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A knight of circa 1480 depicted on a brass at Howden.
The Armies & the losses


The royal army may have comprised as many as 15,000 troops. However only the vanguard, commanded by the Earl of Oxford, actually engaged the rebel force. This comprised perhaps 6,000 men, both infantry and cavalry, which would be expected to include the best troops in the army.


A mixed force of some 8000 men, with a core of about 2000 experienced German mercenaries under Martin Schwarz. These mercenaries were almost certainly employing the new pike tactics for the Act of Attainder records the rebel forces being equipped, among other things with 'morris (Moorish) pikes'. The rest comprised poorly equipped Irish troops, whose lack of armour made them extremely vulnerable to the royal archers, and various English forces, although far fewer Englishmen had rallied to their cause than they had expected.


It is suggested that as few as 100 were killed in the royal army whereas as many as 4000 rebels died, most presumably in the rout. Amongst the killed were the Earl of Lincoln and the German mercenary commander Schwarz, together with various other persons of note. Lord Lovell may have escaped from the field but was presumed drowned attempting to cross the Trent, though other more fanciful stories recount the discovery of a body walled up in a secret room in his great house at Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire, suggesting he escaped but died while in hiding.

Molinet claims that only 200 rebel troops escaped from the field, most of whom were captured over the next two days. Of these the Irish and English were hanged, but the foreign mercenaries were simply dismissed.


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