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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

March 29th, 1461 - The Battle of Towton

Conflict: The War of the Roses (1455-1487)

Combatants: Lancastrians vs. Yorkists

Location: England

Outcome: Yorkist victory

On Palm Sunday in 1461, one day after defeating the Lancastrians at Ferrybridge, the army of Yorkists turned to attack the Lancastrians positioned on a slope at Towton, England. Although the two armies were of roughly equal size, the Yorkists, led by Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick, were able to use the cover of a snowstorm to move close to the enemy without being seen. Additionally, with the wind at their backs, the Yorkist archers able to shoot into the Lancastrian ranks while remaining out of range of returning archery.

The Battle of Towton by John Quartley

The Lancastrians charged to counter the Yorkist advantages and a six hour melee ensued. Then, toward the end of the day, Yorkist reinforcements arrived to smash the Lancastrian flank. The Lancastrians broke and fled, many drowning in an attempt to ford the nearby river rather than face capture and beheading. Edward IV would be crowned the new king in June of the same year.

The Battle of Towton by Richard Caton Woodville

Points of Interest:

  • Richard Neville would defect to the Lancastrians in 1470 and Henry VI was returned to the throne, only to be defeated by Edward IV again.

  • When Edward IV died in 1483, his son, Edward V, was overthrown by Richard III who in turn was defeated and killed to be replaced by Henry VII.

Edward IV Plantagenet by Lucas Horenbout



Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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