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Research

Towton Battlefield Society wishes to promote study and research for this period.  Whilst many of our members have conducted extensive studies, there is always new information to be uncovered.  The following documents have been collated over the years, and in line with our aims to encourage learning and interest, these documents are provided on an open source basis.  If anyone has any appropriate information they would like to contribute to this page, then we would be glad to hear from you.


GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL
EVALUATION OF A SECTION OF
OLD LONDON ROAD
TOWTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Between 23rd and 26th June 2016 an archaeological excavation and geophysical survey were carried out across a section of Old London Road in an attempt to assess the period of its construction. It is considered possible that it might be either early medieval or Roman in date.
The area of investigation of the road lies several hundred metres to the northwest of the village of Towton, North Yorkshire.
A buried road with a metalled surface was uncovered just below the surface, which was presumed to date to approximately the early eighteenth century due to map-related evidence. Below this was a fill of a hollow feature, a potential hollow way, although no road surface was located associated with this feature. A silted up ditch was found below the hollow feature which was seen to cross the linear direction of the road. This suggests that it existed prior to the construction of any road or track otherwise it would have impeded access along it.
The small archaeologically investigated sample of this road did not provide evidence that this was a Roman Road. Current evidence still suggests that it is at least medieval in date. The excavation has shown that at least one formal road lies in this location but no definitive evidence for a date
when this took place was recovered.
The former presence of important stone quarries near to this crossing point of the River Cock could provide a reason why a track or road might have traversed this location although the steepness of its southern route would suggest this was not used to transport stone. It might, however, have transported a work force to and from local settlements such as Towton, Stutton and Tadcaster.


Edward IV Attainder List

After the Battle of Towton, and Edward IV being confirmed on the throne, many of the Lancastrian supporters were subject to Acts of Attainder. Here is a list of those known to be subject to these acts.



KILLING TIME:

CHALLENGING THE COMMON PERCEPTIONS OF THREE MEDIEVAL CONFLICTS —FERRYBRIDGE, DINTINGDALE AND TOWTON—

THE LARGEST BATTLE ON BRITISH SOIL

TIM SUTHERLAND

Abstract

The Battle of Towton in March 1461 is said to be the largest battle ever fought on British soil and according to the historical sources appears to have been the longest. However, a careful reading of the sources suggests that the traditional understanding of the battle is based on a misinterpretation of the Medieval concept of time. It is suggested here that the battle was much shorter than has been supposed, and also that the Battle of Towton has been conflated with the battles at Ferrybridge and Dintingdale. What has until now appeared to be the largest battle in Britain and two contemporary small actions can now be seen as three interconnected conflicts, the combined effect of which was to put Edward IV onto the throne of England.


Robert Bolling and family articles

Robert Bolling was a Lancastrian supporter who lost his lands through an Act of Attainder. He appealed and below are a number of articles relating to his appeal and members of his family.




Tadcaster Castle Osteological Report

In 2010 York Osteoarchaeology was commissioned by the Towton Battlefield Society to complete the full osteological analysis of a single inhumation recovered during excavations at Tadcaster Castle, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire (NGR SE 485 436).

Osteological analysis revealed that the skeleton was a mature adult female, aged at least 46 years old when she died. The woman was around 173.5cm tall, making her above the average female height for all periods in history.  She appears to have suffered from moderate osteoarthritis in her upper and mid spine, with mild degenerative joint disease affecting her left shoulder. The skeleton also exhibited a mild congenital defect, an additional sacral (tail bone) vertebra.

The woman had suffered from numerous large dental cavities, possibly brought on as a result of a high sugar diet as attested by the moderate calculus deposits on her teeth. Two externally draining dental abscesses would have caused her discomfort. Advanced stages of wear on the chewing surfaces of most teeth may be evidence of her mature years, habitual tooth grinding or repetitive use of the teeth as tools.


Osteological Analysis Towton Hall & Towton Battlefield

York Osteoarchaeology Ltd was commissioned by the Towton Battlefield Society to carry out the osteological analysis of disarticulated and articulated human remains recovered from different phases of excavation at Towton, North Yorkshire (SE 48444 3956; SE 479 382).
Human remains were recovered from a previously inaccessible part of a mass grave at Towton Hall, which had been excavated in 1996. Parts of three individual skeletons were retrieved, as well as numerous disarticulated bones. It was possible to match some of the remains with skeletons excavated in 1996.
Two single graves were found in the vicinity of the mass grave. These were formally laid out in a Christian manner, unlike the individuals from the mass grave, who were interred in different orientations and positions.
One of the skeletons, which had to remain in situ, was a middle aged man suffering from rickets. The other skeleton was a mature male, exhibiting evidence for joint degeneration, muscular trauma, a blade injury to the hand and a blunt force injury to the skull, which was probably fatal.
On the battlefield itself, a sample evaluation of a large pit revealed over three hundred human bone fragments.
It is thought that the pit is a mass grave, which was cleared in 1483 following the orders of a grant by Richard III. The skeletons were re-interred in Saxton churchyard. The remaining bones were all small and may have been discarded or missed by the grave diggers. They represented individuals aged between fifteen to mature adulthood and included two cranial weapon injuries.
Where sex could be established, all individuals were male. Osteological and palaeopathological results largely corresponded with those established for the skeletons from the 1996 mass grave. Differences in physical expressions between individuals excavated at Towton Hall and the battlefield suggest that the two burial sites may represent different social groups of combatants.


University of Bradford Towton Mass Grave Project Page

The remains found in the Towton mass grave are held at the University of Bradford. Here is a link to their website.

Towton mass grave project – School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences – University of Bradford


Lead Church Lady Cleggs excavations 1930s Survey Bones
Lead Church Lady Cleggs private collection 1930s Survey coffins