Battle of Hedgeley Moor

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Battle of Hedgeley Moor

Morpeth, Northumberland The 25th of April 1464 AD

Although the Lancastrian cause had probably been fatally wounded at Towton three years earlier, the body was still twitching with pockets of resistance in the North East ( Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh in Percy territory held out). There were also individuals with grudges and grievances who could be exploited by the ever determined Queen Margaret.

The Duke of Somerset had sided again in 1464 with the deposed Henry VI (or more truthfully with Margaret), and had moved to the Lancastrian strongholds in Northumberland. Edward IV was seeking to cut off the Scottish support for the red rose side by negotiations to be held in York, whence Montagu was sent with an army, either to guard the Scots envoys or to encounter the Lancastrians.

The two forces met on the 25th of April 1464 on the moors between Wooler and Morpeth, the Lancastrians under Somerset with some 5,000 men, the Yorkists under Montagu perhaps 1,000 stronger.

Somerset had the sense to occupy high ground and await the enemy as archers exchanged fire. When Montagu did advance one flank of the Lancastrian force under Roos and Hungerford turned tail and ran. The division headed by Somerset quickly followed in a rout, leaving a small force led by Ralph Percy with his retainers to perish in a futile act of defiance.

In spite of the ignominious defeat at Hedgeley Moor the Lancastrian cause would still not admit defeat. A month later at Hexham the conflict would take a more decisive turn.

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