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Plan of the battle by Brooke, showing the posiitons of the rebel and royalarmies reversed, because he was working from the confused evidence in Vergil's account of the direction of march of the royal army.
 
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Plan of the battle deployments reconstructed by Brooke, 1857.
Initial deployments

Bennett, and to a lesser degree English Heritage, have argued for a deployment in which the rebel army held the rising ground, facing south or south westward, with the royal forces on the lower ground adjacent the Foss Way. This is based on two sources. Andre comments that the rebel army deployed on the brow of a hill. As there is no other significant information on the terrain, deployments or action in this source the validity of the comment might be questioned.  However Vergil is far more specific, saying that the royal force deployed below the rebel camp, on the level ground and there offered battle and that the rebel army moved down to engage them.

With such slim evidence on which to reconstruct the location of the deployment of the two armies in the landscape, it is not surprising that a number of rather different deployments have been given by various authors. These range from the work of Brooke (1856) through Burne (1953), who was broadly followed and developed by Haigh (1995), Bennett (1987) and English Heritage (1995). Burne explains clearly and concisely why Brooke made a fundamental error in placing the rebel forces to the south west with the royal forces attacking from the north east.

Taking account of the terrain and also employing the statistics for the calculation of frontages given by Vegetiusí military manual, two alternative deployments are presented here. One is similar to that given by Burne, while the other relates closely to that given by English Heritage. The minimum frontage for the rebel army, assuming that the army was deployed 6 deep in one body and that all the troops fought on foot, have been made from the statistics in Vegetius (8000/6 *3ft per man = 4000ft minimum frontage). If the rebel cavalry on the wings fought on horseback then the frontage will have been significantly increased as each horse is likely to have taken a width of 5ft. Only if the infantry deployed 10 deep would a narrower frontage be possible.

In addition to this, a very different hypothesis as to the possible location of the deployments is given in the Battlefield section of these pages, based on a cursory consideration of the historic terrain in relation to the topographical evidence available from the contemporary accounts of the battle.

 

   
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