Grim and bloody history: North East battlefields feature on special map
Over the centuries England's green and pleasant land has been the sight of some grim and bloody fighting.
Factions battling over territory and the right to rule the nation have clashed the length and breadth of the country, leaving their mark on every region.
So if you want to know the who, the when and the why of battles in your area and their significance in England’s history read on below where we’ve mapped out the 45 sites classed as protected under the Historic England listing system.
1 Battle of Bosworth (Field) 1485
The battle of Bosworth was the last major engagement in the Wars of the Roses. In one of history’s most staggering reversals, the royal army lost to a rebel force half its size, leaving King Richard III dead and allowing Henry Tudor to claim the throne as Henry VII.
Location: Stoke Golding, Leicestershire
2 Battle of Blore Heath 1459
One of the first battles in the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Royalist forces were sent by the Queen to intercept the Earl of Salisbury’s troops on their march to join with the Duke of York’s army at Ludlow. The battle was a decisive victory for the Yorkist soldiers.
Location: Bloreheath, Market Drayton, Staffordshire
3 Battle of Northallerton 1138
Also know as the Battle of the Standard, this engagement came about when King David of Scotland sought to enter England to support his niece Matilda’s claim to the throne over King Stephen. The Scottish army, led by David were quickly repelled by English forces raised by Archbishop Thurstan of York.
Location: Standard Hill, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
4 Battle of Marston Moor 1644
Thought to be the largest battle ever fought on English soil, with around 46,000 combatants. This Civil War battle saw the defeat of Prince Rupert’s northern Royalist army by the Parliamentarian forces of Oliver Cromwell. The rout of the Royalist army help cement Cromwell’s reputation as a great leader.
Location:Wilstrop, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
5 Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066
The Battle of Stamford Bridge was fought between the armies of the English king Harold Godwinson and and the joint forces of his brother Tostig and Norway’s King Harald Hardrada, who hoped to claim the English throne for himself. The Vikings suffered heavy losses and were soundly beaten but the battle in Yorkshire left Harold’s forces ill-prepared to face William of Orange’s army at Hastings just three weeks later.
Location: Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire
6 Battle of Tewkesbury 1471
A key episode in the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Tewkesbury brought decisive victory to the Yorkists. With the Lancastrian heir Edward, Prince of Wales dead along with many of his noblemen the Yorkist Edward IV was free to reign in peace until his death in 1483.
Location: Wheatpieces, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
7 Battle of Cropredy Bridge 1644
The Battle of Cropredy Bridge saw an opportunist strike by Roundhead forces under Sir William Waller against King Charles’ army as it marched from Oxford. Although Waller got the initial upper hand the Royalist forces managed to fight back and suffered minimal losses while forcing the Parliamentarians to retreat.
Location: Cropredy, near Banbury, Oxfordshire
8 Battle of Solway Moss 1542
Fought on Solway Moss, near the River Esk after Scottish forces representing James V marched into England in response to an English raid north of the Border. Despite vastly superior numbers the Scottish army was disorganised and poorly led and the English quickly overcame them. Three weeks later James died, leaving the two-week-old Mary as Queen.
Location: Arthuret, Carlisle, Cumbria
9 Battle of Lostwithiel 21 August 1644
A battle in two phases between the Royalist and Parliamentarian armies during the First Civil War, regarded as a vital victory for the king’s army. The first engagement, on 21 August saw King Charles’ troops attack the depleted force of the Earl of Essex and capture Restormel Castle. From here, on 31 August to 1 September, they pursued and captured thousands of retreating Parliamentarians.
Location: St. Winnow, Cornwall
10 Battle of Edgcote 1469
The first major engagement in the second period of the Wars of the Roses. Troops led by the Earl of Pembroke, on their way to join with Edward IV at Nottingham, encountered a rebel force led Robin of Redesdale. The battle saw the rebel army defeat Pembroke’s men and few days later the King himself was captured, effectively handing control to the Earl of Warwick.
Location: Culworth, Northamptonshire
11 Battle of Halidon Hill 1333
Part of the Second War of Scottish Independence and a crushing loss for the Scots. In an attempt to relieve the siege of Berwick around 15,000 Scottish soldiers engaged with the English forces of Edward III but suffered heavy losses on unfavourable terrain. After the Scots’ loss Berwick and the lands of the Borders and Lothians were ceded to England.
Location:Halidon Hill, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
12 Battle of Neville's Cross 1346
A key engagement between the English and Scottish armies during the Second War of Scottish Independence. The battle was disastrous for the Scots, many leading noblemen fled or were killed and King David II was wounded and captured. In the year following the battle the English took advantage of the Scots’ depleted strength to capture almost the whole of Scotland south of the Forth and Clyde.
Location: Bearpark, County Durham
13 Battle of Newburn Ford 1640
The only battle in the Second Bishops War but regarded of significant importance for its wider political impact. A vastly outnumbered English force was routed by the Scottish army, which two days later accepted the surrender of Newcastle. The ensuing recall of parliament and conflicts there eventually led to the Civil War.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
14 Battle of Newbury 1643
Fought during the First Civil War. As the Earl of Essex tried to march his Parliamentarian troops back to London after victory in Charles I led his forces to intercept them. The Roundheads outmanoeuvred the Cavaliers, neutralising Charles’ cavalry and allowing Essex’s army to continue to London.
Location:Enborne, West Berkshire
15 Battle of Braddock Down 1643
Royalist troops led by Sir Ralph Hopton easily overcame the Parliamentarian army, capturing an estimated 1,500 soldiers. The victory secured control of Cornwall for Charles I’s forces.
Location: Broadoak, Cornwall
16 Battle of Evesham 1265
A decisive battle in the Second Barons’ War which largely crushed rebel efforts to usurp the royal family. The bloody conflict saw the royal forces led by Prince Edward massacre the vastly outnumbered army of Simon de Montfort, including most of the major rebel leaders.
Location: Green Hill, Evesham, Worcestershire
17 Battle of Edgehill 1642
The first pitched battle of the First Civil War. Neither side managed to earn a decisive victory but the bloody draw left the Earl of Essex to withdraw to a Parliamentarian garrison at Warwick while Charles’ army held the road to London.
Location: Kineton, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire
18 Battle of Hastings 1066
Perhaps the most famous of all English battles. The English forces of King Harold attempted to repel the invading army of William of Orange. After most of a day of fighting, the death of Harold on the battlefield saw English forces collapse, effectively handing victory and the English crown to the Norman invader.
Location: Battle Abbey, Battle, East Sussex
19 Battle of Otterburn 1388
Part of a series of cross-border battles between English and Scottish armies. English soldiers led by the Earl of Northumberland’s son Harry Hotspur launched a surprise attack on the Scots. Despite the death of their leader, the Earl of Douglas, the Scottish forces repelled the attack and drove the English back.
Location: Otterburn, Northumberland
20 Battle of Towton 1461
A long, bloody and key battle in the Wars of the Roses. The Battle of Towton saw Yorkist troops defeating the Lancastrians of Henry VI. The Yorkist Edward, Duke of York had already claimed the crown for himself but his victory at Towton forced Henry to flee the country and confirmed by military force Edward’s claim to the throne.
Location: Towton, North Yorkshire
21 Battle of Northampton 1460
A renewed Yorkist force re-engaged in the Wars of the Roses by taking on the Lancastrians at Northampton. The Lancastrian forces held a strong defensive position but were betrayed by Lord Grey of Ruthin who ordered his men to allow the Yorkists access to the camp. The defenders fled and Henry was captured.
Location: Northampton, Northamptonshire
22 Battle of Barnet 1471
The Battle of Barnet brought Edward, Duke of York into conflict with his former ally the Earl of Warwick just north of London. Edward secured a resounding victory, Warwick was killed and the success at Barnet paved the way for the Yorkists’ decisive victory at Tewkesbury.
Location: Hadley, Barnet
23 Battle of Boroughbridge 1322
Fought during the Despenser War between rebel forces loyal to the House of Lancaster and royal forces representing King Edward II. The royals vastly outnumbered the rebels and the battle was brief and one-sided, leading to the defeat and execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.
Location: Milby, North Yorkshire
24 Battle of Homildon Hill 1402
Homildon Hill, now known as Humbleton Hill was the site a clash between English troops and Scottish forces who were making their way back north after sacking much of Northumberland and Newcastle. Archers helped secure victory for the Earl of Northumberland and many of the Scots nobles were captured.
Location: Humbleton Hill, Wooler, Northumberland
25 Battle of Stow (-on-the-Wold) 1646
The final major battle of the First Civil War. The Roundhead army quickly overpowered the remaining Royalist forces, forcing them to fight running battles as they retreated to the market square of Stow, where their commander Sir Jacob Astley surrendered, effectively ending the conflict.
Location: Donnington, Gloucestershire
26 Battle of Adwalton Moor 1643
Fought during the First Civil War between armies led by the Royalist Earl of Newcastle and Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fairfax. The Cavalier victory secured much of the north of England for the King.
27 Battle of Chalgrove 1643
A small-scale battle of the First Civil War. Most notable for the death of influential Roundhead John Hampton, it was a short confrontation won by the Royalists.
Location: Chalgrove, South Oxfordshire
28 Battle of Lansdown (Hill) 1643
Roundhead forces trying to protect the rebel-held city of Bath faced the advancing Royalist army of Lord Hopton at Lansdown Hill. The drawn-out engagement eventually saw the Parliamentarians retreat and relinquish Bath, although the Cavalier victory came at a heavy cost.
Location: Bitton, South Gloucestershire
29 Battle of Lewes 1264
Fought during the Second Barons’ War, the Battle of Lewes pitted King Henry III’s army against the joint forces of several rebelling barons. Under the command of Simon de Montfort the barons’ troops secured victory and captured Henry and his son Edward, allowing de Montfort to rule in their name.
Location: Hamsey, Lewes, East Sussex
30 Battle of Flodden 1513
Fought between an English force under the command of the Earl of Surrey and the invading Scottish army led by King James IV. The Scots hoped to divide the English forces mustering to take on the French but were outnumbered and suffered heavy losses. Among the estimated 10,000 Scottish casualties were many nobles and James himself.
Location: Branxton Moor, Northumberland
31 Battle of Sedgemoor 1685
The Battle of Sedgemoor was the final engagement of the Monmouth Rebellion in which James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth attempted to seize the throne from his uncle, King James II. After a series of small confrontations his army was crushed at Sedgemoor, leading to his capture soon after and the end of the rebellion.
Location: Chedzoy, Somerset
32 Battle of Myton 1319
Part of the First War of Scottish Independence, sometimes know as the White Battle due to the large number of clergy in the English force.
Location: Ellenthorpe, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
33 Battle of Naseby 1645
Fought between Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army and the main Royalist army of Charles I. The Roundheads’ victory at Naseby was a decisive and vital one. Most of the King’s forces were wiped out and within a year the remaining pockets were subdued, ending the First Civil War.
Location: Clipston, Northamptonshire
34 Battle of Rowton Heath 1645
A late battle during the First Civil War fought as the remnants of Charles I’s army attempted to relieve the siege of Chester. Mostly fought by cavalry, the result was a victory for the Parliamentarians. Charles was forced to retreat and Chester was surrender a few months later.
Location: Waverton, Cheshire
35 Battle of Stoke (Field) 1487
The last major engagement between the competing sides in the Wars of the Roses. The Tudor forces of Henry VII crushed the rebel troops led by the Earl of Lincoln. Most of the leading Yorkist nobles were killed in the battle, bringing to an end more than 30 years of struggle for the throne.
Location: Elston, Nottinghamshire
36 Battle of Cheriton 1644
Part of the First Civil War and an important victory for the Parliamentarians as they halted the Royalist advance. The defeat of forces led by the Earl of Forth and Lord Hopton thwarted Royalist plans to march on London and put the King’s army on the back foot.
Location: Bramdean, Winchester, Hampshire
37 Battle of Langport 1645
One of the final battles in the First Civil War. Another victory for the Roundheads put further pressure on the Royalist army and isolated its remaining garrisons in the west of the country. The retreat of the main royal force allowed the Parliamentarians to fully secure control of the south west.
Location: Long Sutton, Somerset
38 Battle of Nantwich 1644
Part of the First Civil War. With most of Cheshire under Royalist control, Parliamentarian forces found themselves besieged at Nantwich. In early 1644 reinforcements marched to relieve the siege and secured an important victory, breaking the Royalist hold on Chesire.
Location: Hurleston, Cheshire
39 Battle of Winceby 1643
At the height of the English Civil War, Royalists en route to relieve the siege of Bolingbroke Castle were intercepted by Parliamentarian cavalry near Winceby. The battle lasted little over 30 minutes with Oliver Cromwell luring the Royalists into open ground where Sir Thomas Fairfax joined to complete the rout.
Location: Hameringham, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
40 Battle of Shrewsbury 1403
Rebelling against King Henry IV, Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy joined forces with Welsh patriot Owain Glyndŵr in July 1403. Dominated by the first meeting of archers in battle on English soil, the rebels had the best of the battle until Hotspur was killed, apparently shot in the face after opening his visor.
Location: Astley, Shropshire
41 Battle of Roundway Down 1643
One of the key battles in the English Civil War, the Parliamentarians besieging Devizes learned that Royalist reinforcements commanded by Lord Wilmot were on the way.
Sir William Waller’s army planned to head off the Royalists, but despite being heavily outnumbered Wilmot attacked first, and eventually won the greatest cavalry victory of the entire English Civil War.
Location: Heddington, Wiltshire
42 Battle of Hopton Heath 1643
An English Civil War battle on the strategic supply route between the royalist capital of Oxford and the ports of Yorkshire. The result was inconclusive despite the Royalist commander, the Earl of Northampton, being killed in action, the Parliamentarians attempting to ransom Northampton’s body in exchange for captured guns.
Location: Hopton and Coton, Stafford, Staffordshire
43 Battle of Worcester 1651 with Powick Bridge 1642
The final battle of the English Civil War, Charles II marched south with 14,000 Scotsmen. However, viewed as an invading force they failed to gather support and were outnumbered by the 28,000-strong New Model Army of Oliver Cromwell. Charles escaped into exile in France ending the Civil War.
Also, a relative skirmish at nearby Powick Bridge nine years earlier is still regarded as the first action of the Civil War.
Location: Worcester, Worcestershire
44 Battle of Maldon 991
Taking place on the shores of the River Blackwater in Essex, the battle saw a heroic stand by the Anglo-Saxons against the Vikings under leader Anlaf. The Vikings demanded payment to withdraw, but the local forces refused, and repelled the invaders until leader Earl Byrhtnoth was killed by a poisoned spear.
Location: Maldon, Essex
45 Battle of Stratton 1643
A 5,600-strong Parliamentarian army commanded by the Earl of Stamford advanced into Cornwall, taking up position on a hill to the north of the River Stratt.
Sir Ralph Hopton commanded fewer than 3,000 Royalist troops, but still attacked the formidable Parliamentary position. Eight hours of fighting eventually saw Hopton secure Cornwall for the Royalists.
Location: Stamford Hill, Bude-Stratton, Cornwall