About Battle of Ludford Bridge
The Battle of Ludford Bridge marked an early set-back for the Yorkist forces in the Wars of the Roses. As the armies squared up to each other across the River Teme, a significant part of the Yorkist army defected and left the field. The Yorkists had to retreat the following morning and their leaders fled.
Richard, Duke of York, with his son Edmund Earl of Rutland, fled to Ireland and the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury went to Calais, taking the York’s older son, Edward Earl of March with them.
The Ludford Bridge is still in existence and can be seen today.
Battle of Ludford Bridge history
Prior to the battle, merchant ships from Lübeck and Spain were attacked by the Earl of Warwick on pretence of enforcing English sovereignty in the Channel. However, the attacks were really a means for Warwick to raise money through plundering the merchants so he could pay his army.
Warwick was summoned to the royal court to answer for his actions, but when challenged there was a violent clash between the King’s council and Warwick’s men. Claiming his life had been threatened, Warwick returned to Calais while the Queen, Margaret of Anjou mustered her forces and incited Warwick, Salisbury and York for rebellion.
Although the Yorkists had had a victory at Blore Heath, the tide turned at the Battle of Ludford Bridge 3 weeks later, on 12 October 1459. Faced with a Lancastrian army led by King Henry, the Yorkists found themselves stuck in Worcester unable to move south. Richard of York now realised many of his men would refuse to fight the king himself – especially as Henry offered pardon to those who would change sides.
York, Salisbury and Warwick abandoned their armies during the night and fled to Wales, leaving their leaderless troops to kneel in submission on the dawn of 13 October. They were pardoned.
Battle of Ludford Bridge today
Today, the unshakeable Ludford Bridge continues to stand across the River Teme after centuries of feet have crossed it into Ludlow. After restoration in the 18th century and recent widening, the bridge is a popular feature of the market town and you can both walk and drive over it.
Because there was no actual pitched battle, the Ludford Bridge does not constitute a battlefield site, although the confrontation between Lancaster and York led to the Battle of Sandwich in 1460 as the Yorkist reestablished themselves in England.
Getting to the Battle of Ludford Bridge
Ludford Bridge is located along the B4361 into Ludlow coming from the A49 between Leominster and Shrewsbury. From Birmingham, the bridge is an hour and a half drive via the A456 or you could get the Transport for Wales train from New Street to Shrewsbury, then the train to Carmarthen stopping at Ludlow.