Medieval War of the Roses

Battle of Losecoat Field 1470

King Edward IV victory at the Battle of Losecoat Field, Welles army fled the field throwing off their coats to aid their retreat ‘Lose-coat’.

Leading up to the Battle of Losecoat Field, began with Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick had become in a similar position than he had at the Battle of Edgecote Moor. He was unable to exercise any control over, or influence, King Edward IV policies. The Earl of Warwick wanted to place the Kings brother George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence on the throne. Doing so would regain his influence once again. To do so, he called on former supporters of the defeated House of Lancaster.

Sir Robert Welles, 8th Baron Willoughby de Eresby was a former Lancastarian. When his family fell foul of Edward IV he turned to the Earl of Warwick for help. The Earl of Warwick judged the time was ripe for another battle to kill or remove Edward IV from the throne.

Sir Robert Welles army left Stamford, and marched towards Leicester. He joined forces with the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence. Edward IV heard about this and sent a letter to Sir Robert Welles. The letter stated that if he does not disband his army, his father Lord Richard Welles, 7th Baron Welles would be executed. Edward IV had previously taken his father prisoner.

Sir Robert Welles quickly turned back with his army to Stamford. Edward IV’s confidence grew when Sir Robert Welles failed to meet up with the Earl of Warwick and his forces.

Battle of Losecoat Field

12th March 1470, at the Battle of Losecoat Field Edward IV positioned his Royal army in a battle line. The Line was just north of Sir Robert Welles rebel army at the Queen’s Cross in Stamford. Edward IV had Lord Richard Welles beheaded within a space in-between, and in full view of both armies.

This action set off around 30,000 rebels to advance. A single barrage of cannonballs were fired, Edward IV’s men then charged towards the enemy. Before the leaders of this attack could even come to blows with the rebel front line, the battle was over. The rebels broke and fled rather than face Edward IV’s highly trained men.

The defeated rebels fled the battlefield shedding their coats preventing them from becoming identified. The name of the battle came from the term ‘lose-coat’.

Sir Robert Welles and his commander of foot Richard Warren had both been captured during the rout.


19th March 1470, Sir Robert Welles and Richard Warren had both beheaded at Doncaster. Edward IV was now back in control.

The Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence fled to France to make an alliance with Queen Margaret of Anjou.

In just over a year, Edward IV would meet the defected Earl of Warwick Lancastarian army at the Battle of Barnet.