Edward IV’s entry into York following the Battle of Towton

The manner of the Yorkist entry into the City of York following the Battle of Towton was recorded in the Paston Letters. It provudes a valuable insight into the way in which the victors conducted themselves. 

Edward IV’s entry into York following the Battle of Towton

4 April 1461. Letter from William Paston and Thomas Playters to John Paston:

“Please you to know and weet of such tidings as my Lady of York hath by letter of credence under the sign manual of our sovereign lord King Edward, which letter came unto our said lady this same day, Eastern Even, at 11 clock, and was seen and read by me, William Paston.

First, our sovereign lord [King Edward IV] has won the field and, on the Monday next after Palm Sunday, he was received into York with great solemnity and processions. And the mayor and the commons of said City made their means to have grace by Lord Montagu and Lord Berners, which before coming into the said City desired him of grace for the said City, which granted them grace…

… King Harry, the Queen, the Prince, the Dukes of Somerset and Exeter, Lord Roos, been fled into Scotland, and thy be chased and followed.

We sent no ere unto you because we had none till now, for unto this day London was as sorry City as might…”

The Paston Letters, though bias in their allegiance, often illustrate the political situation very well. The solemnity of Edward IV‘s entry into York is hardly surprising, just days earlier the City had been the significant base of the Lancastrian leadership. The letter also shows that no time was being wasted in the pursuit of the remaining Lancastrians. Planning and preparations for such a chase had been undertaken quickly, if not predetermined. Additionally, the letter shows how fast news could spread. In London, news of the events at Towton (29 March) arrived six days later


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