Photos By Phil Steele
The international award winning Northamptonshire Battlefield Society will be at Delapre Abbey on 15/16 July for the commemoration of the 1460 battle where we will be giving walks, talks and demonstrations. Come and play our new battle of Northampton game. We will have our new Northamptonshire and Rutland Wars of the Roses Gazetteer and battle heraldry posters on sale as well as the book and game.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier low grade repairs. Photo Matthew Lewis
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/
Dominic Smee has a form of scoliosis similar to King Richard’s and for the recent Channel 4 documentary, Richard III: The New Evidence, Dominic was subject to various riding and training tests to determine if the condition could have had any negative effects on the King’s ability to fight in battle.
Richard Knox, Heritage Development Manager at Bosworth Battlefield Centre opens the talk by giving a history of armour, relating it to Richard 111. Dominic will then talk about his experience during the making of the Channel Four documentary. The talk concludes with Richard arming Dominic in the armour made by Channel Four and adding his own pieces.
Free to full NBS members otherwise £5.00 on the door.
We are pleased to announce that we are launching our new Battle of Northampton 1460 game at Kettering Museum on Saturday 21 January from 11am.
“Northampton 1460” is a two player game of the nationally significant Wars of the Roses battle fought on the 10th July 1460 in the fields of Delapre Abbey, to the south of Northampton. The game is quick and easy to learn and enables the players to refight the battle on their own dining room table.
The game provides the players with the opportunity to examine the decisions made by the opposing commanders on the day, as well as those of an array of supporting characters such as Henry VI, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Queen Margaret. Players can either follow in their footsteps or change the course of history. The game system presents each player with the decisions they could have made on the day as well as those that were made and provides for a range of outcomes. The scoring system enables the players to see how well they have done compared to their historical predecessors, – so it is possible to lose the battle and still win the game!
The game book contains all the components needed to play, – accurate heraldic game counters representing the nobles present, player decision cards, a game board and cards that control the weather, as well as clear, concise rules and a description of the battle. All the players need to add are some dice.
This two player game, which can also be played solo, is suitable for both children and adults, providing an insight to the events both preceding and during this important battle in the bloody and treacherous Wars of the Roses. Produced in a book format it is that rare thing, – an educational game that is also fun to play.
Speed of set up and play means that you can play the game multiple times over to try out different plans and strategies.
Can you change the course of history and defeat Warwick the Kingmaker?
The game is based upon the very successful Northampton Battlefields Society participation game “Northampton 1460” which the Society uses at historical shows and events to explain the battle and promote the Society. Originally intended only to be used for public display repeated requests from participants asking where the game could be bought has led to the Society producing a version that can be played at home.
Retail Price £12.99 Full NBS members £9.99
Jan 26: Dom Smee and Richard Knox – Richard III armour
Feb 23: Mike Ingram – The Earls and Kings of Scotland and Northamptonshire
March 23: Thom Richardson (curator emeritus, Royal Armouries) – Arms and armour in England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
April 27: Mike Brown – The medieval pilgrim
June 1: Bob Woosnam-Savage (Curator of European Edged Weapons, Royal Armouries) – The reality of 15th century warfare – Tis but a scratch
June 29: Andy Chapman – Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age Northants
July 27: Peter Brearley – The story of archery
September 28: Mathew Morris – Revealing Greyfriars. The search for Leicester’s lost Franciscan friary.
October 26: AGM plus Matthew Lewis – Henry III
November 30: Prof Steven Upex. Medieval Field Systems in Northants
All start 7:30pm except AGM (7:00pm)
See our Facebook page under events for more details of individual talks.
All free to full Northampton Battlefields Society members otherwise £5.00 on the door.
Venue: Marriott Hotel, Eagle Dr, Northampton NN4 7HW http://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/
Please dont forget this months talk – this Thursday 21 July.
Our speaker is Harvey Watson of the Battlefields Trust and co-author of “The Battles of St. Albans” talking about the first battle of St. Albans.
7:30pm start, free to NBS members otherwise £5.00 on the door.
Location: Marriot Hotel, Eagle Drive Northampton https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/maps/travel/ormnh-northampton-marriott-hotel/
23 June. Anthony Rich – The Battle of Mortimers Cross
THE BATTLE OF MORTIMER’S CROSS (2 Feb. 1461), was fought near Wigmore in Herefordshire, between the Lancastrians under Jasper Tudor, and the Yorkists under Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV).According to legend, on the morning of the battle, Edward witnessed a conjunction of three suns in the sky; after the victory, Edward, now Duke of York, took the white rose-en-soleil as his personal badge in remembrance. Anthony is an NBS committee member and badged member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. He has done considerable work on the site of the Battle of Mortimers Cross
21 July. Harvey Watson – The First Battle of St. Albans
The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York and his allies, the Neville Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, defeated a royal army commanded by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, who was killed. With King Henry VI captured, a subsequent parliament appointed Richard of York Lord Protector.
Harvey is co-author of the book “The battles of St. Albans” published by Pen and Sword, currently editor of the Battlefields Trust’s quaterly magazine Battlefield, and Chair of their London and South East Region.
All 7:30pm start. Free to full NBS members otherwise £5.00 on the door
Our speaker Roger Emmerson has been building accurate reproductions of cannons since the early 1970’s as a member of the Roundhead Association. His latest working cannon is an entirely accurate 1640’s six pounder bronze drake.
His talk will cover the earliest cannon in England through to the later middle ages and up until the seventeenth century,
and will look at the development of gunpowder, some of the logistics of supply, and at the science of ballistics – as much as it was a developing from art into science.
7:30pm Thursday, 28 April 2016 at the Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton. NN4 7HW