Battle of Mortimer’s Cross

The 2nd of February 1461 saw one of the most important battles during the Wars of the Roses.

Edward, Earl of March, had effectively become Duke of York and heir to the English throne in December of the previous year, when his father and elder brother Edmund had been killed at Wakefield by the forces of Margaret of Anjou.  Edward and Lord Warwick were gathered on the Welsh borders with a relatively small army.

Jasper Tudor came from his homelands in Wales with an army of maybe 4000, marching to meet with Margaret as she marched on to London.

The two sides would meet at a place called Mortimer’s Cross in modern day Herefordshire.

The Yorkist army were closer to the battle site so would have had the benefit of being able to choose their position against the predominantly Welsh Lancastrians.  They obviously chose well, as their side emerged victorious from the battle.

A major prisoner was taken in the form of Owen Tudor, father to Jasper, grandfather to the future Henry VII.  He was taken to Hereford, along with other noble prisoners, where they were executed in retaliation for the murder of the Duke of York.

The Yorkist group tarried a while at Hereford, probably planning their next move.  Approximately two weeks later they decamped towards London, where they arrived on the 26th February.  They city welcomed them and Edward was declared King of England there on the 4th March.

It is fair to say that Mortimer’s Cross was an important battle in the Wars of the Roses, without which, Edward may not have won his crown.

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