Gates of Durham reinforced

15 November 1460, The Gates of Durham were reinforced as Lancastrian loyalists rallied to support Queen Margaret.

Lancastrian call to arms

Following the Battle of Northampton, Queen Margaret had fled to Wales before moving north to Scotland. A call to arms was sent to those followers who remained loyal to her cause. The call was answered by the Earl of Northumberland and Earl of Westmoreland.
Both Earls issued arrays throughout their lands. As the area was so used to being arrays due to the wardenship of the marches, the Earls raised a sizeable army in a short amount of time. The armies mustered to the north of Durham. Once the full complement of men had arrived, the Earls marched to York and Pomfret (Pontefract).

Gates of Durham reinforced

Wary of the Scots taking advantage of their march south, the Earls ordered that Durham’s gates be closed and reinforced once they had passed through. This took place on 15 November 1460.

Defences of Medieval Durham
Defences of Medieval Durham. From British History Onljne.

Threat to Yorkist lands

The significance of this rapid array and deployment is enormous. Pontefract is adjacent to the Duke of York’s lands, in which Sandal Castle can be found. News of the large army appearing so close to his own lands must have startled the Yorkist lords.

What happened next?

Such a large force put the Yorkists control of Government and the Act of Accord at risk. The only practical solution to the problem was to face the Queen’s army. The Duke of York gathered an army and marched to Sandal. This led directly to the Battle of Wakefield, in
which he, his son Edmund and the Earl of Salisbury fell.

In the event, reinforcing the gates of Durham was unnecessary. The Scots formed an alliance with Queen Margaret and sent an army to support her campaign.

Featured Image of Medieval Durhsm

: Aap of DurhamEngland from 1610, by the famous cartographer John Speed. The cathedral and castle are shown, as is the River Wear which surrounds the city on three sides

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