Medieval War of the Roses

Battle of Hedgeley Moor 1464

Battle of Hedgeley Moor, John Neville, Lord Montagu Yorkist army against Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset Lancastrian army in 1464.

The build-up to the Battle of Hedgeley Moor started when Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset tried to ambush John Neville, Lord Montagu, near to Nottingham. Lord Montagu, the younger brother of Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick was able to evade this attempt. He continued his journey northwards, gathering more men as he went.

The Battle

25th April 1464, Lord Montagu arrived to the battlefield at Hedgeley Moor with a Yorkist army of around 5,000 men. The Duke of Somerset commanded an army of around 5,000 Lancastrians. This included Sir Ralph Percy, Lord Hungerford, Thomas Ros, 9th Baron Ros and Sir Ralph Grey, who had sworn their allegiance to Henry VI.

The Battle of Hedgeley Moor began with each side using their archers to fire arrows into the opposing side.

Lord Montagu started to advance across the moorland, when the Lancastrian left flank broke away. Some 2,000 men along with Lord Hungerford and Lord Ros broke and fled the battlefield, without even striking a blow against the opposing side.

Lord Montagu became forced to halt his advance. He readjusted his line of men towards the remaining Lancastrian army then engaged in battle.

Sir Ralph Percy and his household retainers were now the only Lancastrians remaining on the battlefield to fight. They made a brave last stand, but for all their efforts, they did not last long in battle. The Lancastrians were beaten back by the much larger Yorkist army. Sir Percy had been struck down and killed during the closing stages of the battle.

It would only be a month when Lancastarians and Yorkists had met again, this time at the Battle of Hexham.

Hedgeley Moor today

Hedgeley Moor is just north of the villages of Powburn and Glanton in Northumberland. It was here that the two armies of Yorkist and Lancastrians fought.

Percys Cross, a square pillar made from sandstone, stands near to the site of the Battle of Hedgeley Moor.