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Local Conditions in 1408




The Battle of Bramham Moor - 1408


Lord Percy's support of Henry came to an end when, after the earl had defeated an invading Scottish army at the Battle of Homildon in 1402 and captured a large number of Scottish nobles, the king did not allow Henry Percy to benefit from the tradition of the day and make a large sum of money by allowing the nobles to buy their freedom through ransom. 
Instead the king, who was suffering financial crisis at the time, demanded the handover of the hostages and offered only token reimbursement.  In consequence, in 1403, Lord Percy with his younger brother Thomas and famous son Sir Henry ‘Harry Hotspur’ declared their support for Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, as pretender to the throne. 
However, ‘Hotspur’ was killed at Shrewsbury in the same year while he was trying to join forces with Owen Glendower’s Welsh rebellion, and Thomas was captured in the same engagement and subsequently beheaded.  Lord Percy, who was in Warkworth at the time of that battle, submitted to arrest at York, having suffered the indignity of entering the city past the impaled head of his son. 
He lost his title of Constable of England and was fined but, as he had not directly participated in the Battle of Shrewsbury, was not convicted of treason.  Nevertheless by 1405 he was plotting again; he supported Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York, and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham in another unsuccessful rebellion following which Lord Percy with Lord Bardolph escaped and with 300 men fled to Scotland.
  Both Scrope and Nottingham were executed and Percy’s estates were confiscated.  After about a year in Scotland he and Bardolph travelled to Wales, France and Flanders seeking help but with little success before returning to Scotland in the summer of 1407 where they set about raising a new force ready to move southward.  Their best hope was that discontent in England was sufficient to win them the necessary support. Lord Percy made his final attempt to seize the throne for the 5th Earl of March in 1408. 
It has been said that, until the sixteenth century, the North knew no prince but a Percy and that the tenants and clients of the family were willing, or could be pressured, to support their political exploits and power struggles.  That did not quite happen on this occasion partly, no doubt, because the winter of 1407-8 was the worst in living memory, with snow persisting from December until March, just the conditions to encourage men to stay at home.  
 Having gathered together his army of lowland Scots and loyal Northumbrians, but without the full support expected from his tenants in Northumberland, he marched south in February once more toward York.  Reaching Thirsk, Percy and his deputy Lord Bardolph issued a proclamation inviting the people to rise but they failed to gain widespread support. 
Chroniclers have described this army of liberation as having no men of note, rank or military experience, its following being mostly smiths, tailors, falconers, countrymen, mercers and artisans, with few possessing any military experience.

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