Battle of Blore Heath


 

The Battle of Blore Heath was one of the first battles of the Wars of the Roses and fought on 23 September 1459 at Blore Heath, an area near the town of Market Drayton, Staffordshire. It was a bloody battle between Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and his two sons Thomas and John against the elderly royalist James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley. Audley had not seen action on the field since the French wars three decades ago but nevertheless was a powerful lord. Queen Margaret of Anjou had ordered Audley to intercept Salisbury's force who was to join the main Yorkist force at Ludlow Castle. Audley raised a large number of men and had chosen the location and set up an ambush. His large force, gathered from his lands in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire, was about double the size of Salisbury’s but when Salisbury realized he was outnumbered he feinted to prepare for retreat, Audley took the bait and send his cavalry out to give chase. A storm of arrows fell upon the royalists force, eventually leading to brutal hand-to-hand fighting. Audley too fought in the thick of the battle along with his men but was sought out by Sir Roger Kynaston of Hordley and was hacked down and killed. Around 2,000 men lost their lives. Audley was buried in Darley Abbey, Derbyshire and a stone cross, 'Audley's Cross,' was erected at Blore Heath. The monument we see today is a replacement from 1765.

Battle of Blore Heath by Dmitry Yakhovsky. Audley's standard on the right, Salisbury's on the left and in the middle of Sir Roger Kynaston.

Audley's Cross, erected at Blore Heath after the battle to mark the spot where Audley was slain.


 

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