Archive for category 1460 Northampton

Delapre Abbey – Event review


The Companye returned to Delapre Abbey as part of the commemoration’s of the 1460 battle of Northampton.

The Friends of Delapre Abbey have been doing an excellent job of involving the community with the site and making them aware of this wonderful local resource on their door step, and it was nice to see such an engaged and welcoming crowd of the public. It became apparent during discussions though that people had come from far and wide to attend the event, the 1460 battle is attracting more interest at the national level.

The Companye were joined by our great local friends from the House of Bayard, and the Windrush Free Company. The newly formed Northampton Battlefields Society were also in attendance, and had some wargames of the battle set up in the abbey.

We set up the tented encampment in the parkland, on the site of the cavalry engagement from the 1460 battle.

We started the day with a demonstration of mediaeval archery and crossbows, showcasing the skill of the medieval archer to the assembled throng. Our archers and arbalests took part in a test of accuracy, and of speed. Congratulations to Linda of the Bayards for winning the skill shoot with a thumping shot into the head of the target.

After a pause for an authentic lunch we moved to the main spectacular of the day – the recreation of a Tournament from around the year 1460 (the year of the Northampton Battle) and featuring local families who would have attended such tournament in the area. As ever with the Harringtons, the research had been done, and we used as our inspiration Rene of Anjou’s Book of the Tournament, and also The Beauchamp Pageant.

Six teams were entered into the Tournament. Each was lead by a Knight or Esquire, representing one of the local gentry. They were assisted by two valets (Combatant) and a banner bearer (non-combatant) who’s task it was to indicate when the Knight/Esquire had been bested.


Sir William Harrington of Wolfage Manor


Lord Grey of Ruthin

grey of ruthin

Banner/Livery: Red and Black. Black Ragged Staff, Griffin emblem.


Sir Mortimer of Grendon


Banner/Livery:Ermine, on a fess Azure three crosses sarcelly Or


Sir Woodhall of Odell


Banner/Livery: Or, three crescents Gules

Richard de Vere of Addington


Banner/livery: Quarterly gules and or with a molet argent in the quarter.

Master Bayliss Esquire.

jammy team

Livery: a bend Gules

Our commentator (her first time out but you would never have believed it) was on hand to explain the spectacle to the assembled crowd.

One by One each team entered the arena, and presented themselves to the Noble Gallery. The Tournament was played aplaisance in the presence of Lady Elizabeth Harrington of Wolfage Manor (Brixworth) – who could also award points for Chivalry or outstanding feats of martial prowess.

The Teams assembled at the start of the Tournament

The Teams assembled at the start of the Tournament

Next, our Marshall was introduced. He proceeded to explain the rules to the audience, and the participants – before eliciting an Oath from the participants to uphold the spirit of the Tournee.

Pleasantries suitably complete, it was time to move on to the mayhem. And what mayhem it was!

Round 1 – Elimination

The first round saw an elimination format where each team was pitched against an opposing team, and the winners would fight other winners until one team was left. Each team could obtain points by besting the opposing team, with the magnitude of their success (ie. how many of their own survived) reflected in the scoring. The object of the combat was to remove the opposing Knight from the combat as quickly as possible, and his valets roles was to protect him  – or assist the Knight in his efforts against the other Knight.

Each team had the opportunity of two team bouts, before the winners were paired off again and again till only one was left. At the end of this phase of scoring, Richard de Vere of Addington was placed in the lead position.

However, next up was the finale – the Grand Melee.

Round 2 – Grand Melee

In this final bout, all six teams would be pitched in the arena together at once. To reflect the difficulty of the task, large allocations of points would be awarded for the last three teams to survive, and weighted accordingly.


The Grand Melee

From the start, the de Vere’s lofty position at the top of the tree of honour made them a large and obvious target – and they were immediately hunted down by the other teams. As soon as Richard de Vere was on his back wondering what day of the week it was and why the sky looked so beautiful today, the combat switched instantly to a frantic winner takes all affair that roamed quickly and effortlessly across all four corners of the arena as each team attempted to leverage an position that allowed them to assault the enemy with advantage.

In the end – there can be only one. And is was the team of Sir William Harrington that emerged victorious.

The teams were assembled to hear the winner.

But wait! Lady Harrington intervened and awarded a bonus point for bravery. This meant that the teams of Lord Grey of Ruthin and Sir William Harrington were level on points.

With a tie, the Marshall called for single combat to decide the day. Lord Grey stood forward himself, and Sir William graciously allowed one of his team to earn the honour.


Lord Grey of Ruthin is defeated

Following a cautious battle, with points being earned on both side – Sir William’s man emerged victorious, and he was dutifully presented with the Sword of Honour, and our tournament concluded to thunderous applause.

sword of honour

The Sword of Honour is presented


Following the tournament, it was the turn of the local children to get involved – and despite the Companye members being dead on their feet we were happy to wear people’s kids out before hometime!!

kiddie knight - delapre

Discretion is the best part of valour..

All in all, it was a very successful display – especially considering it was a first for the Companye and we were delighted that FODA allowed us put this format on for them, and the way it was received by the public.

A couple of thank yous are also in order.

  • To our commentary team – Phil & KOF, who did an excellent job with narration, scoring and keeping order.
  • To our wonderful musicians Lauren and Paul, who really brought the combat to life.
  • To all those in the noble gallery, and who worked backstage armoring the participants and bringing them water on a really hot day.
  • And lastly, to Alec – for manufacturing the iron arena at such short notice.

Your commitment is noted!

The event was featured in the local press, you can read the local news coverage here.

The Friends of Delapre Abbey have posted a wonderful set of photos which you can view here:

Hopefully, the event will be repeated again next year – its a historic site, and do please visit and support the Friends in their heritage work.

If you live local and would like to get involved with the Companye, why not come along to our Social meeting on Wednesday 20th August at The Olde England?


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Don’t Miss – 1460 Battle of Northampton Anniversary walk

1460 Northampton Commemoration Ceromany

1460 Northampton Commemoration Ceromany

On the 10th July the Companye will be walking the Battlefield of Northampton to commemorate the anniversary of the battle there in 1460, and to pay our respects to the fallen of both sides.

Accompanied by members of the Northampton Battlefields Society, we will be meeting at the Delapre Abbey site at 6:30pm, and proceeding up the London Road to the Eleanor Cross, where the Papal Legate watched the battle unfold.

All are welcome to join in.

You can read a review of last years anniversary here, including the BBC coverage.

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News – Delapre Abbey event confirmed for 2014



The Companye are delighted to confirm a 2014 return to Delapre Abbey, the site of the 1460 Battle of Northampton.

Last years event was a great success, and we are delighted to have been invited back  to  this wonderful heritage site, and hope to make the 2014 event even more unmissable.

The event will take place on Saturday July 5th, and visitors can step back in time and experience the sights, sounds and smells of over five hundred years ago.

Further details to follow, but for now – Save the Date!!


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Delapre Abbey – Event Review


On Saturday 6th July, the Companye campaigned to the relatively local Delapre Abbey, which forms part of the battlefield of Northampton 1460. The event was organised by the Friends of Delapre Abbey (FODA) as part of the anniversary commemorations, and gave their visitors an insight into the sights and sounds of 15th Century Northampton and the people who lived there.

Unlike the battle in 1460, it was a hot and scorching day and the Abbey Park was packed with public who enjoyed our displays and were interested in the battle.

As well as living history, the Companye demonstrated medieval archery to the crowd. Alec, who despite being the youngest of our archers draws the heaviest bow of the our Companye members and he quickly made short work of the target.

We had reserved our demonstration of foot combat for what seemed to be the hottest part of the day. The display was a mix of unscripted competitive combat, and a demonstration by Gary and Ant of longsword techniques from the Harleian Manuscript, a recently discovered 15th Century scroll on swordfighting in the Harleian Collection. Dale won the combat circle of treachery, thanks to some very underhanded tactics. We fear he may be reaping the fruits of his endeavours the next time we do such a combat tournament!

Following the Foot Tournament, the Companye formed part of an honour guard to a new painting of the battle by renowned historical illustrator Matthew Ryan, which was unveiled by the Mayor of Northampton. The painting has been gifted by Matt to the Abbey and the people of Northampton, and it is a truly stunning piece of work.


The event was heavily covered online, and in the local press.

All in all, the event was a great success, feedback from FODA has been excellent and we hope to return to the Abbey in the near future.



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The Events Leading Up to The 1460 Battle of Northampton

by Mike Ingram, Harrington Companye Master of the Rolls

The 10th July 1460 saw a major battle of the Wars of the Roses at Northampton. This year, the event is being commemorated at the Delapre Abbey site, with an event featuring the Companye. As part of the run up to this event, our tame historian Mike has created a daily update of the events leading up to the battle. Check back here daily for updates!

26 June 1460.

The Calais Lords, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick; Edward, Earl of March; and William Neville, Lord Fauconberg landed at Sandwich with 2,000 men.

27 June 1460.

The Calais lords arrive at Canterbury. Robert Horne, John Scot and John Fosse and their men, sent by King Henry to stop them change sides and help negotiate the surrender of the city.

28 June 1460

Yorkists send out letters summoning help from the Cinque Ports. At least Rye and Winchelsea send men. After paying respects at the shrine of St. Thomas, a growing number of Yorkists leave Canterbury heading for London via Rochester and Dartford.

29 June 1460

The Common Council of London agree to resist the rebels but refuse to let the Lancastrian Lord Scales to act as the cities Captain. Men at Arms are placed on London Bridge. A deputation is sent to the advancing Yorkists warning them they would be refused entry to the city. Thousands flock to the Yorkist standard ‘like bees to the hive’.

1st July 1460

The Yorkist army reaches London and camps at Blackheath. As well as the Calais Lords it was said to include ” the many footmen of the commons of Kent, Sussex and Surrey”. By this time, according to some observers their number was between 20,000 and 40,000.

2 July 1460

11 Aldermen of London rebel in support of the Yorkists. The Yorkists enter London and are met by the Bishops of Ely and Exeter in Southwark. There is a crush on London Bridge and 13 Men at Arms are trampled when they fell.

3 July 1460

The Calais Lords make an oath of allegance to King Henry on the cross of Canterbury at St. Pauls. Warwick announces that they had come with the people to declare their innocence or else die in the field.

4 July 1460

Francesco Coppini, Bishop of Turin and Papal Legate joined the Yorkists at Calais. His official mission from the Pope was to persuade the English to join a crusade. However, he has a secret mission from Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan (If you have seen “The Borgias” on TV you will get the idea), to help put the Yorkists on the throne. The French were becoming heavily involved in Italy and Margaret of Anjou’s brother wanted to be King of Naples, thereby threatening Milan. If the Yorkists were kings of England they might be persuaded to invade France and take the pressure of of Italy. At St. Pauls and by letter, Coppini issues a chilling warning to King Henry… ‘….out of the pity and compassion you should have for your people and citizens and your duty, to prevent so much bloodshed, now so imminent. You can prevent this if you will, and if you do not you will be guilty in the sight of God in that awful day of judgement in which I also shall stand and require of your hand the English blood, if it be spilt’

4 July 1460 Part 2.

Warwick’s Uncle, William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, advances north from London, with according to one chronicler, 10,000 men. Faucoberg was the Yorkist’s most experienced soldier having taken part in many of the later battles of the 100 Year War. He appears to have been heading for Ware. Warwick secures a loan of £1,000 from London to finance the coming campaign.

5 July 1460

The main Yorkist army commanded by Warwick leaves London heading north along Watling Street. They bring with them a train of artillery.

The Lancastrian’s make plans to leave their base at Coventry. Summonses are sent out to towns and to lords to assemble their forces. They too have a large train of artillery which they had been stockpiling at Kenilworth Castle.

Salisbury and Cobham stay in London to lay siege to the Tower

July 7 1460

The Lancastrians reach Northampton and begin to build a fortified camp in fields between Hardingstone and Delapre Abbey. Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England , William Waynflete, surrenders the Great Seal to the King in ‘Hardingstone Field’ Then he and a number of other senior members resign and flee. According to one source part of the town is set on fire by Lancastrian cavalry as it arrives.

In the meantime the two separate Yorkist armies join at Dunstable where they wait for the artillery and slower foot soldiers to catch up.

9 July 1460

The Yorkist army approaches Northampton through Blisworth and camps for the night at the iron age hill fort of Hunsbury Hill.

The Lancastrian camp begins to swell with men as towns answer the King’s summons. Twenty men from Beverley arrive after their mayor threw a party for them before they left. Men from Shrewsbury are also there too. Northampton’s leading gentry and their men such as the Wake’s, Catesby’s, Vaux’s and Tresham’s all come in support of the King. The Duke of Buckingham, as earl of Northampton draws men from his local estates, as does the Queen who owns Kingsthorpe Village. The town itself calls out the militia which fights under the town’s ‘Wild Rat’ banner.

10 July 1460

King Henry knights ten of his men including Thomas Stanley and the five year old grandson of the Duke of Buckingham.Both would be heavily involved in the demise of Richard III, twenty four and twenty five years later

The Yorkists send Heralds and Bishops to the Lancastrian camp to negotiate, still maintaining they do not want to fight, only talk with the King. A Yorkist Bishop changes sides and urges the King not to negotiate but fight.Buckingham declares “The Earl of Warwick shall not come to the King’s presence and if he comes he shall die.”

Warwick finally replies “At 2 o’clock I will speak with the King or I will die”. It would be the last time that any negotiations would precede an English battle. Coppini, the Papal Legate excommunicates the Lancastrians and forbids them to have a christian burial. Warwick orders either spare the commoners or spare Grey’s men (depending on the source).

As Warwick approaches with his men a cavalry battle takes place with 1300-1400 Lancastrian’s which according to Waurin lasts over an hour. They are pushed back to the now lost St. Leonard’s Bridge and cut down. The Yorkist’s capture the bridge and the Lancastrian cavalry commander is captured and executed.

The Yorkists advance on the Lancastrian position, it would be the only time a fortified camp was assaulted during all thirty-seven years of the wars. Several accounts say that the Lancastrian guns fail to fire. Although the guns might not have worked, they were not defenseless and shower the Yorkists with up to 100,000 arrows. Despite this William Lucy in Dallington hears gunfire and races to join the King (was this then Yorkist gunfire?)

When Edward Earl of March (later King Edward IV) and his men reach the defences, Lord Grey of Ruthin commanding the Lancastrian left flank and his men start helping the Yorkists into the camp.

Its all over for the Lancastrian’s. A fight takes place around the King’s tent in which Buckingham, Egremont, Beaumont and Shrewsbury are all killed. So too is Vaux from Northampton. The King is captured by the Yorkists.

Many Lancastrians try to flee. With the bridge under Yorkist control and the river under flood plus a myriad of smaller waterways that flow east and west between the Abbey and the town, they can only go east and lots of miniature battles take place across the landscape. Many are recorded as dying as they try to cross the river (probably Rushmills).

William Lucy arrives on the battlefield only to be met by his wife’s Yorkist lover, who kills him with an axe. The two marry shortly after.


Between 5-7,000 killed. All the Lancastrian lords are killed. King Henry is captured. He stays at Northampton for three days and takes mass at Delapre. He is then led back to London in procession. Soon after Richard of York returns and for the first time lays claim to the throne. Margaret of Anjou escapes with the Royal baggage but is overtaken at Gayton. The rogue bishop is arrested and thrown into the dungeon at Warwick Castle.


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