Buy your copy HERE

A book dedicated to the only battle ever fought in Rutland - the Battle of Losecoat Field, a turning point in the Wars of the Roses. In 1470 the Yorkist King Edward IV was apparently secure on his throne, but unknown to him he was about to be betrayed by his own brother, George of Clarence, and the powerful nobleman Richard Earl of Warwick. The rebellion began in Lincolnshire with an uprising of discontented peasanats egged on by fugitive Lancastrians, Edward hurried north up the Great North Road with a small force unaware that he was betrayed and that he would meet his enemies near Empingham in Losecoat Field. This book follows the standard pattern set by others in the Bretwalda Battles series. The reasons for and course of the war in question are outlined, then detailed analyses of weapons, tactics and strategies are given with particular reference to this battle. The course of the battleis then followed, with comment on what there is to see at the site today. Short biographies of the commanders are also given. The aftermath of the battle, its effects and importance to the progress of the war are then described. The "Bretwalda Battles" series has been running with increasing success as ebooks for some time. Now the first books in the series are being published in print format.

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