I know I am a bit overdue for a post. Have I been ill? Yes, but apart from Christmas when I felt like I was dying, no more than usual, which is not enough of an excuse. Have I tired of the project? No, but I'm not in any haste to complete it. Am I lazy? Yes, probably. Unproductive? Yes, tend to be.
Anyway, a few preliminary words about Towton. Obviously a Yorkist v Lancastrian fixture, but in some ways more. Progressives versus traditionalists. The Establishment versus the Outs. Neville v Percy. Neville v Beaufort. Mowbray (a thoroughly pissed off Mowbray) v Lancaster. Warwick v anyone keeping him from the light. South v North. There are probably more sub-plots I haven't thought of.
Edward IV's support among the nobility was a bit limited at this stage. Just one earl fought for him, and that was Warwick. If, instead of a battle, they'd had a vote in the House of Lords there's little doubt Henry VI would have won. Despite his inadequacies, the depth of the continuing loyalty to King Henry should not be underestimated.
Towton is sometimes said to be the largest battle ever fought on English soil. The other contender is Marston Moor in the Civil War, also fought within a few miles of York. I will offer no opinion on this, except to say Towton was certainly a very large battle indeed, with almost the whole nobility engaged. Even Lord Stanley was there, an almost unique event. This was an achievement in itself, a bit like getting me to a current-day football match.
The Yorkists advanced from London in three groups, led by Edward himself, Warwick and Norfolk. They each went by a different route, probably as a means of achieving maximum recruitment to their colours. However, logistics and supply must also have been an issue, because by medieval English standards the forces raised were simply massive.