The Civil War of 1459 to 1461 in the Welsh Marches – Part Part II

The Civil War of 1459 to 1461 in the Welsh Marches – Part II

Hodges, Geoffrey

The Ricardian (1984)


Recounting the bloodless battle of Ludford is relatively simple, as it is well documented. A large royal army was involved, with a fair amount of material resulting for official records and for the London chroniclers. The battle of Mortimer’s Cross, however, was fought when all attention in the south-east of the kingdom was taken up by the advance of the Queen’s ravaging hordes on London. The activities of Edward, Earl of March are wrapped in much obscurity; it is not at all clear what happened between the passing of the act of accord on 29 November 1460 (making the Duke of York heir to Henry VI), and the meeting between Edward and the Earl of Warwick in the Cotswolds on about 22 February 1461 except, of course, the battle of Mortimer’s Cross itself. One cannot be dogmatic about any link in this chain of events, but it is surely one of the most extraordinary stories in the annals of England and Wales, and well worth attempting to piece together.

What Edward’s adversary, Jasper Tudor, was doing in the same period is no more certain, but it is fairly clear that, after the defeat and capture of Henry VI at Northampton on 10 July 1460, Queen Margaret fled from Coventry into Wales. Gregory says that she made first for Harlech, ‘and there hens she remevyd fulle prevely unto the Lorde Jesper, Lorde and Erle of Penbroke, … ‘, who was probably at Pembroke Castle. Jasper seems to have grasped the strategic importance of Milford Haven as the only Welsh harbour equally accessible from France, Ireland and Scotland. It looks as though he and the queen (his sister-in-law and distant cousin) now planned the royalist response to the Yorkist victory; his duty would be to prepare and lead against the Yorkists in the middle Marches of Wales an expedition whose starting point would be Pembroke.

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