Stoke proved to be the final battle of the Wars of the Roses. Never again would the Tudor monarchy be challenged in the field of battle by a contender for the throne. Though the battle is often treated as of limited significance, because of its proximity in time to the decisive action at Bosworth, in military terms the battle and battlefield offer a number of interesting problems for investigation. There is of course the presence of the German mercenaries in the battle who may have brought new European tactics to the field. The Act of Attainder certainly makes reference to the rebel forces using 'morris (Moorish) pikes'. There are however wider themes. At Stoke it appears that a smaller army chose the ground, standing in an initially defensive location which seems to have been carefully selected.

In some respects the terrain is similar in effect, if not in the exact composition, with the battlefield at Towton. In both cases an army appears to have attempted to both control the road network and also, but perhaps far more critically, to minimise the immediate tactical opportunities for the enemy. It seems likely that the existence of the Trent valley on one side and a possible marsh or moor on the other, meant that the defensive force could not easily be outflanked. However this can only be hypothesis until the historic terrain of the battlefield and the archaeology of the battle itself are investigated.


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