10th - 12th July Knuston Hall, Northamptonshire

WARGAME DEVELOPMENTS - COW 2015: The Conference of Wargamers

My COW started immediately after the Eleanor Cross ceremonies with an attempt to identify enemy vehicles from a command post (we did OK but got no special commendations or promotions) - but the first session I presented was after breakfast on Saturday morning.

Bouvines 1214

This was a session marrying the Bouvines talk I had given at the June NBS meeting with the game I ran at WMMS.  We had just about half the session on the history and half the session on the wargame.

The historical context can be illustrated in this version of Emperor Otto IV's arms ...

This is, of course, dimidiated, the arms of England and the arms of the Empire.  It symbolises France's Western enemies and her Eastern enemies in one person.  

Otto was descended directly from Henry the Lion of Saxony and Henry II of England - he was Richard's nephew and protégée and was brought up at the English court before winning the Imperial crown for himself.  He was a career enemy of the King of France.

Otto's allied army included the count of Flanders and his low country vassals, so we can include France's Northern enemies in the mix.  Indeed, France was surrounded and the allies planned to squeeze the life out of her.

But we only need to look at the map of France before and after the battle to understand the impact Bouvines had on European history ...

Not only are we looking at the collapse of the Angevin Empire and a massive expansion of the authority of the King of France ... we are looking at the geographical realisation of what we can call modern France.
Responding to Otto's invasion, King Philip headed North East via Lille to Tournai, crossing the small river Marque at Bouvines - but realising it had all but 'missed' the enemy (and might be committed to fighting in less than ideal terrain), he ordered his army about and fell back on Lille via the crossing (intending to establish his forces further North and in good cavalry country).
(putting Bouvines into context at COW 2015 ... photo by Kiera Bentley)
The allies realised what was happening and, despite it meaning battle on a Sunday, sent a flying column under the Count of Flanders to catch the French before they had completed their crossing.
Meanwhile Otto would make a steadier approach via Tournai and expected to find the French in disarray when he arrived in support of the fixing attack.
(Bouvines at COW - the heat is on and the allied commanders assess their options)
In fact, probably due the shrewd actions of Philp's advisor, the Crusader veteran bishop Guerin of Senlis, the French had marched with a strong rearguard which was able to repel the repeated attacks of the count of Flanders while key elements the main army were called back and deployed for battle.
So, it was the allies who arrived piecemeal - and found the French arrayed in good order and on favourable ground.
(Basic Impetus Bouvines ... the French command post)
(Basic Impetus Bouvines ... the Imperial command post)
The battle was decided by the mounted nobility of both sides in a fierce battle of charge and countercharge ... so I opted to recreate it with modified Basic Impetus.   The figures are 15mm from my Feudal collections (a wide range of manufacturers) with some special pieces added to represent the commanders and their prominent battle standards.
(Bouvines at COW - in the centre King Philip charges forward with the Oriflamme but nearer to us, the count of Flanders is prevailing)
In our game, the battle went much more to the allied plan ... repeated attack under the count of Flanders pushing the French rearguard back into the outskirts of the village by the end of the afternoon.
We ended up with something like an honourable stalemate in favour of the allies.  Of course this is substantially different to the historical outcome and the most favourable to the allies of the refights I have staged.
It certainly does vindicate the allied plan - but also perhaps vindicates Verbruggen's suggestion that after their forced march to the battlefield and the disordering effects of filing up the road, the Flemish knights may not have been in the best condition for battle (and I had not so handicapped them).
Historically, although most of Otto's leaders were captured, he escaped - but within months was deposed by Frederick II who restored the Hohenstauffens.  And so, as well as defining Anglo-French history, the battle at Bouvines changed the course of history in central Europe and the Mediterranean.
I had a good number for this session, and they seemed to enjoy the mix of history and game play.
Saturday ADG ... Sink the Bismarck ... David and Goliath ...
Other ancients games going on over the weekend included the latest version of Trebian's Rapid Raphia Hellenistic card game, a return by Ian Russell Lowell to his Rein-Bow Warriors stable and my Yarmuk game (below) ...
(COW 2015 ... the sheer variety of game periods and styles)
(IRL's Rein-Bow Warriors ... 2015-style)
My own contribution to the After Dinner phase was a 5 player participation game of Sink the Bismarck using some simple new rules I have been working on and the old Airfix 1:1200 set of waterline battleships.
(Bismarck takes a critical hit)
That's all for another blog - but watch out for some good stuff if you like simple rules.
We wound the evening up with a few games of the innovative W1815 quickfire boardgame, a Waterloo anniversary singalong and some late games of David and Goliath in memory of the inimitable Andy Gittins.
(more COW: you miss as much as you see, inevitably)
Yarmuk 636
Sunday morning I was back on station, presenting a wargame approach to ancient and medieval history ... Some of you will already have seen my Yarmuk project which combines Phil Barker's oldest figures with his newest game in an exploration of one of the pivotal battles of Islamic history.
(Yarmuk at COW: another ideal number which included DBA's author Phil Barker - who also donated the splendid vintage figures)
I was very pleased that Phil and Sue were able to attend this session, and I hope they enjoyed seeing the old figures in action.   They suggested I take on these old figures (Phil's first ancients, which he painted to play ancients with Tony Bath) when he saw my Lords of the Nile project which featured refurbished flats from the Deryck Guyler collection (though the majority were by Tony, not Deryck).
(Yarmuk at COW: an excellent bit of 'point and shoot' as the armies close)
Yarmuk was a huge battle East of Damascus where the largest army Eastern Rome could muster was drawn forward into a protracted battle of envelopment by a much smaller Arab force under Khalid ibn Al Waleed.  It is another little known battle which changed world history.
(Yarmuk 636: Khalid ibn Al Waleed under the shade of a palm tree)
In the version of the game we played, some striking early die rolls were cancelled out and all commands in the game suffered losses.  Eventually Vahan broke Amr's main line while Khalid broke Quanateer's left flank setting up something like the historical final day showdown.
In fact, something of a rarity, we decided to leave the battle at that point as coffee and biscuits were being served in the hall and honours were about even.
(Yarmuk at COW: on the far side Quanateer struggles to face Khalid while - foreground - Amr counter-attacks vigorously)
Also a rarity, the majority of players were new - or relatively new - to DBA ... needless to say, they were playing freely within a few turns: Phil and Sue were able to enjoy the action while I just had to help with the combat maths and keep the players on the turn sequence.
Thanks to everyone who attended these sessions - they seemed to go well (I hope you enjoyed my take on historical battles) ...
We acknowledged the Society's 50th birthday, Andy's parting, played DBA and Gladiolus and sold some Society games.
As an innovation in memory of Paddy Griffith and his irreverent take on military history, there was a ballot for the Flaming Pig award (who made the best contribution to the Conference) ... Bob (Wargaming Miscellany) Cordery deservedly won but I was honoured to get a nomination.  Thanks, whoever it was ...
If you want to come to COW next year, book early (it seems to sell out earlier and earlier these days)



10th - 12th July Central England ...

The second weekend of July was a busy one at AoM Towers ...

*It was the Conference of Wargamers weekend, I had a new car to pick up (and worry needlessly about boot space and carrying capacity ... ) ...

*It was the anniversary of the Battle of Northampton (10 July 1460)

*But the CoW early arrivals wanted to visit Northamptonshire's other WotR battlefield at Edgcote (having visited the 1460 field on a previous visit) ...

*And the Sunday evening had been picked for an Andy Gittins memorial event in Windsor (and it would be cruel to miss my old friend's final event)

I'll post a CoW report next, and an obituary for Andy will follow ...

(historians and wargamers reach their conclusions about the orientations at Edgcote - photo by Kiera Bentley)

Edgcote battle was fought in July 1469 near the crossing of the river Cherwell between the forces of Edward IV and his former champion, Warwick the Kingmaker.

The sources leave us with a number of uncertainties over the position and orientation of the battle.

The Royalist leader, the Earl of Pembroke, was taken the following day to Northampton where he was executed at the Eleanor Cross, site of Warwick's earlier victory.

Delayed in Peterborough, I managed to catch up with some of the WD party at the end of the visit.

Back to Northampton for the anniversary, we put up a temporary stand in the car park at Delapre in order to gather our commemorative group together and hand out leaflets ...

(10th July memorial walk to the Eleanor Cross at Northampton)

... and then marched along with local politicians and historians behind members of the Harrington's Companye to the Eleanor Cross - from which the archbishop of Canterbury and the Papal legate watched the battle in 1460.

Roses were laid in memory of the fallen of both sides by the reenactors and by the Northampton Battlefields Society ...

Although I did duck out on Saturday lunchtime for an opening at Kettering Art Gallery, I spent the rest of the weekend at Knuston Hall for the Conference of Wargamers ... before leaving Northamptonshire for Windsor for Andy's last do.

(one of Andy's great loves - the bar at Windsor Football Club - with his friends from recent and long departed times)

We listened to celebrations poetic, personal and musical and played some games of Andy's SoA classic David & Goliath.  I now have a set of cards and rules for the Alexander's Empire game and am hoping to put together a retrospective of Andy's work as a game designer.

He will be much missed by all of us.

20th June, St Helens

Phalanx 2015

Many thanks to the Spartans club for another great event at Sutton Leisure Centre.  Many thanks also to Steve and the Gentlemen Pensioners, my hosts for the weekend.

As is now a trusted formula, I was up with the Society's membership stand in support of Martin Charlesworth's popular DBA challenge table.

(Martin's 'Dirty DBA' ... let battle commence)

(Early Imperial Roman vs Picts)

(Achaemenid Persian vs Classical Indian)

We got around 8 games in during the day, but nobody won the challenge (although I took over playing the home army while Martin went shopping so the pendulum did swing towards the visitors for a while) ...

It is nice to see people playing the game.

Elsewhere, the Lance & longbow Society were running the Battle of Liverpool scenario with the Lion Rampant rules.

(The Battle of Liverpool with the Lance & Longbow Society)

(Battle of Liverpool: the armies close ...)

Also of an ancients style, I was very impressed with the large semi-historical naval game ... played on Kallistra hexes with home adapted rules ...

We don't really see enough trireme games on Ancients on the Move so I'm sure you'll enjoy so more details ...

Also seen on the ancient and medieval beat ...

Phalanx is an excellent show with a good mix of traders, demos and participation games: plenty of things to do and be inspired by for a one-day show ... here's a flavour of the rest of the periods ...

(Great terrain in this Liverpool WWII game)

... and an excellent Prusso-Austrian game from the Cobridge lads ...

Of course that's just scratching the surface - I was on the stand most of the day so these are just some of the things that caught my eye.  You really should visit this show if you are at all in the region.

There is also an excellent traditional Bring & Buy ... I picked up a bundle of stuff (I'm not a big bargain hunter so you know if I am shopping that there's good things to be had) ...

Then on to more important things ...

In the evening we filled a gap before dinner with a couple of games of Yarmuk.  Different again and well received by the players.

(enough said)

The Sunday was given over to a big multiplayer ECW game, more pictures of which can be found on my ECWBattles blog.

(Sunday: Pike & Shotte)

Excellent: my thanks to all involved.  A great end to the Spring and early Summer season.

Next up for me ... The Battle of Northampton in a local heritage show at Delapre Abbey ...

And COW 2015 where, amongst many good things, I will be reprising Bouvines and Yarmuk.


13th and 14th June, Naseby, Northamptonshire ...

The Northampton Battlefields Society at Naseby 370.

NBS took a little medieval magic along to the Naseby 370 event over the weekend ... to promote interest in and understanding of Northamptonshire's other key battles (Northampton 1460 and Edgcote 1469).

We were also supporting the Magna Carta celebrations on Sunday at 3pm (the LiberTeas event) ... and visitors to the event were given a free cup of tea to celebrate the story of English rights and liberties.

(LiberTeas: 800 years of Magna Carta celebrated at Naseby 370)

It seemed peculiarly appropriate to be celebrating Magna Carta's anniversary on the battlefield where Parliament won its right to be part of the governance of the land.

In addition to the museums and artists, cake stalls and tea parties, the Phoenix Club presented a series of wargames with a 17th century theme ...

(wargames at Naseby 370)

The big game was played to a version of Pike and Shotte, and the participation game used an adaptation of Lion Rampant.

The exhibition zone was also supported by the Pike & Shot Society, Helion Books, The Battlefields Trust and David Lanchester's books.

On Sunday the exhibitors got an impromptu visit from the Naseby Project's patron, Earl Spencer who took a keen interest in the wargame exhibits, particularly the historic battlefields of his native Northamptonshire ...

(Painterman Simon explaining the Battle of Northampton to Earl Spencer at Naseby 370)

So we were able to demonstrate medieval battle, explain Northampton's part in the Wars of the Roses, as well as celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta and see some of the 17th century stuff that was, of course, the weekend's main theme.

(Naseby 370 ... the big battle captured on my small camera)

Next outing as Shows North will be in a week's time at Phalanx supporting Martin C's DBA Challenge

For more picture from Naseby 370 see ECWBattles/Naseby 370

31st May, Kelham Hall, Newark

Society of Ancients and Lance and Longbow Society at Partizan 2015

Yarmuk 636 ...

Shows North attended Partizan on behalf of SoA and L&L, and took along the prototype DBA V3 scenario game of Yarmuk.

Yarmuk was the cataclysmic battle fought out East of Damascus between the rising power of Islam and the formerly dominant regional power of Eastern Rome (the Byzantines).

(Yarmuk at Partizan ... flats from 50 years ago refurbished for today's wargames rules)

This is a development project in its final phase and enjoyed a first public outing.   The game represents the significant cavalry battle on the Northern flank on the penultimate day of fighting. Above shows my interpretation of the historical deployment.

(Khalid's Mobile Guard appear behind the Byzantine's Northern flank)

We pick up the battle narrative when the Arab cavalry reserve makes its surprise appearance behind the Byzantine position.

(looking along the Arab battleline ... mostly infantry with cavalry support directed by Amr ibn al As)

The Arabs must hold the line long enough for their elite force to swing the battle.

(the Byzantines drive forward in the centre)

Unfortunately, Pips (and the threat to their flank) meant that, in the game, the Byzantines were not able to attack all along the line and take the battle to the Arabs.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: the Byzantine line rapidly collapses)

Poor dice rolls accelerated the pace and the Byzantine forces were quickly split up, surrounded and annihilated.  Vahan's senior army evaporated first, leaving Qanateer's Slav recruits assailed on all sides.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: the last stand of Vahan's army)

The Slavs faired better only in holding out for a couple more turns but won few exchanges with the dominant Arabs.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: Qanateer's army is broken)

The battle was fought using adapted V3 armies (2 commands each, with independent break thresholds) and the scenario specifications will be published in a forthcoming book supporting DBA V3.   Watch this space.

(The Battle of Yarmuk: a DBA V3 scenario debut at Partizan - final positions)

Both Byzantine commands were broken ... for the loss of 1 element of cavalry from Khalid's Mobile Guard.

Our most emphatic Arab win in all the trial games - but on public debut, quite probably the most historical outcome.

In 636, Khalid's cavalry manoeuvre completely outflanked the enemy and led to the destruction of Vahan's cavalry and reserves, cutting the army's retreat.   It went very badly for the remaining troops.

Elsewhere at Partizan ...

Lots of good games around, sadly most of them in predictable 28mm but probably the best you'll see in that format ...

(Partizan 2015: a mix of spectacular 'big' table 28mm games)

(Grimsby's splendid gentlemen tread the teddybear fur ...)

But top 28mm game, for me, was Simon Miller's To the Strongest presentation ... good rules, masses of figures, simple rules and people joining in.

(Partizan 2015: BRB getting people involved in his To the Strongest demonstration)

... so here a couple of indulgent shots of massed battle, Roman-style ...

(Partizan 2015: To the Strongest ... you will need reserves ... )

Great day out ... seemed quite busy in the morning (well, 'crowded' - so we were unable to run the game til the afternoon, a bit like Salute used to be in the old days) ...

Yarmuk ran very nicely and its unique flat figure charm was enjoyed by a string of admirers once the crowd had thinned enough for people to see the game (NB: I must switch soon to much bigger tables like everyone else) ...

Partizan very much knows what it does best and caters to that audience.  The lighting has never been great and Kelham Hall's catering has evolved over the years away from what wargamers generally hope to find ...despite which we had quite a few visitors over the day and everybody seemed to be enjoying the show.

We're all looking forward to the next one.

Thanks to the crew, hosts and visitors.

Comments (4)

16th May, Sheffield, EIS

The SoA DBA Northern Cup at the Sheffield TRIPLES show.

So my trip to Triples started with a powercut, a broken down lorry on the A43 and the M1 North shut due to an accident (apologies to the thousands of other people choosing to travel then and who therefore ended up caught in my jinx) ...

So no surprises that I would lose more than one game of DBA on the day rolling a one with my general ...

This was the 11th annual Northern Cup and as smoothly organised as ever by our stalwart Lincoln friends.   The theme was Britain: a Nation at War' and featured scenarios from ancient times to the Wars of the Roses.

(Sub Roman British vs Scots Irish)

(Later Imperial Romans)

(splendid 15th Century armies based on Game of Thrones)

The possible boards (draw randomly for each round) were: Ancient British vs Caledonian; Pictish vs Late Imperial Roman; Scots Irish vs Sub Roman British; Norse Irish vs Norse Irish; Welsh vs Anglo Norman; Scots Common vs Scots Isles and Highlands; Feudal English vs Feudal French; House Stark vs House Lannister.

The Northern Cup offers a pretty full day of wargaming - 5 rounds in the day - but one of the advantages of getting beaten relatively quickly is that there is a bit more time to wander round the excellent show ...

Ancient/Medieval enthusiasts would have loved the display by the Knights in Battle Medieval Society ... combining equipment displays from their reenactments with a colourful battle using Neil Thomas rules ...

(Knights in Battle equipment display and picture books)

(the miniature Knights in all their glory) 

There was a popular participation game being run all through by Wargames Developments (didn't really get to talk to them as there was a game in progress every time I walked past) ...

(WD's Costal Command game in full swing ...) 

... and amongst a number of attractively presented participation games, I also noticed this gunfight game (again, supported with an eye-catching display of weapons and relevant exhibits) ...

I know a lot of fellow enthusiasts insist it is all about the game (or all about the minis), but I think the additional display features, exhibits and interpretations are all part of a good presentation these days: not only do they catch the eye, they also give another crack at explaining to casual browsers why you think your period or genre is worth their attention.

An all too brief look round from me, but lots to see and do.

Back at the DBA Northern Cup, the final round shuffled the pack, and for the 11th successive year, a new Champion emerged (astonishingly, nobody has ever won this event twice) ...

(The 2015 DBA Northern Cup Champion and runners up)

Phil Johnson won with Pete Duckworth (2nd) and Scott Russell as runners up.  Thereafter ... Dennis Grey; Martin Smith; Paul Hodson; Colin O'Shea; Graham Fordham, Tom Howes and Tom Whitehead; Richard Pulley; FrankShaw; Martin Myers.  Phil Steele and Mark Johnson jointly propped up the table.

A thoroughly good day out.  Thanks to Paul and Tony for organising the event, Sheffield Wargames Society for hosting it at Triples, and to the Society of Ancients for sponsorship.

See the Society's Shows North team next at Partizan at the end of the month.

UK DBA League page (Society Sponsored)
Comments (1)

9th and 10th May ... The Centre MK

(wargames meet the public in Middleton Hall)

Well done MKWS in getting Campaign back on in Milton Keynes Central shopping atrium: the wargames show with open access to ordinary members of the public.

The Society of Ancients has been proud to be associated with this initiative since its inception and is keen to do its bit presenting our wonderful, life-change and life-affirming leisure interests to a wider public - young people in particular.

Kids today lead very deprived lives that may not involve libraries, museum - even, I am told, toy soldiers (though that can hardly be believed) and are often misled that games are mostly noisy, head-scrambling video and console challenges.

This year, the Society stand hosted a participation game by the Northampton Battlefields Society (Northampton 1460: figures and layout by Shows North and Fluttering Flags; game design and umpiring by Trebian), a display by The Battlefields Trust (we had a reenactor in kit coming but he was taken ill) and a battlefield display by The Naseby Project (again, figures and layout by Shows North and Fluttering Flags) promoting their massive June 13/14 event.

Here are some details of the games ...

(Northampton 1460 has been boiled down to a rapid attack card game with a strong historical skew)

(March and Warwick attack the Lancastrian ramparts)

(overlooking the formidable position from the London Way)

(the game in full flow ... a Yorkist victory is imminent) 

Tim and Pete from Staines had the excellent Agincourt participation game from Salute up for the Saturday ... 

The designers gave me a quick run through and the game looked good ... the basic idea is that the French are in a race to capture hapless English nobles for ransoms ...

Ancients enthusiast would also have enjoyed the Hail Caesar game ...

... but pride of place must surely have gone to the Playmobil chariot races ...

Other periods were represented, though, I have to say, with the notable exception of the eye-catching Dambusters game (another Salute veteran) the ancient and medieval games clearly had the edge.

(display and participation games at Campaign 2015)

(Big kids went dambusting)

For more pictures of the Naseby Battlefield, please visit our sister blog ECW Battles in Miniature - but here's a plug.  The big weekend in 13th and 14th June (unmissable if you are within travelling distance of middle England ... it's the big one!) ...

(The dragoons in Sulby ... battle opens)

(Naseby: the Kings army advances on Parliament's position)

So a big thumbs up from the team and plenty of smiling faces from the public ... some new enthusiasts recruited and a lot of leaflets distributed.   A great show.

Write to the Centre's managers and tell them how much you like the show.

The Society of Ancients is next out sponsoring the Northern DBA Cup at Triples

Shows North will be doing Yarmuk at Partizan at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, you can catch me at Northampton talking about the Battle of Bouvines and the Road to Magna Carta on the 28th 


25th April, London, ExCel


Salute likes to have a theme ... and the Society is seldom able to join in with it ... this year was different, however, and the theme, Agincourt, felt directly into our period of remit.

We set up two games from Henry's epoch defining 1415 campaign, a full scope Agincourt game using Impetus rules and the Society's Anno Domino game of the assault on the breach at Harfleur, Greyhounds in the Slips.

(Agincourt - the French vanguard moves forward)

(Agincourt - some 'extra input' on the game from Lorenzo)

(larger figures for the 1:1 action at Harfleur)

(Greyhounds in the Slips - the author was also on hand to help players through this game, too)

Both these games ran during the game and I enjoyed giving Greyhounds another run out ... players and browsers were appreciative as usual and we had the full range if outcomes (including Henry getting killed by a crossbow bolt from the tower ... how very 'lion-hearted' of him! ... ) although generally the iconic warlord won the town and went on to fight at Agincourt.

Elsewhere there were a number of impressive ancient and medieval games ...

('Bloody Cremona' played with To The strongest')



... and, of course there were a lot of games out of our period and 'off theme' ... plenty of Napoleonics (in what is also Waterloo year), plenty of 20th Century and a whole host of wonderfully presented figures - I'll include a couple of collages in the vain attempt to capture the feel of a truly vast show ...

Back to the Agincourt theme, Donnington/Ancient & Modern had a great and well thought-out Field of Glory game in glorious 15mm ...

(Agincourt across the ploughed fields of glory)

(FoG Agincourt ... battlegroups of Frenchmen surge forward)

But with less emphasis on the ploughed fields but a strikingly French castle, The Lance & Longbow Society's Hail Caesar game swept the board as far as the organisers were concerned (bagging 3 awards) ...

(Hail Caesar Agincourt ... a panorama of fighting men in the fields of France) 

(Painterman Simon adds to his trophy cabinet on the Lance & Longbow stand)

And here are some futher joys from this lavish presentation ...

(Salute 2015 ... some details from the award winning Agincourt game) ...

Well done to the L&L ... and well done to the Agincourt theme ... I have featured games using Impetus, HC and FoG but there were others as well.  A great showcase.

I always try to wrap up with some thoughts on the show but with Salute it never works (the show is so big I can't take it all in in the few sessions I get off from running the game ... and then I bump into people anyway so miss half the other games) ...

The lighting seemed better, but the acoustics can be attritional ... and the fantasy shopping hubs were a bit scary ... but it remains the UK's premier show and it was great to see the societies there flying the flag for traditional historical wargaming and contributing some of the best looking tables at the show.

See you next at Campaign ... don't miss it.

17th April, Oxford

One for Slingshot lovers everywhere ...

On some related printing business, I called in at Horgan's in Oxford on Friday.  Whilst I was there they indulged some nerdiness on my part and showed me the machine on which our splendid Society of Ancients journal is printed ...

(this is the machine that prints Slingshot - and the man that operates it)

See - Ancients on the Move takes you places other blogs seldom go ...

The Society of Ancients will be at Salute next week ... do come along and have a chat, browse our range of publications and try a game of Greyhounds in the Slips.


29th March (Palm Sunday), Towton, North Yorkshire


The day after the BattleDay I was up to Yorkshire for the annual Towton Battlefields Society Palm Sunday event.

This year was special in that (and notwithstanding the changes in the calendar since the 15th Century) the anniversary (29th March) actually fell on Palm Sunday (as it did in 1461 and which is the traditional Sunday on which the TBS host the annual commemoration).

I was up with the Northampton Battlefields Society and we were in the windy barn ...

I have tagged some of the other exhibitors ...

The Battlefields Trust and the Scottish Battlefields Trust were there, as were battlefields Societies from Stamford Bridge, Tewkesbury, Northampton as well as Towton and others, plus some period traders and arms dealers and Societies including the Lance & Longbow ... battle themed and Wars of the Roses themed, mostly.

We were supporting the heritage message, showing the cannonball pictures and displaying the battlefield model

(Northampton 1460 on show at the Towton Palm Sunday event 2015)

In many ways what was started at Northampton on July 10th 1460 was finished 8 months later on Palm Sunday at Towton in the bloodiest battle on English soil.

Here's a chilly model of the Battle of Towton with its dusting of snow (using Peter Pig figures)

(Towton 1461)

And the Lance & Longbow Society had a participation game going of the Battle of Hexham

(Hexham 1464)

Outside there was a good turn out of Living History and Reenactors ... I was particularly pleased with the guns which seem to match the bore of the piece that fired the shot found at Northampton.

Here's one of their slightly oversized rounds (so it can't actually be inadvertently loaded whilst chatting) alongside Northampton's real one (that is smashed by the impacts following its firing) ..

So you get the idea of the size of ball shot at Northampton ... small by Napoleonic standards but capable of smashing men horses and masonry.

It will be splendid to get one of these guns down to Delapre and have it fire again.   I can see it now, by the Eleanor Cross, on the anniversary of the battle, firing a salute ...

(commemorating Northampton 1460 ... an image from the 2013 evening walk)

Something to aspire to.

Otherwise outside the were some scenes being recreated ...

At the end of the afternoon the blustery day was clear enough to allow a visit to the field of conflict itself ... 

(Towton battlefield ... the main action)

(Towton battlefield ... the sun dipping down as we overlook Cock Beck where much of the slaughter occurred) 

Many thanks to our hosts and volunteers.  A grand day out for all and well worth noting in your diary for next year if you haven't been - it'll be on Palm Sunday.

After the massive victory at Towton, Edward, whose men had been first over the rampart at Northampton was crowned King Edward IV but the issues of the Cousins War were far from settled.