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Visits to Fields of Battle, in England, of the Fifteenth Century to which are added, some miscellaneous tracts and papers

Visits to Fields of Battle, in England, of the Fifteenth Century
to which are added, some miscellaneous tracts and papers
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Title: Visits to Fields of Battle, in England, of the Fifteenth Century to which are added, some miscellaneous tracts and papers
Release Date: 2018-10-21
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Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Visits to Fields of Battle, in England, ofthe Fifteenth Century, by Richard BrookeThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Visits to Fields of Battle, in England, of the Fifteenth Century       to which are added, some miscellaneous tracts and papersAuthor: Richard BrookeRelease Date: October 21, 2018  [eBook #58147]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK VISITS TO FIELDS OF BATTLE, INENGLAND, OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY***

Transcribed from the 1857 John Russell Smith edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]  Many thanks to the Bodleian /British Library for the scans of the book.

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Battlefield Church

VISITS
TO
FIELDS OF BATTLE,
IN
ENGLAND,
OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY;

TO WHICH AREADDED,
SOME MISCELLANEOUS TRACTS AND PAPERS UPON
ARCHÆOLOGICAL SUBJECTS.

BY
RICHARD BROOKE, ESQ., F.S.A.

 

LONDON:
JOHN RUSSELL SMITH,
36, SOHO SQUARE.
LIVERPOOL:
J. MAWDSLEY AND SON, CASTLE STREET.
M DCCC LVII.

 

p. iv

 

London;F. Pickton, Printer, Perry’sPlace, 29, Oxford Street

p.vPREFACE.

In the course of the fifteenthcentury, England experienced, in a lamentable degree, the sadeffects of internal discord, and the miseries caused by theconflicts of adverse factions.

It is scarcely possible, for historians to point out, in theannals of any country in Europe, in the feudal ages, deeds ofviolence and bloodshed, of a more appalling nature, than thosewhich the chroniclers have recorded, as having occurred inEngland, during the period which intervened between the years1400 and 1500—a period memorable for the sanguinary wars ofYork and Lancaster.  During the continuance of thosedisastrous conflicts, thousands of brave men perished in arms,the axe of the executioner was seldom idle, great numbers of thenobility and gentry lost their lives in the field or upon thescaffold, property was usurped in consequence of wholesaleconfiscations, numberless innocent lives were sacrificed, andmany happy homes were outraged.

This misery was the result of contests for a crown, whichperhaps neither of the claimants merited, nor does it appear,that it was of great importance to the nation, which of the rivalcompetitors wore it.

Of those destructive wars, the battle of Shrewsbury in thereign of Henry IV., in 1403, may be considered in some degree asthe first; because it was the earliest attempt by an appeal toarms, to remove from the throne a monarch of the House ofLancaster; [v] and the last was the battle of p. viStoke, foughtin 1487, in the reign of Henry VII.; that of Bosworth, in which,by the death of Richard III., the Plantagenet dynasty terminated,being often erroneously called the last; but, although the lattercertainly placed the House of Tudor upon the throne, the crownwas secured to it by the battle of Stoke, when the partisans ofthe House of York, under John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, madetheir final but unsuccessful appeal to arms, in hopes ofregaining the ascendency, which that party had formerlyenjoyed.

These sanguinary conflicts are usually called the Wars of theRoses, from the circumstance, that the supporters of the House ofYork assumed the badge or device of the White Rose, and those ofLancaster the Red Rose.

It has been remarked with great truth, by Sir John Fenn, theantiquary, [vi1] in adverting to that disastrousperiod, “That our own kingdom has fewer authentic recordsof the transactions, during the reigns of Henry VI., Edward IV.,and Richard III., than of any other later period of our history,is a truth known to and lamented by every man of historicalknowledge.”

He ascribes the deficiency of information, amongst othercauses, to the invention of printing; which at first sightappears to be a paradox, because such an invention seems to becalculated to favour universal knowledge:—“At thebeginning of the art of printing, those who practised it, weresolicitous to perpetuate things already committed to writing,relative to past times, and past occurrences, not regardingrecent transactions as of equal consequence.  This artlikewise probably prevented the writers of manuscripts frommultiplying their copies; they foreseeing that the new inventionwould in time, supply a sufficient number, at a much less price,by which means, the value of their manual labour would be greatlydiminished.” [vi2]

p.viiNotwithstanding, however, the scanty nature of thehistorical accounts handed down to us, some information of valuehas reached us; and the fields of battle, and the positions ofthe hostile armies, may in several instances, be clearlyidentified, after a perusal of the statements of the oldchroniclers, and a comparison of their descriptions with thepresent aspect of the localities where the battles werefought.

Having felt a considerable degree of interest in theoccurrences of those stirring and extraordinary times, I haverepeatedly visited the scenes of action; and, by carefullycomparing the statements of the old writers, the actualappearance of the fields, and the traditions of theneighbourhood, I have obtained strong confirmation, in severalinstances, of the accuracy of the accounts which have been handeddown to us; and have derived great pleasure from visiting andexploring the various localities, and obtaining information frompersons in the vicinity.

The results of my visits were committed to writing, in aseries of papers, [vii] of which copies,or the principal parts, will be found in the followingpages.  Some historical matters will also be introduced, insuch instances as tend to elucidate any important event, whichimmediately preceded or had a direct relation to any of thebattles.

It is much to be regretted, that in the majority of historicalworks, describing the events of this country in the fifteenthcentury, whenever the exploits of any noblemen or warriors, p. viiior thetalents or skill of any men of eminence, are mentioned, theauthors, from some cause or other, very rarely give anyinformation of much value relative to the individuals whoseactions they are describing; but as few readers can reflect uponthe surprising events of that period without feeling aconsiderable degree of interest in the warlike and distinguishedpersonages, who were the principal actors in those stirring andeventful times, there will be found in the notes to this work,some explanatory and biographical particulars [viii] of the princes, nobles, and eminentpersons, whose actions and conduct are noticed in it.

In the following publication will also be found some otherpapers and tracts, principally of an archæological nature,written at various times, as the subjects came under my notice;and as they may possibly interest, in some degree, the class ofreaders who take pleasure in pursuits of that description, I havebeen induced to add them to the present collection.

In committing this work to the press, it will be a source ofgratification to the Author, if his humble exertions shall be, insome degree, instrumental in elucidating any events hithertoimperfectly known, in solving any difficulties which may havesuggested themselves, or in confirming the statements of the oldhistorical writers of this country.

RICHARD BROOKE.

12th March, 1857.

p.ixCONTENTS.

 

 

PAGE

Chap.I.

The Field of the Battle of Shrewsbury

1

II.

,,     ,,       ,,    Blore Heath

21

III.

,,     ,,       ,,    Northampton

39

IV.

,,     ,,       ,,    Wakefield

53

V.

,,     ,,       ,,    Mortimer’s Cross

67

VI.

,,     ,,       ,,    Towton

81

VII.

,,     ,,       ,,    Tewkesbury

131

VIII.

,,     ,,       ,,    Bosworth

157

IX.

,,     ,,       ,,    Stoke

177

 

,,     ,,       ,,    Evesham

203

 

,,     ,,       ,,    Barnet

205

X.

The General Use of Firearms by the English, in theFifteenth Century

213

XI.

The ancient Family of Wyche, or De la Wyche, ofCheshire

245

XII.

Wilmslow Church, in Cheshire

253

XIII.

Handford Hall and Cheadle Church, in Cheshire

267

XIV.

Part 1.  The Office of Keeper of the Royal Menageriein the reign of Edward IV.

283

 

Part 2.  The probable period of the Extinction ofWolves in England

287

AppendixNo. I.

Extract from the Act of Attainder of 1st Edward IV.,passed in 1461

301

II.

Extract from the Act of Attainder of 14th Edward IV.,passed in 1475

308

III.

Extract from the Act of Attainder of 1st Henry VII.,passed in 1485

309

p. xIV.

Proclamation for enforcing Order and Discipline, andExtract from a Journal of the March and Proceedings of HenryVII., previously to the Battle of Stoke

310

V.

Extract from the Act of Attainder of 3rd Henry VII.,passed in 1487

315

VI.

Extract from the Act of Attainder of 11th Henry VII.,passed against Lord Lovel in 1495

317

VII.

Letter from William Cooper, Esq., Clerk of the Parliamentof 9th August, 1737

318

ILLUSTRATIONS.

p. 1CHAPTERI.

THE
FIELD OF THE BATTLE
OF
SHREWSBURY. [1a]

         “Afterhim came spurring hard
A gentleman almost forspent with speed,
That stopp’d by me to breathe his bloodied horse:
He ask’d the way to Chester; and of him
I did demand, what news from Shrewsbury.
He told me, that rebellion had ill luck,
And that you Harry Percy’s spur was cold.”

Shakespeare’s Henry IV.part ii. act 1, scene 1.

Twice in the year 1851, and once in each of the fivesucceeding years, [1b] I visited the field of the celebratedBattle of Shrewsbury, and also the church erected there by KingHenry the Fourth.  It is called Battlefield Church, and owesits erection to Henry’s gratitude for, and desire tocommemorate, the victory which he obtained in 1403, over theinsurgent forces commanded by Henry Percy, usually calledHotspur, the son of Henry Percy, the first Earl of Northumberland[1c] p. 2of that surname, and by theearl’s brother, Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester. [2a]

The field of battle has also occasionally been called theBattle of Berwick Field, of Bull Field, and of Hussee Field: thetwo former appellations being taken from the names ofneighbouring places, at or near which, Percy’s army is saidto have been, prior to the battle; and the latter from an ancientfamily owning the lands where the battle took place, [2b] and it is now called Battlefield.

It lies about three miles and a quarter, in a north-westwardlydirection, from Shrewsbury, contiguous to the turnpike road, ofwhich one fork or continuation leads in one direction by Preesand Whitchurch, towards Cheshire, and another towards p. 3 Hodnet, andMarket Drayton.  From that road there is also another roadwhich turns off to the eastward, towards Staffordshire. Those circumstances may be material, with reference toendeavouring to ascertain the line of march of the insurgentforces when they advanced towards Shrewsbury.

In 1403, a confederacy was entered into between the Earl ofNorthumberland, the Earl of Worcester, Henry Percy (calledHotspur), Owen Glendowr, and others, for an insurrection [3a] against Henry IV.  In order toprevent its being interfered with by incursions from the Scotch,and probably also in order to have a valiant and usefulconfederate, Archibald Earl Douglas, who had been taken prisonerat the battle of Hallidown Hill in 1402, was liberated by Percyon condition of his engaging to join in the enterprise, and wasallowed to go home, from whence he returned with a select partyof his own men.  The Earl of Northumberland was unwell, andremained at Berwick; but his son Henry Percy commenced his marchtowards Cheshire, where he expected to be reinforced by thegentlemen of that county, who had always been attached to thememory of Richard II., and he was not disappointed in thatrespect.  Percy, with Earl Douglas and a great army,departed out of the northern parts, leaving his (Percy’s)father sick, and came to Stafford, where his uncle the Earl ofWorcester and he met, [3b] and increased theirforces by all the means they could devise; from thence theyproceeded towards Wales, expecting there additional aid andreinforcements. [3b]

Not any of the old annalists

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