War of the Roses


Battle of Losecote Field (Empingham)


Date: 12th March 1470   Victory: Yorkist
 
House of York
King Edward IV (7th Earl of March)      
 
House of Lancaster
Robert Welles (8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby)      

The Earl of Warwick found himself in a similar position to that which he had been in before the battle of Edgecote. He was unable to exercise any control over, or influence, King Edward IV policies. Warwick wanted to place another of the King's brothers, George, Duke of Clarence, on the throne so that he could regain his influence. To do so, he called on former supporters of the defeated House of Lancaster.

When his family fell foul of King Edward IV, Sir Robert Welles who was a former Lancastrian, turned to the Earl of Warwick for help. Warwick judged the time was ripe for another battle to kill or remove King Edward IV from the throne.

Sir Robert Welles army left Stamford and marched towards Leicester, to join forces with the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence. Edward heard about this and sent a letter to Sir Robert Welles stating that if he does not disband his army, his father (Lord Richard Welles, 7th Baron Welles) who was previously taken prisoner by Edward would be executed.

Sir Robert Welles quickly turned back with his army to Stamford, Edward's confidence grew when Welles failed to rendezvous with Warwick and his forces.

On 12th March 1470 Edward positioned his army in a battle line to the north of Sir Robert Welles army at Queen's Cross in Stamford, then in the space separating the two forces had Lord Richard Welles beheaded in view of both armies.

This action set off the Lancastrians (around 30,000 men) to advance, a single barrage of cannonballs was fired, then Edward had his men charge towards the enemy. Before the leaders of this attack could even come to blows with the Lancastrians front line, the battle was over as the Lancastrians broke and fled rather than face King Edward IV highly trained men. The defeated Lancastrians shed their coats to flee more quickly, hence the name of the battle.

Both captains, Sir Robert Welles and his commander of foot Richard Warren were captured during the rout. On 19th March 1470 Both Sir Robert Welles and Richard Warren were beheaded at Doncaster.

Edward was back in control, the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence fled to France to make an alliance with Margaret of Anjou.