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Inscription on the 'Pedestal' monumment to the battle of Mortimer's Cross, erected in 1799 on the turnpike road on the north west edge of Kingsland.
 
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Battle of Mortimer's Cross
2nd February 1461

The battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought in the middle of winter, well outside the normal campaign season. It took place when the Yorkist army of Edward, Earl of March, intercepted a Lancastrian force under Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, that was marching into England from South Wales. On the 2nd February 1461 (though some sources claim the 3rd), somewhere near Mortimerís Cross Edward deployed the Yorkist army, probably on ground of his choosing and engaged the enemy. They defeated the Lancastrian army, though we know nothing of the detail of the action, and a number of Tudorís commanders, including Jasperís father Owen, were captured and later executed in Hereford.

Unfortunately this is one of the most poorly documented of all the battles of the Wars of the Roses and we cannot be sure exactly where the action was fought between Mortimerís Cross and Kingsland. The battlefield landscape has also, in parts at least, been transformed from that which existed in 1461. Hedged enclosures have replaced open field and meadow on the low lying land, while the route of the London to Aberystwyth road across the battlefield has been completely abandoned and replaced by 18th century turnpike routes. However in the future a study of the historic terrain may allow the earlier pattern to be recovered and a survey for the archaeology of the battle may resolve some of the questions about the location and nature of the action.

Despite the uncertainties about the location of the action this is a pleasant landscape to visit and it is possible to explore the various options by driving and walking the battlefield. There are also a number of interesting places nearby with related or other military interest to make a visit worthwhile.

KEY FACTS

Name: Battle of Mortimerís Cross
Type: Battle
Campaign: Campaign in the West 1461 
War period: Wars of the Roses
Outcome: Yorkist victory
Country: England
County: Herefordshire
Place: Mortimerís Cross / Kingsland
Location: approximate
Terrain: probably open field and meadow
Date: 2nd (possibly 3rd)  February 1461
Start: uncertain
Duration: uncertain
Armies: Yorkist army under Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV); Lancastrian army under Earls of Pembroke & of Wiltshire
Numbers: possibly just 2Ė3,000 on each side
Losses: uncertain (claims of 4000) 
Grid Reference:  SO427627 (342760,262760)
OS Landranger map: 149
OS Explorer map: 203

 

   
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