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Battle of Mortimer's Cross
Archaeology of the battle
There is a cottage named Battle Acre, noted by Hodges, that lies a short distance to the north of the Pedestal monument along the A4110. This may reflect a traditional memory of where the battle actually took place. However it may simply derive from the reports in the 19th century of battle related finds from the fields in the area.
In 1856 Brooke (p.75-6), reported that:
'Relics of the conflict have been occasionally dug up in the fields in front (to the westward) of the pedestal, and of the point of junction of the two roads. When I first visited the field of battle, on the 16th of May, 1854, I met with a husbandman at work there, who had lived near it many years, and who informed me, that some years ago, in ploughing in the next fields immediately to the right and left of the turnpike road, after leaving the pedestal and the place of junction of the two roads, he had not unfrequently discovered remains of bridle-bits, stirrups, fragments of iron, and, amongst others, long pieces of iron, which, from their shape and size, he concluded had been sword-blades, besides other indications of the battle. Within the recollection of the Rev. R. D. Evans, rector of Kingsland, some arms, swords, and spear-heads, were found on the field of battle, and were presented to the Museum at Hereford. He also showed me, when I visited the field of battle in 1856, a large buckle, perfectly plain, conjectured to have formed part of the trappings of a horse; a small buckle, rather ornamented, probably intended for a sword-be]t, both of iron or steel; and a small silver coin, seemingly a groat, all found upon the field of battle in 1854. I have also been informed by him, that there was within his recollection, in a close near the field of battle, a mound said to have been a place of burial of those slain in the battle, but that it is now quite ploughed down, and no vestige of it remains. Although the field of battle is now entirely enclosed, there were old persons living, when I visited it in 1855 and 1856, who recollected large parts of it, when the thorn fences of its enclosures were small, and not much grown, from having been recently planted, and even when a portion of the land near the pedestal was open and unenclosed.
Politely communicated by the Rev. R. D. Evans, rector of Kingsland, who stated that the discovery of them took place when he was a boy. I visited in 1856 a large mount in front of the rectory house, in which, as he informed me, he had found (but not of late years) pieces of iron. Leland states, “There was a Castle at Kingesland a 2 miles West North West from Leominster, the ditches whereof and part of the Keepe be yet seene by the West part of Kingsland Church. Constant Fame sayth that King Merewald sometimes laye at this place since of later tymes it longid to the E. of Marche, now to the King.”—Leland’s Itinerary, vol. iv. part 2, fo. 178 a .
There is in the Museum at Hereford, an ancient spur, found in the neighbourhood of Mortimer’s Cross, but not upon the field of battle, of the description called the prick spur, of steel, plated with silver, presented to the Museum in 1839, and which I saw in the Museum in May 1865.'
Unfortunately a sports field with building and car park has now been laid out on the opposite side of the road from the monument and a few houses now stand on the east side of the road, across part of the area where these finds seem to have been made. When Barrett visited in 1895 they were all just hedged fields. Fortunately the vast majority of the area still remains undeveloped fields.
To consult the Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record for further information on the archaeology of the battlefield and its environs CLICK HERE