The Armies & the Losses


The royal forces were under the command of Sir Andrew de Harcla, warden of Carlisle and the Western Marches. They were drawn largely from Cumberland and Westmorland and, according to one account, numbered 4000. It is clear from the various accounts of the battle that they comprised a mix of knights, men at arms and archers, but of the 214 knights and nobles listed as engaged in the battle it would appear that just 76 were on the royal side.


The rebel forces, under the Earl of Lancaster, may have comprised as many as 3000 troops while at Burton on Trent, but some may have deserted before the army reached Boroughbridge. It does therefore seem likely that the rebels were outnumbered, especially as Lancaster is said to have been greatly concerned by the numbers that Harcla had with him. However the rebel force appears to have been far stronger in heavily armoured troops. Some 700 knights and men at arms are mentioned in one account while another source lists 138 barons and knights, by name, as fighting against the king at the battle, including important figures such as the Earl of Hereford. The overall size of Lancaster’s force will certainly have been much greater than 700, for the knights will have been accompanied by a significant number of followers.


There is no record of the numbers killed in the battle, although the accounts do name several individuals on the rebel side who died in the action, most notable the Earl of Hereford.


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