First class battle raging over name of Northamptonshire Battle featured on new stamp

Local historians say it's Edgcote, Royal Mail says Edgecote Moor — and neither side are surrendering

Monday, 26th April 2021, 9:20 am
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 9:54 am
The name of the battle on Royal Mail's stamp differs from that at the Northamptonshire site
The name of the battle on Royal Mail's stamp differs from that at the Northamptonshire site

Local historians are at war with the Royal Mail over a new set of stamps featuring the Battle of Northampton.

The stamps represent eight key battles in the Wars of the Roses, including the medieval scrap near Delapre in 1460.

But the ding-dong between houses of York and Lancaster over who should be King is nothing compared to what kicked off when Northamptonshire Battlefields Society got sight of another of the stamps carrying artwork by artist Graham Turner of the "Battle of Edgecote Moor" in a far corner of the county near Banbury nine years later.

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Royal Mail's stamp showing the Battle of Northampton, which took place between Delapre and Hardingstone

The Society’s chair, Mike Ingram said “It’s great to see Northamptonshire honoured with two stamps in this collection — it’s just a shame that, despite using

great artwork, they’ve got the name of one of the battles WRONG!

"The battle in 1469 is Edgcote and NOT Edgecote Moor. It was fought near the village of Edgcote, on Danesmoor. There’s no such place as Edgecote Moor."

Graham Evans, Society secretary and author of award winning book 'The Battle of Edgcote 1469 – re-evaluating the evidence' added. “This is an important and much misunderstood battle. In the last two years we have done a lot to raise its profile and correct these errors.

Local historians have written books on the two Wars of the Roses battles in Northamptonshire

"We’ve worked with the HS2 project to ensure that they understood the effect they might have, and fought planning applications on what is otherwise an untouched battlefield site. Then the Royal Mail plaster the wrong name on the stamp and sell it worldwide! It’s very frustrating.

"Getting the name correct is important because if you search for the wrong one you’ll get the wrong date, the wrong location and the wrong army sizes.

"In the past few years we’ve managed to correct the Wikipedia entry on the battle and update the Battlefield Trust Resource centre. It isn’t hard to check these things and get them

right.

"We worked with the artist Graham Turner when he produced the original work and contacted him since the stamp announcement. Apparently they didn’t listen to him when he pointed out the mistake.

"If you look at the painting on his website it clearly says 'Battle of Edgcote' and, to cap it all, Royal Mail’s own website tells you the correct spelling for Edgcote — and that isn’t how they’ve spelt it on the stamp!"

The stamps are due to go on sale from May 4.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “For all of our stamp issues we undertake extensive and research with experts in the relevant fields.

"We were aware of the debate around alternative spellings for this battle. The settlement of Edgcote is spelt without the E, but references to the historic battle are split between the two spellings. On this occasion, we followed the advice of the experts we worked with.”

Northamptonshire Battlefields Society was founded in 2014 by concerned local residents to oppose the destruction of what remains of the 1460 Battle of Northampton site between Delapre and Hardingstone.

Mike Ingram wrote a book on the battle in 2015 — also available directly from the Society shop — telling how it was the first major engagement in what is now known as the Wars of the Roses.

Lancastrians constructed a fortified position in the fields between Delapre Abbey and Hardingstone before Yorkists attacked the town itself. The result was an overwhelming Yorkist victory — thanks to the treachery of Lord Grey of Ruthin who changed sides midway through — with thousands of casualties.

King Henry VI was captured and, after spending three days in Northampton, led back to London.