War of the Roses


Battle of Wakefield


Date: 30th December 1460   Victory: Lancastrian
 
House of York
Richard Plantagenet (3rd Duke of York)   Richard Neville (5th Earl of Salisbury)
 
House of Lancaster
Henry Beaufort (3rd Duke of Somerset)   Henry Percy (3rd Earl of Northumberland)
John Clifford (9th Baron de Clifford)      

21st December 1460, Richard of York reached his own fortress of Sandal Castle near Wakefield. York sent for help to his son Edward, Earl of March.

30th December 1460 Before any reinforcements could arrive, Edward had sortied from the castle.

Half of the Lancastrian army under Duke of Somerset and Lord Clifford advanced towards Sandal Castle, while the remainder under the Earl of Wiltshire were concealed in the woods surrounding the area.

York was short of provisions in the castle, seeing that the enemy was no stronger than his own army, he seized the opportunity to engage them in the open rather than withstand a siege while waiting for reinforcements.

The Yorkists marched out of Sandal Castle towards the Lancastrians located to the north of the castle. York engaged the Lancastrians to his front, others attacked him from the flank and rear, cutting him off from the castle. The Yorkist army was surrounded and destroyed.

The Duke of York was killed in the fighting, his 17-year-old second son Edmund, Earl of Rutland attempted to escape over Wakefield Bridge, but was killed by Lord Clifford in revenge for his father's death at St Albans. The Earl of Salisbury's fourth son Sir Thomas Neville also died in the battle, also his son-in-law William, Lord Harington and Harington's father, William Bonville, were captured and executed immediately after the battle. Salisbury himself escaped the battlefield but was captured during the night, and was taken to the Lancastrian camp. Salisbury was dragged out of Pontefract Castle and beheaded by local commoners, to whom he had been a harsh overlord.

The heads of The Duke of York, Earl of Rutland and the Earl of Salisbury were displayed over Micklegate Bar, which is the western gate through the York city walls.