The Duke of York’s Last Battle
On December 30, 1460 an event would occur that would have long-lasting repercussions for Richard and his family. His father and his brother, Edmund, would perish in the Battle of Wakefield.
After having spent Christmas at Sandal Castle, for some reason York was soon drawn into battle with the Lancastrians. Contemporary sources disagree on the exact events, but the result was the same. Richard, the Duke of York, was slain.
Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was said to have been struck down on nearby Wakefield Bridge after the battle by Lord Clifford, who later earned the sobriquet ‘The Butcher’ for his actions. Hall’s chronicle has Edmund pleading silently to Clifford for his life. Clifford responded by saying, ‘By God’s blood, thy father slew mine, and so will I do thee and all thy kin,’ before driving his dagger into Rutland’s heart. He then turned to the priest standing there and coldly told him to take word to Edmund’s mother and brother. Edmund was not a young boy, but by medieval standards an adult. However, perhaps Edmund did plead for his life and Clifford, in a fit of rage over the loss of his father, cut him down. Salisbury, who was captured, was executed the next day.
Cecily received the news of her triple loss while in London. Fearing for her younger sons’ lives, she sent them to relative safety in the Low Countries. All hope seemed lost, but Edward and Warwick were still fighting and soon the tides of war would turn in the Yorks’ favor.
My question to you: Why do you think the Duke of York left the relative safety of Sandal Castle? Leave a comment below.
Source for Chantry Chapel: Wikimedia Commons. All other photos by Kristie Dean.