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Battle of Stoke Field 1487

Battle of Stoke Field was a decisive engagement by leading Yorkists to unseat King Henry VII in favour of the pretender Lambert Simnel.

The Battle of Stoke Field has become 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 a commoner, instructed by Richard Simons a priest and others to impersonate the Earl of Warwick. Lambert claimed he had escaped from the Tower of London, it had been where the Earl of Warwick became held.

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

Battle at Stoke Field

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

The German mercenaries had been 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 they became cut down in increasing numbers by repeated showers of arrows.

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

After the battle

Richard Simons avoided execution due to his priestly status, he had become 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.

By , last updated: 28th November 2020