City exhibition marks 550th anniversary of bloodiest battle ever on British soil

THE bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil, which changed the course of the nation’s history, is being marked with a new exhibition.

The York Archaeological Trust is staging the exhibition to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Towton.

The exhibition at the trust’s Micklegate Bar Museum details one of the largest and longest battles on English soil.

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Visitors will be able to learn about the battle that brought national fame to the North Yorkshire village when, on Palm Sunday 1461, King Henry VI lost his crown to Edward IV.

The exhibition will include new artwork commissioned by the York Archaeological Trust and created by a Yorkshire-based artist, Caroline Miekina, to bring the story of Towton to life.

A film presented by the internationally acclaimed historian Terry Deary, who has written the hugely popular series of Horrible Histories books, is also featured in the exhibition.

Archaeological findings discovered at Towton proved that the battle was one of the world’s earliest gunfights.

The exhibition’s displays include replicas of weapons which would have been used in the battle that led to the loss of more than 26,000 lives.

Displaying a Towton diorama and a range of artefacts found at the battlefield, the new exhibition aims to shed light on the hugely important but often neglected episode in England’s history.

The battle was the climax of the disastrous 40-year reign of England’s youngest king, Henry VI, and changed the notion of kingship in England forever.

The clash between the forces of Lancastrian Henry VI and Yorkist challenger Edward IV happened at the village near Tadcaster.

The battle finally swung in the Yorkists’ favour with the arrival of the Duke of Norfolk whose men smashed into the Lancastrians, breaking their line.

But the fleeing soldiers became bogged down and were massacred in the fields and marshes, or drowned in the overflowing beck.

Micklegate Bar itself, situated on York’s medieval walls, had an infamous role in the events after the battle.

As the victorious Edward IV entered York after the battle, he found the heads of his father, brother and other prominent figures displayed on Micklegate Bar and elsewhere in the city.

The Battle of Towton exhibition will run until October 30.