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Tours > Northumberland Battlefields > Hexham

David Ford, History Editor
The Battle of Hexham
15th May 1464
Near the junction of B6307 and B6306
2 miles southeast of Hexham

by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Fields around the Devil's Water, site of the Battle of Hexham Hexham was the last battle of the first chapter of the Wars of the Roses. Having been defeated at the decisive Battle of Towton, King Henry VI and his Queen fled north to Scotland. However, finding the Scots in negotiation with their enemies, the King moved into Northumberland where he still held several castles and Queen Margaret sailed for France to raise troops and money.

Lord Montague soon marched out from Newcastle to challenge Henry, but the cowardly monarch fled to Lancashire, leaving his battered army to try and stop the Yorkists reaching Hexham. They clashed along the Devil's Water, south-east of the town, but the Lancastrians were heavily outnumbered and the ensuing battle was little more than an armed skirmish.

There is some controversy over which side of the road the Battle of Hexham took place, but it was certainly in the fields around the River, possibly on the slopes of Swallowship Hill. Legend says that Queen Margaret returned to England just too late to rally her troops and found herself and her young son lost in the adjoining forest near Dilston. She escaped being murdered by bandits and lived for some days in a cavern still known as the 'Queen's Cave'.

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