Explore the Sites of Edward IV’s Life and Reign | Historical Landmarks | History Hit

Explore the Sites of Edward IV’s Life and Reign

Follow in the footsteps of King Edward IV, from Tewkesbury battlefield to Mortimer’s Cross and more.

Amy Irvine

09 Aug 2021

Twice king of England and a central figure in the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) established the House of York on the throne.

If you’re wondering ‘where did Edward IV live?’ or you want to find our more about the places that this English king spent his life then we can help you follow in the footsteps of this iconic figure and visit sites that relate to his life.

Many of the sites of King Edward IV’s life relate to his role in the Wars of the Roses, including battle sites at Tewkesbury, Mortimer’s Cross and Barnet. It’s worth noting that the exact location of many of these battle sites are uncertain, but they often have memorials to mark them. Here’s our top 10…

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / CC / Jeff Tomlinson

1. Battle of Mortimer’s Cross

At Mortimer’s Cross in 1461, the young Edward – whose father had recently been killed – won an important victory over Lancastrian forces.

A Yorkist army, under the command of Edward, Earl of March (later Edward IV) intercepted a Lancastrian army, under the leadership of Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, which was marching from Wales into England.

The battle itself took place close to Mortimer’s Cross possibly between there and Kingsland. Several of the Lancastrian leaders were captured, including Jasper Tudor’s father, Owen Tudor.

While the exact location of Mortimer’s Cross Battlefield is still a subject of debate, the position highlighted on the map is the location of a monument to the battle.

Read More
Image Credit: Shutterstock

2. Towton Battlefield

Fought on 29 March 1461, The Battle of Towton was a decisive encounter in the Wars of the Roses, as well as being the largest and bloodiest battle of the war.

Over 28,000 men are thought to have died on a single day. The battle ended in a comprehensive victory for the Yorkists, confirming the young Edward IV’s hold on the throne.

Today little remains at the site of such carnage, and the battlefield is mostly open farmland. A medieval stone cross – the Towton Cross – stands by the side of the road to mark the site, along with some battlefield information panels which set out the events which took place here.

Read More
Image Credit: Chris Jenner/Shutterstock.com

3. Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace was originally built for king Edward IV in the 1470s and the 15th century medieval hall still remains. The Great Hall of Eltham Palace is still extant and was originally built for Edward in the 1470s and his grandson, Henry VIII, spent much of his childhood here.

This is the only part of medieval Eltham Palace which still exists, and remains very atmospheric.

Read More
Image Credit: Wikimedia: Nigel Cox / Monken Hadley: Hadley Highstone / CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Battle of Barnet

This was one of the most decisive and bloody encounters of the Wars of the Roses, where Edward IV won a crucial victory over his enemies on the 14 April 1471, allowing him to regain the throne.

There is little left of the battlefield now, but there is a monument on the A1000 road, which gives as good a view as any of the battlefield, which is now agricultural land, with little in the way of public footpaths.

Read More
Image Credit: Wikimedia: Inferno986return / CC

5. Battle of Tewkesbury

The Battle of Tewkesbury took place in May 1471 and was a resounding victory for Edward IV. His victory led to 14 years of peace under his rule.

The battle lasted several hours, during which the Lancastrians lost 2,000 men and the Yorkists around 500. Among the Lancastrian dead was the Prince of Wales. With the death of the heir and the imprisonment of both Henry VI (who was later murdered in the Tower of London) and Queen Margaret, the Lancastrian hold on the throne of England seemed lost.

The east side of Tewkesbury Battlefield is now covered by a housing development, but the western part is still agricultural land and is accessible by public footpath. There is a monument to the Battle of Tewkesbury in front of the Abbey, and Edward, Prince of Wales is buried here. There is a Tewkesbury Battlefield trail which allows visitors to walk some of the key sites.

Read More
Image Credit: David M Jones / CC

6. Edgecote Moor Battlefield

Edgecote Moor was the site of a battle in the Wars of the Roses which took place in 1469 and led to the capture of Edward IV.  Fought on 26 July 1469, the outcome of this battle enabled Warwick to become the effective ruler of the kingdom.

Edgecote Moor battlefield is north east of Banbury in Northamptonshire. While the actual site of Edgecote Moor battlefield is still uncertain, it is clearer than many others. The current accepted location of Edgecote Moor battlefield is easily accessible over rights of way.

Read More
Image Credit: Shutterstock

7. Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle was the site where Warwick held Edward prisoner in 1469 before his release and eventual victory.

Today, the ruins of Middleham Castle, which fell into disuse in the 17th century, show only a glimpse of its former lavish grandeur by way of its remaining stone walls. Managed by English Heritage, Middleham Castle is open to the public and houses exhibits telling the story of this once imposing structure and of its former residents.

Read More
Image Credit: Shutterstock

8. Warwick Castle

During the Wars of the Roses, Warwick Castle was owned by the Earl of Warwick Richard Neville, known as the Kingmaker.

Edward IV was briefly held prisoner here by Warwick in 1469. Visitors can tour the site and its grounds, learning about its history and enjoying its architecture.

Read More
Image Credit: Alamy

9. Rouen Castle

Rouen Castle was a fortified ducal and royal residence in the city of Rouen in Normandy. The original medieval castle was built by Philip II of France in the 13th century following his capture of the duchy from John I, Duke of Normandy and King of England.

King Edward IV of England was born at Rouen in 1442. The castle saw further conflict during the French Wars of Religion. Vulnerable to artillery like other medieval fortresses, all but the keep (now known as the Tour Jeanne d’Arc) was destroyed at the end of the 16th century under orders from Henry IV in 1591.

Open to the public, Rouen Castle’s donjon continues to stand within the modern town with its 12 foot-thick walls reaching 90 feet high.

Read More
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

10. Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle is the finest of medieval ruined castles, set in glorious Shropshire countryside. Initially a Norman stronghold it then turned royal castle, the imposing ruins of which can be seen today.

The castle’s origins can be traced back to the 11th century and to Walter de Lacy, a Norman nobleman who is said to have been given the land by a prominent supporter of William the Conqueror.

In the 15th century, Ludlow Castle became property of the Crown – re-established by Edward IV as a body to counsel and act on behalf of his son, the infant Edward, Prince of Wales. King Edward had recently been restored to the monarchy during the Wars of the Roses, and he and his allies controlled most of the marcher lordships within and adjoining Wales. He established his son at Ludlow Castle, and appointed his allies from the Woodville and Stanley families as leading figures in the Council.

Read More