The Battle of Towton in 1461 has long held the distinction of being the largest and bloodiest battle on English soil. A decisive moment in the Wars of the Roses, it saw the Yorkist Edward IV defeat his Lancastrian rival Henry VI and claim the English throne. But are claims that the number of deaths exceeded 28,000 exaggerated? What really happened when the fleeing Lancastrians found themselves trapped in the 'Bloody Meadow'?
In this two-part series, medieval historian Matt Lewis is turning battlefield detective to find out what really happened on that fateful day. In the first episode, he joins Chris Berendt, Chairman of the Towton Battlefield Society, to walk the site of the battle and learn about the key tactical decisions that swung the result. We use animated maps of the battlefield to show you exactly how the fighting unfolded.
In the second episode, Matt gets a taste of what the battle was like for an ordinary soldier. He gets up close with the real victims of Towton, analysing terrifying wounds on skeletons found in a mass grave on the battlefield, and handling some of the medieval weapons used on the day.