Significant battle in English history remembered

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the Bishop of Wakefield will lead a parade and prayers to commemorate one of the bloodiest battles in the War of Roses.

The parade will honour Richard Duke of York and his son Edmund Earl of Rutland, who were killed in the Battle of Wakefield, on December 30, 1460.

Members of the Friends of Sandal Castle will join the Harrington Household and Frei Compagnie medieval re-enactors for a procession from the city centre to Sandal Castle on Saturday.

Dr Keith Souter, chairman of the Friends of Sandal Castle, said: “It is the first time that there has been a memorial march on the anniversary and it seems a very apt thing to do.

“The Battle of Wakefield was one of the most significant in English history.

“It is immensely important to remember it and this procession gives us the opportunity to honour all those who died.”

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, said the memorial march was also an opportunity to “think and pray for all those involved in conflict today.”

The walk begins at Wakefield Cathedral at 12.30pm and will make its way to Chantry Chapel, where white roses will be laid at the memorial plaque to the Earl of Rutland. Marchers will then continue to the Duke of York’s memorial, where more roses will be laid, and then on to Sandal Castle for a service by the Bishop.

Re-enactors d will then demonstrate fighting techniques and answer any questions from the public about the battle.

Sharon Whitaker, a Harrington Household member, was the brainchild behind the parade with her husband Lee.

The disputed King of England, Richard Duke of York, was slaughtered in the Battle of Wakefield after leaving Sandal Castle with his army of around 5,000 to face King Henry VI’s opposing Lancastrian force of 15,000.

The Yorkists were overwhelmed and it is believed that Richard’s poor military skills shown on the day inspired the nursery rhyme, The Grand Old Duke of York.

Richard is believed to have fallen at Portobello, where a monument was unveiled on Manygates Lane in 1897.

His son Edmund was also killed in the battle, by Lord Clifford – who was also known as black-faced Clifford or Clifford the Butcher – close to Chantry Bridge as he tried to flee.

Both their heads were displayed on on poles at Micklegate in York by the victorious Lancastrians