Costumes and models help to bring Northampton battle to life

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History fans descended on a Northampton park today as it marked the anniversary one of the most pivotal battles to take place on British soil.

The Battle of Northampton, one of the battles of the Wars of The Roses, took place at what is now Delapre Park on July 10, 1460.

The Friends of Delapre Abbey today organsied a living history encampment along with archery, a guide to arming a knight and a foot tournament by members of the Medieval Siege Society.

There were also battlefield walks led by Mike Ingram, a military historian of Northampton Battlefields Society. A model of Delapre Abbey created by Clive Hardwick also formed part of the display inside the abbey itself.

Simon Gieveholme, from Kingsthorpe, said: “It has really brought the battle to life for me.

“It’s all very well knowing some vague dates about what happened here, but see swordfights and costumes in situ really fixes it in your mind.

“It’s a great idea.”

The rebel Yorkists faced the King’s Lancastrians and the fighting - which some scholars believe left 7,000 dead - spread as far as the river near the modern day Britannia pub and Eagle Drive.

Politically, the Battle of Northampton was one of the more important battles of the Wars of the Roses.

After it, the Duke of York for the first time pressed his dynastic claim to the throne and, according to English Heritage, therefore “ushered in a new and bloodier phase of the civil war.”

The Act of Settlement of October 1460, by which York was declared King Henry VI’s heir, was unacceptable to Queen Margaret, since her son would thereby not become king.

Her resistance to the compromise provoked a ‘war of succession’, and four fierce battles - Wakefield, second St Albans, Mortimer’s Cross and Towton - were fought within about six months of each other.