Bid to protect War of Roses battlefield

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Plans are being put together to protect a ‘forgotten’ War of the Roses battlefield site which lies in the heart of Northampton.

For years, historians have called for more to be done to protect the site of the Battle of Northampton, which is close to Delapre Abbey.

The future of the site was put on the national radar back in 2008 when English Heritage officially classed it as ‘at risk’.

Further concerns were also raised earlier this year when Northampton Borough Council revealed it was considering plans to create a number of football and rugby pitches on land at Eagle Drive, close to Delapre Abbey, which some people believe may be part of the battlefield.

Ahead of any development, the council is now planning to carry out a survey of the area to look into what land the battlefield covers and how best to preserve it.

The leader of the authority, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “We’re lucky to live in a town that’s steeped in history, and we’re very proud of our rich heritage.

“The Battle of Northampton was a significant event, not just in our town’s history but as part of the story of our nation.

“As part of the discussions about the land at Eagle Drive, we decided not enough had been done in the past to recognise the importance of the battlefield.

“As with Delapre Abbey, it’s part of the story of Northampton, and I believe we have a duty to protect it. And, in every discussion I made it clear surveys were needed to ensure no damage would be done to the battlefield.

“So we’re looking to commission a conservation management plan for the Battle of Northampton battlefield site. This will help us understand the significance of the area.”

The council has asked specialist companies to come forward to tender for the work by the middle of December.

The Battle of Northampton was fought near Delapre Abbey at about 2pm on July 10, 1460.

Lancastrian and Yorkist forces battled by the Nene in a clash which led to the capture of King Henry VI and made way for Edward IV to take the throne.

It lasted only 30 minutes as the Lancastrian forces caved in, with rumours of treachery spreading across the battlefield.

Heavy rain also meant the Lancastrian cannons were rendered useless.