The Battle of Losecoat Field was fought on 12th March 1470. Losecoat Field saw Warwick and Clarence once again rebel against Edward IV. Here, they were defeated. Following the battle of Losecoat Field the Earl of Warwick and Duke of Clarence went over the Lancastrian cause.
Background to the Battle of Losecoat Field
In the summer of 1469 the Earl of Warwick had orchestrated a rebellion against King Edward IV. Warwick had become disillusioned with the rise of the Woodville family and the kings unwillingness for his daughter to marry the Duke of Clarence. Edward had been captured by Warwick in the months that followed. However Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had helped Edward to regain control.
With Edward back in control of the country, Warwick was once again marginalised. Despite the Queens father, Earl Rivers, and one of her brothers, John Woodville, having been executed and the Duke of Clarence marrying his daughter, Warwick was still not in control. He decided to wrestle control back.
An opportunity presented itself to Warwick in early 1470. A former Lancastrian supporter, Robert Welles, had a dispute with Edward IV. He asked Warwick for assistance. Warwick and Clarence stirred Welles into rebellion. He gathered men to his Lincolnshire base and was encouraged to portray himself as a great captain of the people of Lincolnshire. Rumours were spread that the king intended to overturn the pardons granted after the Battle of Edgecote Moor. Panic set in, people went to join Welles.
Warwick and Clarence wrote to the King that they were marching north to join his forces against Welles. The King then issued a call to array, including Warwick. Edward tested Warwick’s loyalty at this point. He had Welles’ father in custody. A messenger was sent to Welles telling him to turn back his army or his father would be executed. Welles himself turned back but only as far as Stamford.
The Battle of Losecoat Field
Though Welles had turned back, a rebel army was still at large. It was met at Losecoat Field near Empingham. Edward had Lord Welles brought before his army as it faced the rebels. He was beheaded. The royal army then fired its cannon at the rebel line and Edward himself led the charge toward the enemy.
The rebels broke and fled the battlefield. It was a rout. Welles and the other Captain of the rebellion were captured and executed. Among the baggage found after the battle was evidence that Warwick and Clarence were complicit in the rebellion.
Consequences of the Battle of Losecoat Field
Warwick and Clarence fled after they learnt of their deceit being uncovered. They went then joined the Lancastrian cause. This led to an unlikely arrangement with Margaret of Anjou. The alliance led to Warwick engaging with Edward at the Battle of Barnet, in which Warwick was killed. Margaret of Anjou and the Duke of Somerset landed in the South West and made for South Wales. Edward’s force caught up with them at Tewkesbury where the Lancastrian army was defeated and many nobles killed.
As such this marked a turning point in the wars of the roses. Though Warwick had not fought at Losecoat Field, his complicity forced the defection to the Lancastrian cause. See this infographic to place these events into further context.
Battles in the Wars of the Roses
First Battle of St. Albans – Battle of Blore Heath – Battle of Ludford Bridge – Battle of Northampton – Battle of Wakefield – Battle of Mortimer’s Cross – Second Battle of St. Albans Battle of Ferrybridge – Battle of Towton – Battle of Hedgeley Moor – Battle of Hexham – Battle of Edgecote Moor – Battle of Losecote Field – Battle of Barnet – Battle of Tewkesbury – Battle of Bosworth – Battle of Stoke Field
Documents, Maps and Evidence
People and periods
British History – The Wars of the Roses – The Plantagenets – The Tudors – King Henry IV – King Henry V – King Henry VI – King Edward IV – King Edward V – King Richard III – King Henry VII – Margaret of Anjou