The Armies & the losses

The contemporary accounts claim 15,000 Yorkists and 8000 Lancastrians were involved in the action. As for so many battles of the period, these are likely to be serious overestimates. On present evidence we do not and are unlikely to ever know with any confidence the relative strength of the two armies, unless exceptional new evidence is forthcoming. However based on the numbers of named followers, Hodges suggests that the Lancastrian force may have been of the order of 3500 and the Yorkists as few as 2500.

The Yorkist army, under the command of Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV) is assumed to have been a local force from the Marches, although the letter written after battle by Sir John Paston (Paston Letters) mentions East Anglian forces waged to go to Mortimer’s Cross.  The Lancastrian army, under the command of Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of Wiltshire, included Irish, French and Bretons mercenaries as well as Welsh troops.


Claims of 4000 killed are almost certainly the usual exaggeration found in medieval chronicles.


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