War of the Roses


Battle of Hexham


Date: 15th May 1464   Victory: Yorkist
 
House of York
John Neville (1st Marquess of Montagu)      
 
House of Lancaster
Henry Beaufort (3rd Duke of Somerset)   Robert Hungerford (3rd Baron Hungerford)
Philip Wentworth (Knight of Nettlestead)      

Lord Montagu led a force of around 3,500 men and marched south from the border of Scotland. The Lancastrians had little time to prepare for battle, despite warnings by their own scouts. The Duke Somerset rushed his forces to a site near Linnels Bridge and deployed his troops in 3 detachments in a meadow near the Devil's Water, he hoped he could engage Lord Montagu's army before it moved past him into Hexham, Northumberland.

Lord Montagu's army rapidly charged downhill and crushed the Duke of Somerset's forces. Seeing the Yorkist advance the right detachment of the Lancastrian army, commanded by Lord Roos, turned and fled across the Devil's Water and into Hexham.

The Duke of Somerset's remaining force was in a hopeless situation, they were hemmed in and unable to manoeuvre. The Yorkist troops charged through an opening at the east end of Linnel's Meadow and then engaged the bewildered Lancastrian soldiers, they were pushed into the Devil's Water by the advancing Yorkist infantry. Some of The Duke of Somerset's men either drowned in the river or were crushed as they tried to climb the steep banks of the Devil's Water during the retreat towards Hexham, but most of the men were trapped in West Dipton Wood on the north bank of the river, they were forced to surrender when the Yorkists approached.

Thirty leading Lancastrians leaders which included the Duke of Somerset, Lord Hungerford and Sir Philip Wentworth were captured and three days later beheaded at Middleham, Yorkshire on 18th May 1464. King Henry VI was kept safely away having been captured in battle 3 times earlier in his life, he escaped to the north.