On #ThisDayInHistory 29 March 1461, The Battle of Towton takes place.
The Battle of Towton was fought on 29 March 1461 during the English Wars of the Roses, near the village of Towton in Yorkshire. It was "probably the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil". An estimated 50,000 soldiers fought for hours amidst a snowstorm on that day, which was Palm Sunday. It brought about a change of monarchs in England, with Edward IV displacing Henry VI, establishing the House of York on the English throne and driving the incumbent House of Lancaster and its key supporters out of the country.
On reaching the battlefield, the Yorkists found themselves heavily outnumbered. Part of their force under the Duke of Norfolk had yet to arrive. The Yorkist leader Lord Fauconberg turned the tables by ordering his archers to take advantage of the strong wind to outrange their enemies. The one-sided missile exchange, with Lancastrian arrows falling short of the Yorkist ranks, provoked the Lancastrians into abandoning their defensive positions. The ensuing hand-to-hand combat lasted hours, exhausting the combatants. The arrival of Norfolk's men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing; some trampled each other and others drowned in the rivers, which are said to have run red with blood for several days. Several who were taken as prisoners were executed.
The power of the House of Lancaster was severely reduced after this battle. Henry fled the country, and many of his most powerful followers were dead or in exile after the engagement, leaving a new king, Edward IV, to rule England.
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