Northampton Battlefields Society receives new international award

NBS has received an international award. The silver plated figurine of Nathaniel Wade was given to NBS at the International Guild of Battlefield Guides annual dinner on Saturday 14 January 2017 and collected by Vice-Chair Phil Steele and committee member Graham Evans.
The GBG Nathaniel Wade Award is named after one of the first Battlefield Guides. Wade was a Bristol lawyer and the hardworking creator of the rebel army during the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.

 

The award publicly recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation associated with the GBG, who through their efforts has made a significant contribution to the craft of battlefield guiding and the wider Military History community. Last year it was awarded to the Belgian Tourist Office so we are in good company.

In July 2016, Chair Mike Ingram and the society received the Presidents Award from the Battlefields Trust for outstanding contribution to battlefield preservation and interpretation which was presented by Sir Robert Worcester. Previous to that, in 2015 it received an award from the NN4eight local community group for its work on battlefield preservation.

Chair Mike Ingram said afterwards “We are proud and pleased to receive the award and thank the GBG for considering us. It reflects the commitment and the hard work of our committee and members to preserving nationally important battles such as Northampton.”

 

award

The award came the day after NBS gave a display and talk about their work to the GBG at Delapre Golf Club.

 

 

1460 Battle of Northampton Anniversary Event in pictures

Oldest cannonball found in England

A lead ball, believed to be the oldest surviving cannonball in England, has been found at Eagle Drive on the site of the Battle of Northampton.

The battle was fought between Yorkists and Lancastrians on 10 July 1460 in the area now known as Delapré Park and the 50-60mm diameter ball was originally found on farmland in the area of Eagle Drive, Northampton, part of the English Heritage registered battlefield.

The ball was actually found several years ago by the late Stuart Allwork, but had been believed lost until last year. Since its rediscovery the cannon ball has been subjected to detailed analysis by Dr Glenn Foard, one of the UK’s leading experts on medieval artillery and noted battlefield archaeologist from Huddersfield University.

Dr Foard also led the team that found the true site of the Battle of Bosworth. A programme of research and scientific testing of the ball is ongoing, Dr Foard has concluded that “It is highly likely that the projectile was fired during the battle in 1460”.

The Eagle Drive Cannon Ball itself has suffered massive impact damage from at least two bounces, and one gouge still contains small fragments of Northampton Sand and Ironstone. A testimony to the immense forces in play as the shot ricocheted across the battlefield.

Other damage may have been caused by the cannon ball hitting a tree. But whatever caused the damage it is a vivid reminder of the dangers of a medieval battlefield which could at any moment maim or kill without favour the lowliest peasant conscript, one of the most powerful nobles in the Kingdom or even a King. In August the same year James II of Scotland was killed by an exploding cannon at the siege of Roxburgh Castle.

The whole area in which the cannon ball was found is of immense archaeological importance.

Not only is it part of the 1460 battlefield, which contains large and well preserved areas of the medieval field system over which the battle was fought, it is also the site of a Roman villa or settlement. A possible Neolithic cursus of national importance and evidence of ancient trackways criss-cross the site of the find, showing the importance of the area during even earlier periods. Indeed, a number of other important finds from the Stone Age have also been found in the area.

The Battle of Northampton itself is also unique in British military history.

It was the only time a fortification was assaulted, the last time protracted negotiations proceeded a battle, and the only time a whole army was excommunicated during the Wars of the Roses. In its aftermath, Richard of York, the father of Richard III, laid claim to the throne for the first time, setting in train the series of violent and tragic events which eventually saw his son die on the field at Bosworth twenty five years later.

Contemporary accounts suggest as many as 12,000 men could have been either killed during the battle, or trampled to death or drowned in the rout as the defeated Lancastrian Army tried desperately to escape.

Both the Yorkist and Lancastrian armies are known to have had artillery available during the battle, although some contemporary accounts suggest that the Lancastrian guns failed to fire because of the rain. Therefore, the ball most likely originated as the Yorkist gunners targeted Lancastrian troops in their defences.

Thus the find of the Eagle Drive Cannon Ball supports current theories about the position and orientation of the battle which form the basis of Northampton Council’s Conservation Plan for the site which was adopted in 2014.cannonball1

The 1460 Cannonball

NBS wins ‘Community Star’ award

We are pleased to announce that Northampton Battlefield Society has been awarded a Community Star Award by the NN48 Community Group which covers the area around Delapré, Far Cotton and Briar Hill in Northampton. There are ten awards in total including the Community Group Award, The Charity Champion Award and the Good Neighbour Award. NBS has been awarded ‘The Roy Connell Award’ for a Community Group have fought for what they believe in. The award itself is in memory of the late Roy Connell, who was the chair of Far Cotton Residents Association and who fought tirelessly for what he believed in for the benefit of the community.

Chair Mike Ingram said, ‘ We are honoured and grateful to receive this award, and although it may sound like a cliché, this really is an award for all those in the community who have said enough is enough, this is our green space and our battlefield, and we don’t want it destroyed. A big thanks must also go to those people and organisations such as Mortimer, the Battlefields Trust and English Heritage who have been helping behind the scenes’.