Middle Ages Battles

The Middle Ages was a particularly violent and bloody period in English history. The Middle Ages is a period that is full of warfare and violence, and in this article we will look at some of the most notable wars.

Notable Middle Ages Battles

There are a number of key battles and campaigns during the Middle Ages. These include:

  • The Battle of Hastings
  • The Crusades
  • The Barons War
  • The Hundred Years War
  • The Wars of the Roses

These battles, although bloody, led to key developments in technology, weaponry well as advancements in both defensive and offensive structures and weaponry, changes to law and much more.

The Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings is generally accepted as the earliest big battle of the Middle Ages. On Saturday 14th October 1066 the general of the invading French forces, Duke William of Normandy (Also known as William the Conqueror) and King Harold Godwinson battled on the green pastures of Hastings. Harold had acquired his title as King following the death of Edward the Confessor earlier that year.

Edward had named Harold as his successor in his will. However, William felt that that the task of ruling England was rightfully his (following a promise from Edward) and he decided to head to England to claim what he felt was his.

Both men are said to have commanded armies that day of around 7,000 men each. However, William’s Norman army managed to defeat Harold’s Saxon defenders. The reign of Saxon England was over, and a new Norman chapter was about to begin.

England then engaged in battles that made up the Crusades; although these battles took place on lands to the east, rather than in England itself.

In the years immediately after the Battle of Hastings a number of important historical events occurred, including the construction of a number of Normal castles in England (including the Tower of London in 1073.) In 1086 William the Conqueror commissioned the creation of what was later to be known as the Domesday Book, which was the biggest and most detailed survey of the ownership of land and livestock in not just England, but all of Europe.

The Barons War

The next big Middle Ages battle of note was the Baron’s War. The war ran between the years 1263–67 and the war was between King Henry VIII and his barons.

In 1261, King Henry III renounced the Provisions of Oxford(1258) and the Provisions of Westminster (1259), which gave a council of barons a considerable amount of power. By revoking these laws, Henry also reasserted his right to appoint his own councillors.

This act led to an uprising of the barons, and in 1263 they took to taking arms against their king. Led by Simon de Montfort, who was the earl of Leicester, the barons managed to get Henry to reinstate the Provisions that he had renounced.

However, in 1264 a decision made by Louis IX of France as arbitrator favoured the King rather than the barons, and this created a renewed anger and another uprising which led to war, but Simon de Montfort defeated Henry’ men.

Battles and the threat of invasions continued until 1267. This time an uprising against Montfort of led to his defeat and his death.

The Hundred Years War

It’s almost impossible to imagine the scope, scale and sheer bloodiness of a war that lasted over a century, but the Hundred Years War is not an over exaggerated title given to an otherwise uneventful war. A series of bloody battles took place over a total period of 116 years.

The battles were between the French and the English and they were as numerous as they were bloody.

Battles within the Hundred Years War include:

  • The Battle of Cadsand (1337)
  • Naval Battle of Sluys (1340)
  • Battle of Auberoche (1345)
  • Siege of Calais (1346)
  • Battle of Crecy (1346)
  • Battle of Saint-Pol-de-Leon (1346)
  • Battle of La Roche-Derrien (1347)
  • Battle of Saintes (1351)
  • Battle of Ardres (1351)
  • Battle of Mauron (1352)
  • Battle of Poitiers (1356)
  • Battle of Auray (1364)
  • Battle of Navarrette (1367)
  • Battle of Montiel (1369)
  • Battle of Chiset (1373)
  • Siege of Harfleur (1415)
  • Battle of Agincourt (1415)
  • Siege of Rouen (1418-1419)
  • Battle of Bauge (1421)
  • Battle of Cravant (1423)
  • Battle of Verneuil (1423)
  • Battle of St.James (1426)
  • Battle of Jargeau (1429)
  • Battle of Beaugency (1429)
  • Siege of Orleans (1428 – 1429)
  • Battle of Patay (1429)
  • Siege of Compiegne (1430)
  • Battle of Gerberoy (1435)
  • Battle of Formigny (1450)
  • Battle of Castillon (1453)

Many of these battles proved to be critical in the shaping of the war and the countries fighting them. During this time a number of key historical events took place, including the rise of the Black Death and the birth of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Two years after the end of the Hundred Years War the Wars of the Roses began.

The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses was the name given to a series of civil wars that were fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York between 1455 and 1485. The name ‘Wars of the Roses’ was given because of the badges used by the two opposing groups. The Lancastrians brandished a red rose while the Yorkists were represented by a white rose.

The civil conflict came just two years after the Hundred Years War; however the civil wars were the product of a number of negative scenarios which led to a boiling pot situation in England, where numerous parties fought for the contention of the throne.

A number of battles made up the Wars of the Roses, including:

  • St.Albans (1455)
  • Blore Heath (1459)
  • Ludford Bridge (1459)
  • Northampton (1460)
  • Wakefield (1460)
  • Mortimer’s Cross (1461)
  • St Alban’s (1461)
  • Ferrybridge (1461)
  • Towton (1461)
  • Hedgeley Moor (1464)
  • Hexham (1464)
  • Edgecote Moor (1469)
  • Losecoat Field (1470)
  • Barnet (1471)
  • Tewkesbury (1471)
  • Bosworth (1485)

The end of the Wars of the Roses came with the Battle of Bosworth, which gave rise to the start of the Tudor period, which is yet another controversial and dark period of English history.

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