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Looking south from close to Edgcote village to Edgcote Hill, across the plain identified by some as the location where the two armies clashed.
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The probable site of Danesmoor, to the east of Edgcote Hill
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The Battle

The night before the battle, according to Warkworth, the Earls of Pembroke and Devon quarreled over quarters in Banbury. As a result Devon had withdrawn from the field before the action, some 10 or 12 miles according to Hearne’s account. This left Pembroke’s army dangerously weakened, most importantly because Devon’s force had included at least 800 archers, while Pembroke had few or none.

According to Waurin, that night the two armies were camped on either side of a stream and the rebels made an attack on Pembroke’s camp that night. There are doubts as to how close the camps actually were. Some would place the royal army much closer to Banbury, especially as Pembroke and Devon are said to have argued over quarters in Banbury. However what is certain is that the two armies were already well aware of each other by that evening. The battle of Edgcote was not a chance encounter.

According to Waurin, on the morning of the 26th the two forces fought for the crossing. Pembroke at first had only men at arms, but when reinforced by his infantry he gained the crossing. The rebels then rallied and regained the crossing. Waurin claims that it was actually at this point that Devon withdrew from the field, not the night before. If Waurin's sometimes dubious topographical detail is accepted, then the crossing may be identified with Trafford bridge over the river Cherwell, just to the east of Edgcote.

Hall however gives a rather different description of the action, and one that is difficult to combine with Waurin’s. He claims that the two armies met in a ‘fair plain’ between three hills, a plain that was called Danesmoor according to Stow. The battle started when the rebel force descended from the southern hill and their archers attacked Pembroke’s army, which was deployed on the western of the three hills. Unable to respond with his own arrowstorm, because Devon had departed with all the archers, Pembroke was forced to descend from the hill and engage in hand to hand fighting in the plain below.

After this initial setback, Pembroke’s knights and men at arms, fighting on foot, had considerable success. In the action it seems that Sir William Conyers, believed to be the rebel leader Redesdale, was killed. The rebel army appears to have been about to collapse. According to Haigh this middle phase of the battle ended with the rebel forces withdrawing over the Cherwell and then regrouping and attacking once more.

It was at this critical stage, when the rebel force appeared on the brink of defeat, that reinforcements arrived. According to Hall they appeared over a hill immediately to the east. Mistaking their livery for that of the Earl of Warwick, Pembroke’s men broke and ran, not realizing that there were no more than perhaps 500 troops, not Warwick’s whole army. In the ensuing rout large numbers of the fleeing troops were killed. Pembroke himself was captured and, with other senior officer, was taken to Northampton where he was executed the next day.


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