Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Northampton battlefield: Experts to take closer look

War of the Roses enactment

Experts are preparing to take a closer look at the site of one of the 
most important but unexplored battles in the 15th Century War of 
the Roses.
About 45,000 people fought in the Battle of Northampton between the houses of Lancaster and York.
The borough council has commissioned a study to help planners to protect the site in the grounds of Delapre Abbey.
The Battlefields Trust said valuable artefacts, cannon balls and weapons could be lost if it was developed.
Conservation specialists LUC will formulate a site management plan working with two local specialist archaeologists.
Battlefield expert Glenn Foard and landscape archaeologist Tracey Partida aim to discover the area where the battle was fought in 1460.
It is also significant as it may also have seen the first use of artillery in warfare on English soil.
The Battlefields Trust said it was decisive in English history changing the line of kings from Lancastrian to Yorkist.
The future Edward IV, leading a Yorkist army, routed the Lancastrians, captured King Henry VI and seized the throne.
"It's a unique site because of the use of artillery and a rare fortified camp that the Yorkists successfully captured," a spokesman said.
"No work has been done to set out accurately the battlefield area or explore its unique features.
"There are bodies buried there and evidence of the battle, such as lead balls from the artillery, in the top soil."
The Trust is pleased the council has taken the decision to commission a conservation management plan.
"It is an important heritage resource the significance of which has, in the past, been overlooked locally.
"We are looking forward to working with the council to implement the recommendations from the study."
Proposals had been discussed to put sports pitches on the site and move a long established a stables.
The trust was among many others to object to these steps before the site had been investigated.
The borough council has now agreed to back a study of the site over the next few months.
In the summer, the team will recommend what should be done to protect the battlefield and preserve it for future generations.
Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: "Last year saw a real interest in our town's rich history.
"We uncovered sections of our castle, announced plans for a heritage gateway, continued to restore Delapre Abbey and discussed how we could do more to recognise the importance of our battlefield site."

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