Battle of Bramham Moor

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Battle of Bramham Moor

Wetherby, West Yorkshire The 19th of February 1408 AD

Bramham near Tadcaster in West Yorkshire was in 1408 the scene of the end of the so-called Percy Rebellion. Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland , once the usurping Henry IV’s loyal lieutenant, quarrelled over the ransoms due after their victory over the Scots at Homildon Hill, and changed sides to oppose him. Moving from Scotland to Wales to France and again to Scotland seeking to build his power base Percy’s cause was ill-starred from the outset. In 1403 he lost the battle of Shrewsbury , where his son Harry Hotspur died.

Fearing betrayal by the Scots sheltering him Percy decided on a desperate throw of the dice, gathering an army of Scots malcontents, mercenaries and bandits to mount an invasion.

Reaching Thirsk Percy and Lord Bardolph his deputy issued a proclamation inviting the people to rise with him, but by now Henry was the face of stability and strength, and few joined them.

The Sheriff of Yorkshire, Sir Thomas Rokeby, not waiting for the King to arrive with his army, gathered trained soldiers from his county and moved against the rebels, the two forces meeting at Bramham Moor, probably on February 20th, although some say the 19th, or even the 14th.

History leaves us few details of the battle, but it is generally held that the English long-bow, the ultimate weapon of its day, thinned the rebel lines before hand-to-hand combat was joined in a huge melee, the training of the loyalists being another decisive factor against the raw rebels, who were quickly routed.

Bardolph was killed in the battle’s early stages, and Percy was either killed retreating, or captured and summarily executed. The trials of many prominent rebels followed shortly after the battle, 16 being hung drawn and quartered. The Lancaster cause was for the time being safe, and Glendower’s uprising in Wales was extinguished two years later.

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