Medieval War of the Roses

Battle of Edgcote Moor 1469

Battle of Edgcote Moor, the Royal army led by Earls of Pembroke and Devon, and a rebel force led by supporters of Earl of Warwick in 1469.

After a five year period of peace, the War of the Roses once again became ignited at the Battle of Edgcote Moor, also referred as the Battle of Banbury. After eight years of rule, King Edward IV began to alienate many of the Yorkist nobles including Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.

The disagreement had been due to his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and his alliances with her family. The families of the Nevilles and Woodvilles were bitter rivals for lands and positions. Edward IV had also blocked the marriage between his younger brother George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwicks daughter Isabel Neville.

the duke and duchess of clarence depicted in a stained glass window at cardiff castle
The Duke and Duchess of Clarence depicted in a stained glass window at Cardiff Castle.

During April 1469, Robin of Redesdale had become the leader of a revolt in Yorkshire. Just a month later, a second rebellion was lead by Robin of Holderness. They demanded the restoration of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland.

John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu, had become sent to suppress the revolt, which ended in the execution of Robin of Holderness.

9th July 1469, Edward IV found the rebellion had not stopped, the rebel army had grown by the time he arrived at Crowland in Lincolnshire.

11th July 1469, Duke of Clarence and Isabel Neville married in Calais in France, by the Earl of Warwicks brother George Neville, Archbishop of York.

A growing rebellion

18th June 1469, A rebel force had gathered, they then left London to meet up with the rebel army in Yorkshire. Edward IV ordered William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Humphrey Stafford, 1st Earl of Devon to met up at Nottingham with as many men as they could muster.

The Earl of Warwick and Duke of Clarence had become intended to meet up with the northern rebel force. A small skirmish took place around Northampton, with the Royal troops retreating toward Banbury in Oxfordshire.

23rd July 1469, during the afternoon, the army made camp at Edgcote Lodge Hill. Another small skirmish took place between the Royals and rebels, resulting in Sir Henry Neville killed in battle.

Battle of Edgecote Moor

the battle of edgcote moor 1469
The Battle of Edgcote Moor 1469, by Marek Szyszko

24th July 1469, the Earl of Pembroke had a Royal army of around 4,000 men, made up with Welsh knights and spearmen. They had camped overnight on a hill to the north-east. The Earl of Devon arrived with a Royal army of around 1,000 men, which included Archers.

During the morning of the Battle of Edgcote Moor, the armies of the Royals and rebels had become separated by a tributary of the River Cherwell. The Earl of Pembroke’s army advanced until they clashed and started fighting at close quarters with the rebels.

In the afternoon, the Royals had a commanding control over the river crossing. The Earl of Warwicks rebel army arrived, led by Sir Geoffrey Gates and Sir William Parr. John Clapham also arrived with more rebel reinforcements.

The Earl of Pembroke’s men finally broke, Sir Thomas Vaughan of Hergest had killed along with 2,200 Welshmen and knights. The Earl of Warwicks rebel force had won the Battle Edgcote Moor.

Royal leaders executed

The rebels captured the Earl of Pembroke, and his brother Sir Richard Herbert of Coldbrook, and took to Northampton. Both became executed on the orders from the Earl of Warwick.

26th July 1469, Sir Richard Herbert was beheaded, followed by the beheading of the Earl of Pembroke the following day.

12th August 1469, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and his son Sir John Woodville became both captured at Chepstow. They were then taken to Kenilworth in Warwickshire to be beheaded. Their heads had become placed on a spikes above the gates of Coventry.

17th August 1469, The Earl of Devon became captured at Bridgewater in Somerset, then beheaded.


Edward IV had been captured in Olney in Buckinghamshire, then placed in custody at Middleham Castle in north Yorkshire. He was later released in September and resumed the throne with the support of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester.

During March 1470, the Earl of Warwick wanted to place the Duke of Clarence on the throne to regain his influence that he had lost. He called upon members of the House of Lancaster. In the same month the Royals and rebels came together at the Battle of Losecoat Field.