The Banbury Barmaid and the Battle of Edgcote. . . .

battle of edgecote - 1

According to this site, ( Edward IV lost the Battle of Edgcote in 1469 because of a Banbury barmaid. And no, amazingly, Edward was not involved in the lustful squabble. The culprits were the Earls of Pembroke and Devon. . .and a barmaid from Banbury.

It seems that prior to the battle:-

“Edward decided to wait in Nottingham for the William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Devon, arriving with an army from the south. The strength of this army was around 15,000 -20,000 men and had with it over 200 Welsh nobles. Unusually, most of the archers were with the Earl of Devon, whilst Pembroke’s contingent included around 2,000 cavalry under Pembroke’s brother, Sir Richard Herbert.”

“On 25th July, Pembroke and Devon arrived at Banbury. According to legend, they argued over who would spend the night with a barmaid. Pembroke won and Devon left in a sulk, taking his forces with him. The real cause of the altercation will probably be never known; however, Devon withdrew with his men to Deddington Castle, thus dividing their army at a crucial point.”

When the battle commenced, the rebels (Robin of Redesdale, Warwick and George of Clarence):-

“…attacked across the river, forcing Pembroke to retreat and pull his men back some distance. Pembroke was attacked again in his new position, but he put up a brave defence while awaiting Devon. At 1 o’clock the Earl received the news he had been waiting for: Devon was rapidly advancing with all his men. However, at the same time the advance guard of Warwick’s army arrived upon the field. Rebel morale was instantly boosted. Seeing Warwick’s livery amongst the enemy, Pembroke’s men presumed his whole force of expert soldiers was upon them. The royal army broke and fled the field, possibly before Devon could even reinforce them.”

Battle of Edgecote Moor

“The Earl of Devon never reached the battlefield and . . .fled with his army, but was captured and executed at Bridgewater, Somerset a few weeks later. The Herberts [the earl and his brother] were taken to Northampton’s Queen Eleanor’s Cross and executed in the presence of Warwick and Clarence.”

Robin of Redesdale was believed to have died in the battle, although there is an element of doubt about this.

Edward IV fled the country, and Henry VI was put on the throne again. However, Edward returned in 1471, defeated Henry’s army (well, Margaret of Anjou’s) at Tewkesbury, and remained on the throne until his death in 1483.

So, we have lust for a Banbury barmaid to blame for the outcome of the Battle of Edgcote. The lady’s name does not seem to have been recorded….

battle edgecote barmaid


  1. I know it has been a year or two since you posted this, but you have a sign board showing “Battle of Edgcote” in the picture, then call it “Edgecote Heath” and “Edgecote Moor”. Both of these names aren’t supported by any sources, and only come into the historiography in the 1990s. There’s no such place as either of the names you’ve used. The other details on the date and numbers are wrong too. We (Northamptonshire Battlefields Society) have corrected and updated the Wikipedia entry, so there’s all the info you need without buying our book. Be much appreciated if you’d post corrections, as this is a well respected blog that comes up high on Google Searches. Thanks

    Graham Evans
    Northamptonshire Battlefields Society

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for pointing out my error, Graham. I don’t know where I got the variations from, but have corrected them. Please keep reading our blog!


      1. Thanks. It is a constant struggle to get these things right. Even the Royal Mail stamps have the error on them. BTW Modern spelling is Edgcote with no middle “e”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll correct that as well. Actually, there are a few sites online that refer to Edgecote/Edgcote Moor. Heaven knows where it started.


    1. I think I know when it started. Just compiling the evidence. And please check the Wiki entry now we have fixed it. Or buy our Edgcote book from Amazon.


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