In July 1469, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, better known as the ‘Kingmaker’, one time mentor of Edward IV rebelled against his protege. An army led by the mysterious ‘Robin of Redesdale’ marched down from the north of England to engage Edward in battle. Edward sent an army led by the Earls of Pembroke and Devon to meet them.
After an initial clash near Daventry, the two sides engaged on 26 July 1469 near the villages of Edgcote and Chipping Warden at a place known as Danesmoor.
Pembroke’s army had been dangerously weakened because, supposedly after an argument the night before, the Earl of Devon had withdrawn his troops. This left Pembroke without archers. The royal army initially held a commanding hilltop position but an attack by the rebel archers forced Pembroke to abandon the position and engage in hand to hand fighting on the valley floor.
Pembroke’s army fought back and was on the brink of success when rebel reinforcements arrived from Northampton. Thinking it was Warwick’s whole army, Pembroke’s troops broke and fled only to be cut down by the rebels.
Pembroke himself was captured and then executed then next day at Queen Eleanor’s Cross in Northampton. In the following days the king himself was taken prisoner at Olney. Earl Rivers, father of the Queen was also captured, brought to Northampton and executed.
With King Edward and the old King Henry VI under his ‘protection’, Warwick was in effective control of the kingdom. 5,000 Welshmen including 168 Nobles were killed in the battle.
Over a century later the Welsh poets were still calling for revenge on those responsible for the “unique treachery” and to exact judgement on the men of the north. Another future king – Henry Tudor, at the time a ten year old ward of the Pembroke, was also at the battle but managed to escape to eventually become King Henry VII.