Battle of Edgcote Anniversary Walk

Edgecote is another of Northamptonshires forgotten battlefields. This one marked the beginning of the second stage of the Wars of the Roses – Warwick’s rebellion and according to legend, decided by a Banbury barmaid. The Yorkist forces were slaughtered including 152 Welsh nobles. Their leader William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, captured and executed at Northampton’s Queen Eleanor Cross whilst Warwick and Edward’s brother Clarence looked on

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Date: 26 July 2017

Where: The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden

Time: 7:30pm

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Change of Speaker 29 June 2017

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have a new speaker and talk for our next talk on 29 June. It will now be Rob Atkins from MOLA talking about Iron Age Northants. Rob has been a post-excavation manager at MOLA’s Northampton office since March 2016 and is employed to write up and publish backlog sites as well as help colleagues in report writing. Rob graduated from Birmingham University in 1989 with a BSocSc in Economic and Social History. He worked for various archaeological units before being employed by MOLA in 1993 as a site assistant and later as a supervisor. In 2002 he briefly left MOLA to be a project officer with the old Cambridgeshire County Council unit (now OA East) before returning in his current role. Rob has always been very interested in the post-excavation side of archaeology and has authored or co-authored various monographs and articles in local and national journals over the last 15 or so years.

Queen Eleanor’s Cross – The story so far

When Edward I’s queen, Eleanor died in 1290 at Harby, her viscera, less her heart, were sent to the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral for burial, and her body was then taken to London, taking 12 days to reach Westminster Abbey. Crosses were erected at the twelve places where her funeral procession stopped overnight. Today only three crosses still stand, at Geddington, Northampton, and Waltham Cross. The top of the Northampton Cross was missing in 1460 at the time of the battle.

eleanor cross

 Northampton’s Queen Eleanor Cross. Photo Nicola McKenna
In July 2016, Northamptonshire Battlefield Society began to express concerns about the deteriorating condition of the Northampton Cross in meetings with Northampton Borough Council and other stakeholders in Delapre park. NBS continued to bring it up at subsequent meetings but got no further than a than a dispute of who was responsible for its upkeep. Frustrated at the lack of action, NBS made their concerns public which were then taken up by BBC Radio Northampton. Starting Monday 24 April, for three days in succession it was headline news and the chair of NBS, author Sara Cockerill and others were interviewed on the radio. As a result, the Borough Council issued the following statement.

“We are aware of the many references to the cross on our website and sadly whilst this seems contradictory we still believe this isn’t proof of our ownership of the cross, however we have carried out extensive maintenance on the cross in the past we now intend to carry out further work to tidy up what is undoubtedly a fantastic monument of national importance”

And this was despite the cross being listed on the council’s asset register. So, on Wednesday 26 April this page was launched. The threat to the cross sparked outrage within the local community and further afield. Support grew rapidly and a twitter feed was greeted with a similar response, also gaining celebrity support from the likes of Tony Robinson and Al Murray. The cross’s plight made TV and interviews with the NBS Chair, plus Marie Dickie and Adrian Bell from the Hardingstone History Group was shown on BBC Look East on 2 May.

eleanor growth 3

Some of the growth on the Cross. Photo Matthew Lewis

Then on the afternoon of 2 May, Northampton Borough Council released the following statement

“We are moving ahead as quickly as possible to get the permission we need to carry out work on the Eleanor Cross. We have met with Historic England and taken their advice and have already approached three accredited restoration and conservation companies with the experience of working on such important monuments. Two have already responded and when we have heard from the third, we will appoint a contractor to carry out a condition survey, commission initial works and advise on what further work is needed going forward.
“We have formally made an application to work on a scheduled monument and once we have received the permission necessary from Historic England work will begin straight away. We are well aware of the importance of the Eleanor Cross and how our plans for Delapré Abbey will raise its profile even further.”

There is a way to go yet. Support continues to grow and NBS will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the council sticks to its promise. Responsibility needs to be confirmed and a long term maintenance program needs to be sorted. Better access to the site and some signage are also priorities. We will continue to report progress.
But all in all, not bad for little over a week. Thank you everybody.

eleanor patching

Earlier low grade repairs. Photo Matthew Lewis

Next Talk: 27 April 2017 – 7:30pm

It is the welcome return of Mike Brown. This time talking about the medieval pilgrim. Mike has walked all the pilgrim routes of Europe dressed as a medieval pilgrim and will tell their story and play some of tunes of the time on authentic instruments.

Free to full Northampton Battlefields Society members otherwise £5.00 on the door.

Location: Marriott Hotel, Northampton  https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/

mike brown

Talk Thursday 23 March Arms and Armour in 14th and 15th Century England

7:30pm

Location : Marriott Hotel, Northampton. https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/

£5.00 on the door. Free to full NBS members

Thom Richardson FSA is Curator Emeritus at the Royal Armouries.
He is former Research and Collections Advisor (2015–2016), Deputy Master and Head of Collections (2014–2015), and Keeper of the Armour and Oriental Collections (1996–2014).

Thom joined the staff of the Tower Armouries in 1984 having previously worked for the British Museum and Manchester City Art Gallery. He completed his PhD on ‘The medieval inventories of the Tower armouries 1320–1410’ at the University of York in 2012.

He is former Research and Collections Advisor (2015–2016), Deputy Master and Head of Collections (2014–2015), and Keeper of the Armour and Oriental Collections (1996–2014).

Thom joined the staff of the Tower Armouries in 1984 having previously worked for the British Museum and Manchester City Art Gallery. He completed his PhD on ‘The medieval inventories of the Tower armouries 1320–1410’ at the University of York in 2012.

His new book The Tower Armoury in the Fourteenth Century has been recently published. https://shop.royalarmouries.org/books-and-dvds/royal-armouries-publications/royal-armouries-publications/the-tower-armoury-in-the-fourteenth-century-by-thom-richardson.html

Talk by Phil Steele – Medieval Battle in Contemporary Illustration

Thursday 29 September 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton.

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/

Phil is Vice-Chair of NBS and Honorary Life President of The Society of Ancients, as well as a Trustee of the Battlefields Trust

1460 Battle of Northampton timeline 2

9 July 1460

The Yorkist army approaches Northampton through Blisworth and probably camps for the night at Hardingstone.

The Lancastrian camp begins to swell with men as towns answer the King’s summons. Twenty men from Beverley arrive after their mayor threw a party for them before they left. Men from Shrewsbury are also there too. Northampton’s leading gentry and their men such as the Wake’s, Catesby’s, Vaux’s and Tresham’s all come in support of the King. The Duke of Buckingham, as earl of Northampton draws men from his local estates, as does the Queen who owns Kingsthorpe Village. The town itself calls out the militia which fights under the town’s ‘Wild Rat’ banner.

The Yorkists send Heralds and Bishops ahead to the Lancastrian camp to negotiate, still maintaining they do not want to fight, only talk with the King.