A Medieval Somme: a forgotten battle that was the bloodiest fought on British soil

Thousands upon thousands died in fiercest battle of the Wars of the Roses

A Battle of the Somme on British soil? It happened on Palm Sunday, 1461: a day of fierce fighting in the mud that felled a generation, leaving a longer litany of the dead than any other engagement in the islands’ history. This is reputed in somecontemporary reports to be between 19,000, the same number killed or missing in France on July 1, 1916, and a staggering 38,000.

The battle of Towton, fought near a tiny village standing on the old road between Leeds and York, on the brink of the North York Moors, is far less known than many other medieval clashes such as Hastings or Bosworth. Many will never have heard of it.