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Stoke 1487

The Battle of Stoke – 16th June 1487

Stoke is considered by most people as the final conflict in the Wars of the Roses. The Yorkist loyalists concocted a scheme in a last gasp attempt to regain the crown.

german mercenaries being felled at the battle of stoke field in 1487
German mercenaries being felled at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487

Lambert Simnel who was a commoner, instructed by Richard Simons a priest and others to impersonate the Earl of Warwick. Lambert was to claim he escaped from the Tower of London where Warwick was being held and upon his escape he was crowned King Edward IV in Dublin Ireland on 24th May 1487.

4th June 1487 The new Yorkist group headed by the Earl of Lincoln landed in England and began to collect an army of English soldiers and German and Irish mercenaries.

16th June 1487 King Henry VII army was divided into three, which the Earl of Oxford led the vanguard. The Yorkist’s suffering from the arrows chose to surrender the high ground by immediately going on to the attack in the hope of breaking the Lancastrian line and rolling up the enemy army. The vanguard was badly shaken, but Oxford was able to rally his force. The battle was bitterly contested for over three hours.

Though the German mercenaries were equipped with the latest handguns, the presence of large numbers of traditional archers in the Lancastrian army proved decisive. The skilled longbowmen were able to shoot volley after volley into the Yorkist position. The lack of body armour on the Irish troops in particular meant that they were cut down in increasing numbers by repeated showers of arrows.

The broken Yorkists fled towards the Trent down a ravine in which many were cornered and killed. Thomas FitzGerald, Sir Thomas Broughton and Schwartz were killed in the battle.

Richard Simons avoided execution due to his priestly status, but was imprisoned for life.

King Henry pardoned young Simnel realising that he was merely a puppet for the leading Yorkists, he gave him a job in the royal kitchen as a spit-turner.

Published by on 30th September 2020
Last updated on 9th October 2020