Battles and Sieges

Siege of Alnwick Castle

On 6 January 1463, Alnwick Castle was taken by the Yorkists.

Following their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Towton the Lancastrian’s were restricted to control of only a few areas of England and Wales. In Wales the Lancastrian Castles, Harlech excepted, fell, or submitted in quick succession.

In England, Lancastrian dominance only really existed in the North East. A cluster of Castles, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick, held for King Henry VI. It was symbolically important; the anointed King of England remained a King in England.

Unsurprisingly, the Yorkists sought to overcome this resistance. As the rule of Edward IV was being established, it fell to the Neville’s of Middleham to eradicate the Lancastrian resistance in the North East. It was a task the Neville’s relished.

Siege of Alnwick Castle

The Earl of Warwick held a large personal army that was battle hardened and controlled much of the shipping in the North Sea which was used to bring north ordnance for use in sieges: though it was used sparingly. Alnwick was besieged by the Earl of Warwick’s men, and Queen Margaret and her French Captain Pierre de Breze were forced to flee to Scotland.

In Scotland, the pair organised a relief force for the Castle. The small Scottish army arrived at Alnwick on 5 January, forcing Warwick to abandon the siege. The relief force did not remain at Alnwick though, returning north soon afterwards,

Warwick now only had a token garrison to contend with. Short of manpower, the garrison of Alnwick surrendered to Warwick on 6 January 1463. It was the third time that the Castle had changed hands in two years.

Images of Alnwick Castle

Featured image: Canaletto in England. A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755, Intro fig. 12. Via Wikmedia.

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